In a move that could seriously affect the future of game development, EU officials have come up with a new proposal that would require game developers to offer a minimum two-year guarantee on their games.
With this contentious proposal, EU Commissioners Viviane Reding and Meglena Kuneva simply intend to expand the reach of EU Sales and Guarantees Directive.
However the new move has outraged the game developers’ community, with the head of the game developers’ association Dr Richard Wilson cautioned that any such step could “stifle new ideas as people could end up just playing it safe”.
“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”, he added.
In addition to this, the proposal would also necessitate retailers to refund consumers if a game contains a show-stopping bug that hinders the gamer completing it.
In its response to the proposal, the Business Software Alliance pointed out that digital content shouldn’t be treated like tangible goods, as this type of content is contractually licensed to users and not sold.
However EU Commissioners regarded the licensing system as “unsatisfactory”, as it lets developers to escape from “2-year guarantee on tangible movable consumer goods”, which is currently assured under EU law.
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Getting game manufacturers to offer a two year guarantee on all games is counterproductive and could possibly hike costs significantly as well as extend the development time. This means that game developers would need to test their products for longer which will be detrimental to revenues as well. Furthermore, because of the bewildering array of computers and peripherals currently on the market, it doesn't really make sense to test compatibility across the board.