Stardock

Gamers Bill Of Rights 2012 update

By on November 18, 2011 2:44:20 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
+1109

Some years ago, Stardock and Gas Powered Games announced the Gamers Bill of Rights. 

Chris Taylor and I were very concerned with some of the practices of game developers and publishers that we believed were driving consumers away from purchasing games (or at least not pirating them).

We maintain the site: www.gamersbillofrights.org.

Stardock has tried to adhere to the GBoR and has not always been able to live up to the spirit of the document.

Moreover, as the years pass, the GBoR is becoming increasingly dated (does anything still make you put a DVD in the drive to play it? Are there any copy protection schemes still installing root kits?).

To that end, we invite you to post your own list of things you think developers and publishers do (not just PC but in general) that you believe are counter productive or even harmful to those developers and publishers in the long run.

32 Replies
Search this post
Subscription Options


Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 18, 2011 3:12:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would add: Don't charge full prince for a game who's ending you'll release as DLC a year after launch.

Electronic Arts has done this a few too many times in recent years. Does anyone else miss expansion packs?

Then there's also: Let me own the game, and play it how I want to, without fear of permanently loosing access to it, due to "errors"

Again, it's something EA's been doing for a while. But Steam also has that power, with the all bans are definitive, unquestionable and so forth.

 Oh and: Don't treat me like a thief after I buy a game.

This is more the Ubisoft method of needing to constantly prove you haven't stolen the game by being permanently connected to the internet. Otherwise they can't tell if you've stolen the game from one minute to the next. Although, they have resorted to on launch activation lately.

Oh, and lastly 60$ != 60€. Also known as the reason people opt for piracy in countries where income is low, but prices aren't region adjusted, like they are in Russia.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 18, 2011 3:25:05 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

"Does anyone else miss expansion packs?"

I totaly do.  Used to come with units/maps/updates.  Now that's all separate DLC.

 

Here is one:

Complete means complete - Gamers have the right to purchase complete DLC packs with no expectation of future DLC forthcoming. If new DLC is released, compete pack purchases receive this DLC at no charge.   (this drives me up the wall, buy the complete DLC pack and then 1 week later a new DLC and 4 weeks later a new complete DLC pack for the same price as the first)

Here is another one:

Gamers have the right to reserve Pre-order digital content to stay with pre-orders only purchase.  Pre-order content should not be released as separate DLC in the future or bundled in complete packs as the price drops and the game ages.  (I like to feel the 50 bucks I spend was worth the gun/car/npc for my game and not feel like a jack-ass 3 months later when its available to everyone for 30 bucks.

 

Realistically because of the above I have stopped buying DLC and I know im not alone with this issues.  I understand DLC has been rising but so have 15 year old boys with credit cards.  Most aging gamers I know just wait around forever till the game they want has everything it is going to come with now.   Not one person on this planet wants to be 5-10 buck, aka nickle and dime-ed, to death for DLC.  Now that I write that, isnt it odd how a nickle is now $5 and a Dime is $10.... no wonder all new games a like 60 instead of 50 or 40.

 

--- End of rant ---

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 18, 2011 3:34:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

when they threaten to release cursed merchandise,  'this game sure is looking sweet, but if we play it we'll get a disease' kinda thing

 

it's like traveling all day hackin/slashin your way through the 1st-3rd lvls of a beholder's liar wearin rusty chainmail & happen across a brilliant set of +5 Full Plate Mail, only wearing said armor would result in a change of gender

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 18, 2011 3:41:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Do not promise us the world. Do not promise us a revolutionary experience. Do not promise us "the best since...." Do not promise us that your game will spiritually succeed anything.

Lately it seems like even indie developers can't help but over-market their own games. To the point where they start talking in the same generalities that plagues AAA marketing.

More than ever today, gamers need to accept games as they are, not as they want them to be. The gap between what I want and what I often get feels larger than it was 10 years ago. Do you find yourself often thinking about what a game isn't doing instead of what is doing? I do. And it's a symptom not only of games that haven't reached their potential, but also of gamers who ultimately can't accept the product they purchase.

Developers need to do their part, by being brutally honest from the outset about their games. They need to be able to say "This is the game we're making. If you don't like it, don't play it!" But so many developers are hung up on their need to draw in bigger and bigger audiences...they'll do, say or recast their game in any way they can to make it sound appealing to potential buyers.

So yeah. Let us be the judges of what's revolutionary. Let us decide if it's the best thing since sliced bread. Let us dub it a spiritual successor. More and more often, I can accept what a game eventually delivers as long as the people making it didn't make a habit of blowing smoke up my ass through the announcement, development, beta and post-release phases. Developers who let their work speak for itself are the ones who never disappointment me. Developers who feel like they have to sell me their vision seem like their heart is in the wrong place.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 18, 2011 3:59:02 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Cheevos plastered all through a game.  If you must have some kind of achievement system, please let's not have one for silly things that are not really achievements at all.  Unless silly is part of the genre.

How is this detrimental?  Instead of playing the game for the fun of it, you get scores of players playing to nail achievements.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 18, 2011 4:24:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I got a few.

When a game is being made, dlc should not be worked on until after the damn game is released (hell after the first few patches). Focus all your development on the game first.

 

Don't blow most of your budget on marketing (it could of gone into the game). I will say a few publishers actually can go a little over board because the marketing they made was actually great and their developer's game that was made actually delivered.

 

Don't leave the game in a rough shape so that modders to have to patch it up ie don't do just a few patches and then just move on...

 

Don't kick out the same game "copy paste" every year and expect full price.

 

Preorder bonuses in my opinion need to go. I am fine for art books(really like them), wallpaper, statues, maps, etc... but in game content is kinda crap if you ask me. Leave that content in the game. I hate seeing content being removed from the game before its released for preorder and then after release they charge a premium for it later and acting like they just made it and some cases never removing the price. If your marketing your game and its looking to be good game you will get your preorders and your sales.

 

Now on dlc... It hard to talk about sometimes, sometimes dlc prices are good and later on some developers knock the price down and actually make it free after a certain time. Other times they are way over priced. (sometimes even certain full games are way overpriced) Sometimes they never change the price later on. If the dlc you are releasing isn't that meaty just make it free. Also don't release dlc if the main game still has problems...

 

I got one thing on achievements. Make them worthwhile and meaningful. I remember playing Mass Effect and I believe with every achievement you got you got a in game bonus. Nice idea if you asked me.

 

Shark- Ya I miss expansion packs being in the mainstream...

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 18, 2011 4:25:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting AM_Shark,


Gamers have the right to reserve Pre-order digital content to stay with pre-orders only purchase. Pre-order content should not be released as separate DLC in the future or bundled in complete packs as the price drops and the game ages. (I like to feel the 50 bucks I spend was worth the gun/car/npc for my game and not feel like a jack-ass 3 months later when its available to everyone for 30 bucks.

Humbly, I disagree with this. This is not something the gamer should be able to demand. Rather, I think the developer should clearly display, when selling pre-order DLC, whether it will be included or sold in the future or not. That way, we can decide for ourselves if the preorder is really worth extra money, or if I can wait and still not miss out later on.

 

Another one:
If a game contains a scripted singleplayer campaign, it should clearly state approximately how much time the player can expect to spend on that singleplayer campaign. If the singleplayer campaign branches with major choices, or is contained within an open world, that should be stated after the approximation. Sandbox modes, or multiplayer modes (excluding coop in single player campaign) are not to be included in this approximation.

 

Edit: I also support the idea of selling a special version, a "complete" version, with current and future DLC included. The price would be higher than the non-dlc release, but it would still save the consumer money in total (complete version costs less than non-dlc version plus all dlc). The developer should price it from the start according to what they estimate to release in the future as DLC, and if they later on decide to produce more DLC that could up the current "complete" version cost, but those who bought it before should get it for free.

 

Edit2: I realize there may be some conflict between pre-order bonuses, and a "complete" version. In that case, the "complete" version should include all the pre-order bonuses. It c-ould be quite a bit more expensive, say 10-15 or maybe even 20 dollars. But it should be an option. If the plan is to limit pre order bonuses to only prepurchasers forever, then no complete version should be sold (as it is not complete).

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 18, 2011 4:51:23 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

I for one don't like pre-ordering games these days. I've pre-ordered games that appeared clean of DRM at time of purchase, but then it was released with DRM. The most recent example was "Sword of the Stars 2". It didn't show any signs of DRM when I pre-ordered, but then it was released requiring steam. I have before and after photos. I cried foul, but GameStop wouldn't refund me.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 18, 2011 4:59:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Hawawaa,
I also support the idea of selling a special version, a "complete" version, with current and future DLC included. The price would be higher than the non-dlc release, but it would still save the consumer money in total (complete version costs less than non-dlc version plus all dlc). The developer should price it from the start according to what they estimate to release in the future as DLC, and if they later on decide to produce more DLC that could up the current "complete" version cost, but those who bought it before should get it for free.

I also agree. I think this would help sell dlc to people who don't like purchasing stuff online as well. So what if the complete dlc package ends up being  a really good deal eventually, it would be a horrible deal to start....

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 18, 2011 5:25:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The content of a game should not be split off into pre-order content or DLC. That's the biggest issue with today's market, really. Additions should be actual additions, not bits of the original that are dangled over your head.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 18, 2011 6:11:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I don't think the GBOR is dated at all. It is fine as it is, but I guess there are some things on DLC that could be added. One thing I might want to add is related to inconvenience of downloaded songs from Singstar (PS3):

"Gamers should have the right to access and re-activate previously purchased downloadable content with ease."

Also, a more general one related to DLC:

"Gamers who buy a product advertised as a full game should receive a full game experience without additional purchases."

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 18, 2011 6:25:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I frequently come across (gaming) software which requires me to have a physical copy of the medium (e.g. DVD) in the drive for me to play it, and despise that.

This might sound strange, but I would like to be entitled to be able to purchase a non-localized version of the game in my country of residence. That is to say: Stop the practice of sub-contracting out distribution rights to distributors selling localizations in countries (such as Germany) which claim a monopoly for localized products; customers in those countries should have the right to purchase from distributors the software in its original language. This is currently not the case, not even for digital downloads, not even from platforms such as Impulse (even when it was in the hands of Stardock: one can see the product, one can click "buy this product", but then one receives the error message: "this product is not available in your country", one may only purchase a localized version of the same game). The distributors, apparently, have obtained the "right" to a monopoly which supplies its customers with a product they do not want.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 18, 2011 7:20:20 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

All these complaints about protection, DLC's, cookie cutter crap, ect.

 

WHAT ABOUT CONTENT!

 

Oh, so I have flashy graphics and real to life physics....

Who gives a dam if the gameplay lags, story is crap, and the balance is off?  Studios need to put more into their conception and beta testing budgets, and FAR less into their fancy engine and marketing departments. 

I'll say it again... CONTENT, CONTENT, and CONTENT! 

Lets have more strategy, story and intrigue - and less twitchy finger, over intensified action.  I play games for fun, not a workout/powertrip.

 

/rant

 

Sorry, got a little carried away

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 18, 2011 9:27:39 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I only hate one thing... dev/publisher who release unfinished game who are almost unplayable... seem that rushing a game release is becoming the norm...

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 18, 2011 9:44:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums
  • Very admirable of you indeed.


    If you are truly wishing to go as far as it's needed for our civilization to continue to progress I would suggest these measures:

    Never, ever let yourselves be sued like EA is in various places of Europe now over invasive tools that scan harddrives and look for newely installed products or driver updates. Ask for people to fill in charts or ask for volounteers to submit these informations according to strict rules. There are peple out there who want to help the good guys and will do this if asked. I might to.

 

  • I understand that you need to protect your software from piracy but intodays world for games that aren't multiplayer based it is nearly impossible anyway. But if necessary include all the protection that you need as long as installs aren't limited for personal use by legitimate buyers and as long as the game isn't invasive.

 

 

  • We gamers are pretty weak and have gone from owning games to owning liscences to games to owning merely the rights to play some games. The later I would never pay for. But I would like to see the liscences include the rights to modify (although not necessarily take out and re-use) any part of the game that is not in conflict with the point above. The idea of forcing customers to DLC when we can build it ourselves and you professionals can concentrate on developing the difficult parts that take games and programs into the new frontier is deplorable.

 

  • Release the sourcecode/engine after 10 years or make the games free after 10 years if you've earned at least more than their budgets (including all salaries, expenses for rent during that period, electricity, the christmas party and what not). It's not fair in my opinion to earn money on non-productive work for years or even generations, time and time again. You can if you want keep the rights (renew them indefinetly) to the lore and the name as long as non-commercial use is allowed.  Hell imagine if Orcs and Elves and all the ancient myths of our time were copyrighted by a corporation for ever? What would we have as a culture at all?

 

 

Those are my four most important parts.
Thanks for listening.

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 18, 2011 9:53:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Not sure how I edit posts so I'll Double Post, sorry for that.

 

Oh yeah guys. Consider a release like this for titles that start nearing the  10 year mark to or for releases of smaller games/programs:

http://www.humblebundle.com/

 

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 19, 2011 1:29:02 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The main problem I have is with Ubisoft and Blizzard's decision to try and force people to play online in order to reduce piracy. 

Diablo 3 should have a fully functional single player offline experience, even if it I can never move those offline characters to Battle.net. This means that mods and save game editing will not be possible, which is a huge disappointment for me. Borderlands and Diablo 2 are both games that were much more fun when you can create your own items to play around with.

Might and Magic: Heroes 6 introduced lots of cool perks and a progression system that you only get if you play online. Maybe this would be forgivable if they had reliable servers, but they don't and users complain of having to start over missions from scratch because they got disconnected.   

Ubisoft has also been putting online only DRM into many of their other games as well.

I understand that if you are making an MMO then it makes sense to put always online restrictions. The problem is that these games aren't MMOs and they are games in a franchise that has a history of being single player games with optional online capability. 

I have no idea how to condense that into a bullet point though. 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 19, 2011 3:16:51 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting AM_Shark,
"Does anyone else miss expansion packs?"
Gamers have the right to reserve Pre-order digital content to stay with pre-orders only purchase.  Pre-order content should not be released as separate DLC in the future or bundled in complete packs as the price drops and the game ages.  (I like to feel the 50 bucks I spend was worth the gun/car/npc for my game and not feel like a jack-ass 3 months later when its available to everyone for 30 bucks.

I strongly disagree with this one.

What if I happen to discover a game when it's already released? I personally have the collector's compulsion, and if I like a game, I'll want all the additional content available. And I'd pay for it. Let preorders give bonus content for free or at a discount, but don't deny other players the option to buy what they want at any stage.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 19, 2011 1:51:06 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I want to own the game and install it when I want.

The game's advertised features should work upon release and if there are problems they should be repaired within the month.

Developers are alienating fans by releasing crap and hoping for the best.

I'm done pre-ordering anything once my Rebellion order is done.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 19, 2011 3:49:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The rights I wish:

 

No transferring of private information without explicit consent on a sale (you kinda messed up on this one this year)

No always online DRM for single-player

 

I've given up on the idea of a GBOR though, I just base decisions on individual companies, and generally shun the AAA companies.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 19, 2011 4:52:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think the update is a good idea. What it needs now is popular support in the form of all gamers agreeing not to buy a product until the company agrees to follow the bill. A Gamers Guild would go a long ways towards solving some of the capitalistic evils in letting corporations make our videogames. 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 19, 2011 6:54:21 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Companies should not work on any downloadable/expansion material until after the game is published.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 19, 2011 6:55:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I've always viewed it as a tool designed to get publishers and developers to agree on certain standards for their own self interest.

Back when we first did this, I *know* most publishers were totally unaware of how much their own practices were damaging their own sales and leading people to become pirates.

So anything we adopt has to be something that makes business sense. It's not the Gamers Bill of Wishes.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 19, 2011 8:42:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Make sure games are playable, and transferable to replacement/upgrade hardware even if the vendor & software company go out of business.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 19, 2011 11:49:42 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Ah, so Chris Taylor and his studio, Gas Powered Games, were involved with this too. I knew there was something else I liked about them after I got Supreme Commander Gold recently.

Quoting UmbralAngel,
Diablo 3 should have a fully functional single player offline experience, even if it I can never move those offline characters to Battle.net. This means that mods and save game editing will not be possible, which is a huge disappointment for me. Borderlands and Diablo 2 are both games that were much more fun when you can create your own items to play around with.

The "always online" aspect for Blizzard games as of late is really scaring me, because it wasn't like that before. Battle.net was always just the icing on the cake to Blizzard games, not the entire Blizzard experience, except for World of Warcraft, for obvious reasons.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
Stardock Forums v1.0.0.0    #108431  walnut1   Server Load Time: 00:00:00.0002250   Page Render Time:
Facebook Twitter YouTube Google+