Not a day goes by that PC gamers don't have something to complain about, whether it be misleading PC requirements for the games they buy, games being released in an unfinished state, or brutal copy protection measures that treat them as if they were all potential criminals. Indie developer and publisher Stardock feels PC gamers' pain, and has announced a Gamer's Bill of Rights, containing 10 specific rights that all PC gamers should have, as a guideline to encourage PC gaming companies to embrace better customer service policies. The list includes the right to return games that don't work on your PC, realistic minimum requirements, and single-player games that don't force players to connect to the internet. Gas Powered Games' Chris Taylor wholeheartedly approves.
"This is an awesome framework for the industry to aspire to, and ultimately so that we can provide our customers with the gaming experience that they have wanted for years, and really deserve."
Hit the jump for the full list of rights. They're intelligent, well through-out, and will never be officially instituted in a million years.
Stardock Announces "The Gamer's Bill of Rights"
- Indie Developer / Publisher Hopes to Encourage Better Customer Service
Plymouth, MI - August 29, 2008 - Stardock announced today the Gamer's Bill of Rights: a statement of principles that it hopes will encourage the PC game industry to adopt standards that are more supportive of PC gamers. The document contains 10 specific "rights" that video game enthusiasts can expect from Stardock as an independent developer and publisher that it hopes that other publishers will embrace. The Bill of Rights is featured on Stardock's website (www.stardock.com) and is on prominent display in Stardock's booth (1142) at the Penny Arcade Expo.
"As an industry, we need to begin setting some basic, common sense standards that reward PC gamers for purchasing our games," stated Brad Wardell, president and CEO of Stardock Corporation. "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."
Chris Taylor, CEO and founder of Gas Powered Games stated, "This is an awesome framework for the industry to aspire to, and ultimately so that we can provide our customers with the gaming experience that they have wanted for years, and really deserve."
As an example of The Gamer's Bill of Rights in action, Stardock instituted a policy of allowing users to return copies of The Political Machine purchased at retail to Stardock for a full refund if they found that their PC wasn't sufficient to run the game adequately.
"The PC market loses out on a lot of sales because a significant percentage of our market has PCs that may or may not be adequate to run our games. Without the ability to return games to the publisher for a refund, many potential buyers simply pass on games they might otherwise have bought due to the risk of not being certain a game will work on their PC. The average consumer doesn't know what 'pixel shader 2.0 support' means, for instance," said Wardell.
According to Stardock, the objective of the Gamer's Bill of Rights is to increase the confidence of consumers of the quality of PC games which in turn will lead to more sales and a better gaming experience.
The Gamer's Bill of Rights:
1) Gamers shall have the right to return games that don't work with their computers for a full refund.
2) Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state.
3) Gamers shall have the right to expect meaningful updates after a game's release.
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.
5) 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.
6) Gamers shall have the right to expect that games won't install hidden drivers or other potentially harmful software without their consent.
7) Gamers shall have the right to re-download the latest versions of the games they own at any time.
8) Gamers shall have the right to not be treated as potential criminals by developers or publishers.
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.
10) 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.