Stardock Releases Gamer’s Bill of Rights at PAX

Gamer-friendly PC publisher Stardock (Sins of a Solar Empire) has released what it is terming the "Gamer’s Bill of Rights" at PAX.

The company calls the document:

…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 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.

Of the Bill of Rights, Stardock CEO Brad Wardell commented:

As an industry, we need to begin setting some basic, common sense standards that reward PC gamers for purchasing our games. 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, expressed support for the Bill of Rights, which Stardock enumerates as:

  • Gamers shall have the right to return games that don’t work with their computers for a full refund.
  • Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state.
  • Gamers shall have the right to expect meaningful updates after a game’s release.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Gamers shall have the right to expect that games won’t install hidden drivers or other potentially harmful software without their consent.
  • Gamers shall have the right to re-download the latest versions of the games they own at any time.
  • Gamers shall have the right to not be treated as potential criminals by developers or publishers.
  • 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.
  • 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.

GP: While this would more properly be termed the PC Gamer’s Bill of Rights, we have to say, Bravo, Stardock! 

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90 comments

  1. Shadow Darkman Anti-Thesis Of Jack Thompson (Not Logged In) ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hey, you never know, he might do both.

  2. blackwell says:

    I wonder if they could also add an amendment saying that the games should be sold at an equal price around the world? After all australians tend to pay 30% extra for new release games compared to the rest of the world and that also includes the ones which are digitally distributed too.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Actually, it’s pretty much the opposite, this is a stand against the values of large, American owned corporations, who don’t want you to do things like return faulty software when the Securom or whatever refuses to accept it’s an original, and think that the only way to fix piracy is to make the customer act out some of kind wierd ritual to be able to play the game.

    In many ways, it’s fighting against American values, just not the sort that the standard American encounters other than from the recieving end.

  4. Craig bamford ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    All of these are absolutely true, and absolutely necessary.  People consuming other products, including other forms of media, don’t endure anything remotely like what gamers do. They have the right of return, the right to rent, the right to re-sell.  But for gamers the first is unknown, the second is unavailable to people who enjoy PC games, and the latter under threat from DRM of all kinds.

    Other cConsumers have rights. We’ve known and understood that for decades. Game consumers deserve their rights too.

  5. hcf ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Yeah, that’s what we call "opt-out UCE".  In my case, there was no check box until after I got the spam and went to look, so I doubt you "missed it".  For the other reader, UCE is a specific kind of spam, Unsolicited Commercial Email is correct.  "Spam" is just anything you don’t want to receive, and that isn’t specific enough (could include bills :).

    I haven’t been watching Stardock as a source since November 15, 2007, when they proved they were a source (trying to sell me Dominions 3, not one of their games), and I removed the address I gave them (I give a specific email address to every company…so I just don’t get their mail spam or not anymore).  I could go grep through my spew database I guess, but you’re probably OK just digging into their website and unchecking the boxes they helpfully check for you.

  6. SomeoneElse says:

    I’ve already pre-ordered Demigod through Impulse.  After reading this I’d pre-order again if I could.

    Vote with your wallets people and support stardock in this.  If any of my friends pirate Stardock games I hassle them a lot over it and usually they wind up buying originals now.  If a company spends the time and effort to take care of me.  They fully deserve my support and my money for what ever services I’m using.

  7. SomeoneElse says:

    I HATE DISK CHECKS!!!

    All my disks live in the attic in a cupboard.  I bought the games, I installed them, why the hell should I have to muck around sooooo much because they’re worried I might have pirated the damn things?  Treat customers like valued customers and not thieves!

    My internet validation of Company of Heroes hasn’t been working for nearly a month now and it keeps asking me for the disk.  So I haven’t played it for a month.  I want to play it, but I don’t want to spend 20 minutes up a ladder trying to find the disk.

  8. SomeoneElse says:

    They actually ask you if you want to be on the mailing list.  I missed the check box when I originally set up my account.  Later on when I got a few emails I went and found the check box and ticked it.  Never recieved anything since then.

  9. Anonymous says:

    You used ‘vague’ in your description of some of the amendments. But trust me, this is not out of line in compared to the actuall first 10 amendments of the US .

  10. Fobok says:

    Well, if Stardock alone manages to keep to these, I’ll be their customer still.

    I agree, returning games does pose a problem, but I don’t see why people have a problem with expecting updates. That’s Stardock’s version of copy protection, if you want the updates you need a legal copy of the game. Really, if a company makes a game, they *should* continue supporting it for some time. Even if it’s in the form of expansions, there should be some continuing support for a game.

    People complain about the number of Sims 2 expansions, but do you think Sims 2 would be still on the sales chart without those expansions? Free updates are better, but not always financially feasible. (Art is the most expensive part of making any game, so any updates like Sims 2 expansions, which is mostly 3D models, cost a lot to produce.)

     

  11. SJ Zero says:

    It most definitely IS an issue with me. A massive one.

     

    I see no good reason, when I have 500 gigabytes of disk space, and when most games include every piece of data it requires in the installation, to make me dig up a CD to play. I’ve had games I could never play again because the CD got scratched or lost. I’ve lost thousands of dollars worth of software this way.

     

    And your idea is based on a lie. I’ve never had to deal with a game I pirate needing a CD.

    Not once.

    Ever.

    It’s only when I’m a legitimate user who paid money for a CD that I have to deal with copy protection shit.

  12. GrimCW ( User Karma: -3 ) says:

    i wish that were the case.

    as it is i’m fighting with EA about my ownership of a digital copy of Crysis which has had me locked out for more than 4 months because of their "3 active licenses" bullox.

    sad thing is, these active licenses "supposedly" expire and reset after 10 days if the game/downloader doesn’t refresh them with the servers.

    now lemme think… 4 months… 10 days… hmm… now why can’t i access my game yet?

    oh yeah.. i got it legaly, so that makes me a chump whereas a pirate can play his copy free of charge and 3 license restrictions… (and yes i voiced that expression to the reps.. i’ve been bounced through about 4 or more differant support reps too..)

     

    i don’t think most publishers would accept this sorta thing, it’d be a thorn in their side if we could actually return bad products as we were supposed to be able to merely as a consumer in the first place. I mean, if they actually had to FINISH the games prior to release and SUPPORT them both EA and Ubi would be canned, Activision would die without a twitches chance in surviving. the entire industry would fall on its face.

    oh and lets not forget the whiney little kids who cry "When will it be done?! why isn’t it done yet?!"

    the publishers see those posts and freak thinking their gonna lose a sale because of it, when i’d half bet that whiner is one of the bloody pirates anyways just waiting for it to come out so they can knick it free while the seeds are plentiful.

  13. Saregos ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I suppose it’s too much to hope that EA’s taken note of this?

    Or are they too busy burning bridges?

  14. kurisu7885 (can't log in) says:

    Nah. He’d post a subpoena to have the document destroyed, knowing he can’t file it without another signing it.

  15. Joel says:

    I agree with all but two of them.

    First, "Gamers shall have the right to return games that don’t work with their computers for a full refund."
    I agree with the idea, but it’s just not practical for retailers. Online stores such as Steam could potentially implement something to this end though. Really, as long as the minimum specs allow the game to be played adequately (as another of the Rights demands), it is best left the responsibility of consumers.

    Second, "Gamers shall have the right to expect meaningful updates after a game’s release."
    No. Just no. We shouldn’t have the right to expect anything like that. It should depend on whether "meaningful updates" are financially feasible, or even remotely necessary to a product. Also I object to the sheer vagueness of that term.

    The others are all bang on.

  16. Kendra Kirai says:

    I believe he’s talking about ‘Unsolicited Commercial E-mail’, which….I’ve never gotten from Stardock. I’ve gotten it after I signed up for something and didn’t uncheck a box, but…

  17. Anonymous says:

    I agree with the last statement the most. It’s the one that most frequently annoys me when it’s broken.

  18. CycloneTH says:

    For PC games, that isn’t really an option. Because of the way the files are compressed on a regular CD you MUST unpack them onto your hard drive in order to run it. Games that require you to put a CD in to play the game only do so to make sure you paid for it. The game’s running processes do not read any files from the CD other than the inital copy-protection check.

  19. Cyclone TH says:

    I disagree. Having to put in a CD is a HUGE hassle for legitimate users. I haven’t touched Battlefield 2142 in months becaue I don’t feel like putting in the CD. I know where it is, and my cd drive certainly works, I simply don’t want to have to put up with them treating me like a potential criminal every time I want to run the game.

    Sins of a Solar Empire doesn’t do that, all Valve software doesn’t do that, COD4 doesn’t do that (I think, I may have hacked that one so I didn’t have to put the CD in). With the most recent update Warcraft III doesn’t even do that. The only company’s software that consistently requires me to have a CD in is EA’s software. I’m tempted to get GameJackal or simply hack the .exe files for all of the EA games I own simply because I don’t want to be treated the way they treat their users.

  20. Adamas Draconis says:

    The last is if you do install it to your hard drive, you don’t have to slot the disk EVERYTIME you want to play it. I’m not a big PC gamer, but i assume you can run most games straight from the disk without instalation into your HDD correct?

     

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  21. Adamas Draconis says:

    Movies run at 60-70 fps precisely because thats the speed at which the eye and visual part of the brain process. I personally think anything much higher (120fps, who really needs that?) is a waste of processing and electrical power.

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  22. sabin_blitz ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    It won’t be a lie, right?

    I just might have to make my famous monkey bread for them. People love my monkey bread.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Disk checks are a problem.  I was unable to play Diablo 2 LOD for almost 2 years because my CD cracked/exploded in the drive (It wouldn’t even have been there but not for the disk check!).  I only recently can play it again, because the disk check was patched out of the game.

  24. Anonymous says:

    While this is well-meaning and all, it seems a bit of a pipe dream.

    Developers are gamers too and they have their aggravations, with other gamers, the industry and further.

    For one, I can’t stand some of the DRM locked stuff and I agree with the fact that when it becomes easier to pirate the game than it does to purchase the game, then there’s a serious problem.  However, going overseas to some Asian countries, the concept of copyright is nonexistant.  When you can walk down the street and some random person just says, "VCD?" and then proceeds to lead to a room in a back alley with tables of pirated software and movies, it becomes obvious that companies with an international scope would feel the need for copyright protection.

    That said, I LOVE digital distribution and think that Steam addresses many of the Gamer’s Bill of Right listed above.

  25. Shadow Darkman Anti-Thesis Of Jack Thompson (Not Logged In) ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Cue Jack Thompson rant in 3… 2… 1…

    Seriously, I’m ready to bet that he will see this and contact the Catholic Church saying that Satan has now set his own version of the Ten Commandments. I hope he does, so we can all remind him of how much he FAILS AT LIFE.

  26. Zevorick says:

    • Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state.
    • Gamers shall have the right to expect meaningful updates after a game’s release.
    • 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.
    • 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.

    I’m looking at you Age of Conan!!!!!

  27. Adrian Lopez ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Here’s one that Stardock won’t like (its EULA forbids it), but which I think is essential:

    * Gamers shall have the right to sell their copy of the game to somebody else, provided they remove any copies of it from their own systems upon doing so.

  28. Anonymous says:
    • 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.

    The problem with this is that people have many different versions of "adequately".  I personally think that if I can not get a game to run over 90fps at all given times, its not adequete.  Although I have seen people call 10fps "running good".  PC gaming does need a very specific set of rules on adequecy that everyone can reference.

     

    Seriously? 90FPS? I mean, really… I hate to break it to you, but anything over like 60 FPS has hugely dimishing returns.. Im just going off of memory here, but IIRC, the human Eye can only see at about 60FPS.  Honestly, if 90FPS is your "Adequate" range, you must really be upset at all of these "Inadequate" titles that push even 1 gig Vid-Ram Video Card Systems.

  29. ChuckLez says:

    You know that games do have "low graphic" settings right?  I do mention "If i can not GET a game to run…"  meaning I usually turn the eye candy off.

    Oh and just an FYI, the normal competitive gamer can tell the difference between 60 and say 90/125fps.  It might not be too revealing visually but looking around in an FPS, you can EASILY tell the difference.

  30. sheppy says:

    Is it a huge problem?  Well, no.  But sometimes I’ve tried to play a game that was FULLY installed on the system and asked for a disc.  Game is installed, registered, validated, etc.  And my game rack is in the other room (~200 PC games ranging from Win95 to current days).  So rather than play THAT game… I’ll just play Company of Heroes that doesn’t require the disc.

    Fact of the matter is, disc checking is calling your customer a thief.  "Oh, you bought this game?  Prove it."  That’s the issue I have.  If over 50GBs of my hard drive is taken up with full installs of games, I don’t want to fish through my collection to find a disc just because EA doesn’t trust I gave them $50 a few years ago for Command and Conquer Generals.  It’s calling a paying customer a thief and ONLY in PC gaming circles is this even remotely accepted by the consumers.

    Hell, truth be told, I was even offended as a kid when Doom had the line "Thanks for buying this game.  You probably paid for it and supported this company."

  31. Sith Librarian ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I applaud this, but doubt it will ever happen. You can hear the mocking laughter of publishers and game stores at most of these points.

  32. Danath ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I dont agree with the last one 100%, having a CD in the drive isnt really a huge problem for consumers and does make pirates need to jump through an extra loophole, but everything else, bravo! I could only wish that it was true, I bought Sins (never played it) simply because they had no DRM.

  33. HCF ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The one about Stardock having the right to send UCE to its gamers?

    If Stardock weren’t so morally corrupt, they wouldn’t have to spend so much time marketing themselves as moral authorities.

  34. E. Zachary Knight says:

    The problem with this is that people have many different versions of "adequately".  I personally think that if I can not get a game to run over 90fps at all given times, its not adequete.  Although I have seen people call 10fps "running good".  PC gaming does need a very specific set of rules on adequecy that everyone can reference.

    I think what they are getting at here is that the standard test for minimum system requirements consists of the follow check list:

    1. Does the game install?

    2 Does the game start up?

    If it meets those points that is the new minimum. It seems that most companies will not actually try to run the game when getting the minimum specs.

    E. Zachary Knight
    http://www.editorialgames.com
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
    Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091


    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  35. Anonymous says:

    ARGH!  Previewing doesn’t help sometimes.  The above was supposed to read "And their updates are not primarily bugfixes."

  36. Anonymous says:

    "

    • 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.

    Like mentioned before, unless they can come up with an ultra copyright protection software that does not punish people, I do not see this happening anytime soon."

    The copy protection they use is 2 fold.  1 – They don’t really worry about it.  2 – Updates.  To update one of their programs you have to have a valid license key.  And their updates are primarily bug fixes (but yes, bugs do creep in from time to time), they are modifications to AI, adding functionality that most developers would hold on to for an expansion pack, and user requested changes to the game.  Gosh!  Can you believe it?  A company that actually LISTENS to the customers!  And incorporates their suggestions! 

    And, if you got to wincustomize.com or joeuser.com (or impulsedriven.com or any of their other myriad of sites) and browse around, you’ll see that the devs routinely interact with the community.   They’ll even go so far as to have Mr. Wardell (aka Draginol or Frogboy, depending on which community he’s interacting with), spend time assisting users and answering questions.  Draginol.joeuser.com is his general purpose blog, if y’all are interested.

  37. Loudspeaker says:

    Ok I’ll bite… What’s UCE?

    -Loudspeaker
    "Volume helps to get a point across but sharp teeth are better."

  38. ChuckLez says:

    Its not a big problem, until you try to play a game like GRAW and it asks for the DVD when it is IN THE TRAY (oh ya, you also have 3 min. until you need to be in a tournament match).

    Yes, that happened to be at a LAN tournament.  Thankfully after the 7th try, it finally went through.

    But there is always the problem of a CD/DVD suddenly becoming corrupt or explode (this is true, a friend of mine was playing RA2:yuris and the CD exploded in his tray -_-;.  Sadly, getting a No-CD patch or CD replacement for that game is nigh impossible) that begs for this kind fix.

  39. ChuckLez says:

    by looking around, I mean movement of the mouse.  60fps just can not compare to the smoothness of movement while at 90/125fps.

    FPS doesn’t matter to me in single-player so I usually turn it up so I can at least enjoy the experience visually.  However, for multiplayer, I try to turn everything off to achieve 125fps or more (shadows, specular, AA, everything you can think of that would have a heavy impact on video card memory).

  40. Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Am I the only one who thinks this will never work as is?

    • Gamers shall have the right to return games that don’t work with their computers for a full refund.
    • Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state.

    Do like.

    • Gamers shall have the right to expect meaningful updates after a game’s release.

    Why? It’s not like every game that comes out for consoles has "meaningful" updates. Never mind that ‘meaningful’ is a vague term which means many things to different people.

    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Gamers shall have the right to expect that games won’t install hidden drivers or other potentially harmful software without their consent.

    Do like.

    • Gamers shall have the right to re-download the latest versions of the games they own at any time.

    I assume this doesn’t include things like microstranactions. Otherwise, I got no problem with this.

    • Gamers shall have the right to not be treated as potential criminals by developers or publishers.

    Huh? This is stupid. Developers have the right to protect the millions of dollars and years of development that were dumped into each game they make. It’s also too vague. One could argue that having to enter a CD-key is a form of "criminalizing". I mean if you bought a CD of the game, why should you have to enter a unique code just to install the game you bought?

    • 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.
    • 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.

    Do like. But make the ability to play the game without a CD an optional thing like the PS3. Some people are limited by hard drive space on their computers (mostly on laptops).

  41. Kincyr says:
    • 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.

    Age of Empires 2 and StarCraft come to mind: you only need the CD to run the program, you can take it out afterward to use in other machines, meaning you only need one CD for LAN parties.

    岩「…Ace beats Jack」

  42. ChuckLez says:
    • Gamers shall have the right to return games that don’t work with their computers for a full refund.

    This won’t work as easily as they want.  It begs to be abused.  In order for this to work, there would first need to be an ultra copyright software produced.  This is a huge give and take.

    • Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state.

    This should definatly be the norm.  By finished state, I would guess he means at least a couple rounds of testing (instead of the case of the recent Area 51 game)

    • 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.

    The problem with this is that people have many different versions of "adequately".  I personally think that if I can not get a game to run over 90fps at all given times, its not adequete.  Although I have seen people call 10fps "running good".  PC gaming does need a very specific set of rules on adequecy that everyone can reference.

    • Gamers shall have the right to re-download the latest versions of the games they own at any time.

    This is actually a really good idea but with some ISPs monitoring your bandwidth (and even COX even limiting bandwidth), this might turn a negative.  Depending on the way some ISPs go, I would love to see this in future PC gaming

    • 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.

    Yes, yes, yes, yes.  I hate game that do this crap.

    • 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.

    Like mentioned before, unless they can come up with an ultra copyright protection software that does not punish people, I do not see this happening anytime soon.

     

    Overall, this seems like alot of wishful thinking. 

  43. Icehawk says:

    Applause!

    Makes me wonder though if they intend to nail (glue I suppose) this to doors of EA.  Seems to be aimed in that direction. 

  44. Skyler ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    At last we hear reason. Kudos to Stardock. Wait, what comes after Kudos? I agree with , a cake is in order.

  45. twiter says:

    I don’t buy this gamers bill of rights. Stardock pulled all my CD keys with them(admittedly only 1 game) because someone in their staff screwed up and gave my account a copy of the demigod beta release. So I donwloaded it and played it. I didn’t like it so I never played it again. Now when I log back into their system my CD keys have been invalidated and my Account password was changed to "Fraud". But i admit the sense of humour was bang on. I have every intention of avoiding their products regardless of what they say.

  46. ducasLoi says:

    I don’t buy this gamers bill of rights. Stardock pulled all my CD keys with them(admittedly only 1 game) because someone in their staff screwed up and gave my account a copy of the demigod beta release. So I donwloaded it and played it. I didn’t like it so I never played it again. Now when I log back into their system my CD keys have been invalidated and my Account password was changed to "Fraud". But i admit the sense of humour was bang on. I have every intention of avoiding their products regardless of what they say.

  47. brn4meplz says:

    I don’t buy this gamers bill of rights. Stardock pulled all my CD keys with them(admittedly only 1 game) because someone in their staff screwed up and gave my account a copy of the demigod beta release. So I donwloaded it and played it. I didn’t like it so I never played it again. Now when I log back into their system my CD keys have been invalidated and my Account password was changed to "Fraud". But i admit the sense of humour was bang on. I have every intention of avoiding their products regardless of what they say.

  48. Anonymous says:

    I think this is a great step in the right direction for the PC Gaming industry, but I have a problem with the last ammendment to the bill, which states "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." I believe that this is not in the best interest of the PC Gaming Industry, the developers, or the integrity of the PC gaming community, because it is an open invite to piracy, I do not see any other reason to allow the gamers the right not to require a CD in order to play it, other than the fact that they can now give their CD’s to thier friends so they can play without purchasing the game itself, or so that gamers are limited to only the computer that the game is registered under. If a CD is requred to play a game that is saved to the hard drive, then players are not limited to one computer, or able to give the game to all of their friends to play. I say gamers should be required to use the CD in order to play the game, just like any other console gamer.

  49. Yagga says:

     

    "Rights" 1, 9 and 10 would ENHANCE piracy, killing game sales.   If I have to authenticate a single player game to ensure it sells more copies, SIGN ME UP.   How many cheapskate losers would take their game back after they finished under the false pretenses of "It doesnt work on my PC…"

    The rest of the rights are awesome however.

     

     

  50. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t it wonderful abusing another person over the net with the premise of annonymity?  The fact the you go through these comments merely to attack another person is pathetic.  You seem to have some issues – take them elsewhere and keep them to yourself.

  51. Anonymous says:

    Next payday?  Sounds like the only reason you hack games is because you can’t manage your finances.  How about instead of wasting your money… GO SAVE IT.  Loser.

  52. SJ Zero says:

    I agree. As a consequence of their exceptional attitude towards their customers, I’m going to be buying some of their games next payday.

  53. Anonymous says:

    Sins of a Solar Empire was developed by a Canadian company (which, seeing as im canadian makes it so much more awesome than it already is) called Ironclad Games, who even made their own engine, which in incredibly flexible in that I ran it smoothly on a computer that was below the min. requirements (i did take a graphics hit obviously but the game itself was still awesome and is absolutly bueatiful with a powerful machine)

  54. MDR says:

    It does require one online logon and all of the games completely patched before you can play the game in offline mode.  If your computer loses the dealie that has the offline logon details you have to reconnect.

  55. Azhrarn says:

    If it does, then I retract my critisism of Steam (although it does launch automatically and connects every time I launch HL2 or AudioSurf, just haven’t checked for the offline mode yet.)
    But as I said, it is a very succesful platform, so people do like it.
    It was mainly a statement in support of this Bill of Rights.

  56. Azhrarn says:

    As far as I know Galactic Civilizations (1 & 2) are Stardock developed games (Sins of a Solar Empire however is not) and certainly qualifies as a AAA title in its particular genre, that it does not have mass appeal like for instance the Half-life series is a different matter, but it’s an incredible game non-the-less. Also, SD has a wide range of customisation software and utilities that you can quite safely call AAA, those are however not games.

    Steam is a fully integrated application that also would not be allowed under this bill of rights
    (since it forces itself to run and needs to be connected to the internet every time you start a game purchased with it)
    It is however a pretty good online platform, there’s no denying that. It is also highly succesful.
    (perhaps because all Half-life titles require it)

    However I do applaud SDs initiative, and since they already have a good deal of my money I will simply continue supporting them.

    I’m also quite surprised to see Chris Taylor mentioned (since he was one of those developers complaining about piracy when Supreme Commander didn’t sell as well as they had hoped.) This is however the kind of turn-around I like, it is ofcourse partialy because his latest game (Demigod) will be launched from Impulse rather than retail but it is still a positive development.

  57. starsrift says:

    I’d like to think this is a good idea.

    But when I went into my local EBGames to get the expansion for TES: Oblivion, the manager was working the till, and he said, "Oh, you shouldn’t have to buy this. Don’t you have a friend who you can borrow the DVD from?"

    I gave him a level look, and said, "Yeah, but I have ethical issues with that."

    He shrugged, said, "It’s only a level add-on, but whatever," and reluctantly rang me through.

  58. Anonymous says:

    Alot of people posting about steam.  I’ll throw in a fact about steam. 

    Jagged Alliance 2 Gold – Sold on steam does not work as intended.  Its a broken game, with a game-crashing bug thats unavoidable.  If you purchase the game on steam, there is no way to fix this broken bug as its the final version of the game that was released (for Stream anyways). 

    So, right then and there Steam broke one of the rules, and broke another rule because we cannot return the video-game for a full refund over a digital distribution service. 

    However, there is a fan-made (very awesome I might add) patch for Jagged Alliance 2.  The only problem is that purists of the original game will hate having to completely overhaul the game and its mechanics to actually get it working correctly.. if they have purchased it from stream. 

    Other then that little nit-picking episode… steam rox!  I think I’ve purchased enough games over steam to called myself a "Steamer" or that I’m "Steamed" or w/e witty "steam" you can think of.

  59. Anonymous says:

    People who lose CD-Keys don’t get an opinion.  And yes.. you are responsible for losing them regardless of the reason.  Go suck at life some more.

  60. BrandonL33 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    If the money they make gets even close to EA’s level EA will just buy them up, force them to churn out games wih crippling DRM and then shut them down when their sales inevitabl plummet

  61. Tristram (not logged in) says:

    I agree.  I want to believe gamers are only pirating because the copyright protection makes it more convinient, but I still know too many people who make staling games their policy.  They say why pay for what I can get for free.  There needs to be a designers bill of rights as well.

  62. DarkTetsuya says:

    Damn, you beat me to it! That’s exactly what I thought of when I saw that, they can’t possibly think they can get away with releasing that 20% finished alpha code a finished and working ‘game’…

    — "Jack and listen are two words that don’t go together…just like Jack and sanity, Jack and truth, Jack and proof, Jack and win…" — sortableturnip | http://www.orangeloungeradio.com/

  63. SJ Zero says:

    As I’ve said before, DRM disincentivises ownership. If I’ve got to hack my games to be able to play them, I might as well not pay for them while I’m at it. It’s easier to just download the hacked version than to buy the legit version and have to go through the trouble of hacking it myself.

     

    And if I don’t hack it, odds are I won’t be able to play for long. All it takes is for the CD to get overly scratched or lost, or for me to lose the cd-key (I own every single battlefield game, but my girlfriend’s kids lost the key data before I got a chance to install them, so now I own some very expensive very useless costers), and suddenly I’ve paid for nothing.

     

    My message to publishers: You are making it more convenient to steal your games than to buy them. I WILL steal them if you don’t smarten up. I have no moral qualms about it, becuase you’ve ‘taken back’ so many games I’ve legitimately paid for but don’t have the DRM ready to take care of.

  64. Micah S says:

    And consequently I legally purchased all the stardock games I play. This can not be said of every other game I play. If I have to crack your game to get it to work anyway, why not go all the way?

  65. NovaBlack. ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    stardock are ace!

    Always been fantastic with copy protection , and a massive slap in the face to all those companies who say they NEED intrusive DRM, and that its fair to burden users who have never pirated in their life with it.

    Also bravo on the releasing games in a finished state rule. Im SICK of pc games that are just absolutely half finished and then i cant take it back to the store.

  66. Kris O. says:

    Incredible. I damn near shed a tear at the end of their Bill Of Rights. This absolutely must be instituted across the board.

  67. E. Zachary Knight says:

    I am glad to see a great company promote these positive pro gamer policies. I hope that more publishers will be willing to not treat their customers as criminals and follow these other ideals as well.

    Number one is one of the reasons I have a hard time getting into buying new release games. I wait several months to buy the newest games to make sure they are not crap.

    I also think that number two should be a valid reason for a full refund. Would you be willing to flush the cash on a new TV that did not work. Would you accept that you could not get a refund for it? Why would anyone buy a TV just to have it repaired on the first day?

    The rest are pretty straight forward and I agree whole heartedly.

    E. Zachary Knight
    http://www.editorialgames.com
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
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    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
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  68. Geryon says:

    I’ve loved them ever since they used the number one sales position of Sins to say that clearly piracy is not the biggest issue, or that at the least over the top copy protection is not the solution.  With this however I have to say that they are now my favourite company and like others have said, Bravo Stardock.

     

  69. Vacavriach says:

    I will be the first to cheer if major software companies decide to adopt this.  However, being the cynic that I am, I don’t see it happening anytime soon. 

  70. Loudspeaker says:

    If you want the software industry and specifically the video gaming industry to adopt Stardock’s Bill of Rights then BUY THEIR STUFF!!!

    This is a gamer’s chance to vote with their dollars.  IF Stardock sees massive growth and a serious gamer following that starts to shadow EA and it’s ilk you will see change.  The only way to prove that Stardock is right is to partake of their wares.  By and by they have some very nice games (Sins of a Solar Empire addict).

    -Loudspeaker
    "Volume helps to get a point across but sharp teeth are better."

  71. Dog Welder says:

    Bravo to Stardock and cheers to Mr. Chris Taylor, who totally rocks.  (Total Annihilation is still a favorite of mine.)

     

  72. Anonymous says:

    Thats you, StarDock still doesnt make their own AAA titles like Valve and Steam is still a much better platform.

  73. CaesarsGhsot ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Stardock has had my heart since GalCiv2… I use LOTS of their programs across my network, and would rather buy a game through Central/Impulse then Steam anyday!

  74. Demontestament says:

    "Gamers shall have the right to return games that don’t work with their computers for a full refund."

    Only problem I see with this one is people abusing it, just to get a free game. I have a friend who has done this multiple times with WoW, he buys the game installs it and then returns it claiming his computer could not run it. The only ones who have not taken the game back have been our local gamestops. With MMORPGs and what not this insures that people are not just buying them game to get the CD Key(Which they then sell) and then return the game for a refund. The others on the list seem to be pretty straight forward.

    "Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state."

    Do they mean "Finished State" as in the game is able to be played to completion or do they mean the game will run with zero errors and have no bugs? If they expect no errors or bugs then every MMORPG out there would be violating this rule 24/7.

  75. sheppy says:

    First, people wanting a free game have a much better option regardless.  It’s called Piracy.  Why would someone pirating a game decide the better option is to provide the $50 up front that they intend to steal?  Also, most store policies are "once it’s open, it’s yours."  I’ve bought several games that didn’t work and I was essentially forced to take a $20-$30 loss by selling on Ebay.  In one particularly annoying case, the publisher got Ebay to deny the sale, claiming the license was good for only one user and selling the software that had been used (but couldn’t run on a computer twice the recommended specs) was a violation of the EUA.  So essentially I paid $50 for a game that wouldn’t work and had no way of recovering that.  All because their antipiracy method was dependant on detecting how many hard drives you have and I always run a spare to copy to every week.

    Second, Battlecruiser 3000.  There are other titles to be certain but that’s the most famous one.  Lots of companies have released incomplete games or nonfunctional games with the intent of "patching later."  I bought one game recently that had no way to run on anything BUT an ATi card.  Patch adding GeForce 7000x series was added about a week later.  It was a month in a half before it used my 8000 series card.  Granted, it was a budget release title $20, but this is still inexcusable.

  76. Satan says:

     "Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state."

    Do they mean "Finished State" as in the game is able to be played to completion or do they mean the game will run with zero errors and have no bugs? If they expect no errors or bugs then every MMORPG out there would be violating this rule 24/7.

     

    What they mean is to not have games that are so buggy that they are virtually unplayable, or have bugs that severely hamper the experience, e.g. Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing

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