Technology, Video games

No, Sim City Debacle Doesn’t Mean Gamers Need A Bill Of Rights

Ed. note: This post appears courtesy of our friends at Techdirt. We’ll be sharing law-related posts from Techdirt from time to time in these pages.

Like any good debacle, this whole Sim City SNAFU breeds all manner of hostility. The reviews have begun to reflect the incredible amount of frustration at EA’s mis-forecast of their launch-date readiness. Even retailers are poking the bear, so to speak, by offering reminders that past iterations of Sim City don’t have the same problems and are still super fun to play. The calls for boycotts have been getting louder. But let’s be careful not to slip into the land of the silly.

And by silly, I mean launching into a diatribe about how awfully the launch was handled by EA and then concluding that all gamers obviously need a wordily constructed Bill Of Rights…

The explanation of what gamers shouldn’t stand for isn’t bad, actually.

We shouldn’t only be upset that EA didn’t have enough servers running for the game’s launch. We should be upset that it was unnecessarily designed from the ground up to require an always-on online component. We should be upset that a series that has always been large and single-player has been made small and multiplayer with gamers having no choice in the matter. This wasn’t an issue of not enough servers and poor planning. This was an issue of ignoring gamers’ needs and wants in favor of a system that treats users as children and criminals.

Hell yes! I’m pissed off about it too, and I didn’t even buy the damned game. I’m just angry by proxy, the use of which would likely cause a server connection error if I actually did try to play the game! What the hell, let’s do something about, comrades! What’s first? Storm EA’s building and issue them stern looks and wagging fingers? Tweet at them with specific insults about their lineage? Wrap aging cheese up in tin foil and mail it to their offices as a kind of methodical stink bomb? C’mon!

Because of this, I offer the Gamers’ Bill of Rights. It enumerates what we should expect from game developers, publishers, and retailers, and limits the unnecessary and offensive overuse of copy-protection measures. We should be able to expect a certain level of support for the games we buy, and we should feel safe in the fact that they won’t violate our computers when we run them.

Yeah! That’ll teach — wait, what? So… we’re essentially going to tell game publishers what we want from them? Don’t we… kind of do that already? Isn’t that what buying their products is? Do we not have the option to boycott, to buy elsewhere, and all that? Hey, how long is this Bill Of Rights, anyway? 355 words!?!?

You know what, let me see if I can create my own gamer bill of rights that is just a single bullet point.

1. Gamers have the right not to give money to a**holes.

The end.

No, Sim City Debacle Doesn’t Mean Gamers Need A Bill Of Rights

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