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The Gamer's Bill of Rights

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the not-as-catchy-as-a-gamer's-magna-carta dept.

Games 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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Gamers shall... (5, Funny)

mactard (1223412) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805257)

not have to pay fo...wait what?

At the very least ... (5, Insightful)

vlad_petric (94134) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805259)

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.

Re:At the very least ... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805543)

Copy protection will not stop piracy in general, but it will stop ordinary people from sharing their newly bought game with their friend.

People who play games like Galactic Civilizations have no friend so copy protection is useless.

(Hint to clueless moderators : that's a joke)

Re:At the very least ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805923)

Interesting... since I have never found a working crack for GalCiv II

Re:At the very least ... (4, Informative)

pcolaman (1208838) | more than 6 years ago | (#24806063)

No need. Stardock has never had DRM or used CD checking.

Re:At the very least ... (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 6 years ago | (#24806131)

Copy protection will not stop piracy in general,

I agree, they should remove the DRM, then I don't have to work around it.

nope. nope... We need Bill of Rights original. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805679)

if you have to ask for it secondary to the event, then there is somthing extremely perverted about the proceedings. A Bill of Rights is like asking Microsoft XP permition to use your software on your computer for your purposes. Thomas Jefferson was hinting at the Bill of Rights is likened to the corporate "United States" ontop of the de jure organic The 48 united States pressed by memorandom into a convention for "U"nited: States to compete to the successor Crown of Brittain's corporate sole "United States". It's like fighting that Free Software Foundation by utilizing a free Software Foundation. in teh englis/ yo'

Re:At the very least ... (4, Informative)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#24806203)

This is how they annoyed the hell out of customers back in the day. link [youtube.com] I'll give you a hint... "Don't copy that floppy"

Do as I say, not as I do? (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805265)

GPG's already in deep shit for their piss-poor handling of both vanilla supreme commander AND forged alliance.

Re:Do as I say, not as I do? (0)

Fweeky (41046) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805381)

Elaborate.

Re:Do as I say, not as I do? (2, Informative)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805863)

GPG has already made an absolute mockery of rights #2, 3, 4 and 5.

Supcom and FA both lack even the most basic functionality in critical areas, Patches were obviously not tested at all beyond making sure the game boots up, the recommended requirements are barely capable of running the game, and the only way to really get patches is through the hilariously poorly designed GPGnet.

In short installing Supcom/FA involves creating a GPGnet account, opening it up and not being able to do anything until it finishes loading and checking for updates, and god help you if you dont get your FA and Supcom licenses done properly because they won't let you fix it if you botch it. An update involves using their magnificently bad download and install system and then NOT being able to get back into GPGnet for anywhere from 3 to 30 minutes because their own system doesn't recognize when it logs out during the patching process.

Trying to play a game is also an exercise in futility at times. Ranked is what they decide it is, which I can accept, but it also takes FOREVER to do ANYTHING and the ranking system has a shit-ton of problems and always has.

Non-ranked play is basically ignored, you can't even download a custom map or mod (smaller file than a single CS map usually) off of someone automatically, and the "vault" is disgusting. Even the much better replay vault is barely functional, with no way to differentiate between supcom and FA replays and files automatically saved so that the game is incapable of opening them (you need to repair the filename by hand) in a location completely seperate from the rest of the game files and a damn sight more difficult to navigate to.

Re:Do as I say, not as I do? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805457)

No shit. I found #4 particularly hilarious:

Gamers shall have the right to demand that download managers and updaters not force themselves to run or be forced to load in order to play a game.

Has anyone at GPG actually tried using GPGnet? It's easily the worst online experience I've ever had. Trying to use it makes me realize just how much better Steam really is.

I just went through GPG's website to check if you could download updates without the GPGnet client, and unless the page simply doesn't work under Firefox, you can't. It says there are no updates available, but I know for a fact Supreme Commander has been patched quite a few times.

#6 is also somewhat amusing:

Gamers shall have the right to expect that games won't install hidden drivers or other potentially harmful software without their express consent.

Don't all GPG games come with SecureROM? Because there are several prominent "SecureROM support" links throughout the site.

In short, the list can either be read as "play on consoles" or "use Steam."

On the plus side, I understand Stardock is much better about that list than GPG is. In fact, I'm not really sure GPG is really involved; their website makes no mention of it. Then again, the "upcoming event" on the sidebar is "GDC '07!" Apparently Chris Taylor will be giving a talk on March 7th, 2007. So who knows what's going on with them.

Re:Do as I say, not as I do? (1)

Kazriko (526976) | more than 6 years ago | (#24806359)

The reason GPG is involved is that their next game, Demigod, is being published by Stardock. Stardock has been good about this on all of the games they publish. Their own internally developed games as well as the ones from Ironclad. I'm sure that Demigod will follow this much more than the GPG games that were published by a company other than Stardock.

Re:Do as I say, not as I do? (4, Informative)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805887)

Lets go over the points individually then.
  1. Not really a developer issue.
  2. Supreme Commander was stable and polished out of the box, it had a couple of balance issues and bugs like anything, but was generally fairly good.
  3. The Supreme Commander updates have been frequent, useful and quick to download and install. If it's anything like Total Annihilation the patches will keep on coming for years and will include new content as well as fixes.
  4. Honestly, I don't find starting into an updater that annoying, but for what it's worth, Supreme Commander goes straight into the main menu. Does it even come with an updater? I've always downloaded my patches from my ISP's mirror. You don't even have to use their shitty GPGnet thing either.
  5. I've played Supcom with a PC at the bottom of the specs and it worked fine on small levels and was still playable on big ones. It's required specs may be high, but then again so are the specs recommended on the box.
  6. SupCom installed SecureRom at launch but removed it in v3223. They broke their own rule, but seem to have learned their lesson. Lets wait until they next release a full game to see if they are genuine in this.
  7. SupCom is out on Steam which allows it to be downloaded in full.
  8. I don't know if Gas Powered Games or THQ think I'm a criminal. A lot of people think I might be because of the way I dress.
  9. SupCom can be played single player without an internet connection.
  10. SupCom can be played without a DVD.

So that's eight passes, one unknown and one late resubmission. They are doing comparatively well.

Re:Do as I say, not as I do? (1)

davolfman (1245316) | more than 6 years ago | (#24806613)

The problem with Supreme Commander is that the online updater downloads the patches in little teeny-tiny version increments and seems to take a dozen or two to go from release to current.

That's Just The Tip Of The Iceberg (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805273)

Brad Wardell is also calling for:

* Ponies for everyone

* Sunshine and rainbows, everyday

* World peace out of the power of love

And in his most daring position of them all:

* He's AGAINST kicking puppies

Re:That's Just The Tip Of The Iceberg (5, Funny)

Monsuco (998964) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805571)

Brad Wardell is also calling for:

* Ponies for everyone

OMG Ponies

Full Refund is self righteous B.S. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805297)

# Gamers shall have the right to return games that don't work with their computers for a full refund.

Corrected rewording

Gamers shall cover the publisher's costs of returns from noobs with broken computers or who can't read the minimum system requirements box.

Re:Full Refund is self righteous B.S. (4, Interesting)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805503)

Well that's crazy. I have, sitting on my desk, a purchased copy of Rainbow 6 Vegas 2. I uninstalled it about 30 minutes after installing it. My computer far exceeds (as in 400% or more) the minimum specifications. The game still ran like crap. So I took it off and will never buy a game from that publisher again. I am not going to go through the hassle of trying for a refund. I am not going to go through the hassle of telling them I will never buy one of their games again. They won't listen anyway. So, it will sit here on my desk with my beer on top of it. Expensive coaster? Yeah, but I don't care :-)

Re:Full Refund is self righteous B.S. (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805561)

Funny you say that.

I had the exact same experience with two of the Rainbow 6 franchise games. Yeah. I was stupid enough to go back a second time, but that was the experience that led me to investigate, and further my knowledge of, the entire gaming industry. Odd side effect, but it actually improved my gaming experience in the long-term.

Re:Full Refund is self righteous B.S. (1)

SunnyDaze (1120055) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805579)

I also remember purchasing a need for speed game for my pc. My pc handled the game well except for the fact that my video card did not support headlights. Racing in the dark with no headlights was a futile experience. The funny thing was they were promoting nvidia cards to play the game and the card I had was a Nvidia card.

Right #11 (5, Interesting)

kwabbles (259554) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805303)

Gamers shall have the right to modify their games to alter their singleplayer experience.

Re:Right #11 (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805665)

Why? Ok, it doesn't harm anyone as it's basicly like cheating at solitaire, but is it something the game developer/publisher should spent resources on? Unless of course they intend to have user-created content through an editor of course, but I don't see any ethical problem with just saying "this is how the game works, enjoy!" If you really wanted to pull that angle I'd focus on having bugs fixed instead, but that applies equally well to single and multiplayer.

Re:Right #11 (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805833)

It seems to me you've answered your own question. They might want to do something with user mods. The exclusive right to do something commercial with user mods is one of their assets under copyright law, but it isn't worth much if people are just going ahead and doing it without you. If you've ever been involved selling a company, you get through things that have real value fairly quickly, then you spend ten times the time haggling over things that might have value in some kind of radically different future universe.

It's really hard to make a profit with intellectual property, and that leads to an attitude of paranoia.

And very few software companies ever want to admit that bugs are a serious problem.

Overall, I think that an attitude of paranoia towards game modders is probably not justified in most cases, but even that's a far cry from saying that companies ought to help users tinker with their products.

Ten Commandments (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805777)

And don't forget the Ten Commandments [cad-comic.com] of gaming.

Key bindings (0, Offtopic)

daybot (911557) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805363)

...to develop a list of ideals they think all game publishers should follow... minimum requirements that make sense.

WASD :)

Re:Key bindings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805453)

ESDF

Re:Key bindings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805635)

4562 (ESDF is only good on an ergonomic keyboard with straight columns)

Re:Key bindings (1)

daybot (911557) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805737)

4562 (ESDF is only good on an ergonomic keyboard with straight columns)

4562 is pretty useless on a laptop unless you've got one of those new Lenovo monsters...

Re:Key bindings for dvorak users (2, Insightful)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805485)

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....

Re:Key bindings for dvorak users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805623)

wasd translates to aoe? you're missing a character surely?

Re:Key bindings for dvorak users (2, Insightful)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805727)

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

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

Re:Key bindings for dvorak users (2, Funny)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 6 years ago | (#24806233)

You just have to add an awkward pause before you say it. :-p

Re:Key bindings for dvorak users (1)

Zencyde (850968) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805705)

I'm sorry, I think you mean "In other words". I'm not sure where you got "Another words" from.

Re:Key bindings for dvorak users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805861)

Another words...

Did you mean, "In other words..."?

Re:Key bindings (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805673)

TFGH

It opens up many more keys for the ring and little fingers to utilize.

I actually use TFVH, with G as a quick-action key, but everyone I know things I'm insane to do so.

Re:Key bindings (1)

daybot (911557) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805781)

TFGH

It opens up many more keys for the ring and little fingers to utilize.

I actually use TFVH, with G as a quick-action key, but everyone I know things I'm insane to do so.

TFVH? Wow... TFBH wouldn't be too bad though.

Re:Key bindings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805925)

I have a Das Keyboard you insensitive clod!

It's about time (0, Redundant)

khing (936015) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805369)

something like this becomes standard

After a while.. (-1, Offtopic)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805371)

After all publishers sign on, can we then ignore them and go looking for terrorists?

Re:After a while.. (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805809)

If by terrorist you mean any indie game maker that hasnt signed up or follow the rules, then yes.

I take issue with this one (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805413)

"#9 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."

I don't want to EVER have to connect to the Internet to play a game after I buy it. Product activation, DRM, Steam - these are all the reasons why I have stopped buying games. And I used to buy a lot of them.

I'm still curious as hell over whether Half Life 2 is as good as Half Life 1. But I'll never know, because Valve doesn't want to allow me to buy it.

Re:I take issue with this one (5, Insightful)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:I take issue with this one (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:I take issue with this one (1)

Nushio (951488) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805575)

I bought me the Orange Box via Steam.

I've been playing Half Life (1) and Portal offline without issues (after it downloaded them and everything).

I didn't mind the fact that I had to be online to "activate" them, as I had to download them anyways.

I've yet to try installing it from the backups it created (they look like plain ISOs to me) while in offline mode though...

Re:I take issue with this one (3, Informative)

Kooty-Sentinel (1291050) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805641)

Just an FYI every time I reformat, I just backup all the .gcf files in Steam\steamapps except for winui.gcf and plunk them back into the folder once I install Steam again. It's worked for the past three years for me... no activation... no nada.

Re:I take issue with this one (2, Informative)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805667)

This is correct. Taking it a step further, all my apps are on a seperate partition, including steam. I don't even have to "restore" anything when reinstalling windows, I just make a new shortcut to the steam app (and regedit it to run automatically when I start windows if I want, but I don't find that necessary).

Re:I take issue with this one (2, Informative)

Kooty-Sentinel (1291050) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805869)

That's exactly what I do.... except for I can't get myself to run Steam (or any application for that matter) without properly 'installing'. It's Windows... you never know.

Re:I take issue with this one (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805739)

I'm still curious as hell over whether Half Life 2 is as good as Half Life 1. But I'll never know, because Valve doesn't want to allow me to buy it.

I was really pissed when I heard about Steam, and then about a year later I caved and played HL2. After having built up a lot of resentment toward the system, I found it was shockingly problem-free. In fact, I would hold Steam up as an example of, "If you insist on using DRM, this is how you should do it." It's not very intrusive, and actually makes it very convenient to get access to your games once you've bought them.

Now, I understand refusing out of principle anyway. I'm just saying that, as far as practical concerns go, Steam is actually pretty well done.

Re:I take issue with this one (1)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805743)

How about "JFK Reloaded"? Sure, it was an on-line-only offering, but not only was the user required to connect to the internet, but the game became totally useless after they decided to end it. I paid for the damn thing. There were for the company no re-occurring costs associated with me playing the game.

Here's another addition (0)

Carbon016 (1129067) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805415)

Re:Here's another addition (3, Interesting)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805721)

What? They won't let you download shit off their servers unless they can verify that you paid for the game?

Boo Fucking Hoo.

They basically gave the game out for free. A fully functioning and playable game for free, a game me an my roommates spent countless hours messing around with for a few weeks, un patched.

Pardon them for not letting the people who didn't support them with a purchase suck down their bandwidth too.

Jesus fucking Christ people are never happy. It's never enough for some people unless they can have what the want and maybe if they are feeling generous toss a few bucks to the creators.

Re:Here's another addition (1, Interesting)

Carbon016 (1129067) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805843)

Yes, because 10mb patches take so much bandwidth. I'm sure it wasn't piracy hurting them, just all those pirates downloading patches! How dare they.

If the unpatched game was functional, the argument might have merit. However, you and your roommates were the exception - plenty of paying customers had sync errors and crashes.

I don't give a shit if they want to implement whatever DRM they want. I'm not arguing that. I'm arguing that white-knighting them as a savior of the gaming industry as they do that is stupid beyond belief.

Re:Here's another addition (3, Insightful)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 6 years ago | (#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?

Re:Here's another addition (1)

Carbon016 (1129067) | more than 6 years ago | (#24806671)

As a corporation myself, I'll gladly pay for it. Boy, it's sure a good thing everyone signs their companies up for Slashdot accounts.

Or, you know, the fact that they offer an entire digital-download service that services thousands with games commonly over a gigabyte might provide a helpful clue into their ability to serve data commonly. Next on the white-knight brigade, lack of physical media option in new EA best-seller defended by Internet poster as "just a way for them not to have to pay the enormous shipping costs!", at 11.

Re:Here's another addition (3, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 6 years ago | (#24806685)

That's the business model on how to cope with piracy. Release a product, and only let legit users update the product. Pirates will just have to keep downloading new versions of the product (or find someone distributing the patch).

I see nothing wrong with this - patches can be considered "support" and pirates don't deserve support. If they wanted support, they can buy the product and get the updates with no issues, or just log onto their favorite site and grab the update that way.

They know people will pirate their software. So they make it worthwhile to be a legit owner - patches, updates, etc. Let the cheapskates get their way, and let the legit owners know they're appreciated. In effect, it boils down to, is your time hunting for updates (and fixing any viruses/trojans/etc that get installed) on your favorite pirate sites worth it compared to just buying a copy and having it do the updates for you without any worries. Seems a fair trade.

a good piece of wishful thinking (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805465)

These are actually more closely related to business ethics than anything else.

More developers are calling for the removal of DRM in their games these days. Publishers don't seem to listen or care and that's part of the problem.

I seriously see EA just not listening to customers. They don't care either. EA believes it doesn't need PC gamers. They believe they can be profitable with console titles alone. And more publishers are believing this every day. LucasArts has decided not to publish for PC due to piracy. EA doesn't give a rat's ass about PC gamers not liking DRM. Ubisoft abandoned PC development in favor of porting their console titles to PC. Every day, PC gamers are getting shafted. The whole Tom Clancy's franchise was arcadified to become insanely profitable. LucasArts leaves PC gamers high and dry on "The Force Unleashed" and has the balls to lie about the reasons. DRM is screwing up legitimate owners. SysReqs are no longer clear and openly published. Certain titles are being released in Beta form just to meet cycle deadlines. And, developers are making horrible uninformed decisions about the design of PC games. They just aren't listening to their customers.

I think all publishers should have a digital method of delivery. I should be able to buy online and play without an Internet connection.
Steam is wildly successful. DUH!

DRM is bad. It hurts legitimate owners and doesn't phase pirates at all. It clogs up my system.
CD/DVD checks are just lame. We've installed the game and now we want to play without inserting a disc. I personally have like 15 games installed right now that I can play at any given time and about 8 require the disc to be inserted. Lame.

I don't buy a game unless I'm going to enjoy it. That may not be the case for less informed customers. They may buy a game not knowing what it is. Let them return it if, it doesn't run on their old and busted machine. Let them return it if there is inappropriate content for their children.

Above all, listen to what your customers want and provide it.

Re:a good piece of wishful thinking (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:a good piece of wishful thinking (1)

AnotherUsername (966110) | more than 6 years ago | (#24806099)

One of my big things is that I wish they would have the CD key written on the CD itself. I like to put all of my CDs into a big book, so I can carry them around with me wherever I happen to go. I generally keep all the documentation and whatnot in a central location. However, not only do I now have to type all the CD keys out, wasting paper, but I recently found an older game that I thought I had lost, which isn't made anymore, and I was super excited about finding it, until I realized that the booklet in the case with the CD key in it had found some sort of liquid or something, because the booklet is stuck together, and impossible to pull apart without ripping one side onto the other. So now I am forced to go online to try to locate a cd key.

DRM vs. Impulse (2, Interesting)

Mincer Lightbringer (979840) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805469)

It's nice that they're saying that... but doesn't their Impulse digital distribution platform contain DRM? Their own site [impulsedriven.com] doesn't seem to say either way, the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] says it's a DRM platform and this post on their forum [impulsedriven.com] suggests that Impulse supports DRM but Stardock doesn't take advantage of it in their own products.

Re:DRM vs. Impulse (1)

Kazriko (526976) | more than 6 years ago | (#24806393)

That's because some third party companies that are not published by Stardock could require DRM to allow their games to be distributed on Impulse. I'm sure Stardock will pressure them to drop the DRM though when publishing through Impulse, but sometimes big publishers have awfully thick skulls and have serious blinders on.

Your rights (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805473)

You have the right to remain fragged. Anything you say can and will be "powned" against you. If you cannot afford a "n3wb" one will be provided for you.

Awwww riiiight.

Giggidy giggidy.

They've Purposely Omitted: The Right to Sell (5, Insightful)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805501)

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."

Can I expect the obvious? (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805527)

Can I expect that their next release will live up to each and every one of these rights?

If so, I am already interested.

If not, then I have to assume this is all bravado in order to paint their company in a "Holier then thou" image.

As the man said, "Put your money where your mouth is".

Re:Can I expect the obvious? (1)

crypticedge (1335931) | more than 6 years ago | (#24806005)

Typically, yes they follow that. They get alot of flack for some of it because they "OMG ARNT PROTECTING THEIR WORKS" because they dont use DRM, or hell most cases even installer disks. Everything they produce is downloadable via impulse, they really dont use any form of copy protection on things. The attitude they have is "If someone likes it, they will buy it, if they want updates to it, they HAVE to buy it" and it works well for them.

My 7 year old PC still plays their latest games, I see them as what the gaming industry SHOULD be, but fights so hard to not be.

Look more into them, these are the things they followed since they started, and I was quite skeptical of them then. 4 years after the first game I got of theirs now, and I have to say, they have sofar followed that list to the letter.

In a perfect world: (2, Interesting)

TehZorroness (1104427) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805567)

0: The freedom to run the program, for any purpose
1: The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
2: The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.
3: The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

Please, spare us the GPL advocacy for once (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805917)

That wouldn't be a perfect world, because like most GPL fanbois, you have failed to notice that no-one would be producing top class games in that environment. The GPL and commercial reality are fundamentally incompatible without some sort of mitigating factor, and high quality games are probably the single best example of this.

Re:In a perfect world: (1)

AnotherUsername (966110) | more than 6 years ago | (#24806149)

Because so many GPL based companies are releasing million dollar games right now. While I like the idea of GPL, I also like the idea of being able to eat, and I am sure that all those game company programmers and designers like it too. How many people do you know actually make a donation every time they see a GPL based program, being given out for free? Now take that number, and make it a proportion of the entire country. Do you really think there would be a lot of big games? I doubt it. But I am sure there would be alot of Tetris and Breakout clones, as well as the obligatory Bust-a-Move clone. Very similar to the GPL market now. The 'bigger' games are clones of yesterday's games, and most aren't done very well. But hey, they are GPL, right?

And here comes the troll modifier, in 3...2...1...

One thing I don't understand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805577)

is why gamers give a hoot. If you have a problem with the way a publisher operates, DON'T BUY THE FKN GAME! If you don't like DRM, don't buy games with DRM. If you're too addicted or that much of a consumer freak that you "need" to buy the game even though you "don't want to", that's your problem.

If you really really really want to ever make a difference within the industry, you can't support it. Simple as that. You can't pig out on junk/fast food and then complain that the companies producing it are making you fat and unhealthy. It's your choice to make, so stop blaming the outcome on others when you're the one inflicting the damage upon yourself.

Re:One thing I don't understand... (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:One thing I don't understand... (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805893)

What is the point of a boycott if you don't make it completely and publicly plain why you are boycotting?

Re:One thing I don't understand... (1)

AnotherUsername (966110) | more than 6 years ago | (#24806179)

Actually, the people who are inflicting the damage on us are the publishers. I don't really hear anyone ever saying they love EA. Saying that to make a difference means to boycott is like saying that if you are pissed at Bush then you should leave America. Boycotts won't really work that well. What will happen is that the publishers will see that PC games don't sell, so they market entirely to console gamers. So PC gamers will get screwed over in the end, as well. The only thing gamers can really do write now is try to sail on through the storm, and hope that when it passes, clearer waters come.

??? Profit (1)

Fistacious (817580) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805589)

Gamers shall have the right to sell in game virtual items for out of game currencies. :)

Re:??? Profit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24806535)

sure, sell some bits in a database that are not unique and easily reproduced or the supply is at the mercy of the game maker....

doesn't sound very sane at all to me, get a real job and stop playing MMO's all day

*PC/MAC* Gamer's Bill of Rights (0, Flamebait)

azadder (1118711) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805605)

Most of these cannot pertain to console gamers. Also, I disagree with "7. Gamers shall have the right to re-download the latest versions of the games they own at any time." If the game had a subscription fee that stated part of that fee would be used to pay for storage and bandwidth for the transfer of the game, then sure. But, if someone buys a complete game on a media, that should be their copy. I definitely agree with #9. I disagree with #1: KNOW YOUR OWN COMPUTER! #4? Security flaws, possible cheating, etc -- yeah, you've got to update.

Re:*PC/MAC* Gamer's Bill of Rights (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#24806013)

But, if someone buys a complete game on a media, that should be their copy.

In that case, they should not attempt to prevent me from making (a) legitimate and functional backup copy(s).

Data or product. Pick one.

1. I do. And you seem to be oblivious to the fact that requirements aren't everything. I've had a few games simply not work, at all. They would simply restart the computer when you tried to start them (not a BSOD, no error at all. just kicks it over), i suspect a conflict with something (firewall, antivirus, and pretty much everything else ruled out) and whatever "protection" they put in. Also, see #5.

2. Sure for multiplayer online games, but this directly points to 9 in regards to single-player games.

Re:*PC/MAC* Gamer's Bill of Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24806171)

Also, I disagree with "7.

You have that luxury. They really don't have that luxury. See, according to them they sold me a license, not a copy of the game. In order to fulfill their end of the "contract", they need to furnish me with a copy of the game upon request.

If they claim they sold me a copy of the game, then their EULA is even more of a legal fiction than it is already.

I disagree with #1

You are blaming the victim. I know my computer. The problem is minimum requirements are often poorly worded, poorly tested, or outright fabrications. Even in the case where they are accurate, a machine which exceeds the recommended requirements will sometimes not be able to play a game due to hardware or software conflicts, bugs in the game, and etc.

The problem really has more to do with the developers not knowing my computer, not my own ignorance. I build my own for chrissake.

#4? Security flaws, possible cheating, etc -- yeah, you've got to update.

Even in the magical land of azadderland where no one plays single player games where these things do not apply at all...

Security flaws: Let me know there is an update, sure! But that's it. You've fulfilled your obligation. Forcing me to update is going too far.

Possible cheating: Not. My. Problem. I do not cheat, so I don't need software forcing me not to cheat. And as for other players killing my enjoyment? Please. I'll find another game or I'll do what I always do: find people who don't cheat.

Etc: Etc is usually not valuable to me and is as likely to break the game as not.

What it comes down to is that they have an obligation to provide me with a working game, but they have no right whatsoever to force me to patch a game which works fine for me.

Bill Harris's Bill of Rights -- StarForce Must Die (1)

Allen Varney (449382) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805609)

For my November 2006 Escapist article "StarForce Must Die [escapistmagazine.com] ," I asked blogger Bill Harris to present a "DRM Bill of Rights [escapistmagazine.com] " that resembles Brad Wardell's list. Really, in a sensible world that recognized our right to control the information stored on our own computers, this would all be common sense.

Maybe a silly point, but... (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805621)

It's kind of disturbing when people label something that would otherwise be good to have, but otherwise don't have a real *right* to, a "Bill of Rights", when the original, real "Bill of Rights" were more fundamentals being put in for a "just-in-case" measure, more clarifying what they felt were always being protected, for a safety measure. In fact, some opposed the Bill of Rights' inclusion on the grounds that it would lead us down the route it has today--that they are what prevents the government from passing censorship laws and such, and not actual "Rights".

It seems like nowadays people have no dignity and view the Bill of Rights as something that just prevents the government from doing things, despite, rightly or wrongly, the founders presuming men had "Natural Rights" that transcended anything the government "thought" or did.

To make a "$SOMETHING Bill of Rights", especially when it's nothing like the supposed "Natural Rights" the founders had in mind, that are simply a list of "good to have" things kind of troubles me.

I don't really believe in "Natural Rights" as derived from nature/reason but I think they're excellent to live by.

Re:Maybe a silly point, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805695)

too true, too true. The bill of rights is not a list of the complete rights..it's just a list of the most important ones(if such a list can be made). What isn't delegated to the goverment is reserved to the states and the citizens...people forget that....

Except ... (2, Insightful)

ColdSam (884768) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805643)

11) Publishers are free to break rules 1-10, but they must clearly state the violation on the box.

Gamers Rights (2, Funny)

coren2000 (788204) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805651)

Gamers have the right to remain silent (about bad games). They have a right to an attorney.

Anything they do/say can and will be used against them in their moms basement.

11 (2, Insightful)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805681)

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?

FSS (1, Flamebait)

schi0244 (1198521) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805779)

so what?
This is just another gimmick to market bullshit that people do not need but think they want.

This is capitalism.
Don't swallow this bullshit.

Re:FSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24805849)

This is just another gimmick to market bullshit

Mod parent way the fuck up.

Can be summarized in one. (4, Insightful)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805801)

Thou shalt listen to your customers.

hmnn (1, Insightful)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:hmnn (1)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 6 years ago | (#24806453)

What are you referring to exactly?

Re:hmnn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24806455)

Who the hell modded this up?

I don't want to resort to fanboyism and there's certainly lots of things you can criticize blizzard for, but releasing half-complete games? When the hell have they ever done that?

Re:hmnn (1)

Panseh (1072370) | more than 6 years ago | (#24806523)

The vanilla versions of Starcraft, Diablo II, and Warcraft III were completed games and 100% playable (and all still have Battle.net online play and patches, 10 years and counting in the case of Starcraft). It would be fair if you argued that the amount of content added in those expansions is questionable, but the original games were in no way incomplete as they could easily stand on their own. Aside from the patching of nocd launchers, I'm fairly happy with the continued support provided by Blizzard for these three games.

stardock rocks (1)

crypticedge (1335931) | more than 6 years ago | (#24805953)

I have been buying almost exclusivly from stardock for about 6 months now because frankly the business ethics they follow I strongly agree with. Doesnt mean I dont or wouldnt like other publishers games, but the others shy of a few select few have left a very bad taste in my mouth with regards to DRM, buggy releases, bad support for bad products and lack of any form of customer service.

Im looking at you, everyone who put that shitware starforce on a disk, I hope theres a special circle of hell for the coders of that and anyone who signed off on it being added to a disk.

Stardock has always made sure any game they released was 100% complete, patchs they release are mostly bonus content (GCiv2 was expecially just bonus)

I know I cant be the only one whos sick of vendors releasing things that I wouldnt wipe my ass with let alone pay for.

Details, people! (1)

Redfeather (1033680) | more than 6 years ago | (#24806185)

For "Right to return" - FUCK THAT! I'm a retailer. The amount of games we'd get back without the open-and-its-yours policy is nuts! This is unenforcable from a pirating standpoint.

For "Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state." First someone needs to define finished state. Even a single patch can be construed as correction for an unfinished game. Does this ban patches? Or day-one error correcting? If my hardware doesn't conform to their tests, but still runs the game with errors, is the game finished if there's a patch to adjust for my (previously untested) hardware profile?

"Gamers shall have the right to expect meaningful updates after a game's release." Conflict with definitions of rule 2

Rule four I agree with. It's called ftp, people, or self-extractors. Get into the nineties for SFM's sake.

Treat 5 "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." with the grain of salt law. Minimum requirements are a ballpark for optimum function. Go buy a set of walkie talkies and just TRY to use them at the rated range. See what happens. It's a tenet called "optimum conditions" and it's everywhere, gamers are not alone in this, why expect special treatment?

Six and Eight come to me as the same - clarity and open information is very important, on both sides. If I know what I'm buying, I'm less likely to hack it to make sure it does what you say it does.

Seven. "Gamers shall have the right to re-download the latest versions of the games they own at any time." Keep your discs. Re-install. It's better for everyone that way.

I've never run into a "single-player game (which forced me) to be connected to the Internet." If it does, I imagine live content updates might be useful. New content on the fly intrigues me.

No-Disc play is a very big issue. Even from a load-time perspective, the option should be there, for the sake of storage space if nothing else. Demanding this unilaterally is like most others - the option would be gold. The demand will not satisfy everyone.

Stuff like this gets my brain knotted. Developers respond to demands from many sources, the customer is one of many voices, and unfortunately, the customer sounds like a gnat against the rush of shareholders - and even other developers. If you believe one way, but the game architect is a righteous ass who thinks his way is best, no customer response line can help you. Forcing industry standards that don't necessarily reflect the state of the consumer is also a bad idea - lots of developers have proprietary processes out of necessity, and others are forced OUT of using some of those processes because others got their first. Do we fix this by abolishing software patents? No. We adjust the market and the provider slowly toward each other. This isn't a "I'm taking my money and buying from not-you" situation. That gets us nowhere. This is more compromise than we'd like to admit. As much as DRM and CD-locking, patching and constant connection annoys us, they're there for a reason. No dev team in their right mind wastes time on something they believe will NOT benefit the experience in some way. Maybe we just don't get it yet. Maybe I'm on crack.

In short: this is an all-or-nothing approach to a very gray problem. Vinegar for flies. We need more honey, less vinegar.

Re:Details, people! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24806205)

FUCK THAT! I'm a retailer

      No, fuck YOU. Your day is gone. Your business model is obsolete. I would rather spend a few hours downloading software than a few gallons of gas driving to, fighting for parking at, and pushing through smelly crowds to get to your "exclusive" location. You add absolutely NOTHING to my product, and yet feel entitled to a not insignificant "cut". Plus apparently your bottom line is far far more important to you than the satisfaction of your customers with the merchandise you peddle.

      You're the one who is going to get fucked. See you never.

      A modern gamer.

Re:Details, people! (1)

Redfeather (1033680) | more than 6 years ago | (#24806245)

I'm a retailer AND a gamer. You download. Nice for you. Good luck trying to return your download for full refund. Good luck making sure your system can handle the game - 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.

Retail might be going down the tubes. I understand that. 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.

Re:Details, people! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24806597)

there are these things called checksums, which compute a hash from your download that lets you know if the file is corrupted by even one bit.

Re:Details, people! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Linux Rights. (2, Interesting)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 6 years ago | (#24806207)

What about the right to play the game under Linux or Mac? Trust me, Game developers hate Linux with a Holy passion.

Its a religious thing.

Rights? Not really. (1)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 6 years ago | (#24806467)

I think numbers 5 and 6 are reasonable expectations.

5# 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.
6# Gamers shall have the right to expect that games won't install hidden drivers or other potentially harmful software without their express consent.

But everything else... no so much.

Re:Rights? Not really. (1)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 6 years ago | (#24806519)

PS. Some of the rights seem to contradict themselves a fair amount. 2, 3, and 4 in particular.

Games should be released in a finished state! No, wait, they should have updates, too! But we shouldn't have to download those updates!

got to work both ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24806589)

I'm no fan of security. I bought Halflife 2 only to have the steam account get screwed up and I can't play it. In fact I've never been able to play it because it didn't like my old machine and my bright shiny new one won't work because something it wrong with the account and it won't let me back in. I'd never buy another Steam game. The point is make expensive games dirt cheap or better yet free will never fly. It's always the argument I hear that people should be free to do what they want with the content. I run a CG company and had people pull content off the company site and post it on Youtube without permission. Why? because they could. Companies do spend a great deal of money producing games. Most wouldn't begrudge them a little profit but that's not the way it works because who pays for the games that loose money? Only make hit games? There aren't many companies that pull off a 100% profitable on games or movies. Some companies are making massive profits but others barely get by and more companies go out of business than survive. Sure some are over priced but they are a tiny minority. We're talking a few percent that top $50. The problem is they tend to be the very games everyone wants. It's a market based economy. If people didn't buy them at the price then either they'd drop the price or simply spend less and make cheaper games. The top end games are starting to have budgets equal to top end feature films. It's a lot of risk so they want a return comparable with the risk. It's easy to say the customer is always right but I'll guarantee you that if there was a cap of $20 on game prices all the top end titles wouldn't look like they do. What's a fair price $5 or $10 dollars? They're called casual games and they make up the bulk of the market the under $20 games. People want cheap high end games or better yet free high end games. Who pays? Endless in game commercials? No one wants that I'll pay the bloody money to avoid that. What's the solution. I always hear free or cheap but I have never once heard a plan to cover the cost of production. The cost never bothered me much because I don't even average buying a game a year, I don't have the time for them. What reasonable solution would make gamers happy? Remember that nasty word "reasonable". Free is not realistic. High end titles for casual game prices isn't either. Would you accept a couple of commercials a level if they'd cut the prices to $30 a game? I'll guarantee you everyone would be squawking about that solution. It's really a pointless argument. There's no middle ground because the producers of the games have the right to protect their investment and the gamers wanting dirt cheap or free isn't realistic. My solution to security? I avoid most games. Sadly people keep buying them so nothing will change. I like disk dongles since if I have the disk I can play the game. What pisses me off is paying for a game and not being able to play it because of security. I simply don't buy from those companies again. Will that change anything? No because people are foolish enough to keep dealing with the hassles. Demanding no security ain't gonna happen so these weekly sessions of demanding they see the light and dump the security is a waste of everyones time. Want them to listen? Offer a "reasonable" solution that most gamers will accept. The real problem is even if you give it away people still feel the need to break the rules. Bands have posted free music with only one request that they not be reposted on other sites or P2P services. It usually takes less than an hour for some one to post it on the file share just to thumb their nose at the band and prove rules don't apply to them. So long as that goes on why should the game companies change? I get to deal with rediculous security "because" of the chicken shit that posts on the download sites. Yes that sounds troll but it's true. There's a cold war going on and the paying customers are the ones hurt. The more people that "strike a blow for freedom" the more security I get to deal with. Ten years ago I used to regularly redo machines. Now the security is so bad on all my software it takes weeks to reinstall everything because of having to contact most of the software companies to unlock software and a good percentage winds up dying with the machines. I loose thousands a year to security because of all the people stealing. Costs you an extra $20, my heart bleeds for you. I have a hard drive die and I can loose thousands in software. Do I blame the companies? Only in that they don't have more reasonable security like dongles. I mostly blame the pirates because they started the war and they are the ones driving the technology. Some of my software has as many as three serial numbers to get it functional. I have zero sympathy for people complaining about security. Back in the day there was very little security it's the wholesale piracy driving it and it does add to the cost of games so the gaming community is shooting itself in the foot by supporting pirates over gaming companies. If piracy went away the security would too because game companies have to pay for it and they'd much rather see those dollars as profit. Some would still pirate even if the games were free so it's a no win war. When just asking that they not repost content isn't enough for some people it just proves there's no middle ground. We had to start adding security to our posted videos. Why? Not because we wanted to but because some people have nothing better to do in life than repost low res versions on Youtube. They get a thrill and it's a power trip so guess what security is here to stay.

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