Vindicia CEO: CA SCOTUS Win Could Kill Freemium Market

September 28, 2010 -

Earlier this month we mentioned the amicus brief filed by online billing solution provider Vindicia, which backed the videogame industry in the looming Schwarzenegger vs. EMA Supreme Court showdown.

Vindicia CEO Gene Hoffman, Jr. has since penned an article for Xconomy on the case and how a ruling for California could kill the freemium model (a la Electronic Arts' Battlefield Heroes or id Software's Quake Live) of distributing videogames to the masses:

…the freemium model requires unfettered initial access to the game by millions. The only sure way to prevent minors from accessing forbidden games online is to require a credit card validation up front. But that’s also a big deterrent for many adults: virtually no one who uses the Internet believes that giving a card number to a game maker would not eventually result in a charge to that card.

Destroying the frictionless access that adults have to free-to-play games that might be considered violent would drastically decrease innovation in the online games world, as the base of potential users would no longer be large enough to convince developers to take the risk on new games.

In its amicus brief, Vindicia expressed concern over how the California law would impact online videogame sales, noting that, “… the Act makes no mention of how this regulation would be applied to varying digital platforms and distribution, e.g., video game home consoles, smartphone applications and Internet gaming sites.”

Comments

Re: Vindicia CEO: CA SCOTUS Win Could Kill Freemium Market

At a time when proponents of Sharia law are exercising a heckler's violent veto over the “Everyone draw Mohammed” meme, we can not stand idly by while legislators and lobbyists make value judgments about content that create significant unintended consequences.

Can anyone explain to me why Mr. Hoffman felt the need to throw in a reference to "proponents of Sharia law" and draw an analogy to an issue of, at best, marginal relevance to the issue he discusses? He's not a member of the "Muslims Want to Take Over America" school of thought, is he?

Re: Vindicia CEO: CA SCOTUS Win Could Kill Freemium Market

Unlikely.  The Supreme Court's been pretty clear on credit card authentication as a means to prove age.  Even if CA wins on this one and violent games are put in the same category as pornography, SCOTUS has already established that the government can't require a credit card check to view pornography.

Re: Vindicia CEO: CA SCOTUS Win Could Kill Freemium Market

Not so fast! According to a certain ex-lawyer and "First Amendment Expert", credit card authentication is not a legal means to prove age.  This is how he put Take Two out of business...oh wait.

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