“Stop Killing Games” is a new campaign to prevent publishers from taking their titles offline

Mike Powers
“Stop Killing Games” is a new campaign to prevent publishers from taking their titles offline

What just happened? A popular YouTuber has launched a campaign called “Stop Killing Games” to apply pressure on publishers to stop making their titles unplayable. The move comes days after Ubisoft shut down the servers of popular racer The Crew, rendering it inoperable for gamers everywhere.

The campaign was launched by YouTuber Ross Scott of Accursed Farms in an effort to highlight how developers and publishers are intentionally designing games to become unplayable as soon as support ends. According to the Stop Killing Games website, the practice lies in a legal gray area, largely because most governments do not have clear laws regarding this issue.

The campaign’s goal is to convince authorities to examine the legality of this practice and, hopefully, pass legislation to end as it represents “an assault on both consumer rights and preservation of media.” The Crew is said to have had a playerbase of at least 12 million people when it was taken offline, making this an ideal opportunity to hold a AAA publisher responsible for their actions.

The campaign is petitioning multiple governments to investigate the issue. While the main focus is France’s Directorate General For Competition, Consumer Affairs And Fraud Protection (DGCCRF), people in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia will also soon be able to sign petitions to pressure their respective governments to look into this matter. Plans are also underway for the European Union, but Scott says this might be delayed “due to processing times.”

The shutting down of games after a few years of launch is an all-too-frequent occurrence these days, affecting gamers everywhere. It impacts not just titles that rely on an active internet connection, but also single-player games that get delisted for one reason or another. It is easy to see why it’s infuriating for people who spent their hard-earned money on a game just to see it suddenly stop working. This is especially frustrating for games that can easily be played offline.

That said, most modern games come with a disclaimer that gamers are buying not the game itself, but a license to play it for as long as it is supported by the publisher. The terms are meant to offer legal protection to the companies for when they turn the servers off, but they haven’t been challenged in the courts in any major gaming market yet, so it’s unclear if they will hold up under legal scrutiny. Gamers will no doubt hope that the campaign is successful in bringing this issue to the attention of regulators, bringing an end to this cynical practice for good.

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