Do we actually own the games we buy?

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by Gingerbread Demon, Aug 11, 2022.

  1. Gingerbread Demon

    Gingerbread Demon Stealer of all the cookies in time and space Premium Member

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    I mean I do occasionally read the EULA in some of my software and I noticed that with some games you have the "right" to play them but not own them. We are just buying what amounts to the privilege of playing them and companies like EA and Ubisoft grant us that right but can revoke it at any time. That's the impression I get from reading those forms.

    Howcome video games are one of the few products that you buy the product but are not allowed full ownership of it? Why is that allowed?
     
  2. BillJ

    BillJ Former Democrat Premium Member

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    That is pretty much the way it is with all digital consumption.
     
  3. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Admiral Admiral

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    Welcome to capitalism...
     
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  4. Kor

    Kor Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Arguably it's similar with other media. With a movie on disc, even though you own the disc, that just gives you the rights to view the content in a private setting. Definitely not to give away copies. And if you want to do a screening at school, at work, a community center, or on an oil rig (curious how the notice always specifically mentioned that...), then you are supposed to contact the distributor to obtain a different and more expensive type of license.

    And digital purchases of movies can be taken away if distribution goes to a different company and they didn't make provisions for prior purchases to be transferred to them, or if distribution rights pulled altogether. At least with a physical copy, if it goes out of print and is no longer in distribution, then you can still watch it for as long as the disc is in good condition, and you can obtain one secondhand if somebody is willing to give or sell it to you.

    Kor
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2022
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  5. BillJ

    BillJ Former Democrat Premium Member

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    Welcome to humanity.
     
  6. Ragitsu

    Ragitsu Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That said, no corporation is going to send a S.W.A.T team to raid your house for a copy of a video game.
     
  7. Gingerbread Demon

    Gingerbread Demon Stealer of all the cookies in time and space Premium Member

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    But could a software company choose to go against that grain?
    For example could a company decide to create a game sell it but do away with all the license mumbo jumbo if they wanted to?
     
  8. BillJ

    BillJ Former Democrat Premium Member

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    They have to legally define the transaction, that is what the license is for.
     
  9. Gingerbread Demon

    Gingerbread Demon Stealer of all the cookies in time and space Premium Member

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    How so?

    If I make a game and sell a game what do I need to define? I grant you full ownership of the finished product
     
  10. SPCTRE

    SPCTRE Badass Admiral

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    Remember that today we have a range of games that do simply not make sense in any other sort of license agreement (for reference, see: Games-as-a-Service).

    Simply put, there is no way to "own" a product such as a Life Service Game, e.g. Destiny 2. Sure you can own an install disc of the game client, but there is no game without the server backend that provides the service components.
     
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  11. Gingerbread Demon

    Gingerbread Demon Stealer of all the cookies in time and space Premium Member

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    But what about offline single player games?

    If I make one of those surely I can sell it any way I choose..
     
  12. Timelord Victorious

    Timelord Victorious Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Does that include backend infrastructure to run the game, as modern servers?
    Does that include a full decompiled copy of the game code and all individual assets used within it?
    Does that include distribution rights? Could you take the code, compile it together again, press it on a bluray or put it on a server and start selling your own copies?
     
  13. Gingerbread Demon

    Gingerbread Demon Stealer of all the cookies in time and space Premium Member

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    Sorry I was referring to single player games, mostly played offline. If I made them and sold them surely I could sell them on a disk or such with the intent that once downloaded or installed they are the player's property now to keep and install or uninstall as they see fit.
     
  14. Timelord Victorious

    Timelord Victorious Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But then I think you still only sold a physical medium with a license to play the game.
    The buyer would still not legally be allowed to make any copies beyond personal use and redistribute.
    In some ways this is even less desirable that pure digital because, if you lose the disc or it gets damaged , the buyer would have to prove he actually bought the game license to get a new disc, if even…
     
  15. Oddish

    Oddish Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That seems to be the way of things in this digital age. Given that a game is a collection of 1's and 0's that can be duplicated indefinitely, keeping limits on consumer ownership rights is necessary to ensure that the artists get paid. And if there's no profit in it, people won't make games anymore.
     
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  16. Jedi Marso

    Jedi Marso Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    No, welcome to digital media. Games / Movies whatever purchased on CD / DVD Blu-ray are owned by you. As long as you have electricity and the hardware to play them, and the games don't require non-local access to some distant server for assets. Stuff in the cloud, you are at the mercy of whoever controls the cloud, plus your internet connection. That's all there is to it.
     
  17. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Admiral Admiral

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    Welcome to humour...
     
  18. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Could you? Absolutely. The challenge is the fact that people will work there way around it, so that once they own the copy and you say "Yup, you own it to do with what you will" you open the pathway for people to copy it, install on friend's machines and to sell copies.

    Which is why User agreements exist. It allows companies to control both the intellectual property, i.e. game assets, code, as well as distribution, i.e. how people acquire it. In the digital age, and going back for as long as I have gamed, the effort to download and redistribute, either as bootlegs or just among friends, has been an ongoing effort. Game companies would work hard to create encryption to ensure unauthorized copies could not be made because they would not be paid for those copies.

    So, can you? Of course. It's a matter of are you OK with the consequences, i.e. selling less copes in the long run.
     
  19. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This is where Developer and Publisher need to be defined. All too often, the developer will make a game and shop it around, or if they're a big company, sometimes they're one and the same. But sadly, we've also often seen the case of a publisher taking advantage of a developer, with the publisher setting the terms of the deal. I remember reading about a relatively recent game being developed, and while the developers weren't ready for its release, the publisher thought otherwise and strong-armed its release by stealing it from the developers, effectively breaking the contract and leaving the developers in a lurch by selling it without their knowledge, and it was followed by a court battle. And to make matters worse, this wasn't the only case of a developer being taken advantage of by this publisher. All this to say that publishers don't always have the best interest of the developer, and the final decisions of where games end up are often out of the hands of developers.

    Interestingly, online stores have a lot to do with it. One of the reasons I appreciate GOG, for example, is their removal of DRM, which certainly helps when it comes to older games which may have had their server checks removed, which certainly help in playing things at any time without fear of servers being discontinued.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2022
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  20. Gingerbread Demon

    Gingerbread Demon Stealer of all the cookies in time and space Premium Member

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    GOG is my preferred online store but sadly they lack the range of titles.