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Stardock announced The Gamer’s Bill of Rights a day before Penny Arcade Expo. It contains list of standards or guidelines that they hope to be followed by game developers/publishers in particular PC game developers. The document was aimed toward PC games because console games developers already have some standards set by Nintendo, Microsoft or Sony. The objective of The Gamer’s Bill of Rights is
to increase the confidence of consumers of the quality of PC games which in turn will lead to more sales and a better gaming experience.
For those who are wondering about Stardock, they are the maker of Sins of a Solar Empire game which is a hit game in 2008. I also briefly mentioned about Stardock in my last game article Yar!! a Game Developer talked to Pirates and how they view piracy differently than other game developers.
The Gamer’s Bill of Rights(source: Stardock’s website) :
- Gamers shall have the right to return games that don’t work with their computers for a full refund.
- Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state.
- Gamers shall have the right to expect meaningful updates after a game’s release.
- 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.
- Gamers shall have the right to expect that the minimum requirements for a game will mean that the game will play adequately on that computer.
- Gamers shall have the right to expect that games won’t install hidden drivers or other potentially harmful software without their consent.
- Gamers shall have the right to re-download the latest versions of the games they own at any time.
- Gamers shall have the right to not be treated as potential criminals by developers or publishers.
- 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.
- Gamers shall have the right that games which are installed to the hard drive shall not require a CD/DVD to remain in the drive to play.
The only problem that I already foresee is in the first one. I think there should be a time limit for this one otherwise people will abuse the loop hole and I know some people that will do this for sure unfortunately. Surely, it’s a good thing that there are developers out there thinking about gamers but this is only the beginning because the next step would be for others to follow this bill and it’s not going to be easy to do.
The rest of the rules are more related to DRM so if DRMs are removed from PC games, it will pretty much follow more than 50% of those rights. Easy , right? ^^ Creating the bill is easy but to follow them, can those companies do the same as what Stardock did ? The saying ‘Easier said than done’ fits perfectly in this situation ^^;;