“Bill Murray’s attorney called within two days. He agreed to reprise his role. “I can tell you, there was a dogpile of producers in the hallway when we got that call. It was almost like when a pitcher charges the mound after winning the World Series, like, it’s the only time I’ve ever hugged another man like that,” Melchior quipped. “Little did we know how difficult it was going to be from there.”
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“Upon booting many contemporary video games, the screen floods with text which states your rights as a consumer. Buried in the wording is the language stripping ownership. In Bethesda’s Doom, the text reads, “You agree not to: Distribute, lease, license, sell, rent… without the express prior written consent of the Licensor.” In 2K’s Battleborn, the language is the same, adding additional restrictions for “Virtual Goods or Virtual Currency.”
Because the rental industry relies on rights granted by the First Sale Doctrine and Video Rental Amendments Act of 1990—rights being eroded by Vernor v Autodesk and the legalese agreed upon when booting a new game—are game rentals now illegal in certain circumstances? “Yes,” stated Rosenblatt. “Unless [the video store] obtained separate permission from the game company they are probably violating copyright or a contract. And if they do that, they’re taking a calculated risk.”
“Games ceased being $60 products ages ago; they’re now hundreds-of-dollars investments across a multitude of ever-thinning digitally downloaded expansions and merchandise. Loyalty is measured in dollars spent and games owned. How many games have you pre-ordered this week? How much did you spend on the last Steam sale? You have all the expansions for Destiny, right?
And now Sony is asking fans to front the costs for a major (albeit niche) game that will almost certainly wind up being a PS4 exclusive. Suzuki’s project has broken Kickstarter records on the backs of people willing to pay money for a product that doesn’t yet exist, because a company knew how to market emotions. The barrier between consumer and corporations is dwindling. Maybe there isn’t one at all anymore. This is not capitalism—it’s a twisted and disfigured form of commerce, and it worked, and it will work again, when the next company tries it.”