You may recall that about a month or so ago, Stardock released its “Gamers Bill Of Rights”, as mention in I Want My Rights!. Now, they’ve issued a revised version.

The revision is meant to make things clearer. I could just post a link to the new list, but I think it’s better to compare old and new directly. So here we go:

Old
1) Gamers shall have the right to return games that don’t work with their computers for a full refund.
New
1. Gamers shall have the right to return games that are incompatible or do not function at a reasonable level of performance for a full refund within a reasonable amount of time.

Old
2) Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state.
New
2. Gamers shall have the right that games they purchase shall function as designed without defects that would materially affect the player experience.

Old
3) Gamers shall have the right to expect meaningful updates after a game’s release.
New
3. Gamers shall have the right that games will receive updates that address minor defects as well as improves gameplay based on player feedback within reason.

Old
4) Gamers shall have the right to demand that download managers and updaters not force themselves to run or be forced to load in order to play a game.
New
4. Gamers shall have the right to have their games not require a third-party download manager installed in order for the game to function.

Old
5) Gamers shall have the right to expect that the minimum requirements for a game will mean that the game will play adequately on that computer.
New
5. Gamers shall have the right to have their games perform adequately if their hardware meets the posted recommended requirements.

Old
6) Gamers shall have the right to expect that games won’t install hidden drivers or other potentially harmful software without their consent.
New
6. Gamers shall have the right not to have any of their games install hidden drivers.

Old
7) Gamers shall have the right to re-download the latest versions of the games they own at any time.
New
7. Gamers shall have the right to re-download the latest version of the games they purchase.

Old
8) Gamers shall have the right to not be treated as potential criminals by developers or publishers.
New
8. Gamers whose computers meet the posted minimum requirements shall have the right to use their games without being materially inconvenienced due to copy protection or digital rights management.

Old
9) Gamers shall have the right to demand that a single-player game not force them to be connected to the Internet every time they wish to play.
New
9. Gamers shall have the right to play single player games without having to have an Internet connection.

Old
10) Gamers shall have the right that games which are installed to the hard drive shall not require a CD/DVD to remain in the drive to play.
New
10. Gamers shall have the right to sell or transfer the ownership of a physical copy of a game they own to another person.

Now there are some interesting differences here. For instance, consider #4. The revision just says “third-party updaters”, which leaves open “updaters and download managers” from the game publisher. Of course, many games now come with an “auto-update” feature, where you can connect and get the latest patch.

A little more unsettling is #5. Here, the “right” has changed from “minimum requirements” to “recommended requirements”. I consider this a mistake. The recommended specs are always much higher, and why specify a minimum if “my right” is only for the high end? I think that one ought to be changed back.

And #6 isn’t much better. That one was reduced to just “hidden drivers”. What happened to “other potentially harmful software”?

And then we have #8, which doesn’t really clarify matters. What does “materially inconvenienced” mean? Phone home to activate? Call customer service for a new install? Nice sentiment, vague phrasing. And I’m sure the original stepped on some companies’ toes.

On the other hand, #9 is much better. No connection needed, period. Yeah, I agree with that one, wholeheartedly.

The odd one is #10, which changed completely, the old and new being totally unrelated. It looks like Stardock had second thoughts on key disk DRM. Not that I mind; I’ve never minded needing the CD in the drive.

However, the right to transfer ownership – with which I agree – is a touchy subject these days. Game companies, or at least some of them, aren’t happy about the second-hand market, and are looking for ways to circumvent sales of used games.

So there you have it. At least for the time being. Is the new set of rights better than the old? I’m not so sure. What about you?