Jump to content

Why 'Games as a Service' sucks and why the law needs to address it

Recommended Posts

I was just watching this video on YouTube and it hit on a key reason that I don't purchase most of the games that get released these days for PC because 1 I refuse to play online with other humans.  I avoid social networks like Twitter and Facebook for a reason; I have no intention of participating in the same kinds of activities on game servers, and 2 because 'online only' means that as soon as the company providing the servers decides to stop supporting the game and shuts the servers down, the software I paid all that money for becomes instantly worthless unless there is some kind of 'offline' single player content (an easy thing for me to avoid since I only buy games to play in single player mode anyway, but that's not true for everyone obviously):

Basically the gist of it is that software companies would really like us to believe that we don't own the software that we purchase from them, but nothing could be further from the truth.  While we certainly don't have the right to start creating and selling copies of the content as our own; just like with movies, music, books and any other form of intellectual property that is sold as a good, once you buy it, you own it and may use it in any way that you see fit within the restrictions of the law (the actual law, not the pseudo-law printed in that massive EULA/ToS that the software company tries to convince you is some sort of legally binding contract; it isn't; the same IP and fair-use laws that apply to films, music and books also apply in every way to software no matter what a game developer or big corporation like Microsoft or Apple might say and there are countless court rulings upholding fair use rights to prove it).

The video references this eloquent post from a user on the linustechtips forums and I recommend you read it and watch the above video if you're interested in this subject; it's a real eye opener, especially with regards to the current state of the video games industry (and it's becoming even more relevant with game streaming becoming more of a thing with Google Stadia coming up as well as Microsoft, Sony and NVIDIA all jumping on the game streaming bandwagon):


If we aren't careful, software, especially video games, might soon become just like Netflix, and while that isn't always a bad thing (I'm a Netflix subscriber myself), it does mean that we could end up losing a lot of our gaming history because software/content preservation isn't an option with the 'games as a service' model meaning there is no option to just 'buy the DVD' as you can with any film/TV show that Netflix might pull from their lineup, and it's especially troublesome since, if the game you're purchasing can't be played at all without access to the company's game servers, you can't use a legal/fair-use backup copy as you can with recording a TV show or movie through your DVR or VCR (activities which are very much legal under fair-use as long as you don't sell it or distribute it to others in any way that violates IP/copyright laws; personal use is A-OK under the law in that regard).

Don't get me wrong, I fully understand the difference between software that legitimately exists as a service such as an antivirus, or in the case of the software supported on these forums, anti-malware software that requires ongoing regular database updates to maintain its usefulness and effectiveness and that Researchers should be paid for their work in creating and distributing those databases (not to mention the constant efforts on the part of the Developers to create new modules and technologies to tackle new threats), but that's very different from a video game or even an operating system or office/document software, but the 'software as a service' model is the golden goose that all these companies are pursuing, including Microsoft, which is the number 1 reason they have been pushing so hard to get everyone onto Windows 10 and onto Office 365 (the latter of which has already become a subscription service rather than a one-time purchase; Adobe has done the same thing with their professional creative software unfortunately).  I can understand continuing to pay for something if you expect the developer to continue providing perpetual updates and upgrades, but for most software, including games, this really isn't a necessity for most people.  Instead, it's just a way for companies to squeeze more money out of their customers through predatory business practices and planned obsolescence and it's only going to get worse unless the legal system does something about it.  Hopefully they will soon because things are getting ridiculous.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, I remember that.  If these corporations had their way, we'd never actually own anything.  Everything would be disposable, would have built in obsolescence/failure and we'd be forced into contracts for ongoing subscriptions which may never be terminated.

No thanks.  It's bad enough that they now require a full credit check just to get cell phone service.  It's getting to the point that nothing we buy actually lasts or belongs to us (remember Apple tanking performance on older iPhones "to preserve battery life" and fighting against the right to repair?  If these companies get their way we'll be upgrading every device we own every year or two because it will be rendered obsolete and incompatible with each new software update (this has already begun with Windows 10, with many machines that were fully compatible with the initial release not being able to upgrade to the latest build because they are 'no longer supported').

I also remember when Sony went so far as installing a rootkit on users computers when they ripped certain audio CD's to their hard drives without telling anyone.  That was fun to deal with as a PC repair tech.  Telling people their machine got infected by a rootkit, not from a dodgy website or from downloading cracked software, but from a legitimate music CD that they legally purchased.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

Back to top
  • Create New...

Important Information

This site uses cookies - We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.