Stop Killing Games opens worldwide petitions and shares a UK government response in update video

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Readers will likely remember that last month we reported on the Stop Killing Games initiative, a grass roots campaign started by YouTuber Ross Scott to try to maintain online games preservation. The whole matter was kicked off by the shuttering of The Crew 1 and possibly got more backing after Ubisoft cynically removed the game from player libraries, igniting a firestorm of rage directed at the developer.

Scott has since posted an update video on the initiative over the past weekend, in which he tries to keep gamers informed on the initiative’s progress and breaks down efforts to keep games online. “As of right now, I and everyone helping me are lost in a legal maze, but I think we’re pretty close to the exit,” admits Scott in the video’s opening, after which he calls attention to petitions for Australian, Canadian, and UK residents.

The rest of the video then breaks down an official response to his petition from the UK government, and the analysis isn’t particularly encouraging. Scott believes most of the response suggests that whether shuttering a game breaks EULA is open to a lot of interpretation that would side with the games industry, interprets a paragraph as a hard “no” on UK law compelling software companies to maintain older software, and claims that restitution for a new game could be garnered by gamers provided they file a bunch of paperwork, which obviously ignores the point of keeping games from being sunsetted.

However, there may be a glimmer of hope in the reply: Scott points out a paragraph that discusses the UK’s 2008 Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs), which requires software companies to not selectively omit information that would lead consumers to make an informed choice — such as when a game would be shut down.

Scott argues that studios should be obligated to disclose the expected life cycle for their online games, calling out Ubisoft’s foreknowledge of music and car brand licenses expiring in 2014: The company knew about expiration dates but didn’t tell consumers until just before the shutdown. He even goes so far as to suggest that the language covers all online games, not just The Crew 1.

“If a customer doesn’t know if their game is going to last one year or 19 and counting, how can they be informed? That’s just gambling then. Now granted, this is not as good as penalizing companies for destroying your games directly, but it may take us to the same place because companies do not want to tell you when your games will expire. […] If the average customer knows their game is going to die and exactly when, that will undoubtedly hurt sales.”

Scott closes the video with the admission that he needs a UK legal expert at this point and outlines what questions he needs to have answered before any meaningful progress could potentially be made, but even though the news might overall sound kind of bad, there’s some good insight and potential outlined here.

source: YouTube
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