0 people signed the petition since August 02, 2012

Release of information and code required to host a server (personal or public) for online gaming upon cessation of services and protection of consumer rights in relationship to persistent online gaming.

This is to petition the formation of laws and legislations to protect the consumer and to reduce the cost and/or loss incurred by any user should any provider cease their provision of online services related to any game that requires a server for online play. This is a huge issue since the emergence of MMOs, especially those that require a subscription fee and/or the purchase of the initial game and/or subsequent modules or expansions. These constitute potential huge financial loss for the consumer especially in the case of long running games with multiple expansions that require purchase. This petition is for the following:

 

Regarding the Cessation of services

 

* Should the provider of a game with online functions that have required at any point the use of a centralised server cease their game service they must make the all coding and tools necessary for hosting the server to the public at no cost or in exchange for a small "at cost" charge for the production of physical media and documentation related to the installation of the server.

 

*Upon cessation of said services any member of the public gains the right to host any such service but may not in any way charge for the use of such service though may accept voluntary donations for the hosting of the service.

 

Regarding consumer rights to persistent online gaming, micro transactions and currency for any service which is purchased with real money.

 

* Any game that requires an initial purchase, a constant subscription, or has any form financial transaction associated with it becomes the property of the purchaser along with any characters, items, content, in-game currency or purchasable (for real money) currency or items.

 

*Currency for any service (game store, online store, or otherwise) is the property of the person who purchased it and will have no expiration date and may not be removed in any manner other than the legitimate purchase of goods by the consumer.

 

*Should the provider choose to close any service that currency purchased with real money or that has real money deposited into it (be it an in-game store/online store or otherwise) that still has a positive balance the provider must refund the value of the remaining balance to the owner at the maximum value for each individual unit of currency regardless of any discounts offered on the purchase of the currency during any period of time or any discount for purchasing multiple units of currency.

 

The fact is that many corporations abuse the purchase currency for real money that harms the consumer and intentionally set the purchasable amounts of currency so that the consumer may not use all the currency that they have purchased and must either deposit more or allow the currency to expire or abuse the none refund policy to close the service at the cost of the consumer.

 

When it comes to online gaming companies abuse the law to retain ownership over the content of an account despite the money and time invested by the consumer. People often say that characters and associated content in online games are not real therefore are not owned. Yet the law recognises many other more abstract forms of ownership such as stocks and bonds and other such products which have less presence than the information stored about an online character. MMOs and other such persistent characters/world represent a large investment including but not limited to the initial monetary requirement to purchase access and content, a continuing monetary requirement to gain access to the servers and their content and the purchase of additional content. On top of this people invest a lot of time into these characters (and time itself has a recognised value as set by minimum wage laws) and therefore place a value on it which is no more or less valid than the value an artist may place on his/her work.

 

The lack of consumer protection in these areas is appalling and a change is required.

 

This petition is being sent to the EU and posted at http://pettoeu.epetitions.net/ so that people may, if they wish, show their support for the suggested changes.

 

 

 

 

This petition is being altered on 5 AUG 2012. Nothing within the core petition before this point has been altered but a section will follow that is not in the main petition but I believe helps explain the micro-transaction part of this petition and is being used with the permission of its original author.

 

 

 

 

Simple explanation

Micro transaction stores that use special credits are like bank accounts. When you deposit money (buy store credits) you are making a deposit of monetary value.

Now say you deposited money in to a real bank account. A year down the line that bank then decides it wants to discontinue your type of account, but refuse to refund you any of the money that you had already put in to your bank account. Would this be fair? No. Would you say never mind and move on? Likely not. Would it be considered legal? I highly doubt it.

Yet this is what nearly every micro transaction store that does not use real money to directly pay for items says that they may do in their ToS or EULA. What's more is they say that the money you have deposited in to you account is no longer your money.

Now you may say that they could continue to do this even if the EU brought in legislation but in the EU any agreement that contradicts the law is not enforceable. It is also the right of any citizen of an EU member country to petition the EU parliament and it is important that people exercise that right to speak out against things that are wrong.



In the context of EVE (EVE Online is a popular MMO. Neither I nor the original author of this content wish to imply that CCP, the creators of EVE online, have displayed any form of unethical business practice and would hope that CCP see the intent behind this petition rather than the malicious way implied by some forum users. We intend this only as a contextual explanation based on an existing system. Neither I nor the author of this explanation are affiliated in anyway with CCP and should they wish this section to be removed I would hope that they would contact me about it.)

Again for people who find the actual petition difficult to understand because of the wording used I will try to help you understand what this would mean using EVE as an example.

ISK

No. You do not get reimbursed for isk. It's a feature of the game and has no real value outside of the game. You can not buy isk with real money. You could say "but I can sell plex for isk" but I'll cover this in the next section.

AUR

Yes. AUR would have to be refunded. You can only obtain AUR though depositing money with CCP and until this money is spent on items it is exactly that, a monetary deposit which should, if not be refundable, should at least be refunded if they decide to end their service.

"But I can buy PLEX with isk then turn it into AUR." Yes. Yes you can. However PLEX may also only be obtained through the use of real money and therefore, until they are used to purchase a service, represent a monetary deposit. This is why isk obtained through the sale of plex would not count. In exchange for in-game assets you are transferring that monetary deposit to the person who bought it of you. Think of it like an IOU. Better yet think of it as a bank note, which itself only represents a monetary value. Many of you should be familiar with the phrase "Please pay to the bearer, on demand, the some of".

So if the person who is then in possession of the PLEX uses it on game time, it is spent. The balance has been used to pay for a service. If it is converted into AUR then it still represents a monetary balance, and should CCP decide to close the EVE servers down, should be responsible for returning said deposit as it has not been used to purchase any service off them.



I hope this helps some of you who legitimately found this difficult to understand rather than simply being out to cause trouble. So please, if you believe that this practice is wrong, feel free to spread the word of the petition whether you are in the EU or not. Even if you want to view it from a purely selfish stand point once there is presedence for it somewhere then other countries may see the sense in enacting such protective measures.

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