New UK law protects gamers from faulty games

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“Can’t wait for all the indie devs to cry about this” – Reddit User lordflashheartwoof.

We’ve seen some counterproductive tendencies within the video game industry these past few years. This includes controversial collector’s editions, inconsistent early releases, retail exclusives, and other practices that work only to further separate a seemingly unified community under the banner of “Gamer”.

Consumer law is changing in the UK, as the Consumer Rights Act comes into force on October 1, 2015. This new law states that anyone who buys faulty goods (including digital purchases) in the UK is entitled to a full refund for up to 30 days after purchase.

What does it mean for both consumers and developers of non “free-to-play” titles? I’ve been reading through the website for this new law and am pleasantly surprised in the clarity of this act. This is the execution of what we’ve needed to propel the industry back into shape.

The topic of early access/alpha/beta stages of game development has been a controversial issue to say the least. Some developers such as Blizzard have been adamant about their policies of “when it’s ready”, and even they have slip ups every now and then such as the launch of Diablo 3. On the other side of this spectrum is the terribly glitchy PC launches of titles such as Ubisoft’s Assasin’s Creed Unity and the recent Batman: Arkham Knight, both of which were downright unplayable.

Most of these changes are important updates to existing laws. But there are two new areas of law:

  • This will be the first time that rights on digital content will have been set out in legislation. The Act gives consumers a clear right to repair or replacement of faulty digital content such as online film and games, music downloads and e-books. The law here has been unclear up until now and this change brings us up to date with how digital products have evolved.

  • For the first time, there are clear rules for what should happen if a service is not provided with reasonable care and skill or as agreed. For example, the business that provided the service must bring it into line with what was agreed with the customer or, if this is not practical, must give some money back.

Will this new act prevent devs from releasing faulty titles halfway through development? Or is this a crutch to the industry as developers and testers will now have to limit creativity in order to facilitate releases without any faults? Tell us what you think.

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Adam "Kharakov" Kharatian
Adam "Kharakov" Kharatian 397 posts

Adam "kharakov" Kharat is part nerd, part geek, and full awesome. With deadly writing skills and the sleeping habits of a jackrabbit, late night gaming sessions are all but mandatory.