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The Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt has ruled against Nintendo in an appeal against a 2020 decision regarding its preorder policy. The original case against Nintendo began after it was accused of breaking Europe’s Consumer Rights Directive by not offering preorders.
In 2018 the Norwegian Consumer Council argued that the only possible exception to the Directive concerned digital content where the performance had begun. Since no performance had begun in any given preorder, Nintendo could receive no exception.
In 2020 Nintendo came out on top of that court case after two years of deliberations. Nintendo argued that the sales contract was fulfilled when the game began to pre-load. That decision was immediately appealed by the German Consumer Protection Authority and Norway’s Consumer Rights Council.
Now the German court of appeal has reversed its decision. The German Consumer Protection Authority argued that because a pre-loaded game was unlocked by a separate download the software was worthless. As the software was unusable, the sales contract remained unfulfilled.
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The Norwegian Consumer Council’s original complaint summed the situation up well.
“It is risky to preorder from platforms other than Steam and Origin,” it wrote in its study of seven different digital platforms. ”If you are not 100% sure that this game will be a good buy for you, do not buy it in advance.”
While most of the platforms in question have since adopted refund policies, part of the original sentiment holds true. If you aren’t sure you’re going to love a game, maybe don’t preorder.