DriveClub owners may have the right to return the game for a refund under The Sales of Goods Act, according to entertainment law specialists Sheridans, due to ongoing issues with the game's online component.
Speaking to The Guardian, law associate Alex Tutty explained that "The Sale of Goods Act should apply" to video games software. "This includes provisions that the good is as described and of satisfactory quality. The multiplayer functionality in Drive Club is arguably one of its core components and so as it is not working correctly may be considered a breach of the Act.
"If that's the case the player can choose to reject it - in a reasonable time - and return it and obtain a refund."
The right to return the game remains a grey area, however, due to the publisher's ability to resolve problems via a patch following the initial purchase and consumer protection rules that "were not really designed with these issues in mind".
"If a game does not work as expected but the publisher is then able to remedy that, is there a claim?" Purewal & Partners interactive entertainment lawyer Jas Purewal explains. "If the game does not have certain functionality at launch due to factors outside the publisher's control, is there a claim? If the game does have everything the publisher promised but sheer demand means the online functionality can't work fully, is there a claim?
"We just don't know the definitive answers to these questions yet. There are consumer protection rules which could be used, but they were not really designed with these issues in mind and, in any event, every case depends on its facts and circumstances in which the court or regulator needs to strike a fair balancing act between the two sides."
DriveClub launched in the UK two weeks ago and has continued to suffer from ongoing disruption to its online multiplayer modes.
Last week, game director Paul Rustchynsky said that developer Evolution had "confidence everything was ready" for the game's launch after successfully running "large scale synthetic load tests with tens of thousands of concurrent users."
He also suggested that Sony is considering compensating early adopters affected by the issues.
While improvements have continued to roll out since launch, Sony has yet to provide an update on when it expects functionality to return to normal.