The Needles: The Gamers' Bill of Nice Ideas

The Needles: The Gamers' Bill of Nice Ideas

The Gamers' Bill of Rights is a nice idea, but Andy Chalk says that when you start picking it apart, it's almost entirely meaningless.

Permalink

Ok. . . I think I'll take a crack at one or two points here.

1 - The Gamer's Bill of Rights was not really supposed to be a rally point for the gamers, but rather an arrow pointing in a direction that the authors wanted to see the industry go. It's vague, yes, but so is the real Bill of Rights. We have an entire branch of our government that is devoted to interpretations of those rights.

2 - There are two things in the GBOR that I think do need to be pointed to. I'll point to the example of The Witcher and Neverwinter Nights 2, both of which run on the same engine. My PC specs were above the minimum requirements for both games, and yet both run VERY poorly (unplayably in the case of NWN2) on my PC. I believe that the minimum requirements were misrepresented. They "ran", sure. . . but that is stretching the truth a bit. On top of that, I am unable to return the opened PC game because they fear piracy.

These are issues in the industry, and to a degree we as gamers need to give a nod to Stardock and GPG for at least trying to reach out to the community. They are at least trying to reach out to the gaming population and all reports show that at least they are working to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to their own games. GalCiv is a wonderful example of this.

Well written!

One point of criticism though: I think the argument that gamers can "vote with their wallets" is a bit oversimplified.

image

Seen this done before, already know how it ends. All they need to do is name their offices Xanadu and the deal is done.

http://www.stardock.com/about/newsitem.asp?id=1095

Stardock:
The document contains 10 specific €rights€ that video game enthusiasts can expect from Stardock as an independent developer and publisher that it hopes that other publishers will embrace.

Specifically the first part. As in "that video game enthusiasts can expect from Stardock".

Author:
I don't even know where to begin with this one. Circuit City treats its customers as potential criminals by installing anti-theft devices in the products on its shelves.

The difference being, once you've bought a product from Circuit City, they remove the anti-theft devices. When you buy a game with DRM on it, that will stay with you forever.

Wasn't this Bill of Rights intended to give gamers an expectation of what to expect from the company that released it, as I believe someone above me pointed out? Is this article irrelevant?

What's important about the gamer's bill of rights is that it wasn't just written by consumers. It came from inside the industry. It takes all the complaints that the press and consumers have been bringing to developers and publishers over the years and validates it by saying "yeah, we're pissed off too." Maybe now people will expect to be listened too when they complain and trust themselves when they think the line coming from a publisher is BS. The more professionals in your field say that what you're doing isn't fair the harder it is to get people to believe that it is.

Thing is, we can't really vote with our wallets. We don't know if a game is good, bug-free, or even works until we install it.

Of course, if it doesn't work, we can't then take it back. The best we can hope for is maybe half the price back on ebay.

This is the main reason people pirate games: to try before you buy. Especially since demos have a tendency to come out after the actual game!

I don’t see this bill of rights as anything more than it is, a cheap marketing ploy.

Stardock have seen everyone is pissed at the way the industry is going, a direction they haven’t taken, and have decided to advertise that they are a nice and decent company who will not screw you and your system in an effort to slow pirates for a day or two.

If this had come out of EA or THQ or a company with a little more sway that makes the AAA games that these issues affect the most then it would be something to take seriously. As it is it has come from an indie dev that makes pretty good 4x games.

Also they say things like "gamers have the right to demand", now call me strange but I'm pretty surre we already had the right to demand, it dosnt mean anyone will listen.

For what it is though its a masterstroke, we are still talking about it several weeks after release, we are still linking back to Stardock they are getting plenty of free publicity for claiming everything they do already is what we as gamers should expect.

But then I'm a cynic at heart and always will be.

I'm confused.

"Not that I think there's anything particularly wrong with the way the industry operates these days"

" I completely sympathize with this sentiment; most of the latest and greatest methods of copy protection are unnecessarily intrusive, do nothing to prevent serious piracy, and sometimes penalize gamers who have legitimately purchased a company's product. It's not just a futile effort, it's actually damaging to the industry."

You're okay with the industry destroying itself?

That's not the point I was making, but to answer your question, yes, I'd be fine with that - because the industry is never going to "destroy itself" in the sense that there'd be no more games to play. There will always be games. But if the industry ultimately collapses under its own weight, meaning the end of projects built around development teams numbering in the hundreds and costing tens of millions of dollars - not to mention the end of slavish devotion to technology above all else - I'd shed no tears.

Something I don't understand is item 3. If the software is released in a finished state, why should I expect them to update it? This point in particular seems like overreaching. It's certainly nice when a developer updates after release to account for the issues that just can't be tested for before release, or makes some additional free content, but I can hardly hold it against a developer for not fixing something that isn't broken. I never once got DLC for a game for nearly 20 years, and now suddenly it's just part of being fair?

scarbunny:
I don’t see this bill of rights as anything more than it is, a cheap marketing ploy.

I'm just shocked everyone else is taking it so seriously.

Everyone seems to be oh-so-interested in Stardock, but I'm intrigued because this is the first time I'd heard that Gas Powered Games was involved. Their customer service is already pretty high grade, but I have especially good memories of the relationship I enjoyed with Chris Taylor's former workplace: Cavedog. Cavedog's forums were excellent: the "Dogmaster" forum mods were active and did a good job of keeping rowdiness down, the forum filter was imaginative in replacing dirty words with words relating to the game the forum was about, and oh yes... the free downloadable content. It was plentiful, and at the time, revolutionary.

Stardock do offer refunds on their products

"Which is an interesting little twist, because that's the one and only real right that gamers have, and also the only one they really need: The right to not buy this stuff. The right to say, this is bullshit and I'm not going for it. We have a right to exercise our freedom as consumers to punish companies whose excesses we can no longer tolerate by refusing to give them our money. It's a very simply principle, and it's also the only one by which we can reliably force change: By depriving publishers of the one thing that really matters to them."

Dude, thats not a plan, thats a great way to take yourself out of the PC game set entirely. There are so few good PC games (because we apparently pirate everything... even though market research shows that they are the least likely to pirate games) & they all use such draconian DRM measures, that if you refused to purchase the few games you wanted to play you would be playing nothing... I know, lets pirate them instead. (Epic Fail for PC DRM, rught there).

-M

Najos:

scarbunny:
I don’t see this bill of rights as anything more than it is, a cheap marketing ploy.

I'm just shocked everyone else is taking it so seriously.

I have to agree as well.

DarkHuntress:

Najos:

scarbunny:
I don’t see this bill of rights as anything more than it is, a cheap marketing ploy.

I'm just shocked everyone else is taking it so seriously.

I have to agree as well.

Whoa, a blast from the past. I wonder how the Gamer's Bill of Rights thing is going these days...

Honestly, sounds pretty lame to me. They pretty much demand that things are done their way? Sadly the only way that's going to get done is if they become a AAA game developer, then hell yeah they can do anything they want when it comes to game production.

Same goes for gamers out there that "demand" that things are changed in games themselves (MW2 and the dedicated server issue, Diablo 3 and the color fiasco, Starcraft 2 and the splitting of the games/lack of innovation, etc...). If you don't like a game for what it is, then that's your problem, not the game developers. It's their product, let them do what they want. If you really feel so strongly about it, become a game developer yourself and do something. Otherwise, most of the time your words won't change anything. Hell, I even expect my words here to not change anyone's opinions, just venting about how things have changed in the last 10 years.

Edit: Maybe not the past 10 years, but maybe 5-7

Edit 2: Crap, I read old news thinking it was new...sorry about the thread necro.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here