The gaming industry in Europe is not having a good year and it doesn’t look like it will get any better anytime soon. The latest blow is from a proposal put forward by the European Union which would require software developers, especially those in the games industry, to provide a two year guarantee on all their products.
Essentially, this proposal is expanding the EU Sales and Guarantees Directive. Under current law in the EU, retailers are not forced to give refunds on video games which contain bugs and glitches. This proposed two year guarantee is suppose to ensure that the customer gets a product that works.
Though on face value this may seem like a good deal to the customer, it is potentially very dangerous to the industry itself. Dr Richard Wilson, head of the video games developers’ association Tiga, said that “if there is an onus on developers to have software that is ‘near perfect’ then it could stifle new ideas as people could end up just playing it safe.”
The Business Software Alliance argues that this proposal should not be applied to software products because “digital content is not a tangible good and should not be subject to the same liability rules as toasters. It is contractually licensed to consumers and not sold.”
Of course if the BSA is correct in this argument, then it could significantly change the consumers understanding of ownership.