6. Gamers shall have the right to expect that games won’t install hidden drivers or other potentially harmful software without their consent. So it's ok that the game *requires* hidden drivers such as Starforce, as long as the user is presented with an "ok" button first, so they can consent? It doesn't say that the game should work if the user declines. It also doesn't say that the user should be notified of this requirement before buying the product. How exactly is this an improvement?
To be fair I think massive great warnings ON THE BOX, not burried inside waiting for you to be lumbered with an unreturnable coaster or on the website saying "Contains SecuROM" would cover this nicely. At least that way you can choose to avoid the game. Now from some appearances it does appear Stardock are warning people about products they carry which contain... selubrious code of an invasive nature; which is a 100% improvement over say... EA and as an example SPORE, which carries bugger all about copy protection/activations and limitations thereof on its box, manual or anywhere else.
8. Gamers shall have the right to not be treated as potential criminals by developers or publishers. - Nice colorful language, but it's a bit too easy for EA to argue that "We're not treating anyone as criminals, we're just providing friendly callcenter dudes in India to help users reactivate their game". How about just something like "Gamers shall have the right to play the games they buy, if, when and where they want, without requiring permission from the publisher of the game". Or if you want something a bit more to the point, "Gamers shall be treated no worse than those who pirate the game.
This is something I comented on a while back in a different thread that also, oddly enough, featured on El Reg. It's a catch-22 situation for us PC gamers, we're treated like theives and have companies constantly telling us our format is dead/dieing. Because we're all theives. Might as well just P2P from the get go and save £40 I say.
Other than Stardock's stuff because... we're not (treated like theives that is).
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. But LAN games are allowed to require internet connection? They're not singleplayer, after all
Online checks for on-line multiplayer. I find nothing so irksome as having to install <insert chosen games MP lobby system> just so I can play a game with someone sat 4 foot away from me. TBQFH having some unknown program (none of those lobby systems are OSS) and generally unwanted roaming around my LAN, using my bandwidth and getting in the way puts me right off the sodding game,
Example: Red Alert 3, two copies sat on the shelve because the lobby system was to freaking annoying to set up a LAN game. I can play with random retard (actually that's a good nick to use... hmmm) but not, the actual person I want to play with. I've seen systems that are supposed to rank you by proximity utterly fail to spot two connections from the same damn IP address.
And while we're on the subject of download apps and lobbies. WTFBBQ is SPORE telling me I HAVE to have the EA Download Manager installed to patch the game? Ahh, look, it's trying to sell me more of their crap. Isn't it wonderful. Hell. NO! You're a single player game, STFU and get back to entertaining me. If I want to patch you I'll visit the website and download it. Yeah fine, if I brought the digital copy of it I'll let it slide but... I didn't.
2. Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state. How does this apply to something like a MMO? When is World of Warcraft in "a finished state"?
I wouldn't say this is Stardock specific. If you release something, it should be finished, bug hunted, balanced, code. For anyone who plays EVE:Online (a MMORPG) I have two words to say: boot.ini and Trinity. Basically a typo vaporised C:\boot.ini instead of C:\Progra~1\CCP\EVE\boot.ini. That's an example of "unfinished state" right there. Take my experience with the Atari product Test Drive, the installer repeatedly didn't ask for a serial number. Resulting in a CTD when it started up.
I think this one is more "Thou shall QA the boswellox out of thy product" or "Thou shall not foist beta code on thy customers, for thou are tasty". I'm not saying a game shouldn't ever need patching because you can't QA every possibility out there, but you can QA it enough to not require a release day patch that has to be downloaded just to get the sodding thing to work.
3. Gamers shall have the right to expect meaningful updates after a game’s release. Doesn't this contradict #2? If the game is in a finished state, what can a meaningful update possibly contain? If it is supposed to add *new* content, that may prove quite a burden for some developers, who are then not *able* to live up to these rights.
See above, it doesn't preclude bug fixes, it's more akin to "You sent it out in to the big wide world, so fully of joy... then it ate my hampster and wet itself. NOW FREAKING SUPPORT IT!" The number of games that appear, get 1 or 2 patches that don't fix show stopper bugs (or provide the promised new content) is more than I can count. True some publishers are more likley to do this... I'm looking at you Atari. IMHO, if you push a product out you should support it with patches for a minimum of 12 months.
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. How does this apply to Impulse? Or Steam? Is it really such a universally bad thing that a game autoupdates before you run it? And again, how do you propose that MMO's should live up to this requirement?
Oddly enough Impulse on my system doesn't run at start up, nor does it fire up when I click on a games icon on the desktop. Steam uses a different system (the shortcuts are just Steam.exe -<product> basically) but can be bypassed I think. The EA Download mangler... that embeded itself and is nesting 'somewhere' complaining that my wireless isn't running the second it fires up just after boot. It's not a bad thing that the game can update itself, it's a bad thing when a fundementally single player game, REQUiRES internet access to even think about running.
I would add one more comandment/right to the list. It's a personal irk, but perhaps others share it:
"If you run a forum, hosted on your corporate domain and fed from corporate provided resources then it is YOUR forum, YOUR responsibility and it represents YOUR company and YOUR product(s). If you allow non-paid volunteers to moderate your forum and/or make use of your corporate logo, colour scheme, slogan and other trademarks, interllectual properties and copyrights, they are representatives of YOUR company, products and customer services."