Stardock Announces "The Gamers Bill of Rights"

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."

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.

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

Sound fine ... for scammers.

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.

Fine but for online games.

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.

Or you could say, in or over 60fps, 640x480 (or 800x600) full screen.

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

But with some restriction, for example a abusive users can download several times in the month a 8gb game.

The software/game company that has a controlling share of this website, as well as provides hosting for this site. Sooooo...if you value your account on here, smile and nod when crap like this gets posted as 'news'.

hear hear, sins was one of the badassest games i've played in recent memory.
and i don't have to go searching for the disc whenever i want to play it.

Do you think EA gives a rats ass? They don't need the PC anymore when they have the consoles. EA is not even releasing any of the sports titles for the PC this year. People have pirated the PC so much for so long that they said screw it we can make our money on the consoles. Unless people start buying some games, online games are the only games you'll eventually see.

"EA is not even releasing any of the sports titles for the PC this year. "

A time for celebration.

And people don't buy EA PC games as they are made by EA.

i don't recall stardock making any significant contribution to the gaming industry, either for the gamers or for fellow publishers.

either they are suffering from delusion of grandeur, or this looks too much like a publicity stunt ...

#10 i never saw the point of copy protection
it gets cracked and people play regardless
and multiplayer requires valid cdkeys to play, multiplayer to me is the biggest part of a game, meaning only sold copies get onto the servers regardless

#1, thats a toughy, cause you could burn and return, or take the key, there would need to be somethin that doesnt set piracy/cdkey being stolen from the box to prevent this
I think a system that makes the vendor check for the cdkey, and then return everything back to the publisher to hav the key disabled

then again..none of this stuff will happen

(Neoauld said @ #20)
#1, thats a toughy, cause you could burn and return, or take the key, there would need to be somethin that doesnt set piracy/cdkey being stolen from the box to prevent this
I think a system that makes the vendor check for the cdkey, and then return everything back to the publisher to hav the key disabled
This could be solved by putting the CD key inside a sealed package, and not require the CD key upon install/play (because why in the world would you need a CD key for a single player offline game anyway? Especially when looking at #9.)
The store could then refuse return of a game where the seal is broken.

Of course, there would need to be some elaborate warning signs, as some people are all too quick to rip open every packaged item, not waiting until it's actually needed.

The only problem with this is MMOs or other online-only games, where you kind of need the CD key in order to create an account/validate your game purchase, though these games are in the minority.

There's no way to make this fool-proof and have it work for every game, at least from my perspective.

Agreed. Phantasy Star Universe is guilty of violating #9. And too many games require a CD check to start.

I'd like to see this adopted by game companies, but they're there to make money. Game companies making gamers happy is just a byproduct of their desire for bigger profits.

If you'd like to support this cause it's as simple as not buying from the companies that "abuse their customers". Will all these rules hold up? No, there are way too many variables that have to be answered, it's not as easy as this article makes it seem. Some of these steps are recognized by high-end game companies, asking all of them to abide by them is just complete ludicrous.

This is nothing more than a PR stunt. Sorry kids, this "10 Commandments" is just a way to gain rep with you so you buy the crappy products they offer.

(Burst404 said @ #16)
This is nothing more than a PR stunt. Sorry kids, this "10 Commandments" is just a way to gain rep with you so you buy the crappy products they offer.

It'd be good if the mainstream media paid attention. Maybe people will start demanding that software companies stop abusing their customers. It's like if you buy their product they feel they have a right to come to your house and raid your refrigerator.

(Burst404 said @ #16)
This is nothing more than a PR stunt. Sorry kids, this "10 Commandments" is just a way to gain rep with you so you buy the crappy products they offer.

As far as I know NONE of the games that Stardock has made to date, have been "Crappy". Sins of the Solar Empire is one of the best RTS games I have ever played, with the exception of the original Red Alert game from Westwood. No other RTS games come close to the quality of these games. Sadly, the Red Alert label is now owned by EA Sucks and as such will never be good again.

I welcome this list with open arms, and hope more companies adopt these rights. In the end, the companies are punishing the people who BUY the games, more than they punish the piraters.

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.

AMEN to that!!!!!

1000000000000000000+ to Stardock

thats one reason i like steam!!!! its like a media hub for game but without the malware program installs (gamespy! comes to mind, lol)

It's nice to see Stardock take its PC gaming obligations so seriously. Are we seeing the return of meaningful game studios like Black Isle? I should only hope so.

I think that this has been needed for a long time. Someone to say "Wait just a darn second, we need some ground rules for our customers". I applaud the concept, late-coming as it is.

Well it looks like GPG are adopting it (hence the comments from Chris Taylor), so its feasible other companies will adopt it too.. although I'm under no illusion that the likes of EA will resist this with their last ounce of strength.

Most of this could (should) be applied to operating systems and software too. But there's no software police or internet DoJ to enforce anything like this.

(The Canadian said @ #4.1)

Actually, there is...the BSA (Business Software Alliance); actually they like to consider themselves the police.

Oh, the old Bull **** Alliance. It seems like the only thing they're concerned with is piracy and lobbying the US government for tax breaks and outsourcing benefits. I've never heard of them policing software companies over their criminal activities (spyware, faulty products, etc)?

Amen to that list!

BTW, 2 and 3 don't necessarily conflict. An update can add new features and/or new content. Sometimes additional game balancing is done post-release and is adjusted based on player feedback.

Many times bugs, glitches, and such cannot be found without a mass number of players testing either. It's important to know the difference from a stable game and a totally unfinished game, like Hellgate: London. :P

Don't n.º 2 and 3 conflict with each other? If one is to expect meaningful updates after a game's release, then that game isn't in a finished state.

I agree with almost all of the rights, especially 6, 7 (now this would be nice. Even if I bought the disc version?) and 10.

I see no conflict, one thing is to expect new things to be added, new content (maps, community asked functionality, etc.), and another thing is a game with lots of bugs that needs updates to function properly.

The game should be stable from the start and not need updates to start working or work properly, and, gamers should expect new content in a meaningful way, no conflict. Update does not mean bug fixing.