‘Stop killing games’: Gamers unite in worldwide legal campaign to prevent publishers from shutting down online titles

Games getting delisted from digital storefronts has become a common occurrence in the gaming industry. While some titles remain playable after being delisted, others relying on a central server are gone for good. Now, YouTuber Ross Scott of Accursed Farms fame (Freeman’s Mind, Ross’s Game Dungeon) is launching a global legal campaign to challenge this practice.

He has launched a website called Stop Killing Games to petition for media preservation and challenge this anti-consumer practice.

Promotional image showing  cars in The Crew.
The Crew was delisted on all storefronts back in December. Image via Ubisoft

Among others, Ubisoft is no stranger to delisting games. The online racing game The Crew is one of the latest examples of this, as the game was delisted on all platforms in December, and its servers were shut down last month. Once support ends, players who own these online-only games can no longer access these titles to play them, regardless of the hours or money spent on them. Scott’s website claims that “the legality of this practice is untested worldwide, and many governments do not have clear laws regarding these actions.”

According to Scott, “due to the game’s size and France’s strong consumer protection laws,” The Crew is the best example to use to hold publishers accountable, especially since Ubisoft is a France-based company. The website also notes that official government petitions have been introduced to prohibit the practice across several countries. These include the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, various entities in the European Union, with the campaign even targeting unlikely targets like Brazil.

Scott isn’t expecting games to have infinitely hosted servers. The goal is to get developers to create their games with the idea that they will eventually be delisted and allow customers to privately host servers themselves and connect to each other. He also acknowledges that games without support will have limited functionality but should nevertheless remain playable once official support ends.

The campaign’s website states that allowing players to continue playing titles will benefit developers who have spent time working on them. While several online games, such as Knockout City and several Battlefield titles, have been delisted from digital storefronts over the years, many are still playable due to local servers and hosting. These include the aforementioned titles, along with Unreal Tournament 3, Quake Wars, and Doom 3, to name a few, highlighting how common this practice was in the past.

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