“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:
- 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.