Dead Space 3 Resources Exploit Could be Considered Theft, Says IP Expert
Written Monday, February 11, 2013 By Lee BradleyView author's profile
Here’s an interesting little story, to tack on to Dead Space 3’s recent microtransactions controversy.
The exploit allows players to gather infinite resources in-game, thereby side-stepping the need to engage with any microtransactions.
“If you go into a baker’s to buy a bun and they give you the wrong change and you walk away knowing you have been given more change than you handed over in the first place, that’s theft,” said Sara Ludlam, an intellectual property expert at Lupton, Fawcett, Lee & Priestley.
“So, arguably if you go into this game knowing you are supposed to be paying for these weapons and you notice a glitch allows you to accumulate them without paying, that’s theft as well. But it is arguable because it’s a new area.”
Arguable indeed. In fact, EA themselves recently contacted us to communicate that the infinite resources glitch in Dead Space 3 isn’t a glitch at all, but a design choice.
“The resource-earning mechanic in Dead Space 3 is not a glitch,” the publisher told us. “We have no plans to issue a patch to change this aspect of the game. We encourage players to explore the game and discover the areas where resources respawn for free.
“We’ve deliberately designed Dead Space 3 to allow players to harvest resources by playing through the game. For those that wish to accumulate upgrades instantly, we have enabled an optional system for them to buy the resources at a minimal cost ($1-$3).”
It’s an interesting response from EA, one that has undertones of a PR job. Because, after all, if the publisher did issue a patch preventing players from gathering infinite resources, the story would take on a new light.
If such a patch was released, it would suddenly become a battle, with gamers on one side resisting microtransactions and EA on the other aggressively enforcing them. Handling it this way means that the story dies and the publisher retains its player-friendly front.
As for the IP expert, we’d say that the specifics of Dead Space 3’s microtransactions make her theft statement inaccurate. If the only way to gather resources in the game was by buying them, perhaps she’d have a point. But as resources are freely available through the game, this isn’t the case.
Regardless, it’s an interesting insight into the opinions of the kind of people that offer publishers regular advice.