You might have noticed that this week’s Phantasy Star Online 2 update came with a change to the end user license agreement. SEGA noted that it added a section for the “Shutdown of Online Services,” a section detailing the “Binding Arbitration and Class Action Waiver” for North American players, and “[o]ther minor corrections” that “reflect the current situation.”
It all sounds ominous, but it probably shouldn’t. As folks have noted on Reddit, the actual terms are boilerplate for MMO EULAs; SEGA reserves “the right to stop offering or supporting online services (if any) related to the Product at any time” and terminate accounts, and it essentially requires you to agree to pursue legal remedies against the company through arbitration rather than through a lawsuit or a class-action. That second chunk is also not at all unusual, although the part where it offers an opt-out within 30 days of purchase is a bit dodgy, given that the terms are being set long after that 30-day period.
While most Redditors seem resigned to the fact that this is common language for gaming terms of service (one mod accused folks of “doomposting”), it’s still prompted some discussion of the health of the game and the timing of the addition of the section on sunsets, given the perception that New Genesis hasn’t performed to expectations in the west, though whether that perception is fair or not is another story.
SEGA’s recent financial report says the game “strongly performed” and was its second-highest earner in Q2, New Genesis’ launch quarter. But of course, Japan drives the game’s profits, and a quick look at NG’s Steam counts shows that it’s fallen off its June 16K average/60K peak players to 5K average/11K peak on that platform alone, plus the game hasn’t exactly been grabbing headlines with big events or updates this summer. Here’s to hoping the worries are unfounded and the changes are all just bad timing.