Game Monkeys' announces policy on
Fraudulent User Agreements and Rights Management
As many of you know the games industry is in a constant, and likely endless, war with hackers and pirates.
As creative types ourselves, we absolutely support them in their efforts to receive fair compensation for their products and actively oppose those who want to play great games without paying for them.
That said, we believe that those efforts should
1) Come at the expense of harming honest, law-abiding gamers.
2) Violate what we consider to be the inalienable civil rights of anyone to maintain control of their own property.
3) Be used as a cover to invade users' privacy or act as malware.
The problem, then, is that there is a rash of new games that do all manner of things that we find entirely unacceptable under the banner of copy protection. From installing hidden, frequently irremovable programs on your computer to secretly communicating personal information back to the publishers, some companies in the industry have adopted attitudes that their rights to earn a buck trump your rights as consumers and private citizens.
What's worse, more often than not the only way you'll ever find out about them is if you read the End User Licensing Agreement (EULA) for the game in question. This should, quite frankly, be illegal. Even ignoring the fact that EULAs are thirty to sixty pages of complicated legal text, that fact is you don't get to see the EULA until you go to install the game--and once the game's been opened you can't return it to the store. As such, your choice is to either agree to have spyware and malware installed on your computer in an attempt to get your money's worth or be stuck with a sixty-dollar paperweight.
As such, we here at Game Monkeys have decided that enough is enough and will no longer be reviewing games that participate in these kinds of activities. Instead coverage of these games on our site will be limited to an explanation of this policy, along with information about the offending software, and giving the item a well-earned rating of 1 out of 5.
Once you've seen that you can make an educated decision for yourself as to whether or not you want to let that publisher run roughshod over your OS.
Oh and finally, as an aside, we want to let you know that we've already received an awful lot of flak about this policy. We actually began standing up for your rights long before we told you we were doing so and were frequently sending games back to publishers and letting them know why we refused to review the game. Needless to say, several of those publishers did not take it well.
And while it may sound a bit like grandstanding to mention this now, we actually bring it up in the hopes that you might go forward from here with a bit of a message. The games industry has developed a very odd--if not downright immoral--mentality that, for some inexplicable reason, that you as consumers are beholden to them. They think they've got you by the short and curlies. They think they own you. And the only way that will change is if we tell them with the only voice they'll listen to: our dollars.
So, we would encourage you to do two things. First, don't buy the games that you know include malware or spyware, or that have DRM policies that effectively mean your renting the game for sixty bucks.
And when we say don't buy them, we mean don't buy them at all. We don't mean buy them on the Xbox because the PC version is poison.
Second, we would like to encourage you to ask the other game sources you read or watch--those who don't see fit to let you in on "the secret"--why they care more about the companies peddling poison than they do about their readers.