The official statement was released this morning and can be read below in its original form:
To Our Beloved Gaming Community & Friends,
Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, will be remembered as a day of infamy and shame for the gaming industry with XPlay initiating a disgraceful harassment action against DataBlitz for alleged selling of “unauthorized” stocks of NBA 2K13.
Yesterday, XPlay released an official statement listing down various details of meetings between XPlay and DataBlitz in the weeks leading to the launch of NBA 2K13. In spite of all that’s been said in their press release, they’ve conveniently omitted the most pertinent details:
1. All the meetings that took place between Xplay and DataBlitz were initiated at the request of XPlay. DataBlitz has never asked to meet with XPlay and were only asked to participate in meetings and/or to join XPlay’s so-called “marketing programs” (which are really nothing more than just glamorized parlor game events). DataBlitz participated in the meetings and “marketing programs” out of courtesy to XPlay and no such thing as “primary partnership”, whatsoever was ever discussed, offered, nor penned on paper, whatsoever.
2. Apart from just saying that they will be distributing NBA 2K13, XPlay has never indicated in any form of writing or communications whatsoever to DataBlitz that they are the exclusive distributor of the game.
3. Thirdly, and this is the most important and glaring omission in XPlay’s press release: in spite of the above, the fact is that DataBlitz still went ahead and purchased a considerable quantity of NBA 2K13 stocks from XPlay as a gesture of goodwill towards XPlay, even knowing that they are still very new to the industry of console games, without any proven track record whatsoever to speak of along this front.
However, it is the understanding of DataBlitz that XPlay is just another reseller of the game, and as we still live in a free country the last time we checked, DataBlitz reserves its right to buy stocks of the game from other sources, apart from XPlay, so long as these are legitimate, genuine, brand-new, original games, that are and always have been the hallmark of our product offerings to our customers.
DataBlitz has been in the gaming industry for over 17 years now, and our record speaks for itself, we have always maintained a pristine reputation as the one reliable source for original and genuine games at reasonable prices. From the very beginning when piracy dominated the market 17 years ago and up to this day that we have been able to steadily educate our consumers (without harassing anyone) about buying and patronizing original games and software, we have remained steadfast in our core belief of looking after the welfare of the gaming public first and foremost.
If there suddenly are now parties out there who see the vibrancy of the gaming industry as a way to profit immensely by using sham claims of being the only party that possesses “authorized” stocks (whatever that means) in order to shove overpriced games down the throats of the gaming public, this kind of modus is just against the core principles of DataBlitz and something we just cannot and will not go along with.
At the end of the day, we have the welfare of our customers at heart, not the twisted desires of these opportunists. Even if it means this will be a lonely battle, as Monday’s events have shown that we were very obviously the only one unjustly and unreasonably singled out, we shall always remain as the one beacon of light and hope for gamers everywhere and carry on the good fight to stop such forms of profiteering through harassment.
The release answers some of the questions that I had about this whole thing. It’s pretty amazing that X-Play continues to say that they are the exclusive distributor of NBA 2K13 in the country without formally informing Datablitz prior to NBA 2K13 going on sale, and without showing any document detailing its agreement with 2K Sports / Take 2 (or whoever publishes NBA 2K13 in Asia). It’s even more amazing when Datablitz revealed that they actually bought copies of NBA 2K13 from X-Play and X-Play did not disclose this in their original statement.The fact that X-Play did not reveal such an important piece of information makes me question the validity of their claims. Full disclosure is very important in legal matters such as this one.
According to X-Play New Media Group Head George Royeca, “Take 2 Interactive recognizes X-Play as the exclusive distributor of the NBA 2k13 games in all platforms in the Philippines.” However, when asked why X-Play has not released any formal documentation/contract, Mr. Royeca says:
You guys have to understand that the legal situation in the states is different here in the Philippines. Whenever a company releases a “statement” in the states they would need to go through a lot of legal counsels. We have informed Take 2 Interactive about this and they have been investigating as well.
We would love to release to the public the contract, but we were advised by our lawyers that we can’t do so for the meantime.
Original article continues:
Additionally, I was able to speak to two sources (who will remain anonymous) from within Datablitz. The first source, familiar with how DB’s items are brought to the country, said that all of DB’s games come from authorized distributors and pass through the Bureau of Customs (BOC). This means that Datablitz pays taxes and does the proper paperwork to legally put gaming merchandise they bought from outside the country, into their local branches and sell them to local consumers. In NBA 2K13’s case, the source said that original copies of the game were bought from a distributor in Singapore and that their stocks also passed through the Bureau of Customs.
This invalidates claims made by the CIDG and reported by media outlets such as Inquirer and Philstar, saying that Datablitz smuggled copies of NBA 2K13 into the country. It should be noted however that the source’s statements are not official statements from Datablitz, Datablitz has not yet released any customs documents, and the Bureau of Customs has not made any statements regarding the matter. Still, Datablitz has been selling original copies of games for almost 2 decades and they have had no prior cases of smuggling. If their reputation is anything to go by, it’s safe to say that their copies of 2K13 also passed through the BOC.
Datablitz has released a second statement, denying that their games/merchandise are pirated/smuggled, addressing the unjust detainment of DB employees, and shedding some light on what they plan to do in the future, in relation to the entire raiding / smuggling fiasco:
To our friends & family in gaming,
We wish to further dispel the false news reports that have circulated the past few days. The seized NBA 2K13 stocks are not pirated nor smuggled goods. DataBlitz has never sold any pirated games, not then, not now and not ever. The games are genuine, original stocks that came from legitimate suppliers, and had gone through the proper importation channels with taxes & duties properly paid.
The basis and reason for the seizure of the goods was that these were allegedly “unauthorized” stocks, without XPlay stickers, and taken away under the supervision of the lawyers of XPlay, who supervised the whole process up to and including the most unjust detention of our staff who were merely doing their work of manning our stores and trying to make an honest living.
We look forward to contesting the “unauthorized” stocks issue and the truthfulness and validity of the exclusivity claim in the proper fora in due time.
Meanwhile, from the bottom of our hearts, a million billion gazillion thanks for the outpouring of support we’ve received from our beloved gaming community and from gamers in general everywhere. You are our inspiration and your support is the source of our strength in everything that we do since our inception. There is no DataBlitz today without you and for this, we shall forever be grateful. In this dark hour, you have stood by us and have come to our defense, and the least we can do is to continue to work hard and fight each and everyday for the welfare of gamers everywhere! MARAMING MARAMING SALAMAT PO!!!
Original article continues:
The second source I was able to speak to experienced the raid and the arrests firsthand. According to the source, the CIDG personnel only had search warrants which the source acknowledged by letting the CIDG search the Datablitz branch the source worked in. However, CIDG personnel also forced Datablitz personnel to come with them (without an arrest warrant) to Camp Crame. Any attempt by the source to resist was met with more threats.
A total of 32 employees of Datablitz were detained in Camp Crame. According to my first source, the employees were detained for one day and a half. My second source adds that the detained employees were shouted at by policemen in Camp Crame and were threatened to be put in jail cells if they do not do as they were told. In addition to having their mug shots taken, the detained Datablitz personnel were made to fill out forms that, my source believes, were for individuals arrested for criminal offenses. The second source says that a policeman even asked for money (“pang snack lang”) from one of one of Datablitz’s employees/executives who were on the scene. The second source also revealed that Datablitz’s head office in Pasay City was also raided, and that CIDG personnel even discredited the company from the applicants who were present, telling them to discontinue their application to Datablitz because Datablitz sells pirated games.
The second source added that eventually, the female employees who were detained were allowed to go home; and that the male employees who remained were the ones who were charged. This explains why the 11 employees who were charged with violating the the Intellectual Property Rights law are all male going by their names. While the second source’s statements may not tell the whole picture, I can’t take the charges seriously if they let the female employees walk (presumably because they are female) and just charge the male employees who remained. All of the employees were present at branches that had stocks of NBA 2K13 so why didn’t they charge everyone? If they were actually serious about the charges, they would have charged everyone and not a select few.This isn’t me actually wanting the DB employees to be charged (I don’t think they should be charged with anything), I’m just pointing out that the CIDG’s charges/claims can’t be taken seriously if they let people slide because of gender. It means they’re just charging people for the sake of doing so.
Again, I have to stress that like my first source’s statements, my second source’s statements are not official statements from Datablitz .
Another source with a firsthand account has contacted me, saying that the statements about regarding the search and arrests are accurate.