Stardock Adopts a Gamer's Bill of Rights
Hoping 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:
- 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.
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?