New Blizzard EULA states: You don’t own anything, sorry! cover image

New Blizzard EULA states: You don’t own anything, sorry!

Brain hurt, what words mean?

It's not uncommon your End-User License Agreements, or EULAs, to have some fairly binding language. After all, it's boilerplate legalese meant to cover the skin of said company. However, Reddit caught wind of the new Blizzard EULA agreement that it pushed to all players via BattleNet this past week and nobody is happy.

Included in the new Blizzard EULA agreement are a number of new and constricting points that boil down to two things. First, that anything made by a player belongs to the company, and that the consumer doesn't actually own anything they purchase. Additionally, the new agreement stipulates and dictates "binding arbitration."

For those that don't have a law degree or read fine print, that means the following. Binding arbitration means that the parties waive their right to a trial and agree to accept the arbitrator's decision as final. Generally, there is no right to appeal an arbitrator's decision. Non-binding arbitration means that the parties are free to request a trial if they do not accept the arbitrator's decision.

Let's look into Reddit's complaints, what the Blizzard EULA means, and if you should really care.

New Blizzard EULA means no DOTA repeat

Anyone who has been around the block knows the old story now that the original version of DotA was built within Warcraft 3. This makes it one of the most famous and successful mods of all time. However, the addendum to that story is that DotA creator IceFrog approached Blizzard with the game and a plan, but was soundly rejected. The new Blizzard EULA includes pretty strict stipulations about another situation like this happening.

License Limitations. Blizzard may suspend or revoke your license to use the Platform, or parts, components and/or single features thereof, if you violate, or assist others in violating, the license limitations set forth below. You agree that you will not, in whole or in part or under any circumstances, do the following:

  1. Derivative Works: Copy or reproduce (except as provided in Section 1.B.), translate, reverse engineer, derive source code from, modify, disassemble, decompile, or create derivative works based on or related to the Platform.
New Blizzard EULA

Do consumers have a choice?

In addition, Blizzard does what many other companies have already done in stipulating that there is no such thing as digital possession. "Your use of the Platform is licensed, not sold, to you, and you hereby acknowledge that no title or ownership with respect to the Platform or the Games is being transferred or assigned and this Agreement should not be construed as a sale of any rights."

This all combines into a perfect storm of making the vocal minority mad on the matter. One user on Reddit says "This is an attempt to deal with a new trend. Arbitration is basically a way to break up class action lawsuits and make everyone litigate separately where they are weaker. Some enterprising attorneys figured out that they can basically automate kicking off the arbitration for hundreds or thousands of clients."

<em>HOTS was the end-result of Blizzard missing out on the DotA train.</em>
HOTS was the end-result of Blizzard missing out on the DotA train.

Another user asks "It pisses me off because what if I was okay with the original EULA but not this one? I lose access to the thing I paid for? Can I get a refund after disagreeing with the new terms?" That's the rub, ain't it? We live in a digital world and part of that is accepting terms you often don't have the chance to argue.

It's no wonder folks are turning back to buying physical goods. Alas, you have no option for disagreeing with the Blizzard EULA. Happy gaming.

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