Professional Services
Order outsourcing

The UK Government Has no Problem With Developers Canceling Older Games

The "Stop Killing Games" campaign received a disappointing response from the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport.

Image Credit: Ubisoft

On March 31, 2023, Ubisoft did the most Ubisoft thing one can imagine and disappointed a large chunk of its own fans by discontinuing the 2014 racing game The Crew and shutting down its servers, thus rendering the game unplayable even in the single-player mode.

In response, the Stop Killing Games movement was organized, arguing that developers canceling old games that players paid for amounts to theft and calling for government action to enact laws compelling publishers to ensure games remain playable after support ceases. To achieve its goal, the campaign launched government petitions in the UK, Canada, and Australia, and recently, the UK petition received an official government response, albeit probably not the one the movement had hoped for.

Currently boasting over 23,000 signatures, the petition reads as follows: "Many videogames rely on servers. When these are shut down, games can be left unplayable where no action is taken to remove this dependency. We believe this is effectively robbing customers, leaving them with no recourse to retain their purchases. We have concerns that existing laws and agencies do not effectively solve this problem. Thus we believe government intervention is needed to stop this practice."

It seems, however, that the UK government holds a different view on this matter, with its response, credited to the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport, stating that there is "no requirement in UK law compelling software companies and providers to support older versions of their operating systems, software or connected products. There may be occasions where companies make commercial decisions based on the high running costs of maintaining older servers for video games that have declining user bases."

At the same time, the Department emphasized that if a game is promoted as a product with indefinite accessibility but is subsequently canceled, it would violate UK consumer law:

"Those selling games must comply with UK consumer law. They must provide clear information and allow continued access to games if sold on the understanding that they will remain playable indefinitely. If consumers are led to believe that a game will remain playable indefinitely for certain systems, despite the end of physical support, the CPRs (Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations) may require that the game remains technically feasible (for example, available offline) to play under those circumstances."

So, if we extend the UK government's stance on the matter to other countries, it appears there are no legal means to prevent developers and publishers from discontinuing your favorite titles only to sell them back to you as a $70 remaster or remake. Whether this is fair or not, everyone can decide for themselves.

Learn more about the Stop Killing Games movement here and don't forget to join our 80 Level Talent platform and our Telegram channel, follow us on InstagramTwitter, and LinkedIn, where we share breakdowns, the latest news, awesome artworks, and more.

Join discussion

Comments 0

    You might also like

    We need your consent

    We use cookies on this website to make your browsing experience better. By using the site you agree to our use of cookies.Learn more