Jump to content

Legal analysis roundup (for USA)

Since I’ve made the “Games as a Service” video, several US attorneys have weighed in on the legal portions of my video. There’s not a total consensus and in some cases there was minor misunderstanding, but the conclusions all point in the same direction: GAAS is either not fraud or else extremely difficult to prove it’s fraud. Furthermore, even if it was established as fraud, it would be on such a minor level under the law, that it may not even carry a penalty. Barring new information, I’m leaning towards declaring the USA a lost cause on this manner and focusing on countries with stronger consumer protection laws.

Anyway, here’s a list of the legal analyses, and some additional appearances I had in responding. I recommend not watching these unless you’re bored or doing something else as most are quite long:

“YouTuber Law” video analysis
I think this is the best one (also the 2nd shortest). He grasped my arguments well and gave a realistic look at the situation.

Leonard French long video analysis
A longer look at the laws in the video, I also had some audio appearances in this one where I asked more questions.

Leonard French short video analysis
A quick look at the laws in the video, he made some conclusions that weren’t quite applicable, which prompted the longer analysis

Hoeg Law video analysis
I thought his legal portion was relatively good, though there was a small misinterpretation on the legal portion and a major misinterpretation on my stance.

Hoeg Law audio discussion / debate
I appeared with Hoeg Law to go over his rebuttal and debate was was said in the previous video. Discussed the larger issue also and not just the law in this one.

Nick Rekieta Law discussion
A more casual discussion, he takes a differing view than most other attorneys, but still comes to a similar conclusion, that working within the confines of existing law is unlikely to work in USA. We talk about various other things too.

 

Anyway, sorry to flood the site with all this legal analysis, I swear that’s not the long-term direction things are taking, more regular videos coming!

 

ADHD version: Ross was right on some things, wrong on some things, doesn’t matter for USA; the situation there is basically hopeless on legal protection against destroying games.

  Reply to post
Sign in to follow this  

Recommended Posts

Since I've made the "Games as a Service" video, several US attorneys have weighed in on the legal portions of my video.  There's not a total consensus and in some cases there was minor misunderstanding, but the conclusions all point in the same direction:  GAAS is either not fraud or else extremely difficult to prove it's fraud.  Furthermore, even if it was established as fraud, it would be on such a minor level under the law, that it may not even carry a penalty.  Barring new information, I'm leaning towards declaring the USA a lost cause on this manner and focusing on countries with stronger consumer protection laws.

Anyway, here's a list of the legal analyses, and some additional appearances I had in responding.  I recommend not watching these unless you're bored or doing something else as most are quite long:

"YouTuber Law" video analysis
I think this is the best one (also the 2nd shortest). He grasped my arguments well and gave a realistic look at the situation.

Leonard French long video analysis
A longer look at the laws in the video, I also had some audio appearances in this one where I asked more questions.

Leonard French short video analysis
A quick look at the laws in the video, he made some conclusions that weren't quite applicable, which prompted the longer analysis

Hoeg Law video analysis
I thought his legal portion was relatively good, though there was a small misinterpretation on the legal portion and a major misinterpretation on my stance.

Hoeg Law audio discussion / debate
I appeared with Hoeg Law to go over his rebuttal and debate was was said in the previous video.  Discussed the larger issue also and not just the law in this one.

Nick Rekieta Law discussion
A more casual discussion, he takes a differing view than most other attorneys, but still comes to a similar conclusion, that working within the confines of existing law is unlikely to work in USA.  We talk about various other things too.

 

Anyway, sorry to flood the site with all this legal analysis, I swear that's not the long-term direction things are taking, more regular videos coming!

 

ADHD version: Ross was right on some things, wrong on some things, doesn't matter for USA; the situation there is basically hopeless on legal protection against destroying games.


This is a blog post. To read the original post, please click here »

Share this post


Link to post
Quote

the situation there is basically hopeless on legal protection against destroying games.

gg

Share this post


Link to post

It was always over for me. Now it's negative not over. But if we treat the phrase "not over" as an immutable variable and put it in absolute form,  then yeah.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

Can we go back to having fun again.

 

Wait hold on, unless fun has also been declared illegal.

 

NO FUN ALLOWED???

Edited by RaTcHeT302

Share this post


Link to post

At this point ,I'm still really not that interested in the whole "dead games" battle going on. Mostly because it has not hit a game I really enjoy and miss.
Although I will say this:
After being informed about the current trend and status of the practice of killing games as well as reading what Ross is trying to do about it ,AND seeing the responses he got from a couple of "law students"(I doubt it's JUST in my opinion) it really got my blood boiling to say the least.
I fear this whole issue is rooted sooo deeply in politics, government, global corporations and world monopoly that we would like to believe. What I'm saying here is ,this ISN'T just about games. It may start out from that ,but I truly hope that this movement that Ross is trying to create will spark a revolution in how we let the majority set the rules of the entire population.


P.S.: Internally I actually broke my ass laughing at how these so called "lawyers" on YouTube tried to debunk Scott's arguments with written laws that are inherently immoral when it comes to such practices as destroying games. Just because someone isn't making enough money from their precious product. So yeah I sincerely hope that the - "F you society. Shut the hell up and do what you're told ,because we know what's best for you" mentality can actually be broken ,burned and reformed as to actually benefit all sane minded humans on this planet.... although I'm quite pessimistic about that...

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

I've actually checked the subreddit out of plain curiosity, and I've seen a thread, very similar to this post. I understand your grief, but... uhhh...

 

I think you guys are a bit optimistic, we aren't trying to overthrow entire governements here, it's mostly about stopping games from dying in the future.

Capitalism can, probably wait. And to be honest, it's not such a horrible system, it's just, mis-managed. I really am not a fan of people who are trying to get politics involved into this, to me this isn't about that. People are greedy, we already know that. Let's focus on one problem at a time for now though.

 

I don't know anything about laws, and if what the people who Ross talked say is legitimate, but it's always nice to have a second opinion on things you are not sure about for sure, it might reveal some truth you are still not aware of, or it might just bring up into view some information you weren't aware about. I wouldn't just dismiss them like that, I'm sure that most of them, genuinely want to help out, but it's not in their power for the most part.

 

I'm sure if they had a few millions stashed away, and a solid enough reputation, the problem would've been solved ages ago.

 

I do believe that a lot of laws are, overly generalized, they attempt to cover too many problems at once.

Something like a videogame, REALLY NEEDS IT'S OWN, SPECIFIC LAWS.

Edited by RaTcHeT302

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

I'm not really interested in this whole ongoing discussion because I fundamentally don't think that online-only games dying is the biggest problem facing gaming today (and of course, in the context of society as a whole, it's so minuscule as to not even be worth thinking about). I'd say the biggest issue facing gaming today is actually that online-only games are increasingly becoming the only way to make big games profitable in the first place. This seems to be because of absurdly high PED (games today cost about half as much to buy as games 25 years ago accounting for inflation, yet cost far more to make, and consumers have gotten used to it), rampant piracy ("indie games will save us when AAA can't" is a common refrain yet they can reach literally 98% piracy rates), and overall just how absurdly profitable microtransactions are compared to literally everything else (Clash of Clans, a crappy primitive freemium phone game, made more money than most of the actual biggest game franchises: $6 billion). It's gotten to the point that when opportunity cost is considered, publishers are effectively losing money by making single player games at all.

 

I don't want every game to become CS:GO or LoL.

Edited by RandomGuy

Share this post


Link to post
12 hours ago, RandomGuy said:

It's gotten to the point that when opportunity cost is considered, publishers are effectively losing money by making single player games at all.

 

This is only one half of the truth. The other half is that it's become ridiculously cheap to create a game that looks good enough because numerous engines, tools, assets etc. are now in abundance. It was impossible to even imagine 7 or 10 years ago that a team of 3 guys with a shoestring budget will be able to make a game that looks and plays almost like a AAA title.

 

Now add this fact to the notion that there will always be creative and talented people obsessed with making a great game first and foremost, and considering money as nothing more than means to achieve this goal, not vice versa; and you'll see that we will never see great games stop being made. Gaming world is like a vessel and developers are like gas that always fills all available volume; as soon as some corporate creep starts talking bollocks like "PC is dead" or "nobody plays singleplayer games today" or other bullshit like this, projects like Star Citizen (proudly PCMR) or Witcher 1/2/3 (proudly singleplayer) instantly emerge.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, ScumCoder said:

This is only one half of the truth. The other half is that it's become ridiculously cheap to create a game that looks good enough because numerous engines, tools, assets etc. are now in abundance. It was impossible to even imagine 7 or 10 years ago that a team of 3 guys with a shoestring budget will be able to make a game that looks and plays almost like a AAA title.

It really hasn't. Making a game still takes enormous amounts of resources that are becoming increasingly harder to justify with piracy increasing, real game prices DECREASING, and online microtransaction-ridden MP games becoming increasingly popular.

Quote

Now add this fact to the notion that there will always be creative and talented people obsessed with making a great game first and foremost, and considering money as nothing more than means to achieve this goal, not vice versa; and you'll see that we will never see great games stop being made. Gaming world is like a vessel and developers are like gas that always fills all available volume; as soon as some corporate creep starts talking bollocks like "PC is dead" or "nobody plays singleplayer games today" or other bullshit like this, projects like Star Citizen (proudly PCMR) or Witcher 1/2/3 (proudly singleplayer) instantly emerge.

These are both absolutely terrible examples of whatever point you're trying to make. Witcher is viable because costs in Poland are very low and CDPR treats its workers like absolute dog shit. Star Citizen is viable because it scammed hundreds of millions in crowdfunding money for promises they'd never deliver on  and is, you know, a multiplayer game loaded to the brim with microtransactions. The exact kind of game I am talking about.

 

Neither model is remotely sustainable, in fact had a big game corp done the same things as these companies in the USA they'd probably have gotten sued by the federal government.

Edited by RandomGuy

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

I mean, games did get cheaper to make for people who work on their own. Unity and Unreal are, a pretty good deal on their own, even if you look past the bullshit, any of the companies did. There's also Godot, but, that one's kinda rough right now, and I don't like some of their design choices, I feel like picking that engine now, means that you'll constantly be redoing things over and over again, I feel like they are making a lot of the same mistakes other engines made also. I would've used it, or at least would've tried to, if they weren't wasting so much time on a few things I don't really care about though.

 

The Unreal Engine 4 is tempting, but for all the wrong reasons to me. It's such a bloated mess otherwise. I'm trying to untangle the mess, but I secretly hope that Godot can somehow overtake it, as far as a minimum feature set goes. That engine is not ready for me though.

 

I can't take Star Citizen seriously, I looked at their store once, and maybe I'm going fucking insane, but I saw a 3D model, being sold for 10.000$. Like, you should be getting the actual 3D model data at that point, what am I paying for at this point, a checkbox? I'm literally paying for the ability, to spawn the stupid thing. Why?

 

Just, no freaking way, I'll pass on the game. It looks janky as hell anyway, and the free trial was just, not great, the graphics looked really bland, and washed out, it just looks like any other CryEngine game out of the box, just the overall feel was bad to me, I would rather be playing the Ace Combat games, the flying in those feels so good.

 

Honestly, the people who threw that much money at the game are insane. And where did a bunch of internet weirdos get so much money to fund such a game? I don't get the internet sometimes. It confuses me.

 

Besides, I remember thinking that No Man's Sky looked really boring when they first talked about it, I mean sure the trailer was cool, but I wasn't get much of a fun vibe out of it, I was expecting a boring survival crafting game, and it was exactly what it ended up being.

 

Do I really want to play No Man's Sky 2.0? Like, it's cool guys if you can make whole planets and all of that? But if the gameplay is bland as everything else, why would I bother wasting my time with it? I would rather play something, with some actual soul put into it, instead of, glorified FedEx fetch quest simulator, number 50, NOW WITH ROUND PLANETS!!!

 

Like come on, you know the missions are going to have to be boring by design, there's just too much empty space, you can't make everything that interesting, I would probably die trying to come up with ideas, on how to make a game, with an actual universe, still fun for more than 10 seconds. I like ambitious games, but this is stupid ambitious, as in, I already own, Elite Dangerous, that game sucks dick, it's space Eurotruck Simulator, but somehow, they managed to make that, EVEN MORE BORING, IN SPACE.

 

Even the backgrounds are so bland honestly. I just forced myself through Space Rangers HD instead, the game is janky, the aliens look kinda bad, but I cheated, and I actually started to have some fun with it, I'm actually looking forward to a proper sequel to that game, if it'll ever happen, it deserves one.

 

Oh oops, sorry for going Off Topic, but legal and law stuff is just, boring to talk about. Please don't kill me mods.

 

PS: The Star Citizen website sucks. I can't even figure out, how to find the 10.000$ ship again, or where to even buy the game, or what even is part of the game. Or what even is sold as a game. This whole project is a mess.

 

Yikes, and people complain about 20 bucks being too much sometimes.

kB3Lh6L.png

 

Bleh, why. I only need to pay 0$ in other games.

 

f5Wa7pr.png

 

Boring

 

SiWS7iU.png

 

COOL

 

And hey, I don't need to go bankrupt to play this game for sure.

Edited by RaTcHeT302

Share this post


Link to post

Even in the case of games becoming completely unprofitable there will still be people making them.
There were and still are people who make flash games and freeware games. They didn't see any money from that yet they made them because they wanted to.
Sure, there probably wouldn't be any AAA ultra realistic graphics games anymore, hardly anyone could raise money or have time for it, but there would be enough passion projects, some crowd funded games and maybe even more open source games (think of the modability).
And personally I am more interested in these than what major publishers shell out lately. Most of it is stuff we have already seen wrapped in better textures. I have already big enough backlog that I am not even seeking good games but games which do something I didn't see yet. Weird genre hybrids, unseen gameplay concepts... stuff like that.

Depending on how you look at it, stopping these practices is not even that important if the point is to keep as many games playable as possible. Only major publishers are pursuing GAAS and from the total yearly releases they produce only minority of games. I think backwards compatibility is more of an issue for average player. You can also consider the growing number of games which are forgotten and you would be hard pressed to find a copy, or even games which could potentially exist but the creative person didn't get the opportunity to make it.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Enguzrad said:

Even in the case of games becoming completely unprofitable there will still be people making them.
There were and still are people who make flash games and freeware games. They didn't see any money from that yet they made them because they wanted to.

People will still make mods for 20-year old games or flash games, but no one is going to hire hundreds of people (from programmers to to managers to artists to voice actors to writers) and spend tens of millions of dollars and 2-4 years making an actual high-quality modern game (or anything close to one) "just because."

Quote

but there would be enough passion projects, some crowd funded games and maybe even more open source games (think of the modability).

I have no confidence whatsoever in crowdfunded games, at least not without severe reform in that area to bring it in line with 'regular' businesses. It's way too easy to scam people. 

Quote

And personally I am more interested in these than what major publishers shell out lately.

Good for you, but I'm not, and neither are the vast majority of people who play video games. I'll also reiterate that soon enough there won't even be much room for these smaller developers. 

Edited by RandomGuy

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

I doesn't matter if the game is Indie, or AAA. Or some random flash game. Games as a Service is a cultural tragedy, and when games like The Last Stand are affected by it, you know there's something horribly wrong with it. This affects all games, not just the big ones.

 

And honestly, I wanted to try LawBreakers, WildStar, BattleBorne, Hawken, but I can't, the games were already dead, before I even got to them.

 

I understand that maybe it's silly to, care this much about something most people essentially believe to be, children's enterainment, but, I deeply believe that it needs to be stopped, I've already missed out on who knows how many games, and some of them honestly, looked really cool, but I'll never know if that was true, if I can't even look at them anymore.

 

I mean honestly, there's something really pure about videogames to me. It's something I always believed in and it's something I always enjoyed since my very childhood, and if it wasn't for videogames, I sure as hell would have never gotten to this point. I mean hell, I'm on my way to make my own game, something I never thought I could ever accomplish, it was a childish dream, but now I realize that maybe there's hope, and if there's hope for me, there's hope for everything else.

 

Games as a Service, doesn't just mean, games which are always Online - It's esentially nothing more than a pre-determined death sentence. And it's bullshit, we shouldn't have to accept that. Nobody should. It affects everyone equally, and one day, you'll lose that one game, you deeply care about, and you wish, you had done more about it.

 

I mean, there's nothing really wrong with dreaming, isn't it? If we give up now, things will just get worse, and I don't want things to go more downhill, than they already have, and I really hope that a genuine stance will be taken against these terrible practices.

 

I think it's extremelly important to keep the pressure up, for as long as possible. Someone will snap eventually. I just hope it's not us.

Edited by RaTcHeT302

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, RandomGuy said:

People will still make mods for 20-year old games or flash games, but no one is going to hire hundreds of people (from programmers to to managers to artists to voice actors to writers) and spend tens of millions of dollars and 2-4 years making an actual high-quality modern game (or anything close to one) "just because."

Yes, I said the same ("Sure, there probably wouldn't be any AAA ultra realistic graphics games anymore,...").
Point is the only high-quality thing here are the graphics and voice acting. The actual gameplay is on par with what we had 10 years ago (sometimes worse, depends on microtransactions). There is nothing wrong with liking high fidelity graphics, but you can make serviceable looking yet fun small game in your free time. Thats why I am not worried about games being profitable (don't take it as a support for piracy though, I do buy my games).

1 hour ago, RandomGuy said:

I have no confidence whatsoever in crowdfunded games, at least not without severe reform in that area to bring it in line with 'regular' businesses. It's way too easy to scam people.

Yes, thats why I said "some". I agree there is too much scamming there. Though too many people will throw money on promises. You could say publishers were scamming people for a long time already with unfinished products, preorders and now GAAS.

1 hour ago, RandomGuy said:

I'll also reiterate that soon enough there won't even be much room for these smaller developers.

Could you elaborate on that? How would a bunch of friends be unable to work on game in their free time? Heck, what would push small developers out of the market? People buy indies now, the same people will buy them in future. The market for those games may be small but it is there.


And just to clarify, I am not saying GAAS is not an issue. I just argue it is not the only issue and not even the biggest issue. Though I do see merit in tackling it early before it gets going. Could get people on board with solving other problems plaguing games as well.

Edited by Enguzrad
Fixed a typing error.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, RandomGuy said:

Witcher is viable because costs in Poland are very low and CDPR treats its workers like absolute dog shit.

Oh come on, are you actually trying to pull this card? 😀 Horrible work conditions are a standard in gamedev. There is nothing special about CDPR (actually they look pretty good compared to American companies in this regard).

 

As for development costs - Witcher 3 was an absolute financial success, meaning that its sale figures were good enough even from the perspective of USA companies. Lower development costs just mean that it was even more profitable for CDPR, but it's in no way the reason why it was successful.

 

21 hours ago, RandomGuy said:

It really hasn't. Making a game still takes enormous amounts of resources

Nice argument you have there. I guess I'll just answer in the same way as you did: "No it doesn't".

Just off the top of my head, here's a game trailer that I accidentally stumbled upon an hour ago while browsing VK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBBWudCldxM

Obviously it's not a masterpiece, but it is being done by one guy in his spare time.

 

O N E.

 

And there are hundreds of projects like this being done.

 

You have freely available engines, assets, terrain generators, character generators, tree generators (!), and dozens upon dozens of other tools that allow you to create a solid game for a budget of a sandwich and a cup of coffee. The only things you really need are talent and passion; and those not only aren't the prerogative of big companies, but lately they are rather an antithesis of big companies.

 

Since I wrote my previous post I found this video that explains what I'm talking about pretty well. I highly recommend to watch it, but keep in mind that it was done seven years ago - there was gargantuan progress in gaming development tools since then.

 

1 hour ago, RandomGuy said:

hire hundreds of people (from programmers to to managers to artists to voice actors to writers) and spend tens of millions of dollars and 2-4 years making an actual high-quality modern game (or anything close to one) "just because."

Once again, you operate on the basis of information that's been outdated for almost a decade. There is absolutely no need whatsoever to spend "tens of millions of dollars" to make a game that looks good enough. ATOM RPG (again, just one of dozens of examples off the top of my head) was created for a budget of $33K (that's thirty three thousand dollars).

 

1 hour ago, RandomGuy said:

Good for you, but I'm not, and neither are the vast majority of people who play video games.

I don't give a flying frak about "the vast majority of people". I care about great games being made. For "the vast majority of people" the Fallout series starts from the third part, freaking Skyrim is "the best RPG ever made", autistic Telltale formula is a good storytelling device, etc.

Edited by ScumCoder

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, Enguzrad said:

And just to clarify, I am not saying GAAS is not an issue. I just argue it is not the only issue and not even the biggest issue. Though I do see merit in tackling it early before it gets going. Could get people on board with solving other problems plaguing games as well.

Ah, ok. I got that, I actually wanted to mention how this is part of a bigger problem, but it sorta felt redundant to me. I just left it out.

Share this post


Link to post

GAAS IS ASS GAAS IS ASS

GAAS IS ASS GAAS IS ASS

GAAS IS ASS GAAS IS ASS

GAAS IS ASS GAAS IS ASS

GAAS IS ASS GAAS IS ASS

GAAS IS ASS GAAS IS ASS

GAAS IS ASS GAAS IS ASS

GAAS IS ASS GAAS IS ASS

GAAS IS ASS GAAS IS ASS

GAAS IS ASS GAAS IS ASS

GAAS IS ASS GAAS IS ASS

GAAS IS ASS GAAS IS ASS

GAAS IS ASS GAAS IS ASS

GAAS IS ASS GAAS IS ASS

GAAS IS ASS GAAS IS ASS

GAAS IS ASS GAAS IS ASS

GAAS IS ASS GAAS IS ASS

GAAS IS ASS GAAS IS ASS

GAAS IS ASS GAAS IS ASS

GAAS IS ASS GAAS IS ASS

GAAS IS ASS GAAS IS ASS

GAAS IS ASS GAAS IS ASS

GAAS IS ASS GAAS IS ASS

GAAS IS ASS GAAS IS ASS

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in the community.

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  


×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.