Kitty not a cat, Aldi and Dahl, turning the Valve

Couple things caught my eye this past week.

Weird stuff first, turns out Hello Kitty isn’t a cat. Seriously, not a cat. Because that would be ridiculous. It certainly makes the fact that she owns an actual cat herself a little less creepy. Adding to that, according to the complex mythology of the Hello Kitty world, turns out she’s a pom. Lives in the suburbs of London eating apple pie. I’m gonna call bullshit till we see the quality of her dental work, but that’s just me.

The folks running the Aldi Supermarket chain pulled copies of Roald Dahl’s classic kid’s book Revolting Rhymes from the shelf, because in the story of Cinderella the supposedly charming prince calls the poor girl a ‘slut’. Y’know, cause kids are fine with images of handsome princes chopping off the heads of people he doesn’t like, but say a naughty word and they’re guaranteed to end up delinquents and drug addicts and something else unpleasant that begins with D (for alliteration purposes). A lot of people seem to be having a go at Aldi for bowing to the pressure of a few wowsers, and I’m inclined to agree with them. Because it’s god-damned Roald Dahl. I pity the child that doesn’t get to enjoy his wonderful prose (revolting or otherwise) because mum freaked out over a word that rhymes with nut.

Third, the Australian Competition and Consumer (ACCC, the national consumer watchdog) is taking everybody’s favourite game publisher, Valve, to court over the returns policy of its popular digital distribution platform, Steam. More appropriately, they’re suing over its lack of a returns policy since Steam has long maintained a stance of not offering refunds or exchanges for games under any circumstances unless specifically required to by law.

Valve are saying that they’re cooperating with the Australian government, but I expect that a lot of people, and not just Aussies, are hoping for an ACCC win in this matter in the hopes that it might force the folks running Steam to change some pretty lousy terms and conditions. Australia is a multi-billion dollar market for games, and Steam has a market-share worth hundreds of millions. It might be bugger all when compared to the US, Japanese, Chinese and some European markets but it’s large enough to effect some change if the courts side against them. There’s been a lot of damn near unplayable and falsely advertised ‘games’ (notice the use of quotation marks) released under Steam’s Early Access and Greenlight programs, and I’ve heard a few people say that the possibility of returns might be the thing that finally forces some much needed quality control. Probably not, but one can dream.

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