Independent developer Stardock has taken a stand to advocate for gamers’ rights through their proposed “Gamer’s Bill of Rights” in hopes that the industry will take it to heart and provide a more supportive stance of PC gamers. Oftentimes, it seems DRM (digital rights management) forces gamers into situations that seem unfair, such as required Internet connection for single-player games and use of required download agents. Stardock feels strongly that adoption of their proposed document by the industry will translate to increased gamer confidence in publishers, which will in turn lead to more sales and success for PC games.
Brad Wardell, president and CEO of Stardock, feels that the PC industry is in need of some “common sense standards” that will reward consumers for purchasing games. He also states that some of this is in place for console games, albeit somewhat indirectly, by those games having to go through the console hardware manufactures (Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo). PCs, on the other hand, come in such a variety of combinations of hardware, and PC gamers are then ‘stuck” with whatever copyright production or poorly constructed game is released, often with no recourse because PC games usually will not be returned by the retailer.
To demonstrate their belief and support of this proposal, Stardock is allowing users to return copies of their game, The Political Machine, if it doesn’t run properly on the user’s computer. Stardock has the full support of Gas Powered Games CEO and founder Chris Taylor, who has stated publicly that he believes this is “an awesome framework for the industry to aspire to” which will allow publishers and developers the opportunity to provide the best gaming experience possible to their consumers.
The Gamer’s Bill of Rights:
- 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 in order to play a game.
- Gamers shall have the right to expect that a game will play adequately on a computer that meets its minimum requirements.
- 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.
- Patty Estill