Wednesday, 29 September 2010

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT

As every reader of this blog surely knows, twenty long days have passed since F2P was due to launch in Europe, and we still seem no closer to a resolution. Codemasters is maintaining the kind of total, sweaty silence characteristic of a wounded WWII submarine lying in shallow waters with a couple of destroyers cutting capers just above it on the surface. Meanwhile, the forums are staggering under the weight of concerned, miserable or frantic players pleading, screaming, roaring, threatening or just plain doing their best to start a reasonable, sophisticated man-to-corporate-entity-type dialogue. That last gambit doesn't work, and I suspect it never will.

Why not? Well, I believe it's pretty clear by this time that there is no insurmountable technical problem stopping the launch. The basic code is obviously reasonably solid (OK, OK, I said reasonably, not perfectly), or otherwise the stateside servers would have collapsed. I also no longer think it can be a specifically Turbine-to-Codemasters transfer problem such as different accounting systems and their interface with the in-game shop, because that would have been fixed by now (unless the entire technical staff of CM is permanently on drugs, which I beg leave to doubt). Also, CM representatives, on their increasingly rare appearances on the forums, are limiting themselves to making gagging noises and jerking their heads back at the front office; translation, "I can't say a word about this or my employment prospects will do a China Syndrome".

What all this spells to my experienced and cynical mind is one word only: lawyers! I have no shred of evidence, of course, but the only reasonable explanation I can think of for this ongoing and open-ended delay, a delay with inevitably serious (maybe even disastrous) financial consequences over time for both CM and Turbine,  is serious legal problems of some kind. Maybe it's between the two companies, or perhaps it's something to do with some unsuspected pitfall of European law; perhaps the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has decided it wants to levy purchase tax on in-game transactions, or else F2P contravenes some article of the European Union legislation on the free movement of goods and services. Perhaps. All I can say is that if this supposition is true, it could be bad news. Because geological time and the slow shifting of tectonic plates are as sheet lightning compared to the average speed of corporate lawyers...

1 comment:

Mike said...

Gloomy, but probably quite accurate as well.