Australian gamers woke up to a nasty surprise yesterday when GAME, one of the country’s biggest video game retail chains, filed for “voluntary administration.” That might not sound terribly threatening to those of us in the United States, but down under, it’s a polite way of telling a nation of anxious gamers that all their existing preorders were gone.
Evaporated. No game, no credit, and no refund, at least not until all of GAME’s other outstanding debts have been settled. Customers rank low on the priority list outlined by Australia’s Corporations Act, so it might have been months or even years before our Aussie brethren got anything back from their prepurchases. Factor in how much more it costs to buy games over there, and it’s easy to imagine a debacle like this could knock some of 2012’s most anticipated releases out of some gamers’ price range altogether.
And it all went down one day before Diablo III went live. A few stores might be lucky enough to fill some of their preorders, but otherwise all of GAME’s preorders were effectively vaporized.
Blizzard is not happy. Usually, from a company with an established reputation for perfectionism, that means one of their more apocryphal projects has been cancelled. This time, however, it means just the opposite:
We’re aware that some Australian GAME customers have been left out in the cold on what should be the hottest night of the year — the launch of Diablo III. To help with this situation and get these players into the game as soon as possible, we’ve put the following process in place.
Australian GAME customers with a valid preorder/prepurchase receipt dated before May 15, 2012 can do the following:
1. Purchase the digital version of Diablo III from http://www.diablo3.com now or anytime before May 21, 2012.
2. Download and start playing when the servers go live!
3. Submit your GAME Australia preorder/prepurchase receipt to us before June 30, 2012.
4. Receive a credit from Blizzard, for the amount you paid in advance to GAME Australia for Diablo III. This credit will be applied to the payment method used for the digital purchase.
We’ll post further details here on how to submit your GAME Australia receipt to our customer service team as soon as possible. Stay tuned, and we look forward to seeing you in the Burning Hells!
Australian gamers should keep an eye on the official Diablo III site for more details on how to acquire their full refunds, but for now the message is clear: Blizzard’s got your back.