Brad Wardell, president of Stardock, recently announced the “Gamer’s Bill of Rights.” It’s a list of things that, in any other industry, would be considered the most basic level of customer service and simple human decency. But in the bizzaro world of videogames, saying people should be allowed to return defective products for a refund makes you some kind of iconoclast. The fact that the list is news at all is, itself, news. When I read it, I find myself wanting to add the word, “Duh”, to the end of each item.
Electronic Arts has not, in fact, released their own version of the list, but we can discern enough from their behavior to construct the list to the left. A run-down of the items mentioned, just in case you thought all of this was reckless comedic hyperbole:
1) The EA sports franchises are famous for adding new bells and whistles each year, while leaving long-standing flaws and annoyances in place.
2) The three-install limit is mentioned here.
3) EA is on record saying that second-hand game sales are a “critical situation.”
4) Games prices are notoriously high in Australia, with some titles reaching the equivalent of $100 USD.
5) EA has explored using microtransactions to get gamers to pay for things like tutorials, in-game items, and cheat codes.
Shopping with EA is like playing an RTS against them. Through choking off access, harassment, and control of the board, they work to make inroads to your base, which in this case is your wallet. Their tenacity in this conflict rivals that of a Korean Starcaft player.
Shamus Young is a programmer and writer by trade, videogame nitpicker by inclination. If you have the patience for more of his ramblings, they can be found at ShamusYoung.com.