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Pirates ask EU Commission to look into killing of video games

European Parliament Freedom, democracy and transparency Press briefings

Pirate Party MEP Patrick Breyer has asked the European Commission for an opinion on the decision by French computer game manufacturer Ubisoft to make the popular computer game “The Crew 1” unusable from April 2024. In Breyer’s opinion, this measure could violate EU law. Meanwhile an initiative centred around the Youtuber Ross Scott has formed to oppose the destruction of video games (stopkillinggames.com).

MEP Patrick Breyer explains:

“The shutdown of ‘The Crew 1′ by Ubisoft is an alarming example of how gamers’ interests are being ignored. It is unacceptable and probably also illegal for companies to first sell popular games at a profit and then kill them at short notice. Pirates demand a legal framework that prevents orphaned software from simply disappearing. The community should have the opportunity to take orphaned software over and develop it further. This policy also promotes sustainability, for example by allowing control routines for hardware to be maintained and updated, which increases the service life of the devices.

Software is more than just a product on the shelf. Computer games in particular are an integral part of our digital culture. At my request, the EU Commission must now clarify whether Ubisoft’s actions are in conflict with current EU consumer protection law and which limits exist for computer game manufacturers when killing previously sold games.”

Breyer’s written question to the EU Commission tabled on Friday in full:

“The French computer game manufacturer Ubisoft distributed the game The Crew 1 until December 2023. However, by shutting down its servers, it will no longer be playable from April 2024.

  1. is this action in breach of EU law?
  2. which limits does EU law generally place on computer game manufacturers when decommissioning previously sold computer games?
  3. which authorities are responsible for enforcing the regulations?”