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The Gamer's Bill of Rights 272

Edge Magazine is running a piece by Brad Wardell, CEO of game developer Stardock, in which he presents a "Gamer's Bill of Rights." Stardock teamed up with Gas Powered Games to develop a list of ideals they think all game publishers should follow. Some are rather basic operational guidelines (not requiring a disc to play, minimum requirements that make sense), and some are aimed at repairing the damaged relationship between game companies and customers ("Gamers shall have the right to not be treated as potential criminals by developers or publishers"). Wishful thinking or not, it will be interesting to see if they manage to get other publishers to sign on.
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The Gamer's Bill of Rights

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  • by vlad_petric ( 94134 ) on Friday August 29, 2008 @10:05PM (#24805259) Homepage
    They do what they preach. Galactic Civilizations I, II and their expansions were always released like that, and they were highly successful.

    I really don't see the "wishful thinking" part. Their model actually works. People who pirate aren't gonna be stopped by copy protections. The only effect those protections have is to annoy the hell out of the paying customers.
  • by pizzach ( 1011925 ) <> on Friday August 29, 2008 @10:33PM (#24805485) Homepage
    For the same placement, that's "AOE" for dvorak users. When the bindings are not changed, we have to deal with what would be ",a;h" on a qwerty keyboard. Another words the buttons are all over the map with no logical sense....
  • by Adrian Lopez ( 2615 ) on Friday August 29, 2008 @10:36PM (#24805501) Homepage

    Like I said on GamePolitics, here's one additional "gamer right" that Stardock wouldn't like (their EULA forbids it), but which I think is essential:

    "Gamers shall have the right to sell their copy of the game to somebody else, provided they remove any copies of the game from their own systems upon doing so."

  • by Psychotria ( 953670 ) on Friday August 29, 2008 @10:43PM (#24805557)
    To be fair, I was furious with Valve when I purchased HL2 and only had modem (56k) at the time. Over time I have become less hostile towards their content delivery/activation. They did a little thing like recognising that I already had licences to various games when I bought the orange box, and allowed me to give away copies of these previous purchased games. Compared to MS and others, I found this strategy to be wonderfully "honest" and rewarding. I still hate the internet registering/activation/communication thing, but what valve/steam did (in my eyes) put them up quite a few notches in my respect-meter.
  • Except ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ColdSam ( 884768 ) on Friday August 29, 2008 @10:53PM (#24805643)
    11) Publishers are free to break rules 1-10, but they must clearly state the violation on the box.
  • 11 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mollymoo ( 202721 ) on Friday August 29, 2008 @10:56PM (#24805681) Journal
    11: No publisher should ever be so stupid as to think a server browser isn't a necessary component of an online game. Infinity Ward, are you listening?
  • by Vectronic ( 1221470 ) on Friday August 29, 2008 @11:03PM (#24805727)

    W = ,
    A = A
    S = O
    D = E

    Its much easier to say "AOE" than ",AOE" or "AE,O" or something...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29, 2008 @11:04PM (#24805747)

    This gets pointed out a lot but while your praising STEAM it is its own DRM implementation, and the important part here, watch carefully;

    It's not the DRM most people hate, it's the poor implementation of it. If it worked smoothly nobody would notice it. But since every user is stuck with CD keys, looking for the play disc, online activations, and verifications, and its all buggy as shit. Then it gets noticed.

    STEAM is a method of DRM that doesn't intrude on your gaming experience, most people don't even realize it's DRM. But it is, and it works well and thats why people like it. Partially because it was designed to be non intrusive (that preparing to launch TeamFortress 2 pop up, yea thats it phoning home, but you barely notice it, its just the game loading right?) and partly because valve actually rubbed two brain cells together and included services we'd enjoy.

    Purchase and download games online (with amazing speed too, you don't have to wait overnight for your download, I can max out my 10mb line on steam), tie your games to an account that lets you download and reinstall them with little to no hassle, intigrated message systems, online game finding, and communities.

    They made their customers happy with their product. Because it works well.

    And when we bitch about DRM, what do we use? The spectacular failures like StarForce and WGA, DRM so intrusive and buggy thats its hard to imagine it being done worse.

    I hate DRM on the principle of it, I bought the fucking product let me use it as I see fit. But the fact of the matter is most non-techie people who hate DRM hate it because it interferes with their user experience, is annoying and a hassle.

    If all DRM was as unnoticeable as STEAM is most of the public outcry against it would go away. Its fortunate for us then that all the big corporations have their heads collectively up their asses and can't design something most of us would never notice in action.

  • Thou shalt listen to your customers.

  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Friday August 29, 2008 @11:15PM (#24805845)

    The problem is that those of us that do that are very much in the minority on this.

    As much as I'd love to play Spore, I'm not going to be buying a copy as long as I'm going to be subjected to that draconian DRM. It's a shame, but I'm not willing to put up with that bullshit.

    I don't mind paying for software, but it needs to be a reasonable price, fully completed and the copy protection basically non-existent. As a customer, it isn't me that should have to put up with the pain in the ass which is DRM.

  • hmnn (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Vexorian ( 959249 ) on Friday August 29, 2008 @11:26PM (#24805933)

    Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state.

    Hmnn... This would kill blizzard's bussiness model of releasing a half-complete game while they finish it and finally release the completed work as an expansion.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29, 2008 @11:50PM (#24806107)

    To this day i have never bought (or played) halflife 2 despite the fact that halflife 1 was one of my favorite games when it came out.

    This is because of the copy protection system. Normally, i wouldve downloaded the game, made sure it worked on my machine, & then bought it. I never found a pirate version which worked right, so i never bought the game.

    I suppose i could find a working crack for it now, but im just not interested anymore... sorry valve

    I buy the games i like, & i dont like games i cant run.

  • by Skye16 ( 685048 ) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @12:08AM (#24806215)

    10mb patches spread over a few tens of thousands of people? Are you kidding?

    If it's not costing them that much, how about YOU fucking pay for it, you arrogant sonuvabitch?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 30, 2008 @01:06AM (#24806683)

    You are not making sense.

    Good luck trying to return your download for full refund.

    As opposed to a retail store? No retail store will accept your return without a hassle unless you just want to exchange. A full refund? Talk sweetly to either party or get your credit card company involved. There are no other options.

    Good luck making sure your system can handle the game

    This is easier for downloads than for retail copies. I can download a free demo from the place where I shop. I am also already online so I can do a search and see what kind of issues, if any, people are having with the game. I can also read reviews...

    - in fact, if the version you downloaded was corrupt (the equivalent of a bad disc) and you don't notice, and never re-download (replace the disc) good luck getting any help from customer support.

    I can usually (depending on where I buy) verify whether or not the version I downloaded is actually corrupt. That is something I can't easily do with a boxed copy from a retail store.

    But hard-copy support is still (so far) easier than unresolved download issues. Game didn't install? replace the disc. 99% of the time that's all that's needed. You can't get that kind of definitive answer from a download.

    This is not a point in favor of retail stores. To replace the disc I either have to wait for the mail or I have to drive back to the store. To replace a download I can just download it again.

    Of course, 99% of the time I have had a game that hasn't installed it hasn't been the disc or the download, so I doubt your statistic. I think what you meant to say was that 99% of the time that is all it takes for the customer to leave you alone.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 30, 2008 @01:39AM (#24806889)

    Oh damn, this game you downloaded has a disc check, you can go east, west, or Dennis.


    You go East. There is a forum full of pirates.


    You lament the time wasted watching the 3-gigabyte ISO download, for the EXE to fail at runtime. Several forum-goers tell you to STFU or boil the crack yourself if you're in such a hurry.

    You can go Shopping, Tits, or GTFO.


    You decide to leave your house and purchase the game that will then require you to have the CD in the tray for the next 5 weeks until you get bored and want to watch Superbad. Unfortunately leaving your house exposes you to the sun's rays, and you crumble into dust. Congratulations, you have lost.


    Too late now.




    Dennis Dyack appears as a glowing valkyrie, and slowly, slowly swoops down to pick up your ashes and carry you back, reconstituted, to the NeoGAF forums.


    You decide to skip the gaming this afternoon and get your fap on.

  • by El_Muerte_TDS ( 592157 ) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @02:20AM (#24807175) Homepage

    You forget that DRM is often the choice of the publishers and not the developer.

  • Re:Gamers shall... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Z00L00K ( 682162 ) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @02:38AM (#24807325) Homepage

    Why only gamers?

    Replace it with Consumers. All the DVD:s with the non-skippable FBI warnings that nobody ever wants to see and which destroys the experience of the movie.

  • by wfstanle ( 1188751 ) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @10:02AM (#24809765)

    Not only that, some DVDs disable the fast forward so that you have to look at up to 10 minutes of trash before you can view the movie. It gets even worse, the movie that they were hyping often is a bomb and no longer available but you have to sit through the previews nonetheless. Disney is a BIG offender in this and add to that they specialize in kids movies. Try to explain to a crying kid that just wants to view his favorite movie that he has to wait until the trash is done showing.

  • Re:Gamers shall... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jarjarthejedi ( 996957 ) <> on Saturday August 30, 2008 @11:44AM (#24810711) Journal

    More like "Oh no! I have to watch a screen of legalese and possibly some junky trailers for fifteen to thirty seconds because I bought the movie legitimately! Why didn't I just pirate it and skip this junk!"

    That screen can get very annoying when you know that it's well within your abilities to get the movie for free without it, but instead you chose to buy it legally and are now being punished for it.

  • Stop using DirectX (Score:2, Insightful)

    by waylandbill ( 1340205 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:12AM (#24818259)
    I still can't figure why developers decide to use DirectX when there are cross-platform equivalents. I refuse to buy a game that uses DirectX because of the policies of the Microsoft. I can't believe they are going to force users to upgrade to Vista to use DirectX 10. I'm glad I don't use their products.

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