April 14, 2024

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Ubisoft is at the heart of the battle to stop the shutdown of online gaming

Ubisoft is at the heart of the battle to stop the shutdown of online gaming

In an increasingly digital age, owning media outlets directly is becoming less likely. Whether it's movies, music, books, or video games, the shift to digital has made it more difficult for consumers to own permanent physical copies of their favorite media. In video games, countless games that players spent time and money on have been pulled by publishers, never to be played again. Legislation on this is spotty around the world, and some companies have gotten away with collecting consumer money just for the sake of Pull the plug on a game Months or years down the line. However, YouTube channel Accursed Farms has begun a concerted campaign to enforce stronger legislation against the practice, with Ubisoft's racing game. the crew In the middle of it.

The growing lack of video game ownership

Ross Scott, who runs Accursed Farms, posted a 31 minute video On the channel that explains the problem and how he thinks it gets attention the crewApril 1 close It could prompt governments to enact greater consumer protections for people who buy games online. As shown in the video, consumer rights in these situations vary between countries. However, France has some very strong consumer laws, and Ubisoft is based there.

“This isn't really about the crew “Or even Ubisoft,” Scott says in the video. “It's about trying to find a weak link in the industry so governments can check this practice to prevent publishers from ruining our games.”

Cursed farms

according to Since-deleted blog post By Ubisoft, the crew It had over 12 million players before it was delisted in December last year. Even if most of those people weren't actively playing the game by the end of its lifespan, that still means millions of copies of the game were sold, none of which are playable today. This has become a very common practice in a lot of online games from some of the biggest companies in the industry, such as when Square Enix shut down Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier In January 2023 or Electronic Arts cancels the release of the mobile version of Apex Legends Next May. However, Scott posits that players do not form a substantive collective action to save these games, because by the time the company makes the decision to shut down the game, most of the player base will have already moved on. That's why he formed the Stop Killing Games Initiative, which attempts to mobilize concerned video game fans to push local governments to look into the situation with the crew. The hope is that this could lead to broader change.

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How the Stop Killing Games Initiative coordinates the work

the Stop killing games website Includes step-by-step instructions for different countries and regions on how to support the cause, whether by contacting local representatives and government bodies or simply spreading the word. However, the French and Australian sections include measures designated as high priority, with the amount people can contribute varying depending on your local consumer laws and whether you have already made a purchase or not. the crew. If you're not sure what to do in your country, the site can guide you to the appropriate channels. Some global options, such as contacting the French Directorate General for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Anti-Fraud (DGCCF), require contacting Ubisoft first and waiting two weeks, which Scott says he fears will kill some of the momentum.

“Asking people to wait up to two weeks before taking a second step could ruin us,” Scott says. Maybe I'm asking the impossible here, I don't know. This may be exactly why the gaming industry has been able to get away with this nonsense for so long. Because no one has the attention span for this second step. Some of you can do it, though. i know it.”

Cursed farms

The ultimate goal of Stop the Killing Games is for governments to implement legislation to ensure:

  • Toys sold must be left in functional condition
  • Games sold must not require any additional contact with the publisher or affiliated parties to function
  • The above also applies to games that sold microtransactions to customers
  • The above cannot be replaced by end user license agreements
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As Scott explains, the ideal outcome is that the legislation would require online games to run on player-hosted servers after developers stop supporting them, rather than publishers shouldering the burden of hosting servers internally. This is often a major reason why games and services are shut down. Companies don't want to keep hosting online servers for games they don't actively support or make money from, so they shut down games entirely. While it's unclear how achievable these goals are, Scott says trying will at least help ease the cloud of uncertainty hanging over video game ownership.

“If we win, can you imagine how good you will feel in the future knowing that all your toys are safe and you only have to think about whether you like the game or not,” Scott says. “That's my vision for gaming in the future. It's a little different than the industry. And if we lose, we'll at least be told straight to our faces that in a democracy, you can never own the video games you pay for, no matter how many people want that to happen.” That. I think this will be a civics lesson.

Ubisoft's director of subscriptions, Philippe Tremblay, recently said the company wants the number of players to be higher They are comfortable not owning the toys they buy The same way people used to not have albums on Spotify or movies on Netflix:

One of the things we've seen is that gamers are used to, like DVDs, having their games and owning them. This is the consumer shift that needs to happen. They were relieved not to have their own CD collection or DVD collection. This is a shift that has been a little slower in occurring [in games]. As players feel comfortable in this aspect… you don't lose progress. If you resume your game at another time, your progress file will still exist. It has not been deleted. You will not lose what you have built in the game or your interaction with the game. So it's about feeling comfortable not having your game.

We've contacted Scott and Ubisoft about this story. A Ubisoft representative said the company had no comment.

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