Activision settles mono sound suit

Publisher agrees to out-of-court resolution to claims that Wii edition outputting in single-channel audio only, settlement guarantees all valid petitioners a free GHIII faceplate.

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Most purchasers of the Wii edition of Guitar Hero III were happy enough to raise a ruckus on the game's message boards when it was discovered that their technically advanced music emulation software was outputting in early-20th-century mono sound. After months of muting disgruntled fans, Activision finally copped to the problem, saying in December that it would freely replace faulty discs with a remastered version, but not before a few of the more industrious buyers took the publisher to court over the issue.

The class action suit, filed by Samuel Livingston in the United States District Court for the Central District of California on behalf of himself and others who purchased the Wii version of the game, alleged that Activision engaged in "deceptive and unlawful conduct in designing, manufacturing, marketing, distributing, and selling a defectively designed music video game for the Nintendo Wii game console." The defect in question was that the game outputted in mono sound only, despite stereo sound and Dolby Pro Logic II surround sound being advertised on the game's box and manual.

This week, it has come to light that Livingston et al and Activision have settled the dispute out of court. Rather than having Activision stripped of all profits stemming from the Wii edition as the original suit demanded, the settlement stipulates a far less severe penalty for the publisher. As per the settlement, Activision's replacement program will extend until August 31, 2008, and grant all purchasers who submit a valid replacement request a free GHIII faceplate in addition to a remastered disc. Further, Activision can longer manufacture the offending edition of GHIII. The reached agreement encompass games sold in the US only.

Those who are having audio issues with the Wii edition of Guitar Hero III can head over to Activision's official Web site for more information on the free replacement disc.

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