31 October 2008

Be careful what you wish for...

It seems that the Belgium Entertainment Association, which represents game publishers, has managed to get a ban on game rentals from December 1st. Why is the industry set on shooting itself in the foot? Not only are they against the used game market but now this. Do they expect people to pay full price for the majority of the dross that they just crap out? There's no consumer protection because we can't return the games for a refund and now we (or more accurately the people in Belgium) can't even try out a game to see if it's worth buying and since demos are pretty much *extinct, what are we to do?

The game industry wants special status, above and beyond every other industry. You don't own the games you buy, you can't rent, you can have demos if you pay for the service and you're effectively only renting 'limited install' games when you do pay full price. They'd like to ban the sale of used games as well effectively making playing and using games into a service but without any of the benefits of paying for a service (because it costs them too much to provide them as a service).

The 'contracts' that we enter into as gamers are also unreasonably skewed towards the publisher and developer. These EULAs are unreadable before opening the product, must be agreed to (though you can't return the game if you don't agree with them so it's a forced agreement and should be deemed illegal) before using the product and can be updated any time the publisher/developer likes. The EULAs also provide get-out clauses for the publisher/developer, excusing them of any liability including damage caused by their programme and continued use of that programme or online service.

More and more i'm becoming disappointed and disillusioned with the gaming industry. Their continued selfishness and blinkered acts are alienating me. I've already sworn off 4 or 5 PC games this year. EA's continued shenanigans regarding their forums and their products means that i doubt i'll be buying any of their games in the near future (even though i want to!) on PC or on console. At the moment i'm renting the majority of my games because that's the only avenue of protest outside of writing to the game publishers that i can take. If it continues this way this blog may cease to exist because i'll no longer be a gamer.

*There aren't many demos released for games anymore as developers cite added costs and development time to get them out. Also, many new demos are coming out for Xbox live gold subscribers only.


Tesh said...

This is why I like working for a small game dev company, and why I will be looking to such indie projects for good gaming. *shrug*

Duoae said...

Yeah, well it turns out that the paper either misreported it or whoever did the translation missed out vital parts.

Apparently the actual issue is that rental stores were buying retail copies rather than certified rental licenses/copies.

The rental stores complain that these are hard to get/too expensive to make it worth their while. Possibly it's due to a reported dip in rentals in Belgium in recent years.