If you’re going to Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) this weekend, you’ll likely encounter the new “Gamer’s Bill of Rights,” a document drawn up by independent game developer/publisher Stardock to encourage better customer support for gamers.
The Gamer’s Bill of Rights is a statement of principles from Stardock that contains 10 specific “rights” that game enthusiasts can expect from Stardock as an independent developer and publisher — and that the company hopes other publishers will embrace.
As an example of The Gamer’s Bill of Rights in action, Stardock instituted a policy of allowing users to return copies of The Political Machine for a full refund if gamers’ PCs weren’t sufficient to run the game adequately.
“This is an awesome framework for the industry to aspire to,” said Chris Taylor, CEO and founder of Gas Powered Games. “[This will allow us to] provide our customers with the gaming experience that they have wanted for years, and really deserve.”
Here are the 10 principles in the Gamer’s Bill of Rights:
- Gamers shall have the right to return games that don’t work with their computers for a full refund.
- Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state.
- Gamers shall have the right to expect meaningful updates after a game’s release.
- 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.
- 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.
- Gamers shall have the right to expect that games won’t install hidden drivers or other potentially harmful software without their consent.
- Gamers shall have the right to re-download the latest versions of the games they own at any time.
- Gamers shall have the right to not be treated as potential criminals by developers or publishers.
- 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.
- 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
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.