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Report: EU Proposal Would Pressure Devs To Make 'Near-Perfect' Games

Report: EU Proposal Would Pressure Devs To Make 'Near-Perfect' Games

May 15, 2009 | By Leigh Alexander

May 15, 2009 | By Leigh Alexander
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A new European Union proposal aimed at providing quality guarantees to consumers could unfairly constrain the creative work of game developers, the BBC reports.

EU legislation's Sales and Guarantees Directive provides a two-year guarantee on consumer goods, but video game software has historically been exempt. The concern for the video game industry is that allowing games' inclusion under the directive may create gray-area opportunities for abuse -- consumers could seek to reject products based on subjective flaws rather than actual quality failures.

"On the one hand there is the risk of abuse, but on the other it's not a good enough reason to say basic consumer protection should not apply," insists a spokesperson for the commission.

Beyond that, though, Richard Wilson of trade body Tiga is concerned that the pressure on developers to keep pace with new tech is already a challenge to the game industry, and that an obligation under law for games to be "near-perfect" could massively reduce creative risk-taking.

"They have to be careful not to stifle new ideas," Wilson told the BBC. "Consumers need good quality products - that is only reasonable - but if the legislation is too heavy-handed it could make publishers and developers very cautious."

The Business Software Alliance, which represents a wide variety of software companies, also disapproves of the proposal. "Digital content is not a tangible good and should not be subject to the same liability rules as toasters," said a spokesperson.


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