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Telling Tales on Telltale

Walking Dead from Telltale iTunes Page

A couple of weeks ago, after all the great reviews here on No High Scores and a heartfelt recommendation from Lucy James, I bit the bullet and bought Telltale Games’ Walking Dead: Episode 1 for my original iPad. I figured it might put a bit of a strain on the hardware so before buying I looked at the iTunes page, which you can see reproduced above. It said nothing about iPad 1 compatibility issues in the bottom left where the requirements are, or the description, so I went ahead and bought it.

It ran, but so slowly as to be unplayable. An installation problem, surely, since I’d carefully checked the requirements before buying! So I restarted the device and closed all the background processes. Still too slow. So I googled it. And then, only then, did I discover that it’s not compatible with the original iPad. And the description does in fact mention this fact: several paragraphs down in the description, only visible if you click the “more” tab.

So I felt justified in emailing customer support, pointing out how I’d checked carefully beforehand, politely asked for a refund, and mentioned that I’d go buy it on XBLA once I’d got one. They refused, saying it was stated clearly in the description. I sent the screenshot above, and my receipt so they would know I wasn’t freeloading. So they agreed, great! But then, a couple of days later, another email saying they’d examined the issue and the compatibility was clearly stated, so no refund. So I again pointed out that it wasn’t clearly stated when I looked. And they agreed again, great! But then same again, another support monkey replies to say it’s clearly stated so no refund.

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And so here we are. Telltale have now updated the iTunes page to put the warning at the top of the description where it should be. But as my screenshot demonstrates that’s not what I saw when I bought the app. I won’t be buying any more Telltale product, so over £3 they’ve lost an XBLA sale for the whole series and a lot of potential future purchases. Madness.

I’d like to ask you all to look at that screenshot and tell me if you think it’s clearly stated that the app wouldn’t run on my device, and that I’m out of order asking for my money back. If you agree with me, I’m left with little recourse but to warn you all not to expect great service from Telltale games.

Matt Thrower

Matt is a board gamer who plays video games when he can't find anyone similarly obsessive to play against, which is frequently. The inability to get out and play after the birth of his first child lead him to start writing about games as a substitute for playing them. He founded FortressAT.com and writes there and at NoHighScores.com

24 thoughts to “Telling Tales on Telltale”

  1. Well, I’m not an iPad specialist, but if your iPad is running iOS 4.2 – and I’m sure you checked this beforehand – then, yes, I expect that you’re right, as there is no specific hardware requirement. Though, is this a Telltale sales rep, or an iTunes Store thing?

    1. I’ve been dealing with Telltale direct, and yes, my iPad run iOS5 so that’s clearly later than 4.1, thanks.

  2. It really is an excellent game.

    I believe the only grown up sensible thing to do is blatant and wholly criminal piracy. I mean you have already bought it.

  3. My takeaway from this is more don’t buy anything from the iTunes store, even doe I have an iPhone is pretty easy thing to do for me there is just so many free stuff there, but I not tying myself to it’s ecosystem and it’s complete lack of long term support, Ipad a device that is 2 year old is already completely abandoned, I will continue to just buy my games on the PC were I can run games from 20 year ago today.

  4. Sucks that they won’t give you a refund, but to never buy a telltale game again is a little harsh. You were clearly worried about compatibility, some google time and you would have figured it out. Obviously determining compatibility shouldn’t be your responsibility but at least they now are making it obvious for everyone else. Is it worth getting that upset over some money lost? You are only punishing yourself if you miss out playing some good games.

    1. So I – and by extension, all other iOS device owners – should have to google and check several sources to check if their device is compatible with any app before buying? That’s the logical conclusion of your angle. And I think: no. What they hell is that “requirements” box in the app store there for if the information isn’t to be trusted?

      And it’s not the money. The cost is paltry. It’s the principle. I was mis-sold this item, even having gone to extra lengths to check. I feel like I’ve been duped, conned, and that makes me angry.

      1. That’s the way it goes for older hardware. I wanted to get Borderlands 2 but my PC is a few years old. After checking the system requirements, I barely hit the recommended system stats and had no clue how my GTX240 would compare to the GTX560. So I searched looked for a comparison between the two. Didn’t take long and gave me the information I needed to pull the trigger.

        I’ve never used itunes so maybe this sounds dumb, but are refunds normal? Sounds like you are going outside the system for a refund.

    2. I hate hearing stories about poor customer service and I don’t see any reason Matt should purchase another Telltale game. I probably won’t either, after reading this.

      I dealt with Soldak earlier this year when I purchased the expansion to Din’s Curse directly from them. It turned out that the expansion purchased directly through them wasn’t compatible with the base game that I owned on Impulse. I sent a friendly email explaining the situation, and that I planned to purchase it from Impulse, and asking for a refund. They offered one thing to try to get it to work, and when that didn’t work I was immediately issued a refund.

      That is how customer service should be handled.

  5. One of the reasons I never buy pre-order or try to never buy before demo/trial. If the product doesn’t work at best you have to go through a potentially lengthy refund policy process, at worst you have to write off the company as sleezebags and never pay for their games again.

    Just because they state “no refunds” doesn’t mean they aren’t obligated to provide you with a refund if they sold you a broken product or sold you something through false advertising.

    For example, to me, every person that bought PS3 Skyrim should be allowed to have a full refund. Company sells broken product, company should offer recall or refund. Instead the whole thing is slowly getting pushed under the rug under “we take responsibility and are trying to fix it” statements.

    That’s the sad part though. The company thinks they’ve made a great sale, while customer support knows they just screwed somebody over, and customer support is just following company policy.

  6. I think you’re being silly. Why did you google compatibility after you made your purchase and not before? Every time I buy a PC game (and eventually I’ll do it for my iPad too when I’ve had it for long enough) I check the company page for specs, then google compatibility with my particular set up (boot camp on an iMac). Seems like due diligence and takes me 60 seconds.

    Because Telltale is kind of right. It was in the description. You want a refund because you didn’t click “more?” The back and forth thing is kind of annoying, but is that really justification to no longer purchase a Telltale Game if it looks good to you?

  7. While I have empathy for you and understand why you’re upset, Matt, the iPad 1 is, more or less, obsolete. That is a whole other problem that you would be justified being upset about, but if I had an iPad 1 I wouldn’t buy ANYTHING unless I confirmed it would work. It is a dead device.

    All of that said, yes, they should have given you the refund.

    1. While that may be true, if it can’t run the game then Telltale should’ve put something more descriptive in the requirements box than “iPad”. They don’t put “PC” in the requirements for PC games, why should it be ok to do that for mobile games?

      1. Correction. That requirements box on the left might only have “iPad” as an option. Went back through other games I’ve bought and they all say the same thing, even if they go further into the real requirements in the description.

        1. I believe that box on the left is put in place by Apple, and not the developer. So we are dealing with Apple’s standards, not Telltales.

  8. Telltale customer service are not exactly the best. I had a problem running the game on my PC (a bug affecting some Steam customers running Win7 64-bit) where basically, my saves were no longer recognized by the game once I installed Episode 3. Since The Walking Dead is pointless without saved games, as your decisions won’t carry over, it’s a pretty big issue.

    I did much as you did, Matt; contacted customer service to ask for an XBLA version so that I could play the game that I bought. They wouldn’t do it, so after about two weeks working with tech support, I’ve got it running for now (knock on wood), and I’m hoping it’ll still work once Episode 5 comes out.

    While The Walking Dead is one of my favourite games of the year, there’s no question that this experience will make me think twice before buying from Telltale again. And it’ll make sure that I don’t buy games that I was on the fence about (e.g. Back to the Future).

    1. What did the problem end up being? I had that same issue after I finished episode 1 and I haven’t gone back to play any of the others since.

      1. Basically, it seems like the game has up to three different save locations pre-programmed into it (with no way to manually change it), so the tech support rep had me clear all my saves, then always run the game directly by executable (not through Steam), set in compatibility mode for Win98/ME and have Run as Administrator checked. So far, I’m at Episode 4 and I’ve had no further issues.

        1. I would not want to deal with all that mess. Better wait until all 5 episodes go on sale for 5 dollars some time like Tales of Monkey Island.

  9. The Google Play Market offers a no questions asked refund for 24 hours after purchase. Apps/games must also be marked specifically, by the developer, to work with your device. It won’t appear in your search if it is not compatible with your device.

  10. The sad thing is, you’re probably not even talking to Telltale, per-se, just whomever they contracted to do their customer service.

    I’d think most companies would prefer to break an arbitrary rule and have a happy customer rather then potentially alienating someone for $10.

    It’s strange that many people seem to hold game companies to a lesser standard then pretty much any other industry when it comes to functioning product.

  11. There should be no requirement for the customer to always have to do his diligence before buying. If the vendor knows there is an incompatibility, they need to state so clearly and immediately visible. To put it under ‘More’ is counterproductive – some of these descriptions can go on for miles. Vendors have a responsibility, and to say Matt should have googled compatibility beforehand, is to release them from said responsibility.

    That being said, Apple need to spice up both their nonexistent refund system and the lack of a try-before-buy functionality in the App Store. They can do much better than they are right now.

  12. While I believe that it is ultimately up to Telltale to decide whether or not a refund should be issued I believe Matt’s beef is legitimate. I would say the blame is split 50/50 between Telltale and Apple. It appears to be a major requirement and it should not have been tucked away in the “more” section. Apple makes developers jump through enough hoops just to make it into iTunes. Adding an additional hoop of clearly listing whether or not a program will work for an iPad 1 is reasonable.

  13. While I certainly agree with your point of view, this would be a case of cutting off your nose to spite your face. As a rule, I generally HATE survival horror games. I hate horror books, horror movies, etc. But this series of games is so well done, that I pretty much think any gamer should have it in their library in one form or another. Yes, Telltale are being pricks, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying one of the best episodic games to ever come out!

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