What’s the deal with the Databliz/X-Play issue?

 

Apparently most of you have already heard of the news where Datablitz was raided by the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) for selling unauthorized software products. (link from Interaksyon and Back2Gaming)

Just for a recap, X-Play filed a complaint against Datablitz for unauthorized distribution of NBA 2K13 (X-Play was supposed to be the exclusive distributor of NBA 2K13 in the Philippines). As a result, the CIDG conducted a raid on 11 outlets of Datablitz (which include Megamall, Market! Market!, Robinson’s Galleria, Rockwell Power Plant, Greenbelt, Expo Exchange, Virra Mall Greenhills, and Robinson’s Magnolia).

A total of PhP 2.65 million worth of software products were confiscated, aside from copies of NBA 2K13, some game titles were also confiscated during the raid.

X-Play has posted a statement regarding the raid issue: [LINK]

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 Trial 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.

 

We found some changes on X-play’s statement link, the fact sheet was remove all of the sudden (the Fact Sheet includes the minutes of the meeting of X-Play and Datablitz that was dated around September 6 to 28, 2012). You can find the original copy of the statement from Jayvee Fernandez’s blog.

Now some may say, what is going to happen to Datablitz? Well the good news is, their stores are opened for business again since Tuesday, although some games from their shelves are gone (we payed a visit to the Megamall branch last night and almost half of their store shelves are empty). The bad news is that they are being charged with violation of Section 168 of Republic Act 8293, aka “the law on unfair competition”.

Now what is going to happen with X-Play? Because on how X-Play prepared the complaint against Datablitz, many are angered with their actions, some are already accusing X-Play of monopolizing the game retail business, some even think that X-Play wants to remove their competitors so they can control the pricing of the software products. This made X-Play a lot more of a criminal than a victim as how X-Play was supposed to portray.

 

 

 

 

 

What also made X-Play suspicious by the people is the recent article from GMA, which mentioned that Datablitz was raided because of having pirated software. Many netizens posted their dismay over the said article, then GMA edited the said misleading article and changed it to ‘selling unauthorized software’. GMA was supposedly a venture partner along with IPVG (E-Games) for X-Play, for some reasons, GMA was removed from the description on X-Play’s website. But after checking the old Wikipedia page of GMA New Media, they are a ventured partner with IPVG for some of E-games casual games, including the failed launch of NBA Street Online which was never saw arrived in the country.

 

 

 

 

Another suspicion from the people that also tarnished the reputation of X-Play is that they are also related with E-Games, which many are not happy with E-Games’ service, before it was purchased by Level Up Games.

 

Just a few hours ago, Datablitz has finally posted their statement about the said issue:

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.

This made the people doubt on X-Play’s actions against Datablitz and it also made the sudden removal of the fact sheet on X-Play’s statement from their website more questionable. A lot of people are already expressing their support for Datablitz and are now bashing against X-Play.
Just for a side note, X-Play is also the exclusive distributor of Diablo 3 and World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria; the two are from Blizzard Entertainment.

Up to now, the tension is really high as more and more people are now against X-Play, their reputation is now at risk and it is very unlikely that they will be able to redeem from their actions. It is very difficult to determine who is telling the truth after the sudden changes and revisions of articles about the incident.

The next question the people will be asking is how both parties will settle this issue…

…And speaking of X-Play

 

Update 1: [11/8/12]

X-Play just held an emergency meeting last night to clarify their side about the incident, you can refer to Back2Gaming’s post for the whole discussion.

Also, Vidjogames posted their findings on the alleged report that the software copies from Datablitz are smuggled as well as the arrest of several Datablitz employees. (report from Inquirer).

More questions have surfaced on this incident, why was Datablitz being charged for selling pirated games and then turned into smuggled products if the original complaint was unauthorized distribution of products? Why did X-Play not just warn Datablitz first if they are indeed violating it?

Update 2:

Datablitz has issued a new statement about the recent news of having smuggled products:

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!!!

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7 Responses to "What’s the deal with the Databliz/X-Play issue?"
  1. similar situation months ago

    datablitz release 2 version of diablo 3, one is from e-games the other is from another supplier. datablitz sold diablo 3 that came from another supplier 400 pesos cheaper than the e-games version. That would be unfair for e-games if thats the case since they are the exclusive distributor.

    People will logically get the cheaper one so e-games/xplay(joint venture of egames and GMA) will get less sales but they involve the law because they cannot compete with datablitz. people will side with the 1st mover and the one who sell cheaper price. Its no longer an issue of piracy. Its just that company who can price drop a international product is very suspicious, maybe it did not pass through the correct process of importation. I bought a game from the internet for around php 2100 converted price, i was billed for the duties and taxes which amount 1600+. imagine you bought one game with the price of two that sucks. imagine the shipment of companies if it will going to pass the right process? i say its survival and competition or even a war. datablitz f*cks with xplay by buying from another supplier, xplay sues datablitz! tax will be added to the mark up for the games and we customers will pay for it. it happens everyday, every imported branded products.

    Thieves hates the government, the governement hates thieves, the governement bills taxes!

    Where does the taxes go? you’ll be the judge!

    • datablitz was just doing business, xplay(not very original) was just protecting there rights and assets at same time monopolizing some game titles!

      OFFICIAL STATEMENT OF XPLAY

      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 Trial 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.

      xplay is not protecting smaller retailers but they are just afraid to lose their sales. smaller retailers provides higher price.

      xplay – screws us customers

      datablitz – screws xplay and other retailers who cant compete with the price

      xplay – calls the authority accusing datablitz with smuggling

      customers – screws xplay for overprice goods

      government – bills every one with tax =))

      its just another healthy competition screwing each others sh*t. it happens everyday.

      We always team up with the one who gives us the most advantage in our interest.

      • Hi 1KzeroY,

        Thanks for your feedback,

        The issue with the two is not about piracy as how GMA reported it (which was inaccurate)but it is about the unauthorized distribution of NBA 2k13.

        What is weird is how GMA have reported the incident, they reported that Datablitz was reported to be raided because of having pirated copies of the game, and many people know that X-Play was a joint venture of GMA and IPVG (E-Games) and another weird incident is that X-play removed GMA as their venture partner on their ‘about us’ page and the removal of their fact sheet from their official statement after Datablitz posted their official statement where they denied that there were any talks with X-Play on the distribution rights.

        This incident fueled the anger of the consumers as they felt that X-Play is ‘playing dirty’ against Datablitz where they (X-play) want to remove their competitor.

        As for the pricing, it may be possible that DB were able to get the copies of the game in a much cheaper price and imposed with much lesser tax on their items, thus having a much cheaper price. They also denied that these were smuggled goods

        I remember the issue with Globe with Sun on their unlimited text promos, Globe sued Sun for unfair competition. This would be similar that with Datablitz and X-Play

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