Datablitz has released an official statement regarding this.
Original story is as follows:
Datablitz, the Philippines’ most established retailer of original/legitimate video game merchandise, was raided by the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) for selling copies of NBA 2K13 that were not distributed by the alleged “official” local distributor of the game, X-Play Online Games, Inc.
In a report from Interaksyon.com, it was said that NBA 2K13 “is exclusively distributed locally by X-Play. DataBlitz has reportedly not been appointed by X-Play as a reseller for the said game title.” The report also states that the Datablitz branches that were raided by the CIDG include branches in SM Megamall, Market! Market!, Robinson’s Galleria, Rockwell Power Plant, Greenbelt, Expo Exchange, Virra Mall Greenhills, and Robinson’s Magnolia. Lastly, the report says that P2.65 million worth of gaming software was seized and that NBA 2K13 was not the only game confiscated. However, the other confiscated game titles are currently unknown.
Thirty-three employees of Datablitz have also been arrested.
According to X-Play games, Datablitz has violated section 168 of Republic Act 8293, otherwise known as the law on unfair competition. X-Play’s official statement on the matter is as follows:
It is unfortunate that businesses had to be disrupted by the incident that transpired yesterday. While we sympathize with other individuals dragged on by this issue, we stand by our ground to be vigilant in dealing with illegal activities to protect our rights, our partners and our local gaming community.
This is not a knee-jerk reaction from X-Play. In fact, meetings were held with Datablitz President, Winston Lim and his team to become X-Play’s primary partner for NBA 2K13. Datablitz key executives Sandra Lu and Orpha Oambas even participated in X-Play’s distributor conferences and got all the marketing and distribution plans of the company.
Datablitz’s decision to acquire and distribute NBA 2K13 through unauthorized means despite these efforts, leaves X-Play no other option but to report this to the proper authorities, in which CIDG and the Regional Trail Court took immediate action on.
The action of Datablitz was not only detrimental to X-Play but also affected other smaller retailers, game stores and entrepreneurs.
We hope nothing more but to resolve this predicament but will hold firm in protecting the industry from smugglers and illegal operators.
FACTS OF THE CASE
The complaint was for “unfair competition” defined under Section 168 of Republic Act No. 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines.
By selling the NBA2K13 Products without authority from EpicSoft and/or XPlay, the exclusive distributor thereof in the Philippines, Datablitz, Inc. took a “free ride” on the good will and marketing excitement established by XPlay, thereby engaging in “unfair competition” to the prejudice of-Xplay and all of its rightful distributors most of which are small retail outlets.
The official timeline of meetings between X-Play and Datablitz can be found here.
Another blow to Datablitz is that some media outlets have falsely accused the retailer of selling pirated copies of games. Specifically, GMA news’ original headline for the entire thing was “PNP raids gaming store selling “pirated” software“. And while the headline has been reworded to “CIDG raids gaming store selling unauthorized software“, it now sounds like Datablitz is selling software that is not authorized to run on users’ PC’s or game consoles like viruses or homebrew applications (interaksyon.com is guilty of this as well). In my opinion, the more appropriate headline would be “CIDG raids gaming store for unauthorized selling“.
Reading the comments on the Interaksyon.com article previously posted reveals that X-Play games is actually related to GMA New Media. Turns out that X-Play games is a 130-million peso joint venture between GMA New Media and IP E-Games. This means that both GMA news and X-Play Games (50% owned by GMA New Media) are sister entities under the GMA network banner. GMA News has not disclosed this glaring conflict of interest while reporting on X-Play games’ legal fiasco with Datablitz; and it is a possible reason why their reporting on it has been both erroneous and more damaging to Datablitz that it has to be (blatantly accusing DB of selling pirated copies of games).
In addition to this, the previously linked report from Business mirror has statements like “Datablitz stores have been selling and distributing pirated gaming software that include the “NBA Basketball Games.”” And my personal favorite: “Sosa said that prior to the raid, CIDG agents conducted test buys in all of Datablitz stalls, and confirmed the sale of pirated software in those stores“.
Senior Supt. Gilbert Sosa, Sir, I’d like to see these pirated copies of games your agents have bought from Datablitz “stalls” please. What titles did you buy and what system are they for? Want to play on PSN?
On second though, Datablitz doesn’t even have stalls, it has branches, so maybe the said agents did get pirated copies of games but they got them from friends of Jack Sparrow.
By now, anyone who gives a lick about buying original copies of video games in the Philippines knows that Datablitz prides itself on only selling original copies. Anti-piracy statements are seen at their branches and the first sentence in the “About Us” page of their official website (currently down) is “DataBlitz is an ALL-Original computer & video games, software, consoles and accessories retailer present in various locations throughout the Philippines.”
An update on GMA new’s report clarifies the matter with the following statement: “CIDG information officer Snr. Insp. Kimberly Gonzales also said that the raids were officially conducted on grounds of “unfair competition” as Datablitz was found to be selling original software but without an official license to do so.”
However, the damage has been done.
Of course, I’d also like to know what went down between Datablitz and X-Play with regard to the distribution/selling of NBA 2K13. X-Play’s press release does mention the dates, venues, attendees, and agenda of their meetings, but what I really want to know is the source of their dispute, why couldn’t they come to an agreement? My guess is that X-Play wanted DB to sell NBA 2K13 Region 3 copies at a more expensive price and DB didn’t want to do so, so instead, they got region 1 copies from a different distributor and sold it for less. As commented by Jan Brane Tizon, “X-Play sells NBA 2k13 for Xbox 360 at PhP 2,495, while DataBlitz sells it for PhP 1,895”
Other questions I want to find the answers to include:
- Did CIDG really confiscate over 2 and a half million pesos worth of games?
- What other games did they confiscate aside from NBA 2K13
- If X-Play games was the official distributor or NBA 2K13, where the hell did Datablitz get their copies from?
- Will Datablitz take legal action against GMA news for their erroneous reporting?
Since X-Play Online Games Inc. is big on intellectual property rights, let’s look at their own IP practices.
Their name for instance is the same as G4 TV’s long running and soon-to-be-cancelled show dedicated to video game news, reviews, skits, etc. Hmm, both are called X-Play and both are centered on video games, I’m sure it’s just a coincidence. Their logos will probably be really dissimilar. Oh wait…
One more thing, as X-Play Online Games Inc. puts it, “We hope nothing more but to resolve this predicament but will hold firm in protecting the industry from smugglers and illegal operators.”
Looks like they don’t see selling jailbroken PS3’s as an illegal operation because as pointed out by Jano Punzalan Quiogu’s comment, one of their partner retailers, Game Xtreme, is selling jailbroken PS3s on TipidPC.com.
Intellectual Property…how does it work?