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.