back to article Stardock revises 'Gamer Bill of Rights'

Software publisher Stardock received a hearty round of back pats from PC game enthusiasts when it released "The Gamer's Bill of Rights" back in August. The bill outlined ten "common sense" principles it encouraged game makers to follow. Two items in particular addressed the controversy over Digital Rights Management (DRM) …


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  1. Sooty

    the main concern

    as with any software, is that nothing, whatsoever, is installed without the users express permission.

    if i install a game (or any software), i expect nothing other than that game(or software) to be installed!

    If it is, i should have visibility of it, and the option to refuse. If that software is necessary for the running of the game, it need to be clearly outlined, in a fashion that is visible before purchase.

    ie the case + websites selling it MUST explicitly say that this game requires the installation of the securerom driver in order to be played, and you must explicitly be given the option to remove that separate driver. if you uninstall the driver without the game, the game just needs to pop up a message saying that it requires the other software to run (which is fair enough, as long as this is CLEARLY visible to anyone, before purchase, failing that, they must be able to return the software for a refund)

    refunds on pc games are near impossible to obtain, as it is, the only pc game i have ever successfully returned for a refund, was a game where the store had given me a german version, even after installing it on a pc in the store, and seeing that it was all in german, i still had to argue to get a refund! (although in all fairness, i was tempted to make a copy of the cd before returning it, despite it being in german, however at the time blank cd's were expensive, and copy pretection was less well understood, so i decided against it)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    we're not really wankers

    You just caught us pulling our pud.

    Paris, 'cos she would.

  3. andreyvul

    And EA ...

    ... will ignore it,

  4. Quxxy

    Umm... no

    "The call for a more sensible approach to DRM can certainly be appreciated, but this seems a bit two-faced — like a person who yells, "meat is murder" at people eating hamburgers but has no problem having the occasional fish fillet themselves."

    Actually, it's more akin to such a person sitting at a table with a friend who eats meat. Stardock didn't develop OR produce the game as far as I can tell. Blaming them for the copy protection on it is just asinine.

    Also note that on their store, they explicitly state that the game uses SecuROM, which is more than most companies would bother with.

  5. TJ
    Thumb Down


    Sounds like they are playing both sides of the fence to me, and IMO, that means they are not on my side. They released a set of standards and took a stand against DRM, then they go up to DRM and give it a big hug? Thanks but no thanks. This just takes away any respect you might have gotten than if you had just stood on the sideline and started incorporating DRM into your games without saying anything. Stardock, you fail.

  6. b


    ...stuffed my hopes for BF3..


  7. marc
    Thumb Up

    Steam works fine

    Why can't all games publishers use Steam or a similar system? It lets you install games on any number of PCs, but only one can be in use at a time. I have even activated my 10 year old copy of Half Life Generation,so can still play timeless classics on my modern Vista PC. I've been persuaded by the steam homepage to buy more games over the wire.

    Seems like the perfect system to me. People buy games, they are happy because they can put them on all their PCs, people buy more games on-line, publishers are happy because they get more revenue.

    The only downside is if you're away without Net access it sometimes won't work because it's halfway through an update, however by simply testing the game runs in offline mode before going away you can mitigate this.

  8. Martin Lyne


    it be more like somene who cries "Meat is Murder" and then sells someone a hamburger? You say yourself that the DRM'd game is not Stardock's own work, so they can't be reasonably expected to remove it. I assume it's a game about piracy too THE IRONY.

    Unless it's about ghetto posteriors?

    Anyway, Kudos still goes out to Stardock, GalCivs, Sword of the Stars and Sins of a Solar Empire are all good-to-excellent space games, each with something individual, rolled into one would make for something special indeed.

  9. Steve

    "potentially harmful software"

    Why the surprise that they removed this - have you never heard of 'lawyers'? If you make your definition of 'harm' broad enough, almost anything can have the potential to cause it.

    It sounds like the legal department suddenly noticed what the PR guys had been up to and shat themselves.

  10. Jacob


    Could be me but I think this is a bit too harsh. If you go to the page of the game in question it is easy to see that it is not from Stardock but Capcom. Stardocks own software is DRM free and they obviously stick to their own rules. Kudos to them really.

    They distribute other games from other suppliers as well by the looks of it. They could say no to any games that come with DRM but I`m not sure that would be good for their business.

    Instead they do the next best thing and that is warn people that the game contains Suckyrom. I find that quite commendable and definately better then buying a game from the store and not finding out it contains 'stupid' DRM until you have installed it and it is throwing errors.

    On a side note I`m wondering how that court thing is going against EA's spore.

  11. Mark

    re: Steam works fine

    You don't own the software with Steam.

    Try and sell on your HL2 game.

    When they turn off the servers, will your store purchased HL2 work?

    Given that the reason for "no returns" was you could still have the game installed and working, why isn't HL2 refundable?

    And they still require installation of things you cannot refuse and ban installation of things you may want.

  12. Mark

    All DRM is "stupid DRM"

    You have

    a) secret key

    b) algorithm for using key

    c) data encrypted with key

    on the items you're giving to the customer in return for their cash.

    How is this supposed to stop a customer from using the key to decrypt the data?


    PS when we use electronic money, can we give them an EULA for our electronic IP (the cash)?

  13. George Gardiner

    Easy DRM

    Out of interest.. Does anybody know why the game logic could not just be implemented on a cheap microcontroller (PIC or something) and graphics instructions sent back to the users PC. Game logic generally accounts for very few ticks and microcontrollers are running in the 100s of MHz these days. I'm sure we'll see games on flash drives before long afterall.

    I'm not actually pro-DRM or anything, just interested.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Steam is a terrible system.

    I'm amazed that the same people who whined about Vista costing them 5 odd FPS are perfectly willing to let Steam use god knows how many clock cycles running the the background every time they use a game.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    @sooty - refunds on pc games are near impossible to obtain

    I know what you mean. I purchased a game years ago for one of my young'uns and it didn't work right when installed (win98 era) I took it back to the store.

    clerk:: what seems to be the problem

    me: it won't work right when installed

    clerk: we can only replace it with a new one if it doesn't work or give money back if unopened

    me: (to wife- go get a new one off shelf please)

    wife: returns with new sealed box and hands to clerk

    clerk and I exchange boxes and I now have new sealed in box game (same one which, of course, still won't work)

    me: handing new sealed box to clerk and saying "i would like my money back now...thanks"

    clerk (realising he's been had by the store rules)....ok, here's your money back

    I found out much later while talking with that software company service rep (who had not been available on my first several calls) that there was indeed a way to install the game and make it work, but by then I was past thinking about buying another copy to even try...

  16. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Game protection

    Because computers and OSes are complicated things, vendors have taken liberties with our hardware and software that we would absolutely not have accepted in any other domain.

    Imagine that you buy a car, and are told that you can only park it in three different places once you get home. Park it in a fourth place and it won't start anymore. Who would accept that ?

    Worse, imagine that the car you buy and bring home makes your boiler stop working one hour out of six. When you call the repairman, he says it has nothing to do with the boiler, when you call the car vendor, he says the car is functioning as designed. What do you do now ?

    After a few months with your car, you notice that there is a new box in the cellar, but you do not recognize the logo. There is also a warning that says "do not open or remove". If you remove the box and throw it away, your car doesn't start any more. You call the car salesman and he tells you, after much questioning, that the box is a required component of your car and you have to have it in your cellar for the car to work. But nobody told you that when you bought the car.

    Oh, and you can have no other box in your cellar either. If you do, there will be a conflict and one or both boxes will disappear.

    Because such things are not possible in real life, they have not happened. But that is exactly what is happening on our computers - because the vendors believe they have the right to treat your hardware and software as they see fit - with or without your permission.

    They probably believe that, since you bought their product, you implicitly give them permission.

    Well I don't.

    How about you ?

  17. A J Stiles

    @ Pascal Monett

    Hear, hear.

    It's nice to know that I'm not the only person who thinks like I do.

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