This week, we have given Microsoft a lot of shit for not being clear about their stance on used games, and rightfully so. Any company that treats their users like criminals deserves every bit of contempt they receieve, but everyone seems to be forgetting that Sony hasn’t exactly been crystal clear on this issue either. With the new console generation filing out at the end of the year, E3 around the corner, and everyone dodging the same questions, I have never been less excited for the next consoles.
Gamers need to be aware of two things, one of them they should already know, but frequently forget; you do not own games, you own a license to play them. This has been creative wording for a long time, but now that publishers seem very excited to make use of those words against us, we need to be aware of something else. A game publisher reserves the rights to change anything about our license ownership at any time. Sounds bullshit right? On a small scale, this is already effecting us.
Take Sony Entertainment Network for example. When you download a Sony published movie on iTunes, you own that digital copy period. You can download it again after you delete it. If you download that same film on Sony Entertainment Network; however, you only have purchased the license to a single download. What happens if you need to delete it to make more room on your HD? Not Sony’s problem, you should have read the fine print. Way back in the day, I purchased DJ MAX Fever on PSN. Since then Sony has delisted it. In a completely different problem, I can still download it, but I have to manually navigate my list of over 800 downloads on my PSP to find it and download it there.
So, allow me to make something very clear, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo’s digital strategy does not aim to benefit us. It is there to benefit them, and the temporary convienence of instant downloads until one of them decides to pull the plug is a side effect. Microsoft’s press event has already proven they do not give a shit about gamers or games. Sony has convinced me they care about developers, which is a massive step ahead of Microsoft, but they have not convinced me that they are willing to abandon shit practices that harm the paying customer. As far as Nintendo is concerned, most of their fuckabouts seem to demonstrate too much stupidity to be evil. Not sure if that’s a good thing yet.