The Gamers' Bill of Entitlements

Game publishers Stardock and Gas Powered Games propose a Gamers' Bill of Rights. It reflects characteristics of Stardock's own business model, but is nonetheless to the consumer's obvious advantage. CNET points out that it applies just as well to all software. With the real constitution withering faster than you can say "warrantless search and seizure," however, one might feel uneasy extending natural rights to cover every little irritatant in the game biz. We can route neatly around such concerns, however, by recalibrating the list just a smidgin. With no further ado, here is the Gamers Bill of Entitlements.
1. Gamers shall have the right to demand publishers and retailers return money risked on their intrinsically unreliable products. 2. Gamers shall have the right to imagine that they were forced to buy rubbish, despite the fact that no-one held guns to their heads and frogmarched them into GameStop. 3. Gamers shall have the right to make developers work for them free of charge after their initial purchase. 4. Gamers shall have the right to get upset when servers won't work with damaged, hacked or obsolete versions of game client software. 5. Gamers shall have to right to determine for themselves what "adequate performance" should mean on an ancient box of cogs. Gamers shall have the right to pretend to be stupid when they read obvious marketing nonsense. 6. Gamers shall have the right to act as if that they own the software they install, despite years of knowing otherwise and paying for it anyway. 7. Gamers shall have the right to be furnished on demand something which, thanks to the agreements they happily entered into, they never owned to begin with. 8. Gamers shall have the right to be thought of by others as shining, virtuous angels who think that "BT" stands for "British Telecom." 9. Gamers shall have the right to believe publishers will stop doing things that gamers keep paying them for doing. 10. Gamers shall have the right to think that publicly-traded companies will act counter to the interests of shareholders focused on short-term returns. 11. Bonus entitlement! Gamers shall have the right to expect everyone to understand their inside jokes about nerfing, raids and cake.
Alas, no ponies. Seriously now, I love the progressive attitude that Stardock's original list embodies: if you haven't checked out Stardock and Impulse, its distribution site, you're the one missing out. Reward them, and you help transform Stardock's list from what it really is–conveniences marketed to gain a competitive advantage–into industry standards that few will dare not meet.

About Rob Beschizza

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8 Responses to The Gamers' Bill of Entitlements

  1. Chris Griswold says:

    This reminds me of how disappointed I was to play Fable when it came out. Not because it didn’t in any way live up to the hype the publisher put out, but because the game just ends. It ended before the story in it really did. Then they had to put out “the lost levels,” as if it were bonus game rather than what was promised in the first place.

    I have never felt more disappointed and cheated by a game.

  2. DoppelFrog says:

    Alas there is no mention of a gamers bill of responsibilities…

  3. Inverse Square says:


    1. Gamers shall have the right to waste everyone’s time and money with short attention spans and “I am the customer and I say it was broken” bullshit.

    2. Gamers shall have the right to demand the same dross that they got in whatever installment of the same godawful series they are currently fetishising.

    3. Gamers know much better than any amount of market research and intricate economic designers that suggest fee should ever be connected to play time. Especially gamers whose play time causes the fee to exceed any “initial purchase”

    4. Gamers shall have the right to not even pay the initial purchase.

    5. Gamers shall have to right to demand other people do their work for them.

    6. Gamers own all games, including the ones the developers haven’t even committed to paper.

    7. Gamers shall have whatever they want.

    8. Gamers shall have the droit de seigneur

    9. Gamers shall not feel ashamed of being cynical tossers, because everyone else is a cynical tosser. Nor shall they be made to think that their cynicism is what made eveyone else cynical.

    10. Gamers shall have the right to expect their laughably hipocritical ideals to be true. This does not contradict the gamers’ ninth right.

    11. Gamers are not sad husks of human beings.

  4. KeithIrwin says:

    If you walk into the store and give them money for something, and they hand it to you, you own it. You own the copies of the software you buy. It isn’t licensed unless there’s a license agreement in place before money changes hands. After money has changed hands, it’s a sale. You don’t need a license to run the software which you bought a legal copy of any more than you need a license to read a book or play a CD. Just because software companies want it to be a license rather than a sale and put notices saying so on things, doesn’t make it so. The courts have ocassionally agreed with software makers, but more and more, they’re ruling that it’s a sale, not a license.

  5. Gemma says:

    I’ll bite.

    What does BT stand for then?

  6. SeppTB says:

    #3 – hah, really? It really kills the joke when it has to be spelled out! BT = BitTorrent.

    I like the list! I liked Stardock’s original too – yes it was far too lofty for the majority of game publishers and developers these days, but the fact that Stardock actually practices what it preaches (and Gas Powered now too?).

    I do think the original list needed one more:

    11. Gamers can expect that developers/publishers will not sell movie rights of their games to Uwe Boll.

    Gas Powered did break that, Dungeon Siege movie, seriously now?

  7. devophill says:

    Mmmm, cake.

  8. jeffjonez says:

    … it’s a lie, you know.

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