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EU proposals could mean refunds for buggy games

Friday, 15th May 2009 13:20 GMT By Patrick Garratt

falloutexclamation

EU officials are proposing that games be brought in line with a European law that states people are entitled to refunds if products don’t work “with fair commercial conditions”.

Like, if it’s broken. As in, if it’s buggy.

Commissioners Viviane Reding and Meglena Kuneva want to expand the EU Sales and Guarantees Directive to cover games, meaning they’ll carry with them a two-year guarantee.

Games body TIGA thinks it’s a bad plan.

“They have to be careful not to stifle new ideas,” TIGA boss Richard Wilson told the BBC.

“Consumers need good quality products – that is only reasonable – but if the legislation is too heavy-handed it could make publishers and developers very cautious.”

More through there.

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18 Comments

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  1. mart

    What’s that a picture of there? Fallout 3 with commentary or something?

    #1 5 years ago
  2. Patrick Garratt

    It’s the first released version of The Pitt.

    #2 5 years ago
  3. Anders

    Lair, anyone?

    #3 5 years ago
  4. Razor

    With a scheme like this, PS3 owners would be rich in no time…

    #4 5 years ago
  5. DARKFiB3R

    Sweet, this will stop the stupid no returns policy at GAME. So now I can rip games and then take them back lol w00t!

    Seriously though, how do you define the level of “buggyness” required before a game is eligible for a refund?

    Every single game ever made has bugs!

    #5 5 years ago
  6. ecu

    Who decides when a game is buggy enough for a refund?

    #6 5 years ago
  7. Michael O'Connor

    “Who decides when a game is buggy enough for a refund?”

    To the point where it’s not playable, obviously.

    Falling through the ground once or twice in a 30 hour play-session wouldn’t be considered buggy enough to deserve a refund. A game that isn’t even properly playable, on the other hand, would obviously be refundable.

    #7 5 years ago
  8. DS1086

    @Razor
    Maybe they could extend the law to cover buggy consoles too. That way, all 360 owners could get their money back. :D

    #8 5 years ago
  9. freedoms_stain

    They should extend this to cover limited install DRM’d PC games.

    #9 5 years ago
  10. Shatner

    Seems very difficult standard to enforce.

    Every product has bugs.

    Bugs have different severities.

    Bugs have different chances of actually occuring – like any failure rate

    Bugs in games (and firmware) can (and are) often fixed for free once they are known about.

    So who determines the criteria and grace period of a bug? Or do we just blindly introduce a claim-culture that people can abuse as they see fit?

    #10 5 years ago
  11. Michael O'Connor

    “So who determines the criteria and grace period of a bug? Or do we just blindly introduce a claim-culture that people can abuse as they see fit?”

    People *will* likely attempt to abuse it, there’s no doubt about that, but unless the people proposing this law are monkeys with typewriting, they’ll no doubt have it pretty enforced what is and isn’t acceptable standard.

    Hopefully this might encourage a few more companies to quality test their products a little more. Severe bugs have become increasingly more common in console games since consoles started offering the ability for them to be patched.

    #11 5 years ago
  12. Mike

    Good. Developers should be punished. I hope the refunds come out of their already inflated wage packets.

    #12 5 years ago
  13. Michael O'Connor

    “I hope the refunds come out of their already inflated wage packets.”

    If you think that the majority of developers have inflated wage packets, then you have some major delusions about the gaming industry.

    #13 5 years ago
  14. Patrick Garratt

    *rolls eyes*

    #14 5 years ago
  15. Mike

    I was being 100% serious and not in the least bit facetious.

    #15 5 years ago
  16. Mike

    …or sarcastic.

    #16 5 years ago
  17. Patrick Garratt

    You know that episode of Father Ted, where Mrs Housekeeper has to do the opposite of everything the mega-sarcastic priest says? Mike’s like that.

    #17 5 years ago
  18. Balbarian

    According to that criteria Shatner I probably could have had a game like Gears 2 refunded the hell out of it for what seems like its being in a near permanent glitchy state for most of the time. Do you think cases like that could be an exception out of curiousity because I do after 6 months of having to experience the game world in its evidently comprimised state would seem to show – as would most other people who’ve had to suffer in during extensive playtime would attest. The fact that we pay for XBL to be stable and “just work” just seems to be laughed at by some gaming companies peddling out, so called “AAA, system selling” titles. My arse!

    Doesn’t seem to me that this would make developers risk adverse just make them pay more attention to quality control. I’d argue that this is more important than the release date of the game being rushed forward. You only have to look at Martin Chudley’s comments from Bizarre about the frankly bizarre behaviour MS exhibited themselves towards the end of development of PGR4.

    Also when you factor in what would seem the chronically understaffed (and underpayed) nature of the Xbox testing lab you are heading for a recipe for disaster for the quality of games in the future. Just look at the game in the pic above. They had to have the DLC withdrawn due to the game containing a game-breaking bug, not once but twice: for someone who thinks we need the EU’s proposed legislation I can see why they would think a returns guarantee would be the remedy for the sickness in game development culture that is staring at us in the face. No offence to the Bethesda dev team’s sterling effort.

    So whilst it would be more expedient would it be better for gamers to have to wait for patches and updates endlessly – even if they are free aren’t they still an inconvenience transferred over from a dev community steeped in PC development tradition resigned to the principle of “releasing it when its done” as arguably most Japanese gaming companies still adhere to in the current day and age?

    I do agree with you overall, though that whilst something like this is a good idea might have the difficulties you mention in actually being implemented.

    P.S. I suggest a new label for arsehole developers who exploit DLC as a way of making money and not quality, I call them DLC Villains with Cliffy B as the Don, actually sounds like a good idea for an XBLA game…MICROSOFT WAIT!!!

    #18 5 years ago