Martin Gore from Depeche Mode isn’t generally the sort of person who has much to do with video games. This week, however, his name is popping up all over the place in the gaming media, and we’re sure even he’s confused as to why.
Simply put, Mr. Gore, along with actress Winona Ryder, is being subpoenaed to testify in a lawsuit against , publishers of World of Warcraft. This is the fourth (and allegedly ‘final’) games-related court case filed by American gamer Erik Estavillo.
Prior to this, Mr. Estavillo has taken Sony to court, after he was banned from Resistance: Fall of Man for “inappropriate behaviour”. More recently, Microsoft were in the firing line, due to the “undue stress” he suffered after his Xbox 360 started showing the dreaded Red Ring of Death. Nintendo didn’t miss out either, with their suit arriving after the 4.3 Wii firmware update disabled the console’s Homebrew Channel.
This time around, Activision Blizzard are in trouble for “deceitful business practices” because characters in World of Warcraft move too slowly, meaning gamers have to spend large amounts of time travelling from place to place. Faster transportation is only achieved once a player has levelled up, or once they fork out for an expansion pack. Obviously, both of these options are all part of a clever ploy to generate more money from subscriptions – and Mr. Estavillo would like a million bucks as an apology.
But where does Martin L. Gore fit into all this? What about Winona?
According to Mr. Estavillo, the musician “has been known to be sad, lonely, and alienated as can be seen in the songs he writes,” while Ms. Ryder will be able to “explain the significance of alienation in Catcher in the Rye and will also testify to how alienation in the book can tie to alienation in real live/video games such as World of Warcraft.”
Y’see, alienation is something very familiar to Mr. Estavillo, who suffers from OCD, agoraphobia, panic disorder, major depression and Crohn’s Disease – a grab-bag of ailments similar to those of Shawn Woolley, an EverQuest gamer who took his own life in 2001 (Shawn’s mother created Online Gamers Anonymous following her son’s suicide). Mr. Estavillo has stated that because he “relies on videogames heavily for the little ongoing happiness he can achieve in this life”, he doesn’t want to “end up like Shawn” – and so he’s suing people who he believes are compromising this happiness.
Mr. Gore and Ms. Ryder are due to appear in court on April 20th, 2010 – if the case doesn’t get thrown out first. We’ll keep you posted.