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  1. #1
    Moderator QuantaCat's Avatar
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    [MODERATED] EULA, EA, Valve, InsertPublisherHere and you.

    EA pulled their EULA back again, but they have to keep trying.

    Games barely make the list when stuff like SOPA is being discussed, however, they (publishers) are still actively "informing" governments of copyright theft and its "evilness". (Yes, that is a slightly different topic, but also acceptable)

    So! Consumer rights, "piracy", privacy, ownership in the digital age, discuss.


    PS: this is a moderated thread, meaning that unexcellence will be cut out, but Id much rather you all think about what you write before you write it. No personal attacks or general hatred towards single persons, ideas you can attack as much as you want.

    PPS: I know this is an emotional subject for some, as it touches on some morality issues (ie. is piracy theft, is EA really evil, etc) but please, nobody here wants you to shut up and shove it, we all want a proper discourse. love!
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  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Drake Sigar's Avatar
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    Could you get the ball rolling? Typically one contributes to the discussion he himself started. :P
    Last edited by Drake Sigar; 26-01-2013 at 01:12 PM.

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sketch's Avatar
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    How much does EULA's affect us not in America? I've seen quite a few comments suggesting it doesn't really apply to us as much?
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  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kadayi's Avatar
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    A EULA can't over rule your consumer rights, in the same way that a person can't write a contract with another person that essentially bypasses standard laws. By on large they're written with a view of providing the company with broad protections in the likelihood they need to instigate them in some manner, even if they're nor necessarily enforceable from a wider legal perspective. A lot of it is 'reserve the right to' . If the house rules say, you're not to wear shoes whilst on the premises and the house reserves the right to eject you if you don't oblige, then by you agreeing to the house rules you agree not to wear shoes whilst on the premises. So if they find you walking around inside with shoes on ...you've essentially broken the agreement and they're within their rights to reject you accordingly. From a legal perspective they're in the right. However it if were a case that they said not only would you be ejected, but you'd also have to pay $5000, then a legal question would exist over the extent of the fine in terms of justification. A judge would want to know the reason why $5000 from the house.
    Last edited by Kadayi; 26-01-2013 at 02:37 PM.
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  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Cooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kadayi View Post
    A EULA can't over rule your consumer rights, in the same way that a person can't write a contract with another person that essentially bypasses standard laws. By on large they're written with a view of providing the company with broad protections in the likelihood they need to instigate them in some manner, even if they're nor necessarily enforceable from a wider legal perspective. A lot of it is 'reserve the right to' . If the house rules say, you're not to wear shoes whilst on the premises and the house reserves the right to eject you if you don't oblige, then by you agreeing to the house rules you agree not to wear shoes whilst on the premises. So if they find you walking around inside with shoes on ...you've essentially broken the agreement and they're within their rights to reject you accordingly. From a legal perspective they're in the right. However it if were a case that they said not only would you be ejected, but you'd also have to pay $5000, then a legal question would exist over the extent of the fine in terms of justification. A judge would want to know the reason why $5000 from the house.
    The issue is that 'consumer rights' and civil courts are difficult to bring to bear.

    Becasue if EA, Steam or whoever pull theplug on the service they provide it is you who has to go to the pains to take them to court.

    No one's gonna do that. So EULAs are basically a company's way of having a document to point to to say "told you so" so you can't proceed through their internal complaints system.
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  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kadayi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cooper View Post
    The issue is that 'consumer rights' and civil courts are difficult to bring to bear.

    Becasue if EA, Steam or whoever pull the plug on the service they provide it is you who has to go to the pains to take them to court.
    The court of public opinion alone has seemed pretty effective so far given both EA & Valve have relented/re-appraised decisions regarding people accounts once the gaming press heard about them. Also lets not forget this: -

    http://flygabel4dcampaign.blogspot.co.uk/

    In this day and age of inter-connectivity it's hardly a case that it's you solely alone Vs big brother. If some dude in Australia can persuade a bunch of strangers to spare enough pocket change in order to fly Gabe Newell down to look at his game mod, I don't doubt in the event that someone had their account unfairly banned/closed a public appeal outlining the facts would garner either financial and/or legal support/advice.

    Personally I thought the Russian dude 'repaying drinks' bought for him by gifting his 'friends' games was dodgy as hell tbh (given his 'drinking buddies' all seemed to exist on other continents...), but that didn't stop people getting all hot and bothered over his Steam account being outright banned, and instead he ended up simply having his gifting privileges revoked once Valve looked into the matter further to the public uproar. A fair compromise I'd say to the situation of an individual whom was seemingly exploiting loopholes in the system.
    Last edited by Kadayi; 27-01-2013 at 02:52 PM.
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  7. #7
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    The very idea that games belong not to players, but to publishers and developers, is unique to the video game market. The makers of Risk and Monopoly have no illusions regarding who owns a given copy of their game. They likewise have no illusions regarding the prevention of players from sharing their games with friends. So far as publishers of "cardboard" games are concerned, sharing is the point and the purpose of gaming. Without such sharing, games would not exist.

    Video game publishers feel very differently. Theirs is a view that arises from - or at least seems to coincide with - their collective shift away from creating games, in favor of creating what are more perhaps more appropriately dubbed "interactive movies." These ultra-linear creations are arguably not games to begin with. They are scripted narratives in which the player takes some barely-active role, and thus we call them games. Erroneously, I believe.

    To me a game is a thing with no predetermined outcome. No script guides a game. If a group of people sat down to play Axis and Allies, Risk or even Monopoly, and chose a predetermined winner prior to the start of each game, what purpose would be served by playing the game at all? And these are games: Risk, Monopoly - all the "Cardboard Children" are by their very nature Games. Unscripted, intended for sharing and collective fun; full of surprise, chance and, well, Risk, their outcomes hidden from us all until that final, suspense-filled turn. These creations are well and truly games, and are intended to be owned, modded and shared by the consumers who love them.

    Not so with their video counterparts. Publishers view their electronic titles are sacred. As their belongings. And why not? So many of these titles are so heavily scripted, so linear, their every action so heavy-handed, that we might as well be engaged in watching a movie where every now and then a button is required to move on to the next scene. As opposed to, you know, playing a game. And "movies" take time to create. They require writers invested in the narrative, who must create something unique from whole cloth, something sufficiently unlike anything else in existence that it can be called - and sold as - a unique creation. And we must protect the time and creative energy invested in works of art, or else lose the artists who share their work with the world. And so Publishers, feeling that their interactive movies are sufficiently unique, claim them as their own, and guard them jealously. Because - and this is the crux of it - these are not, after all, games. Not in any sense of the word as we traditionally use it. These are interactive media, telling a unique story created by writers and editors, and so they must be protected as such.

    TL;DR: Perhaps Publishers would be more willing to allow people to share and to mod their games, if they suddenly remembered they were even making games, as opposed to the increasingly popular interactive movies with which the stricter Publishing houses (Looking at you, EA) seem to be obsessed.

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kadayi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackcompany View Post
    The makers of Risk and Monopoly have no illusions regarding who owns a given copy of their game. They likewise have no illusions regarding the prevention of players from sharing their games with friends. So far as publishers of "cardboard" games are concerned, sharing is the point and the purpose of gaming. Without such sharing, games would not exist.
    But similarly those publishers don't have hundreds/thousands of people developing new games either, and the time scales in terms of man hour production going into each aren't remotely comparable. Those games are both pretty old now and albeit there's the occasional thematic version, bar the cost of materials and shipping it's pretty much all profit at this point in time. As long as some copies are sold, they make money. Sure monopoly is a game just as TF2 or Elder scrolls are games, but the economies of scale between board games and computer games are vastly different.
    Last edited by Kadayi; 26-01-2013 at 03:05 PM.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kadayi View Post
    But similarly those publishers don't have hundreds/thousands of people developing new games either, and the time scales in terms of man hour production going into each aren't remotely comparable. Those games are both pretty old now and albeit there's the occasional thematic version, bar the cost of materials and shipping it's pretty much all profit at this point in time. As long as some copies are sold, they make money. Sure monopoly is a game just as TF2 or Elder scrolls are games, but the economies of scale between board games and computer games are vastly different.

    The scale is vastly different, yes. Most of the time. Then you have companies like Fantasy Flight games. Who obviously DO have thousands of people working on new and existing games, versions, expansions, etc. All of which require far more physical material than a video game. At increased shipping costs. For larger board game publishers like Fantasy Flight, the risk inherent in creating, marketing and distributing new IP's/games is inherently larger than - or at least roughly the same as - the risk for a company such as EA. Yet companies like Fantasy Flight do not use unreasonable EULA's and DRM to keep their games selling. Rather, they focus on making quality games people wish to buy, and depend largely on word of mouth to sell those games - successfully, for the most part. While sometimes their prices are high, companies such as Fantasy Flight still make games people are allowed to own and share, and do so successfully, while making what must surely be a handsome profit in the bargain.

    Video game developers could do the same. But they first must let go the perspective - the rigid belief - that the games belong to their makers. They are games. As such they are intended to be played in the manner that best befits each individual consumer or group of consumers. Not in the way the publishers THINK gamers want to play. Take XCOM: An excellent game. And not not intended for modding. But I freely admit to having modded my game, because I, personally, think this improves the game. Of course I cannot use my own personal, subjective preferences when competing against a random person online. But then, I never wanted to play XCOM as a multiplayer game and indeed, did not even know it had multiplayer until after I received the game as a gift from my girl. Multiplayer was neither selling point nor a manner in which I wished to play the game and so I feel that, as an owner of the title, it is my right to play the game in whatever manner - and state - I prefer.

    Shoehorned multiplayer modes that no one wants to play, and the perspective that they themselves own the game, are excuses used by large publishers to explain away their attempts to rob gamers of their rights not only as consumers and owners of digital media, but even as players of a given game.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kadayi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackcompany View Post
    The scale is vastly different, yes. Most of the time. Then you have companies like Fantasy Flight games. Who obviously DO have thousands of people working on new and existing games, versions, expansions, etc. All of which require far more physical material than a video game. At increased shipping costs. For larger board game publishers like Fantasy Flight, the risk inherent in creating, marketing and distributing new IP's/games is inherently larger than - or at least roughly the same as - the risk for a company such as EA. Yet companies like Fantasy Flight do not use unreasonable EULA's and DRM to keep their games selling.
    Fantasy flight pretty much dominate the market and essentially have control of most of the popular franchises (Star Wars, GoT, etc, etc) they're hardly as risk of financial failure or given the physical nature of their products of mass counterfeiting/reproduction to the extent of video games. CD projekt released The Witcher 2 without any notable DRM and yet by their own estimates 4 out of every 5 copies played were pirated. At what point do we say the shopkeeper is entitled to secure their goods? Sure it's fair to say that not every pirated copy is a lost sale, but similarly it has to be also acknowledged that when push comes to shove that if no piracy option were available that a certain % of those players might have coughed up for the game instead. There is an impact, we might not be able to define it exactly, but we cannot blithely dismiss it.

    Video games is an expensive business, and for developers to continue to make games and publishers to continue to backing them, then there has to be a degree of profitability to the operation and keep[ the wheels turning. For every MW, there's a good half dozen KoA.

    Take XCOM: An excellent game. And not not intended for modding. But I freely admit to having modded my game, because I, personally, think this improves the game. Of course I cannot use my own personal, subjective preferences when competing against a random person online. But then, I never wanted to play XCOM as a multiplayer game and indeed, did not even know it had multiplayer until after I received the game as a gift from my girl. Multiplayer was neither selling point nor a manner in which I wished to play the game and so I feel that, as an owner of the title, it is my right to play the game in whatever manner - and state - I prefer. Shoehorned multiplayer modes that no one wants to play, and the perspective that they themselves own the game, are excuses used by large publishers to explain away their attempts to rob gamers of their rights not only as consumers and owners of digital media, but even as players of a given game.
    Your making out as if the game coming with multi-player options is some how a burden, but I'm not really seeing how? I don't play XCOM multi-player either (because I rarely have the time for multi-player anything these days), but I don't begrudge those who can and do the opportunity.
    Last edited by Kadayi; 26-01-2013 at 06:40 PM.
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  11. #11
    Moderator QuantaCat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kadayi View Post
    CD projekt released The Witcher 2 without any notable DRM and yet by their own estimates 4 out of every 5 copies played were pirated. At what point do we say the shopkeeper is entitled to secure their goods? Sure it's fair to say that not every pirated copy is a lost sale, but similarly it has to be also acknowledged that when push comes to shove that if no piracy option were available that a certain % of those players might have coughed up for the game instead. There is an impact, we might not be able to define it exactly, but cannot blithely dismiss it.

    Video games is an expensive business, and for developers to continue to make games and publishers to continue to backing them, then there has to be a degree of profitability to the operation. For every MW, there's a good half dozen KoA.
    I know you like that example of "no drm != more sales", but first of all, thats a weird number, I highly doubt the accuracy of it, also, it doesnt take in account purchases made afterwards. For example, I know people that downloaded the game and bought it later when the enhanced edition came around. I played around with the idea, but decided to just wait. I would have ended up on the 4vs1 list, even though I bought it anyway. I have downloaded games I didnt buy often enough, and almost all games I did play this way I ended up owning. And no, I would have never put down the money for them at release prices. For sure.

    However, Im sure there are people that wouldnt ever pay for the games, I dont know any, nor have I ever heard anyone on the internet declaring themselves to be that way (link me if you do), and of course, those are total losses; but thats the point, arent they total losses anyway? you definitely dont want to make a game for these people.

    Anyhow, piracy in itself might be a too big a subject to tackle in this thread, as its been discussed to death all over the forums. Im generally for sharing software, because I think the money generally flows in the right direction. Still dont care about DRM, though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kadayi View Post
    Fantasy flight pretty much dominate the market and essentially have control of most of the popular franchises (Star Wars, GoT, etc, etc) they're hardly as risk of financial failure or given the physical nature of their products of mass counterfeiting/reproduction to the extent of video games. CD projekt released The Witcher 2 without any notable DRM and yet by their own estimates 4 out of every 5 copies played were pirated. At what point do we say the shopkeeper is entitled to secure their goods? Sure it's fair to say that not every pirated copy is a lost sale, but similarly it has to be also acknowledged that when push comes to shove that if no piracy option were available that a certain % of those players might have coughed up for the game instead. There is an impact, we might not be able to define it exactly, but we cannot blithely dismiss it.

    Video games is an expensive business, and for developers to continue to make games and publishers to continue to backing them, then there has to be a degree of profitability to the operation and keep[ the wheels turning. For every MW, there's a good half dozen KoA.
    The shop owner has every right to secure their goods. To make sure those goods are paid for. To make sure no one is stealing from them. I wholly agree with this sentiment, though I too believe some gamers will simply never buy a game and will always resort to piracy. Nonetheless, those who put in the time and effort to create a game - and to market and distribute that game - deserve to get paid for doing so.

    But the consumer also deserves to own merchandise they have paid money for. Regardless of whether that merchandise is digital or physical, the consumer deserves protection, too. I deserve to know that I will always be able to play games on Steam or Origon, regardless of whether EA or Valve goes out of business 10 years from now. I paid for the goods, I should be able to use them.

    And I should be able to use them in any way I see fit. So long as I am not profiting from someone else's hard work - or helping others to do so - I should be able to play a game the way I want to play the game. These are, after all, games and not books. Or movies. If i want to edit ini files or tweak game settings I should be allowed to do so. IF you want to bar me from then redistributing the product you produced in my changed form, I will have to live with that, since to do elsewise would be to, in essence, profit from or gain notoriety due to someone else's work. Regardless of the rules regarding distribution, however, once I buy a game - or a gaming console - I should be able to do with that game or device as I please. Since, you know, ownership.



    Your making out as if the game coming with multi-player options is some how a burden, but I'm not really seeing how? I don't play XCOM multi-player either (because I rarely have the time for multi-player anything these days), but I don't begrudge those who can and do the opportunity.[/QUOTE]


    Multiplayer becomes a burden once Publishers begin using it as a crutch in order to prevent people from altering their own personal, single player experience in order to heighten their enjoyment of the game. If you do not want me using mods in multiplayer, fine. When and IF I choose to play multiplayer, THEN you can overwrite my modified ini file (looking at you, XCOM/Firaxis). But refusing to allow me to mod my own single player experience because you tacked on (yet another) multiplayer afterthought to yet another single player game...no. Just...no. The game belongs to me, I own it and once I own it, I will alter, modify, tweak and house rule it any damned way I please. If i cannot redistribute "my version" fine, but that should not prevent me from having "my version" of a product I own.

    Or we can just prevent people from putting after market rims on a car, or a book jacket on a favorite hard back novel. Since, you know, they too are altering someone else's product.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackcompany View Post
    ...
    TL;DR: Perhaps Publishers would be more willing to allow people to share and to mod their games, if they suddenly remembered they were even making games, as opposed to the increasingly popular interactive movies with which the stricter Publishing houses (Looking at you, EA) seem to be obsessed.
    I'd say no. The only driving factor is money. Games creators are happy to release things (see the openness of the likes of Minecraft) and not sue everyone under the sun. However, what drives the other side of the argument? I don't think it's "artistic integrity" or "perceived ownership". It's plainly a land grab for money. :(

    Kadayi, I would say if a publisher/developer wishes to over invest in a product, it's their problem, not mine as a consumer. If they put less in, it's less risk. Why try and sell gold plated tooth picks or toilet seats? Keep the production method that suits the product.
    Last edited by TechnicalBen; 27-01-2013 at 06:48 PM.

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    There are two issues that I can see when comparing Video and Board games. One is that Video Games don't degrade. If I give you a copy of Risk that I've had for a few years the box might be frayed, the board might have a stain, a card might be bent and ripped. There is a clear difference between a new physical object and a used one. Video games don't have this distinction; if I give you a copy of Far Cry 3 once I'm done with it (assuming that that was possible), it's the exact same game that I played, and there is no incentive to have your own copy.

    The other, more pressing, issue is that video games, for the most part, have an end point. Even more open-world experiences like Skyrim have a linear plot, and most players will reach a point where they say "I'm done". If you then give someone else your copy of the game, you lose nothing, because you've reached a point where you're experience with the game is finished. Board games are different; they're meant to be replayed, over and over again, continuously. If I give you my copy of Monopoly, I don't have Monopoly any more, and there really isn't any "end point" for Monopoly, or point where you've seen every interesting thing that you can since the game is based as much on the people you play it with as the mechanics themselves.

    Of course, I'd love to be able to share video games and, indeed, the industry was just fine when this was something that you could do. There is, however, a difference to keep in mind, and it's one that becomes increasingly relevant as digital downloads become more popular and there is literally no difference between used and new games, coupled with the fact that you could theoretically share it with anyone in the world with the click of a mouse.

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Unaco's Avatar
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    I thought the overall reaction to the EULA stuff was pretty ridiculous, on the whole. EA were never going to ban people and take their games away for not reporting a bug, they're not that stupid or "evil". It was in there as a 'Nuclear option', and a bit of legal ass-covering, probably for people being "evil" against EA... Not reporting bugs/exploits, but revealing them somewhere else, writing something about "I got in the SimCity Beta and it's sh*t! Look at all these bugs...", or using obvious exploits for some sort of advantage. The wording in the EULA wasn't "we will"... it was "we reserve the right". It gave them the option of an extreme sanction, in the event that an extreme sanction was warranted. Also, maybe, to try and push the idea that it's a Beta, in which they want you to find and report bugs, rather than a demo.

    EA are pretty big, and they have to keep all the lawyers they employ busy... hence all the EULA stuff. But they're not that stupid or "evil"... they didn't have a nefarious plot to take games away from vast swathes of people. They wouldn't have been banning people left and right, and probably wouldn't even have used it. There's lots of things like this in EULAs and the like, but they never (or very, very rarely) get used.
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    To be fair, I don't think any (reasonable and well-informed) person was angry about this specific case of the EULA. It was always very clear that it was just a bit too broad of a blanket to cover the exploits issue.

    But many people (rightly or wrongly) are afraid of the concept of the slippery slope and see every "... seriously guys?" moment as an opportunity to try and push for reform, and this was a pretty juicy target for that.
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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Unaco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    But many people (rightly or wrongly) are afraid of the concept of the slippery slope
    That's the problem. And any slippery slope fallacy is, inevitably, wrong.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hypernetic View Post
    I just have an opinion different to your own. Circle jerking is good for no one, be glad somebody isn't afraid to disagree with women on the internet.
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    No, you are literally the cancer that is killing gaming.
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  18. #18
    Moderator QuantaCat's Avatar
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    its not really like anyone can push a large company like EA to change anything about their EULA policies, unless they stop buying their products in a big way. And since I assume that it's still mostly consoles and casual PC gamers, I doubt any real complaints about EULAs from EA will make a big difference.

    I still think EULAs dont really mean all that much.
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    Valve has embraced the modding community and it has worked absolute financial wonders for them. The problem with companies like EA is that they are still married to an outdated business model that was set up by the entertainment industry back in the days of yore. One that relies 100% on brick and mortar sales and cuts the public out of the creative process. EA's only way to survive with this model is to rely on corporate buyouts, IP hoarding and legal maneuvering which doesn't put them in good standing with consumers.

    The sad part is that there was a time when EA actually made good games, before they became the evil empire that they are today. (Activison also made good games once upon a time.)

  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dead Herald View Post
    Valve has embraced the modding community and it has worked absolute financial wonders for them. The problem with companies like EA is that they are still married to an outdated business model that was set up by the entertainment industry back in the days of yore. One that relies on 100% on brick and mortar sales and cuts the public out of the creative process. EA's only way to survive with this model is to rely on corporate buyouts, IP hoarding and legal maneuvering which doesn't put them in good standing with consumers.

    The sad part is that there was a time when EA actually made good games, before they became the evil empire that they are today. (Activison also made good games once upon a time.)
    ...

    EA has Origin....

    Basically all the major publishers/big-wigs have shifted toward an emphasis on digital when it comes to the PC. Console-wise, b&m and retail still make a lot of sense, if only because Gamestop is such a juggernaut that they have to be VERY carefully detached before Sony and Nintendo and MS (xbox division) can take advantage of digital.
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