The EU is considering putting video games under the same law that now applies to tangible goods. The law requires “a minimum 2-year guarantee on tangible movable consumer goods”.

So what does that mean, exactly? If the EU has its way, any game that can’t be finished because it’s “too glitchy” could be returned for a refund. At least in the EU countries.

Any such law would have to be worded with extreme care. Not only to forestall (if possible) the obvious abuses that would result, but to take into consideration the fact that software is not a fixed product.

We all know that patches are released for games all the time. Companies may rush products out the the door too soon, but in most cases, they also work on repairing the problems.

Which means the game purchased on day one may not be the same on day three if a patch is applied. So if a consumer has that day one game that doesn’t work on his system, should he be entitled to a refund, if the patch fixes the problem?

In other words, if a fix is available, what obligation does the buyer have to apply the patch? Should there be one? Keep in mind that by far the majority of games need more than one patch, even if relatively clean on release.

It may even be the case that a game might just need some tweak of the operating system to run properly. If so, is the purchaser still entitled to a refund? What if he doesn’t want to make that tweak?

At what point is the buyer really entitled to a refund? If the game crashes on day one? After the first patch? And if the second or third clears up the problem, what then?

What the above comes down to, is that any law should have a “waiting period” before a refund could be requested. The fact that a certain game doesn’t work properly on day one in no way means it will never work.

Unlike physical products, which either operate correctly or don’t, games are a flexible medium that change over time. It would be foolish to treat them the same as a defective waffle iron.

EU proposal could ‘stifle’ games