The Supreme Court of the United States says it will hear a segment of the lawsuit against Microsoft alleging the 360 was defective and scratched up game discs. Microsoft has said that’s not true. But the meat of that case isn’t what’s going on now. Earlier this year a federal appeals court said the lawsuit could become a class action suit, which mean millions of people who owned an Xbox 360 could have the right to some compensation.
That’s what the Supreme Court is determining - whether or not the suit can be class action. If the justices do say it’s a class action, then the lawsuit would move forward through the court channels and may not be settled for a number of years. The court system in the United States can be very, very slow. If the court decides the suit cannot be class action, then that would be the end of battle.
This case isn’t the first game-related issue to make its way all the way to the top. In 2011, a California law was passed, stating that anyone who sold a violent game to anyone under the age of 18 could be fined up to $1,000. The law also wanted more labeling in addition to the ratings already supplied by the ESRB. The Supreme Court struck down that law and said that video games are a form of speech protected by the First Amendment.
There’s definitely no free speech issue in this case, though. Although, it’s interesting to see issues involving games getting this sort of attention. It kind of validates games as a medium that is just as important as other forms of media like television and film. Even though the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case, the verdict may not come until late in 2016.