from the too-much-time-on-my-hands dept
Traditionally, we all know that the end user license agreement is used to try and give companies all manner of legal advantages, while attempting (often ridiculously) to strip away ordinary consumer rights. Of course, the legally binding nature of these agreements is dubious, and nobody bothers to read them anyway. We’ve historically noted that occasionally companies bury something fun in the ocean of mouse print to make just that point. Years ago, anti-spyware firm PC Pitstop promised to give away $1,000 to the first person to e-mail them at a specific address (it took 3,000 downloads for that person to appear).
Larian Studios, developers of the game Divinity: Original Sin, recently decided to have some fun of its own. The company just released a completely, massively-revamped version of the game it had been giving away for free to customers of the old title. But buried in the fine print for this new offering was a little message ignored by the lion’s share of customers who downloaded the title:
“16. Special Consideration. A special consideration in material or immaterial form may be awarded to the first 100 authorized licensees to actually read this section of the EULA and contact LARIAN STUDIOS at email@example.com. This offer can be withdrawn by LARIAN STUDIOS at any time.”
Larian has yet to confirm what these folks won, but did note on the company’s Facebook page that it pulled the fine print once the developers were satisfied that 100 people had actually bothered to read the fine print:
“We’re telling you now because the results are in and it turns out that you in fact do read these things. Our lawyer feels good about this. He’s also revoking the consideration because we’re making him pay for every mail we get.”
Frankly, it’s pretty astonishing that even that many users could be bothered to read the EULA. More frequently, the gaming industry (like all other industries) is obsessed with using EULAs to strip away consumer rights or make consumer-owned products less useful, so it’s refreshing to see a company with a sense of humor. That doesn’t make it any less true that the standard EULA remains a ridiculous, unread beast and that keeping it simple is a better bet if winning consumer hearts is anywhere on your radar.