In Public Relations, especially “consumer” PR, the challenge of having no news is a frequent occurrence for many companies. In these cases, the PR department (or agency) has to get creative when figuring out how to attract attention to the company or cause.
A perfect example of this type of creativity is Stardock Games‘ recent creation and announcement of the Gamer’s Bill of Rights. What a catchy concept!
Stardock spotted what they considered an industry-wide issue – that PC games are often not held to the same standards as console games. With The Bill, Stardock not only gained attention for their company, but helped to shed light, for a brief period, on some of the issues in the PC game industry.
Stardock issued a press release just prior to the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX), a video game conference held in Seattle each year (some of my clients from 360 were there as well ). In the release, Stardock promoted their booth # and then, at the show, prominently displayed the Bill of Rights in their booth.
Brad Wardell, the CEO, even penned an article for popular industry website Edge-Online surrounding the Bill. As a result of his article and the press release, the news snowballed and was covered by tons of websites including Boing Boing, Slashdot, Kotaku, CNET, Gamasutra, GameDaily, 1up, and Wired.com.
As a PR initiative the effort was a success, in my opinion. On the other hand, I don’t think the Gamer’s Bill of Rights will become an industry-altering official document that game developers worldwide will adhere to. It doesn’t hurt to try, though!
The Gamer’s Bill of Rights:
- Gamers shall have the right to return games that don’t work with their computers for a full refund.
- Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state.
- Gamers shall have the right to expect meaningful updates after a game’s release.
- Gamers shall have the right to demand that download managers and updaters not force themselves to run or be forced to load in order to play a game.
- Gamers shall have the right to expect that the minimum requirements for a game will mean that the game will play adequately on that computer.
- Gamers shall have the right to expect that games won’t install hidden drivers or other potentially harmful software without their consent.
- Gamers shall have the right to re-download the latest versions of the games they own at any time.
- Gamers shall have the right to not be treated as potential criminals by developers or publishers.
- Gamers shall have the right to demand that a single-player game not force them to be connected to the Internet every time they wish to play.
- Gamers shall have the right that games which are installed to the hard drive shall not require a CD/DVD to remain in the drive to play.