Usually when a video game reaches the news, it has set some sort of sales record, been involved with some charitable event, or is just the result of some prerelease hype. Unfortunately, RuneScape has not reached the news in any such manner (at least on a serious level). No, RuneScape has made the news through embarrassing blunders and setting legal precedents (an odd combination, I know).
4. Jagex Wins Lawsuit against Bot Software Makers
For two years, Jagex had been in court against the U.S.-based bot makers known as Impulse Software. A few months after Jagex's Bot-Nuke day, their endeavor was finally successful. Jagex had, at the cost of millions of pounds, sued Impulse Software for a "six figure" sum and an injunction against any sort of interaction or affiliation with RuneScape or Jagex in any way, shape, or form (so much so that they are not even legally allowed to discuss RuneScape, Jagex, or any of its copyrighted material).
This victory for Jagex put a small dent in the botting epidemic, but its true significance lies in the precedent the case set. It established profiting from the sale of third party software for copyrighted gaming content, according to our own Kaida23, as "Both copyright and trademark infringement, computer fraud and abuse, violation of the DCMA and tortious interference with contract (basically violating the user agreement)."
3. "Little Timmy" gets Hacked
Someone got hacked. "That happens all the time, who cares?" you might be thinking. Well, one family made a big deal about it and contacted their local news station. The reason? The eleven year old boy had spent all of his Christmas money buying RuneScape gp.
Yes, you heard that correctly. After violating the rules and buying gp, Little Timmy publicly demanded justice when the purchased gp was stolen by the hackers. It almost makes me wonder whether Jagex just had a laugh at his expense or banned him for real world trading.
2. Dutch Court Convicts Teens for Stealing Pixels
In September of 2007, one Dutch boy was beaten up and held at knife point by two older teenagers. They demanded that he give them two of his most expensive items. Valuing his health well-being over pixels, the boy reluctantly obliged. The two older teenagers later found themselves in court, not for assault and battery, but rather for theft.
The Dutch court ruled that virtual goods were, in fact, goods because there is a market for them. This seemingly contradicts the statement that players agree to when they sign up, which states that all accounts and items in the game are exclusively the property of Jagex. The court saw otherwise because of the value on the black market and the time investment put into the game. The two older teenagers were sentenced to a combined total of 360 hours of community service.
1. Man Accused of Having Sex with an Underage Girl he "Married" in RuneScape
Anyone who has spent an evening at the house parties of world 31 has seen some suggestive language and behavior seemingly coming from children. In one instance, this behavior was taken much too far and the story went public. A 54 year old man (claiming to be a 16 year old boy) had a wedding on RuneScape with a 13 year old girl.
Since the girl's mother worked two or three jobs, she wasn't around much to watch over her daughter. She didn't even allow her daughter to have a cell phone. The man (whose sole source of income was selling Magic: The Gathering cards) attempted to mail the girl a phone to no success. As a result, the man drove all the way from Boston to Detroit (about 800 miles or 1300km) to give her a cell phone. But that wasn't all and this is where the story turns weird.
Upon his arrival in Detroit, the 54 year old man proceeded to have sex with the 13 year old girl. The man drove to Detroit two more times and the girl willingly snuck out to have sex both times. Their "relationship" (if you can call it that) continued until the girl's mother found the cell phone, which the girl wasn't supposed to have. This prompted an investigation ultimately leading in the man's arrest. It's a bit embarrassing for RuneScape players when a police corporal has to clarify, "They got married in the game. Maybe he thought that was legitimate in real life. It's not."
It's highly unlikely that RuneScape has made its final appearance in the news. In the past, RuneScape has not only been the source of at least two legal precedents, but also a few blunders resulting in bad PR. In the future, we can only hope for something positive, like the stupendous Squeal of Fortune being deemed gambling and removed from the game. One can dream, I suppose.