When Blizzard first announced that it was going to require a permanent link to your Battle.net account, and therefore a constant Internet connection in order to play Diablo III, I saw it as a sign other publishers would follow suit due to how high profile and popular the game was going to be. But Blizzard seems to be facing a growing number of complaints and legal issues purely because it chose to use always-connected DRM.
Blizzard is already under investigation in Korea, which may force the company to issue refunds to anyone who wants to return the game. Now France and Germany are complaining about similar problems.
The issue in both European countries is the fact Blizzard has not made it extremely clear on the game’s packaging and promotional material that an Internet connection is required to play. It also isn’t clear that your can’t re-sell or return the game.
There are also complaints continuing to appear over difficulties connecting to the Battle.net servers. The complaints from gamers across France managed to total over 1,500 in just 4 days, which prompted French consumer group Que Choisir to demand the issues get fixed within 15 days. If they don’t, Blizzard potentially has a lawsuit on its hands.
It seems that in Germany Blizzard has to change the packaging at the demand of consumer group VZVB to make it very clear the Internet is required to play. Depending on how many copies of the game have been shipped, that could be a very costly recall. In France, Blizzard needs more bandwidth to cope with demand, which again may not be a cheap thing to implement.
Always connected DRM is meant to solve the problem of piracy for developers and publishers. But as Blizzard is finding out, it may actually end up costing the company more in court costs, compensation, and short-term infrastructure investments.