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Is It Time To Enforce a Gamers' Bill of Rights?

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the give-me-liberty-or-give-me-a-high-fidelity-open-world-liberty-sim dept.

DRM 469

adeelarshad82 writes "The SimCity launch debacle is only the latest in an increasingly frustrating string of affronts to gamers' rights as customers. Before SimCity, we had Ubisoft's always-on DRM (that the company only ended quietly after massive outcry from gamers). We had the forced online and similarly unplayable launch of Diablo III. We had games like Asura's Wrath and Final Fantasy: All the Bravest that required you to pay more money just to complete them after you purchase them. And let us never forget the utter infamy of StarForce, SecuROM, and Sony's copy protection, which installed rootkits on computers without users' knowledge. As one recently published article argues, maybe it's time for gamers to demand adoption of a Bill of Rights."

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Better off enforcing an EA boycott (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43152559)

Seriously, as long as you keep buying from them, do you think they give a shit about your "gamers bill of rights"? Here is how EA looks at rights: "We've got a right to your money, you've got a right to give us your money and STFU." And as long as you keep playing that game, they're going to keep screwing you.

Why should they care if the game actually works? They got your money and they know that no matter how much you bitch, you'll be standing right there in line for the next one--begging to be butt-raped by EA *yet again*.

Oh, and my favorite quote from the article:

This was loosely based on the Gamers' Bill of Rights website, which hasn't been updated in three years

Yeah, fight the power. Such a powerful and organized movement must be giving EA nightmares, while they sleep on a big pile of your money.

Re:Better off enforcing an EA boycott (3, Insightful)

pipatron (966506) | about a year ago | (#43152671)

Harsch but true. I guess there are a few questions to be answered:

  • 1. Is the actions of EA hurting enlightened gamers, who chose to give their money to better companies?
  • 2. Is it likely that EA will release a game that "pro gamers" want to play? A game that is not a glorified FarmVille.
  • 3. Is the industry in large damaged by the actions of EA?

If the answer to these questions are all "no", then it does not matter much what EA does, except the usual moral issues about parting a fool from his money.

Re:Better off enforcing an EA boycott (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43152957)

I am *NOT* going to purchase another EA game ever again. To wit, I didn't purchase the latest iteration of SimCity. That's mostly because SimiCity is boring, but I also saw the requirement. I am no longer a fan of Blizzard either. I did *NOT* purchase, Starcraft II, Diablo III nor the latest WoW expansion. I am *NOT* going to purchase a game that requires a monthly subscription fee ever again either.

The problem, as I see it, is that all of the major publishers have been resorting to these draconian measures because of rampant piracy. That's the part people seem to forget about. So, don't purchase the games and don't play the hacked versions either. EA is an old dinosaur that needs to die. Let it die. Stop buying games that end in a number too!

Re:Better off enforcing an EA boycott (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#43153165)

*shrug* if other big game manufacturers see EA's model working, then guess what.

Re:Better off enforcing an EA boycott (4, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | about a year ago | (#43152817)

How one would "enforce" this document is pretty vague to me. What I wouldn't mind is some sort of "Seal of Decency" that publishers could put on their game if and only if it follows a specific set of guidelines like "no always-on internet requirement", "no rootkits", and "multiplayer servers shall remain active for at least 3 years".

Re:Better off enforcing an EA boycott (5, Insightful)

Bardez (915334) | about a year ago | (#43153045)

and "multiplayer servers shall remain active for at least 3 years".

I have a problem with this guideline. I really do. There should, in all cases of multiplayer networked capability, be a direct connection ability and/or a server program that you can download and install. This was pretty standard not too long ago, where you could set up a private server if you wanted to. It should be standard again. If you buy something, the product should not have a lifespan the ends with no usability. It should end with no further support, where the user can install and tweak and run in 20+ years.

Re:Better off enforcing an EA boycott (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43152863)

This is true, but there's no way to tell a company that they haven't got your money for a specific reason. A game flops when people don't buy DRM stuff(or more accurately the informed audience doesn't and the game does slightly worse than average), and EA just says "oh, no one wants complex city-builders anymore, let's just put that money back into the sports and shovelware departments."

There needs to be some way of specifically telling companies: We don't want to be abused.

Re:Better off enforcing an EA boycott (5, Interesting)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year ago | (#43153103)

There needs to be some way of specifically telling companies: We don't want to be abused.

The current favored method appears to be reviews on Amazon.

Re:Better off enforcing an EA boycott (1)

jxander (2605655) | about a year ago | (#43152935)

If anything, we just need a more organized boycott method.

Sure, most of the fine folk here on /. know about DRM, why it's bad, and how to look for good games without it ... I fear the majority of the gaming populace has very little insight or knowledge on the subject matter. Especially these days, now that the Wii and it's ilk have expanded "casual gaming" to just about every nook and cranny (and granny) of the populace.

SimCity is a perfect storm of problems too, which can be used as an example. It's a popular name brand that most people know. It's marketed toward casual gamers. And the launch was absolutely crippled by the DRM.

I'm not exactly sure how to broach the subject, or spread the word. Maybe some of the more social-network-inclined people around here can help with that... but until knowledge is spread, bad games and horrible business practices will continue

Re:Better off enforcing an EA boycott (4, Informative)

pipatron (966506) | about a year ago | (#43153071)

The Free Software Foundation [] campaign about this all the time, and have for some time now. They do have the organisational structure to do this.

But nobody listens, because they also care about linux and free software in general, and that's eww hairy nerds, don't take my capitalism! Maybe if angry gamers would join up, they would get the manpower to actually get heard.

Re:Better off enforcing an EA boycott (1)

arth1 (260657) | about a year ago | (#43153083)

Oh, and my favorite quote from the article:

This was loosely based on the Gamers' Bill of Rights website, which hasn't been updated in three years>

Well, yeah, how long since the other Bill of Rights got updated?

Updating just for the sake of change is folly.
Some of the sites I go to haven't had their content updated in ten years or more. RFCs, for example.

That said, I disagree that there should be a Gamer's Bill of Rights. That's the same as giving carte blanche to anything else.
A few organized boycotts would be far better.

Re:Better off enforcing an EA boycott (3, Insightful)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#43153145)

Skyrim uses Steam, pretty sure you can play it offline, but what if you couldn't? Would you still buy it? I would. They get away with this type of DRM because they understand gamers better than some understand themselves. A must have title is just that must have, bugs and drm are secondary. That and piracy... piracy has hit the gaming industry hard, and now we're left with less video games and less producers again leading back to bolder DRM attempts and even computer infringement.

That has left the door wide open for EA, who has pretty consistent revenue from it's sports titles to step in and definite how big corporate America should run the gaming industry. Now we're pretty much fucked.

How about.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43152613)

You have the right not to buy horrible shitty games. Is that so hard?

Collusion among video game publishers (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#43152893)

A problem is that major video game publishers have every incentive to collude to pass off "horrible shitty games" as all that's available to console owners. What do you think players will do to work around this? Buy a PC to hook up to the TV in order to play games from indie developers outside the cartel? Or stop video gaming entirely?

What do you mean "we"? (5, Insightful)

mcmonkey (96054) | about a year ago | (#43152619)

We had the forced online and similarly unplayable launch of Diablo III.

We? We had no such thing. We had the option to not purchase the game. Many of us took that option.

You can only complain if such requirements aren't publicized. In most cases, these requirements were made clear not only prior to sale, but prior to the game's release. If you didn't want it, why did you buy it?

Re:What do you mean "we"? (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43152731)

All my imaginary mod points to you sir.

So far I have just avoided buying these games. EA, Ubisoft and Blizzard have made it very clear they do not want my money. No problem I can spend it elsewhere.

Re:What do you mean "we"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43152741)

The launch wasn't even that bad. The first couple of hours were a bit bumpy, but after that most people had no issues.

Re:What do you mean "we"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43152755)

You can only complain if such requirements aren't publicized
No, you can complain either way. This is a bad path for the games industry to be taking and the more people who bitch about it the better.

Re:What do you mean "we"? (4, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about a year ago | (#43152773)

I disagree. Having a requirement to connect to their servers does not and should not imply that those servers will be unavailable for extended lengths of time. You might argue caveat emptor, but the fact of the matter is that there is no legal recourse in many places when a game is unplayable. If I take the shrink wrap off a game and through no fault of my own the game is unplayable, I should be entitled to a refund. It doesn't matter if the cause of that is undocumented requirements, an unstable game, or lack of server capacity.

Re:What do you mean "we"? (1)

pdabbadabba (720526) | about a year ago | (#43152867)

I'm no expert on this area of law, but my very strong suspicion is that you are actually entitled to a refund regardless of what EA tells you if you buy the game and it just doesn't work through no fault of your own. If there's anyone out there who has a more informed opinion than mine, I'd be very happy to hear it.

Re:What do you mean "we"? (3, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about a year ago | (#43152941)

It's the kind of thing that is legally almost certainly true, but to actually verify it you would literally have to take them to court over it. At best you could document your attempts to return it and the reasons why and then dispute the charges on your credit card. Consumer protection laws in the US have very few, very dull teeth.

Re:What do you mean "we"? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43152969)

It will eventually.

If you buy a game that has to connect to the company's servers they will at some point stop supporting that. You should know that up front. So long as you never want to play Medal of Duty 8: Call of Honor in a couple years feel free to buy, otherwise stay away.

Re:What do you mean "we"? (1)

dpayton (588658) | about a year ago | (#43152811)

Correct. As it says in the original post, "(that the company only ended quietly after massive outcry from gamers)". *That's* the remedy. Market-based forces work.

Re:What do you mean "we"? (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | about a year ago | (#43152823)

What sucks is when they screw you over with updates after you give them your money. I can think of a few recent titles, such as MechWarrior Online and Guild Wars 2. I'll never get my money back, but they'll never get another dollar from me either. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...

Re:What do you mean "we"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43152987)

Has it been 90 days? If not, hit them with a charge-back on your credit card.

Re:What do you mean "we"? (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | about a year ago | (#43153069)

Yes, unfortunately. But that's the problem with this system. There's no telling when the game-breaking updates will come.

Re:What do you mean "we"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43152861)

not enough aren't buying. in the case of simcity it is, today (one week after launch), still the *top selling* sim game and *number 3 overall* at amazon.

the masses are unaware and buy anyway. you can't educate sheep.

Re:What do you mean "we"? (1)

Aaden42 (198257) | about a year ago | (#43153097)

No, but EA seems to make some tasty mutton...

Re:What do you mean "we"? (1)

cstdenis (1118589) | about a year ago | (#43153115)

I gambled on buying it because Blizzard has a history of being good to gamers so I figured it would be ok. (Ya, wow has issues, but their other stuff used to be good)

They have now lost that good faith with me.

Not many companies left I am still willing to gamble on like that. Valve is one of them, and I expect them to retain that as long as they remain privately owned.

You guys are totally wrong in practice (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43153147)

Providing effective negative feedback to a games company simply through not buying their crappy product works well only when the people willfully abstaining constitute a majority of their customer base.

Unfortunately, that condition is almost never met. Only a small fraction of purchasers are well informed, many are casual players who don't participate in gamer communities, many games are purchased as gifts, many gamers buy sequels just because they have earlier releases, and finally, quite a few buyers have more money than sense and will buy anything.

As a result, even crappy games generate enough income for the company to consider its investment justified, especially when the alternative is that they have to admit to failure. Even after the recent catastrophe, EA still believes that they did perfectly well, give or take a few minor issues. Just a few well informed gamers not buying their products will not break down such strong delusions.

If you don't believe that, consider what effect the nerd boycott of Sony has had on their gaming division. Nil.

It's a very American thing to believe fervently that market forces will fix everything, but the fact is that the only feedback of which EA took notice was Amazon's removal of the game from sale because that stopped uninformed purchasers from buying , and Amazon only did that because of complaints, not because people didn't buy it.

Complaints and concerted community pressure are mechanisms of great power, and that power is far more direct than simply not buying a game can ever be.

You've already got a Gamer's Bill of Rights (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43152627)

It is called the Right to Refuse to Buy, coupled with the Right to Obtain Decent Reviews Before Purchase.

Re:You've already got a Gamer's Bill of Rights (5, Insightful)

Endo13 (1000782) | about a year ago | (#43152847)

What about the right to no bait-and-switch in the form of "updates" after purchase?

Re:You've already got a Gamer's Bill of Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43153081)

What about the right to no bait-and-switch in the form of "updates" after purchase?

I believe that'd fall under existing consumer rights, and would therefore not have any reason to continue the gleeful trivialization of the concept of the Bill of Rights into a buzzword for spoiled addicts to throw around.

Re:You've already got a Gamer's Bill of Rights (2)

Meeni (1815694) | about a year ago | (#43153107)

Not all consumer are perfectly informed and rational agents. Actually, a very slim minority is.

In practice, decent reviews are seldom, as most magazines are bed and toothbrush with the game editors.
In practice, people do things that harm themselves in the long run to get instant gratification. That includes doing drugs at the extreme, but spending money on a videogame that looks cool to discover later that it is crippled by DRMs is pretty common.

That being said, I stopped buying DRM games a long time ago, after Starforce destroyed my computer, more or less.

Just stop spending your money... (5, Insightful)

drcagn (715012) | about a year ago | (#43152631)

Stop spending your money on this garbage.

There are plenty of great indie/homebrew games out there. I know it's a long shot that these titles will ever be "mainstream," but the biggest problem is that although I hear gamers whine and bitch about DRM and the like, none of them have the self-control to stop buying these titles. Stop. It. I know it's hard, for example, for a Final Fantasy fan to NOT buy the latest FF title, but realize that as long as you do so, you will keep this going forever.

Re:Just stop spending your money... (2)

Creepy (93888) | about a year ago | (#43152761)

People say they won't buy the game because of the DRM, but enough still do that it doesn't matter to the publisher - they've protected sales and stopped piracy and it made them money. Sometimes you need to find a different answer - as a developer in the 1990s, we weren't allowed to put our studio name anywhere on the box because it "diluted the brand" of the publisher. Enough developers got ticked enough at this that the founded GoD Games (Gathering of Developers) and that was enough to force change in the industry (they eventually were bought by Take 2). The only title I ever worked on was on one of those unbranded boxes.

Re:Just stop spending your money... (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | about a year ago | (#43152865)

I quit giving EA money a long time ago. But lately, just about every developer I gave money to changed their game and made it unacceptable after the fact. So I guess the lesson is, never give game developers money?

Re:Just stop spending your money... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43153029)

There are plenty of indie games out there, but I have yet to find one that is as engaging as Far Cry 3, as massive in scale as Battlefield 3 or as pretty as any Crysis game.

Quit being such a damn hipster.

Is It Time To Enforce a Gamers' Bill of Rights? (5, Insightful)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year ago | (#43152635)


If you feel they're giving you the short stick, don't buy their product. There are plenty of games and devs out there who do not enforce this kind of stupid crap, and the quality of indy games coming out these days is huge. The case for buying AAA titles, which are the only ones that try to pull this kind of crap, is quite weak.

The reason they try this shit is that people will still buy the product if they do. If they do it, and nobody buys it, then the issue will solve itself.

Re:Is It Time To Enforce a Gamers' Bill of Rights? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#43152683)

The reason they try this shit is that people will still buy the product if they do. If they do it, and nobody buys it, then the issue will solve itself.

Not only that, but no one was ever injured because they didn't buy the game. They only suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous DRM because they forked over money to pay for it. So not only is this an issue which will solve itself if people stop spending money, but it's not hurting the people who aren't spending the money, either. If one feels some other purchase was devalued because they didn't buy some game or another because of the DRM, then it's probably time to reevaluate that other purchase, too.

Agree (2)

HaeMaker (221642) | about a year ago | (#43152697)

Just don't buy it.

"Bill of Rights" issues are for people who don't have a choice, like "Patients Bill of Rights" You do not have a choice about getting sick, you do have a choice about gaming.

Re:Is It Time To Enforce a Gamers' Bill of Rights? (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about a year ago | (#43152851)

Their list of rights is about 50/50 reasonable and ridiculous. Half of it is undefinable (what makes a "finished game" with DLC vs a "unfinished game" for instance) but the other half is what any consumer anywhere should expect. Really though a gamers bill of rights should only have 2 items:

The game should work.
If the game doesn't work, the customer is entitled to a full refund.

Re:Is It Time To Enforce a Gamers' Bill of Rights? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43152905)

That seems like the rules all goods are already sold under.

Re:Is It Time To Enforce a Gamers' Bill of Rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43152945)

Which in many countries existing consumer protection laws already provide.

Re:Is It Time To Enforce a Gamers' Bill of Rights? (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | about a year ago | (#43152929)

Single player games bore me. So I play exlusively multiplayer games. The problem is multiplayer games are constantly being changed, and not always for the better. You can't just "not buy" the update. I buy games I want to play, but they don't stay the game I want to play, and I can't get my money back. Sure, I can refuse to buy another game from the developer, but that doesn't really fix anything. They already have my money.

Local multiplayer games (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#43153015)

The problem is multiplayer games are constantly being changed, and not always for the better. You can't just "not buy" the update.

Sure you can. (Or should I say "Shoryuken"?) If you don't like Super Smash Bros. Brawl, a multiplayer fighting game, you can always buy Super Smash Bros. Melee and use it in a Wii that has GameCube controller ports, or you can buy Super Smash Bros. (N64) on Virtual Console. Unlike online multiplayer games, local multiplayer games don't get balance-breaking updates that players are required to accept.

Re:Local multiplayer games (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | about a year ago | (#43153119)

1. Stop trolling. You and everyone else knows I was talking about online multiplayer games.

2. Your example is not game updates. Your example is about game series.

Indie genres (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#43152949)

There are plenty of games and devs out there who do not enforce this kind of stupid crap, and the quality of indy games coming out these days is huge.

The problem with indie is that certain genres are underrepresented due to limitations in the input and output devices traditionally associated with PCs Are there many indie fighting games? Or indie cooperative platformers? Or indie party games in the vein of Mario Party and WarioWare? These genres have traditionally been exclusive to consoles because despite all PCs being capable of using gamepads and HDTVs, the use case of PC + TV monitor + 2 to 4 gamepads happens to be far less common than console + TV monitor + 2 to 4 gamepads or PC + desktop or laptop monitor + mouse and keyboard.

I haven't had any problems with DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43152637)

It's easy. I don't buy stuff that has DRM.

You already have the most important right of all.. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43152653)

...the right to not purchase a product.

All else is just a bunch of whining; if you want change, STOP BUYING THE GAMES that have this sort of offensive DRM.

If you're not willing to go without Call of Honor: Modern Ops 6 in spite of its ultra-heinous requires-a-credit-card-on-file DRM, then you have no power to assert any other demands on the companies requiring such things to play the games they're selling.

This stinks of effort. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43152657)

How about we just don't buy the crap games and let the companies that make them lose a lot of money in development and marketing?
This doesn't need a manifesto.

Makes "bawww bawww piracy" less believable (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#43153037)

Just not buying the games gives copyright absolutists an excuse to attribute losses to widespread infringement. Letting publishers know exactly why we're not buying their games makes "bawww bawww piracy" less believable.

stop giving money to EA/UBI/Activision (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43152667)

Y'all are like some abused spouses who keep going back.

I'd rather not play anything than give the usual suspects any money.

And who forces you to play those games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43152679)

We aren't talking about food here for God's sake.

Don't you mean: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43152693)

Is it time for Gamers to piss into the wind?

Simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43152699)

Gamers are obviously not interested in enforcing their rights. Were they concerned with their rights they would simply stop buying games with DRM built in. However, what we see are gamers lining up to buy these games and even pre-ordering them. When gamers start showing concern for their rights developers will change their practices to supply the market. As long as gamers continue to fork over their money for crap developers will continue to produce crap.

Yes, except for one problem... (1)

Roogna (9643) | about a year ago | (#43152711)

To enforce it you need people to stop buying crap like that. But given that SimCity has been selling hugely apparently, despite the horrible reviews and the protestations.

See, I don't like any of that stuff either... so I didn't -BUY- it.

You want to protest this stuff, then do it. Don't buy it, don't steal it, it's entertainment, you seriously don't need it to survive or even to enjoy the day. There are other things to do. Support the companies that show respect to you and tell the other companies to screw off that they can't have your money or your eyeballs.

Ridiculous (5, Insightful)

Chryana (708485) | about a year ago | (#43152717)

The idea of a Bill of Rights for gamers seems to me ridiculous (and also very US-centric). How about a Bill of Rights to clean laundry? I mean, there would be new Bills of Rights being written every five minutes if this was a reasonable solution. What you may need is stronger consumer protection laws. I think I read the other day that people in England are entitled to a refund on game purchases, which turned out to be useful in the wake of the recent Sim City fiasco.

Re:Ridiculous (3, Interesting)

Rogue974 (657982) | about a year ago | (#43152793) is a Bill of Rights! How could you possibly say what you are saying, this is a Bill of Rights! We have the right to have companies provide us with video games on our terms that we agree to! That is a God given right and we all need to stand up for our rights as individuals.

The above was sarcasm. I point this out for the sarcasm impaired.

What we really need to do, which is part of what you said, is stop cheapening the right we actually have by using Bill of Rights as a buzz word and make everyone think they are entitiled to this because it is a right! If we need new consumer protection laws, fight for them. If we have unenforced consumer protection laws, the fight for them to be enforced.

Re:Ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43153167)

The "Bill of Rights" meme does seem to have jumped the shark. When they were talking about air passengers, that made more sense. (There was a tendency to human rights violations, after all.)


Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43152725)

Honestly, how hard is it? Just decline to pay for their shitty broken products, then carry on with your life. If you are one of the people who's bitching about this yet you bought the game anyway, you're encouraging and facilitating this kind of customer abuse. Just. Don't. Give. Them. Your. Money.

The Concise American Version of Consumer Rights (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43152729)

1. You have none

Re:The Concise American Version of Consumer Rights (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#43152785)


I lived in Italy in the 90s and hated buying crap on the economy. Way better rights for Americans if you shop at the right store

Actually... (2)

denzacar (181829) | about a year ago | (#43153055)

US consumers have quite a few rights and quite a few laws and agencies [] protecting those rights.

The scary and sad part is that apparently the consensus here at Slashdot is that:
a) Consumers have NO rights and
b) Don't like it - you don't have to buy it, fuck you.

Not Needed!!!!! (1)

SirAstral (1349985) | about a year ago | (#43152739)

Giving EA & UbiSoft your money is like a walking into an alley with a thug holding up a sign that reads ...

Services for Sale:
Rape: $60
Non Penetration sexual assault: $40
Egregious but quick fondling: Previously $30 but a Manager special for $15

File a class action lawsuit (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#43152753)

Ea refused to refund purchases when the game clearly didn't work as advertised. Implied warranty should come into play unless ea can prove that most attempts to play the game worked

Otherwise don't buy the game on release day
You people fall for the supermarket checkout aisle high margin item impulse buy scam

If you buy the game on release day then you're tagged as someone willing to pay any amount to play the game. Just like sports fans paying for the sports packages and music fans paying today's ridiculous ticket prices.

Everyone complains but they still whip the credit card out like a good Pavlov dog consumer

Re:File a class action lawsuit (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43152923)

Without responding to the point of your post: "Pavlovian" is the adjective form you're looking for.

No, do NOT file a class action lawsuit (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about a year ago | (#43152947)

The only ones who really wins in a class action lawsuit are the lawyers. The customers would end up with some lame EA credit or a few bucks back at best.

Much better at least to *try* to work with EA/Maxis on resolving the issues first - so far they are offering a free game to everyone registering by 3/18 (which is at least as much as a class action would get, without lining the pockets of the only people I can think of who are sleazier than EA execs - class action attorneys). And hey, they may still actually fix the issues, add new features, and eventually make it a decent game...

but I agree with you on the silly release day impulse/frenzy - I never bought the new Simcity because I waited a couple days, read the reviews (which often trashed the game even when it worked as intended), saw the issues, and stayed clear. How hard was that?

One second. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43152769)

First, I don't think this should be limited to games. There is plenty of other software that is very buggy when released.

Second, they are technically selling a fraud. If they know a product is not running correctly but release it anyways, then they are taking money for something they know to not be as advertised. The existing laws need to be enforced, but our so called prosicutors don't.

Third, the "Bill of media rights" needs to cover music, movies, software and other forms of meda. We should have the right to expect that the media will be accessable and reliable. It should not require personal information for any reason, as that was not part of the price.

Fourth. The EULA is a fraud in itself. There is a requirement to have a license to drive a car, practice medicine, fly a plane, etc. But there no such law requiring anybody to have a license to use Software, Play music, or watch a video. EULA is nothing but a buzzword that has been thrown around so much that everybody believes it. At best, it could be a contract, but it is only a contract if it is binding on all parties. And those companies like to have a little clause that allows them to change it whenever they like.

Personally, I force my own policies. I don't ever provide personal information for any reason... EVER! I do not register, and provide false information in order to protect myself and my family. also do not recognise the EULA. I firewall my equipment and find ways to trick the software into working.

Yes. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43152771)

Here's the only right you need:
1. The right to return the product for a full refund within 30 days of product delivery.

If the publishers are legally obligated to return the money, they will make an effort to get it right so that consumers don't exercise that right.

Re:Yes. (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | about a year ago | (#43153031)

How about the right to return the game any time after an update that changes the game? Some changes are good, some are not, and there are always some people who dislike any given update. It's no longer the product that was purchased, why should you be forced to keep it?

Lately I've been burned so often by different developers that going forward I'm not sure I'm willing to spend *any* money on games any more. Even F2P games, I finally decide they've done well enough to have earned some money from me... and the next week (or month) they make some drastic change that turns it into something I wouldn't even have wasted time on for free.

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43153149)

For EA/Maxis/SimCity they were not offering refunds on digital copies of the game. I got my refund by filing a complaint with the BBB.

Playing Games (1)

guttentag (313541) | about a year ago | (#43152791)

So you're proposing a "Bill of Rights" to prevent game publishers from playing games with gamers?

As a group, gamers have no rights. As human beings, citizens, purchasers, and other titles, they have lots of rights they're not exercising. Don't complain about your need for new rights when you're not using the ones you have, or you water down your argument and start a rights race in which the corporations will say they need more rights because the gamers just got more rights.

Might be time to rethink (1)

ah.clem (147626) | about a year ago | (#43152799)

Demand away. You won't get shit. Just a fact. How about not buying the games from companies that practice what you perceive to be douchery? Didn't think so. Crack dealers always win, addicts lose.

The four software freedoms. (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43152803)

Just enshrine the four software freedoms in law. The rest will work itself out.

Re:The four software freedoms. (2)

Freddybear (1805256) | about a year ago | (#43153063)

Better yet, don't enshrine them into law. That way the lawyers and the lobbyists won't have a chance to fuck them up.

Re:The four software freedoms. (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#43153085)

Red Hat builds its business on selling support, but non-MMO games don't appear to need as much "support" as business software. So how would you recommend that freely licensed games get financed?

SimCity (4, Interesting)

ironicsky (569792) | about a year ago | (#43152853)

With SimCity, I had no idea that it was forced cloud - 100% of the time. No where on the FAQ does it say that you must be online. I assumed that the cloud storage, and Live Service where there if you chose to use it. Like most games that require a central hub for multiplayer, I assumed this was the case here too, just to realize after that I couldn't play for 3 days. I still can't find anywhere that states the game is 100% online

you mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43152873)

Keep throwing your money at companies which treat their customers like shit and expect a different result every time doesn't work out so well?

no respect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43152879)

I have no respect for gamers. I agree that video games can be a fun and occasionally worthwhile form of entertainment.

But I cannot understand the mentality required to devote a significant percentage of one's time/energy/budget/whatever to... video games. I mean what the fuck. Is your life that boring?

The other thing I cannot respect is the level of entitlement that so-called "gamers" seem to exhibit.

Nobody is forcing you to play the game.
Nobody is forcing you to buy the game.
You don't have to spend your money on it.
You don't have to play it.
You are not entitled to anything.
If you don't like it, then don't fucking buy it. It is unlikely that you will miss out on anything worthwhile.

This should have stopped a long time ago (1)

linebackn (131821) | about a year ago | (#43152887)

Keep in mind that various forms of copy protection have been around almost since the dawn of the personal computer. I can't even begin to count all the Apple II and 1980s PC software that was copy protected - and caused so much pain for legitimate users who could not back up what they bought.

At least it seemed like by the early 90s most vendors gave up on crazy stuff like checking for intentionally bad/misnumbed/nonstandard sized sectors because they couldn't guarantee that such non standard tricks would work on every single PC out there, and most people required the ability to run from a hard drive. It was mostly dock checks and serial numbers for a while. But then they started the same nonsense with CD-ROMs.

And now with the damn kids who don't mind being tracked or having an always-on internet connection, they tie you down to a remote server for activation or to use the stupid program at all.


Yea... no. (0, Troll)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#43152901)

Sorry, but I could give two shits about your little pissing match with EA. Wait... no, sorry, couldn't give even a single shit, let alone a matched pair.

I'm far more concerned about the possible implications of an unfavorable SCOTUS decision in John Wiley & Sons, Inc. v. Supap Kirtsaeng [] , AKA the "First Sale Doctrine" case.

Srlsy, you kids and your fucked up priorities...

Self-control, people (1)

MikeRT (947531) | about a year ago | (#43152903)

If you are this upset about DRM and bought Sim City you are to gaming what an anti-racism activist who couldn't wait to vacation in apartheid South Africa is to the cause of fighting racism. Sorry, but that's just how it is. The level of DRM was well-known in advance. You chose to buy it anyway. You want the government to force them to make the game you want work they way you want.

Talk about first world problems. I don't think you could come up with a way to make 95% of the human race "see things your way" using arguments that didn't involve a captive audience, guns and sharp bamboo shoots...

more like simshitty 5 (1)

discord5 (798235) | about a year ago | (#43152911)

The SimCity launch debacle

The launch aside, it's yet another terrible incarnation of a great series. I've been peeking at a few videos on youtube because I was hoping for something with a little depth to it, but it's even below my worst expectations (and given Simcity Societies, the expectations were already pretty low).

Simcity 4 with NAM installed still beats this game gameplay-wise hands down from what I can see. It's one of the few games that get reinstalled every X years on my computer. It's ridiculously in-depth if you want it to be, and you can add plenty of mods to make your roads curvy/circular with overpasses and underpasses and however the hell you please.

This has nothing to do with "bill of rights", it's just a bad game with stupid DRM. No need to write a longwinded document nobody's going to read, which will immediately get dismissed with the word "entitled". Just don't buy it.

In fact, don't buy games that use a mechanism you don't agree with, if that be day 1 DLC, the form of DRM they're using, or if you expect them of eating babies. Play another game and have fun. Take those 60 bucks and buy something else.

Tired of having to pay to be a beta tester (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43152927)

I think its actually just high time that game publishers were held accountable for breach of the sales contract. If I buy a stove it works immediately as advertised or its replaced or I get my money back. If neither of those things happens then I sue them for the money plus penalties. If I buy SimCity the day of release it should be no different than buying it after 6 months, period. End of story. EA hasn't changed, this is the reason I always approach their stuff with a cautious eye. Other than Bioware stuff, I don't buy their games at release.

A compromise? (4, Interesting)

subanark (937286) | about a year ago | (#43152931)

There seems to be multiple problems here:
1. Game can't handle intake of people at launch.
Ok, the issue here is that the game company has to shell out a lot of resources to support all the people who want to play it at launch. These resources will need to be reallocated later since chances are that the usage will never peak that high again, or even that close.
A single player "demo/tutorial" of the game at launch that players must progress though in order to access the online version. Since players play at different rates, this should reduce the load peak that games experience.

2. Gamers want a guarantee that they will be able to play the game indefinably, even if servers go offline.
The game company puts in a reasonable minimum support timeline when you buy the game that they will support it for. E.g. If they guarantee to support the game for a year, you buy it 1 year after it is released and they cancel it 6 months later, then you get your money back, but everyone who bought it at launch doesn't.

3. Gamers don't want bandwidth to interfere with their gaming experience, and don't want maintenance down time.
None really. This is simply one of those items a game is judged by. If latency on their end is bad, then gamers may have a case that they are receiving poor service, and perhaps a standard contract of compensation could be drawn up addressing this issue.

4. Gamers want to modify the game they are playing, or simply create their own cheats.
None. It is too a lesser extent a good thing as it makes cheating in an online game harder.

5. Gamers want to pirate the game.
Shoo... go away pirates.

Private realm for a mod (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#43153143)

4. Gamers want to modify the game they are playing, or simply create their own cheats.
None. It is too a lesser extent a good thing as it makes cheating in an online game harder.

Perhaps a group of friends all want to play the same mod in a private realm. Where's the "cheating" in that?

Consumer Protection laws... (4, Insightful)

afxgrin (208686) | about a year ago | (#43152955)

A consumer protection law for software is what you want. Too bad we all agree to waive any expectations of warranty once we've agreed to the license agreement which few people actually read.

The right to get a refund on digital media, particularly media that is DRM enabled should be introduced however. If the company is using DRM to protect their intellectual property by enforcing per seat licensing then consumers should have the same right to return this software within some time frame established by law - ie. 15 days. The company selling the software can remotely disable the DRM function in the case of games that require an account, the only concern I see companies having is with people cracking the DRM after they've already downloaded it, then requesting a refund.

However, calling it a "Bill of Rights" makes you look like some entitled idiot who believes this is on the same level of some US Constitutional amendment.

I bought the latest Simcity and I like the game. It has its flaws, but this is the PC gaming industry - I expect nothing short of bullshit from new releases. I could spend a lifetime just compiling a list of bugs in newly released software ...

Re:Consumer Protection laws... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43153193)

I expect nothing short of bullshit from new releases

Thats because you've been trained to expect them. Shitty launches and always-on DRM are become Industry standards. That's why we need something to curb anti-consumer practices in video games (or all software).

No. (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | about a year ago | (#43152965)

No, just no.
No one is forcing you to buy the games.
If you don't like it, don't buy it. It's really that simple.

I've already gotten my Bill of Rights. (4, Insightful)

Pianodog (1337165) | about a year ago | (#43153017)

I'm a relatively old school gamer. I played games when they came out in DOS, and remember times when getting a game patched was something of an unknown. Heck, if the game didn't play or was too buggy - you just returned it to the store like any other product. The last game I got to do that with was Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall.

I've watched the evolution of companies trying to scrape gamers for any profit they can. First there were developers who sold a game and then released minor content for free as a thank you; Expansion Packs were substantial affairs. Then they stopped adding the thank you gift of minor content. Expansion Packs got smaller. Eventually Expansions got so small they were sometimes called DLC. Lots of games started offering some DLC as time went on to keep bringing in money for the game. Soon DLC started being included in the game at launch, but was unlocked with an additional purchase or pre-purchase. Now it's everywhere - the DLC costs for a game wants to equal or exceed the original cost of the title at launch.

I used to pre-order when a game got me excited ... until I got burned once too much. Now it's off the menu for me, regardless of incentive or bonuses. I could care less if I get a Team Fortress hat with a $60 purchase if that $60 purchase is bunk. I don't need a free copy of a 3-year old game that I would have bought if I wanted it a year ago. It's just not worth it.

DRM has been a messy nightmare across the board. Many games do just fine without it. I generally don't care as long as the game and my system are not impaired by it. If I have to be online to play a game I'd normally play solo, I don't buy it. If I have to run something like StarForce, I skip it.

I no longer buy DLC one at a time and patiently wait for the *entire* game to be sold as a single "complete" package. I consider the copy-protection choices as an important variable in my decision to buy. I never ever buy a game on day 1 or pre-order anymore.

I have my rights because I never gave them up. I suppose a "Bill of Rights" might be useful for people who haven't been jaded by the industry, but it only takes a few sour titles to turn any gamer off the crap they're being fed.

This is nothing (1)

Mista2 (1093071) | about a year ago | (#43153039)

Just wait for the next round of consoles. You won't be able to buy disks for them, all the games will be download only, require online access all the time and no, you can't sell them. And all your movies and music will be streamed, and no, you can't keep them or transfer to other devices to watch/listen to them. But you will be allowed to buy install credits, 500cr at time for $100, but the games will be 510cr, so you have to buy two credit packs, and just like a strip joint, wont let you cash out the funny money for real dollars when you leave. And you cant get a refund if the game is crap or doesnt work as advertised.

And still people will flock to the new shiny, handing over all their consumer rights along with their money.

That's just silly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43153049)

Video games may seem like a way of life to you, but only because you make them a big part of your life. In fact, they are a luxury item, not essential for life, liberty, or even the pursuit of happiness. It so obviously does not qualify as water, food, shelter, etc. It should also be obvious that it's not even basic telephone, mail, or even internet service. A bill of rights? If you don't like the game, don't play it. If you bought a game and they screwed you, let the buyer beware, cause it's on you.

People need a bill of rights to protect their rights, not their lifestyle.

New rights? (1)

cait56 (677299) | about a year ago | (#43153059)

At the time of sale, the latest SimCity was unusable for the purpose for which it was sold.

I'm not seeing any need for new rights here, just enforcement of existing law.

Honest reviews (4, Interesting)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year ago | (#43153093)

Why don't we start with honest reviews that focus on the DRM that the game will use as a playability issue just as they would framerates or any other issue? If all of the major review sites started reviewing games with a DRM section saying:

( ) Serial Number
( ) Registration
( ) Activation
( ) Online connection to play
( ) Replaces DVD driver
( ) Wont work if you have installed ______
( ) Works only on one computer
( ) etc

Let people know what their actually buying and let the market make informed choices. When game reviews start reflecting and scoring the playability of DRM and sales start trending accordingly than publishers will start to review their practices.

Unfortunately most review sites would be blacklisted if they tried by themselves, so you would have to do it en mass like the cable companies did with 6 strikes. Band together and they wouldn't be able to blacklist the few sites that started reflecting the playability of DRM.

This problem could be fixed by the review sites, if they gave a damn.

I play only one game anymore: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43153095)

EVE Online... and all you little shits complaining about Diablo III or SimCity sound like a day old nooblet that just got scammed by Spaceship Barbie...

See you little bitches in space.

Already been done (1)

Zeikcied (1630059) | about a year ago | (#43153109)

Stardock already wrote up a Gamer's Bill of Rights. Then they promptly broke their own set of rules, so they had to rewrite them.

In the original draft, they forbade releasing an update to a game that removed compatibility for previously supported platforms. Then they released version 2.0 of Galactic Civilizations II. That patch could only be downloaded via Impulse, which uses .NET and is thus unable to run on Windows 98, which was one of the platforms GalCiv2 supported. So, oops. Shortly afterward they rewrote their GBoR to more or less remove that rule.

Thing is, even though Stardock wrote up these rules, they're in no position to force any other company to adhere to them. No one is. Not unless all the platform owners (including Valve and EA, for Steam and Origin respectively) get together and lay down a set of rules for being allowed on their platform/service. Or you try and get a law put in place or something. But the ESA would probably fight a law like that, anyway.

GOML (0)

Rob Riggs (6418) | about a year ago | (#43153121)

Get off my lawn! Grow up and get a job, you over-privileged, crack-addled kids.

This is pissing me off (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43153125)

Everyone just says "Don't buy the game" and thinks that's the end of the discussion.


And if you aren't a gamer, then stay the hell out of this conversation. It doesn't concern you.

I don't know if Bill of Rights is the right thing (1)

spagthorpe (111133) | about a year ago | (#43153179)

I don't see any point in trying to enforce something like this. What I would like to see would be a "Bullshit Inside" badge attached to a game that meant it had any of those things. Then I could choose to spend money or not. We had to put stickers on music that had a naughty word in them, and we have ratings on games for every other type of potentially offensive content. Doesn't seem like a stretch to blatantly mark something as DRM enforced, or additional money required.

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