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Recently, the companies of Stardock - makers of The Political Machine, Galactic Civilizations, and several Windows Themes and Upgrades - and Gas Power Games - makers of Supreme Commander and the Siege games - decided that PC gamers deserved certain rights. They found these rights to be inalienable (though, why God gives a damn about gaming I don't understand) and decided to write them down. They called these rights “The Gamers Bill of Rights”. Now, some of these 'rights' were obvious, some stupid, and some nonsensical; thus, in a true Bargarian fashion, I have decided to analyze these 'rights'.
My comments are in bold.
Gamers shall have the right to return games that don't work with their computers for a full refund.
There are two main problems with this statement: What if it was knowingly not working AND what if they downloaded it? I understand that if the game did not work as advertised they should be allowed to return it FOR EXCHANGE. If you allow it to be returned for a refund you are only encouraging piracy. Also, how do they expect me to be able to return a downloaded file?
Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state.
This sounds all fine and dandy until you realize what this entails. What is a finished state? I would argue that 'The Sims' is not finished as it has no overall goal, thus not being a game because it has no conclusion. Furthermore, you can test a game for years but never find some of the problems as you WILL NOT DO what I will do to the game. I suggest and alternative to this later.
Gamers shall have the right to expect meaningful updates after a game's release.
Wait, it is a finished project BUT gets meaningful updates? Okay, so these rights are already problematic.
Gamers shall have the right to demand that download managers and updates not force themselves to run or be forced to load in order to play a game.
I agree 100% with this condition. I should be able to pop in a single player game and play right away, no matter where I am, no matter what connection I have. For multiplayer and that sort of game I can understand why this is needed.
Gamers shall have the right to expect that the minimum requirements for a game will mean that the game will adequately play on that computer.
Define adequately. Minimum requirements are just that, what the game CAN run on at the least. Why should you expect DX10 graphics from your 50$ card?
Gamers shall have the right to expect that games won't install hidden drivers or other potentially harmful software without their express consent.
Last time I checked, that little agreement you click to when you install the game SAYS that they can install these programs. Looks like the consent is there. I have a suggestion here later too.
Gamers shall have the right to re-download the latest versions of the games they own at any time.
While I think that we should be able to get our games running no matter what, I have a serious issue with this idea. Why should the company run the bandwidth and storage capacity just because you screwed up your computer. They should allow us to have multiple installs (explained later) and thus KEEP YOUR CD IN GOOD CONDITION. They should not lose money because you were stupid.
Gamers shall have the right to not be treated as potential criminals by developers or publishers.
I agree 100% with this. We should not be treated as criminal for losing our card boxes and the like. Let us call and request the code (make it similar to requesting passwords for a website).
Gamers shall have the right to demand that a single-player game not force them to be connected to the Internet every time they wish to play.
Wait, didn't they already mention this?
Gamers shall have the right that games which are installed to the hard drive shall not require a CD/DVD to remain in the drive to play.
I agree with this. I am really glad that Spore, even with the DRM, does not require the CD to play. With emulation software the method of guaranteeing a real purchase using the CD is no longer useful.
I think that this 'Bill of Rights' is more a gimmick than anything else. Most of these things are illogical and frankly idiotic. Do we require cars to say every little thing that is in them? Is the gas millage accurate? Do we make book sellers give us unlimited copies because we broke them?
So why should we make game publishers do the same? This is a move to get people to like Stardock more, and to fight DRM. Guess what, if I own something I have the right to protect it, even if it is seen as Draconian.
Here is my Gamers Bill of Rights
For every game bought there are to be seven authentications allowed (like in ITunes) in which that game can run. These should be allowed to be turned on or off to accommodate the moving of computers or the selling of games. You also have the right to call and get the code whenever needed, similar to how a website gives out forgotten passwords.
All games are to be updated in a timely manner (roughly once per ¼) for three years after the release of the game. Furthermore, the companies are to inform the gamers of what they are working on fixing.
The agreement that we check in order to install the game is to be available to read at every selling location. This is to include all drivers and programs aside from the original game installed.
Gamers have the right not to be required to update or be on line for single player games.
All gamers have the right to be considered Innocent until proven Guilty. They are not to be assumed as pirates when simply trying to get their game installed.
All gamers have the right to be able to run all of their games without the CD/DVD in the rom-drive.
All companies are to provide a support staff either online or at a toll-free number until their update time has expired. They may still charge for hints.
Any and all property acquired in a game can be sold or traded based on the users desires.
All games are to be released at the same time thought the world.
On all DVDs/CDs they are to have no region assigned, they should be able to be played in any drive anywhere in the world (this assists with selling and gifting).
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Feel free to e-mail me if you so wish too instead.
Robert M. Barga,
Editor of http://whalertly.blogspot.com/