I have a planned post entitled – “The Eula is not a Law” (needs more research), but I’ll just declutter it while I’m here since a nice article here at Massively http://massively.joystiq.com/2012/07/03/eu-ruling-forces-digital-distribution-to-allow-game-transfers-m/#comments demonstrates the point clearly and rather satisfyingly. Fact is, whatever they put in that thing, it is not a law. It is not even a contract or licence – more like a waiver or an agreement. It is subject to the constraint of Law, the real Law, the Law by which your country abides and although they can put any old thing into it, is it binding?… mmm…. well… “not tested” would be the most accurate answer for most of it. However it definitely won’t be binding if it contravenes consumer law, so a lot of lawyers just got paid for baloney (the clauses that waive consumer rights). It won’t be binding if it breaks or undermines any other law either.
My post was more a dig at people that seem to think whatever is written in the thingie you check a box for is from the Highest Authority and cannot possibly be changed or challenged. I can’t believe people don’t know the difference between the law and a company’s wishlist and that, what’s more, some laws are there specifically to prevent you from binding your grandma by such a thing to jump off the falls in a barrel or any other such nonsense because the ToS says you have to. Current school curricula really are appalling.
The actual subject of the article is quite interesting too, since this ruling hacks at the “games as a service” concept. I’m not sure games are a service or a product – I think they will need to evolve their own category. They don’t really work as product because as SWG showed, servers down, game gone. They seem like services more to me…but the ownership people feel and the time people invest makes that a bad fit too. You can’t rent out space in a holiday resort and then claim to own people’s pictures, the souvenirs they bought. Let greater minds chew it over some this one … players as shareowners perhaps? Heaven knows they feel they have some kind of a stake in a game if they have been playing it a while.
Not quite sure why Massively veers off into the speculative fields of account sales. Heh – being able to legally resell the game you bought is hotstuff enough and a gigantic, headlineworthy can ‘o worms, given the controversies currently raging over Gamestop selling second-hand games and DRM.
WTS Diablo 3 licence.