Posted on August 29, 2008,

Stardock Adopts a Gamer's Bill of Rights

Gaming TodayHoping to set a precedent for the rest of the PC game industry, Stardock today announced what it’s calling the “Gamer’s Bill of Rights.” This is a list of rights being bestowed upon Stardock customers that will help to provide a sense of safety in purchasing PC games during an era where the average person doesn’t know a hard drive from a stick of RAM.

“As an industry, we need to begin setting some basic, common sense standards that reward PC gamers for purchasing our games,” said CEO Brad Wardell. “The console market effectively already has something like this in that its games have to go through the platform maker such as Nintendo, Microsoft, or Sony. But on the PC, publishers can release games that are scarcely completed, poorly supported, and full of intrusive copy protection and then be stuck on it.”

Wardell also pointed to the PC market losing sales because people might avoid buying a game for fear that it won’t run on their computers. That’s certainly true — I know a number of people who avoided buying Crysis because they didn’t have a $5000 machine when that’s hardly required to play the game. (Though some would argue that the game isn’t worth playing if you can’t really crank the graphic settings up all the way.)

The Gamer’s Bill of Rights are as follows:

  1. Gamers shall have the right to return games that don’t work with their computers for a full refund.
  2. Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state.
  3. Gamers shall have the right to expect meaningful updates after a game’s release.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Gamers shall have the right to expect that games won’t install hidden drivers or other potentially harmful software without their consent.
  7. Gamers shall have the right to re-download the latest versions of the games they own at any time.
  8. Gamers shall have the right to not be treated as potential criminals by developers or publishers.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Number one on the list isn’t entirely new — Stardock actually offered full refunds for The Political Machine 2008 to those who found that their computers were unable to run the game properly.

Hopefully other publishers will decide to adopt similar policies — none of this is really asking too much and it could prove to be mutually beneficial. With that in mind, is there anything missing from the list that should be expected of game companies?

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18 Comments on Stardock Adopts a Gamer's Bill of Rights

Marine_Bryan

On August 29, 2008 at 1:04 pm

They just became the greatest publisher ever!!!

xx-Thor-xx

On August 29, 2008 at 1:40 pm

seriously.. freaking awesome. hopefully when they become an industry leader they don’t lose sight of this.

Zaruka

On August 29, 2008 at 2:19 pm

and that a list that it my dream for all pc games to be able to run right.

Omas

On August 29, 2008 at 3:34 pm

Well, this is pretty good.

Some companies should adhere to something like this. But, Stardock should get credit. For being damn smart. Only thing, I can’t get over, is the pricing of games.

Now, this is the companies fault. But, only if some other people, could help this. Basically.. “Hi, I’m *Insert high-priced game here*, I have bloody stunning graphics. And a deep immersive story line. But, it only takes 9 hours tops, to complete me. So, give my $60 dollars, and you get a game. You can complete in one sitting.” I very much hate that. To be honest, I have no idea. If this is even related to this list…. But it’d be neat to fix this problem.

Duddee

On August 29, 2008 at 4:09 pm

Eh… I like the idea but that list is severly flawed towards a more hardcore gamer group, but is still a great list for those who aren’t very involved into the specs of their computer and such. (Who the hell is stardock…?)

Buddy "The Choke" Love

On August 29, 2008 at 5:28 pm

Stardock make…………. something

DarthVader

On August 29, 2008 at 6:02 pm

nice. I wish EVERY company was like this.

Heru-Ur

On August 30, 2008 at 9:05 am

Stardock makes various desktop enhancement software like ObjectDock and WindowBlinds along with games like Galactic Civilizations. :smile:

FlakAttack

On August 30, 2008 at 12:32 pm

This is amazing! Stardock has continued to earn my respect with their great products, terrific support of said products, and lack of stupid and intrusive copy protection that doesn’t actually stop anyone anyway. Hackers always break it, and then the pirates line up and torrent the suckers. I know a LOT of people who bought GalCiv 2 simply because there was no bull, and those same people won’t be buying Spore because of the absolutely terrible 3-install security model they have.

pyro_854

On August 30, 2008 at 2:24 pm

Bioware (now part of EA) broke all but 6 and 10 with Mass Effect… 6 is questionable.

Geoff

On August 30, 2008 at 8:26 pm

Half of these rules, like #2 seems ridiculus. I mean i agree with it but i have never heard of an unfinished game being released, thats an instant bussiness-suicide for any company. For #1 how many people will purchase and return games for cd keys and piracy promotion?
And why is #10 a problem? I mean its nice to lan with a single copy of a game. If you cant find your games spend 20 bucks by a cd rack, or take 20 minutes to pick up your dirty undies off the floor, it works for me everytime ahhaaha.

DrunkenPirate

On August 31, 2008 at 2:41 am

Never seen a game that should have waited to be released, ie is unfinished? Rainbow Six Vegas, The Witcher, Armed Assault, STALKER, and Star Wars Battlefront 2 all come to mind. After a few patches a few of them became stable and playable (Witcher, ArmA, STALKER) but they shouldn’t have been released in the state they were.

LA CONCHA

On August 31, 2008 at 7:26 am

:evil: :evil: PUTOS

ZinVertigo

On August 31, 2008 at 10:04 am

11. Gamers will whine about games being unfinished and about a lack of patches no matter how finished or patched your game is.

Pariah

On August 31, 2008 at 1:58 pm

Yay for Stardock, they’re lovely…

If only policies like this were around for the making of Vampires The Masquerade Bloodlines, were that finished and/or patched meaningfully then it would have been an even better RPG and a definate game of the year, without such it was painful to play for the most part and unpatched was impossible to complete due to game breaking crashes.

rfry11

On August 31, 2008 at 3:31 pm

Wow, Stardock’s awesome. I think that certain other companies (Valve comes to mind) have attempted to do this, but have failed. Steam is complete trash compared to Stardock, however Steam has much more games. EA will never change, there’s too many rich people running it. Now all Stardock has to do is make some new games. (Galactic Civilizations 3??)

Der Morph

On August 31, 2008 at 5:22 pm

It’s a great idea and a start… :grin: but now they’ll probably get bought out by EA and nobody will ever hear from them again… :evil: Just like nobody heard of them before this…

No cd in drive is a good idea… Especially when the publisher only lets one of the same cd key play on lan. Would be pretty easy to change in registry because it has no disc to compare keys with… :mrgreen:

Greg Thirdstuff

On September 1, 2008 at 7:40 pm

I love Stardock. Galciv II is probably my most favorite PC game, or at least in my top 3. SO well made, intricate, and so much replay value. Pretty much everything you want in a PC game. Even has a lot of humor mixed in that reminds me of games from the good ol’ days.

If they make Galciv III, it will be absolutely amazing. It will probably get the credit that II should have gotten. And this new Bill of Rights just makes me like Stardock that much more.