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Mempo-KT

I bought a physical copy of Aion, what happens if/when the servers shut down?

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Mempo-KT   

Take this video into consideration

Years ago, I bought a physical copy of Aion (and payed subscription fees), before it became free to play. When the Aion servers are shut down, the ability to play the game for which I paid for is taken away, as supposedly playing on private servers is a breach of the EULA.

Now, I am a little confused as to where Aion sits on this list.
1. Aion cost money to purchase in the beginning, requiring a CD key to create an account
2. Aion used to cost money to access, requiring a subscription
3. Aion now no longer requires a CD key to create an account
4. Aion no longer requires a subscription to access

In the scheme of things, by going free to play AND denying users the 'right' to access private servers, NCsoft have taken away the value inherent of the goods that I purchased, and have not ensured access to that good in the future.

What I want to know is; what do NCsoft plan to do for the people they will have shafted when the servers shut down?

Consumer protection laws in my country are very specific, very good to the consumer, and are automatically agreed upon by producers when they decide to sell things here. If I am not proven wrongly, I'm just going to assume that when Aion is shut down in NA that I am able to host my own servers in order to continue to be able to access the goods I paid for. As I will no longer able to access their service (which allows access), it would be an illegal practice to deny me this, wouldn't it?

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Kubei-DN   

Even if NA shuts down, NCSOFT Korea still holds the right to the game, assets and everything else in it. When you bought the game and decided to play NA from your country, you follow US law and agreed upon registration. While private servers are illegal, it’s not a punishable crime in the West (at least I don’t recall a country that would put you in jail for playing a private server). Because Korea holds the rights to the game, you don’t have the rights to host your own servers unless you sign a contract with them. It’s  a very broad and sometimes vague area to discuss. 

In Korea it’s supposedly illegal to bot or cheat considering the fact you have to use your social security number upon registration, thus easier to track the player.

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Mempo-KT   
1 minute ago, Kubei-DN said:

When you bought the game and decided to play NA from your country, you follow US law and agreed upon registration.

Not true. By selling the product here the producers agreed to abide by our consumer protection laws.

And while yes, Korea own the IP to the game, the rights to use my copy in the state in which it was offered are retained (accessible/playable), as stipulated by our consumer laws.

Note this document, which clearly states that to sell a product here they must have agreed to the law of the land.

Now that Aion is F2P and F2A( for the sake of this thread Im making up Free to Access as an acronym), what you said would make more sense, but as it was not always this way, and was not the case when I bought it, and the game is no longer in the state at which I purchased it at, where is it stated that I would not be able to "repair" my "broken accessibility" when it is no longer offered?

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Kubei-DN   

That is correct to a certain extent. When they launched Aion in the West, they had servers in Australia. But since those servers are no more, abiding in that law is no longer (technically) a requirement.

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Mempo-KT   
1 minute ago, Kubei-DN said:

That is correct to a certain extent. When they launched Aion in the West, they had servers in Australia. But since those servers are no more, abiding in that law is no longer (technically) a requirement.

Also not True. Nezeken (and others for which the names I have forgotten) were merely American servers hosted in locations in America designed to give the best latency to players in Oceania and set on Australian time zones. No servers were ever located physically in Australia.

And regardless, to be allowed to sell copies here they have to agreed to abide by our law; it does not matter where the product originates, only that they have already agreed to protect us as consumers within the use of that product.

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Kubei-DN   

We’re still hypothetically speaking if NA shut down. While the current state of the game seems like it’s getting there, NA shutting down would mean EU shutting down as well. Even if they do and EU doesn’t, Korea would search for a different publisher to host it for NA.

While you have your rights as the consumer, taking it up with NCWest would do nothing at all for you because they’re just a subsidiary publishing side of the original branch. They’re like a twig on a tree and Korea’s the trunk. It was NCSOFT’s idea of publishing it also in Australia for the “West” even if they’re in Oceania. Aion should have had SEA servers, though I’m it sure why they didn’t do it.

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I don't think there's a law that still gives "consumer protections" over a company closing their game and barring others from using their assets to host their own version of the game, especially if you're playing on a for-profit private server.

Iirc, the US is working on making it so you can still play the unique situation MMOs and other similar games/games as a service after they close. We just haven't gotten there with our laws yet.

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Mempo-KT   
Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, Kubei-DN said:

Aion should have had SEA servers, though I’m it sure why they didn’t do it.

I agree.

But the money I paid for the physical copy of the game had to go to someone, and regardless if that is NCWest, there are certain expectations that must be upheld for that transaction to be considered lawful.
 

14 minutes ago, Cheesecake-DN said:

I don't think there's a law that still gives "consumer protections" over a company closing their game and barring others from using their assets to host their own version of the game, especially if you're playing on a for-profit private server.

Well, I've already linked an article about the successful case against Valve about digital goods being considered the same as physical goods in my country, and as such, Aion would fall under the same protections stipulated here.

I am aware that in other countries this is a grey area (it's pretty clear here), but what I am looking for is a conversation about how the F2P/F2A model changes affected how NCsoft considers how their product was distributed. For me, when I bought it, it was a physical good, which is as I outlined above, but after the model changes I am assuming it has become a service, and would then fall under different law if that service changed/stopped.

Edited by Mempo-KT
clarity

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Kubei-DN   

While it’s unfortunate, asking us, the players, won’t really give you the proper answers to your questions. You could try your luck contacting support (though I doubt they’d bother that much), and if you really want to go farther, contacting a lawyer in your country would be your best shot.

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Mempo-KT   
Just now, Kubei-DN said:

While it’s unfortunate, asking us, the players, won’t really give you the proper answers to your questions. You could try your luck contacting support (though I doubt they’d bother that much), and if you really want to go farther, contacting a lawyer in your country would be your best shot.

I agree, though we have an entire government agency that we can go to for free, rather than lawyers. But.....
 

17 minutes ago, Cheesecake-DN said:

Iirc, the US is working on making it so you can still play the unique situation MMOs and other similar games/games as a service after they close. We just haven't gotten there with our laws yet.

Then this could become an issue for yourselves in the Americas as well in the future, especially those who bought CD keys when the game was first released. The whole "you don't own your games" topic is one worth having, and if producers like NCsoft are able to dodge any sort of liability by simply changing their payment model then it is a massive issue for us. 

I came here to the forums because I think talking about it will help us all; bouncing ideas off others helps people to wrap their head around concepts, and I think it will help in ensuring that we aren't purposefully hard done by entities that do not care for their consumers. This will be a community wide issue if, for example, NA Aion happens to shut down RIGHT before laws similar to ours are applied nationwide in the United States.

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Iirc, they're trying to go retroactive, so things like CoH and stuff could be "legal" to play again.

Can't look it up right now.

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Posted (edited)

Its pretty simple, Aion is a trademarked game.  That gives Nc Soft control over it, seeing they hold the trademark.  Meaning its their property or ideas that are protected under copyright laws. 

Just because you bought something in your country doesnt allow you to do what ever you want under your laws.  Theft of intellectual property is a huge mess right now.  While your laws may not recognize international trademarks, other countries do recognize them.  You may think you are protected in your country, but that doesnt mean NC Soft cant sue you for a cease and desist order in say NA or Korea seeing they own the trademark on the game.  And will bet that you would lose that lawsuit due to copyright infringement.

Edited by Tree-EK
Cant spell

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So to me you're at a perfect spot. Whenever you get mad at the game just throw the disk. I'm still waiting for my buddy to send me his aion disk so I can throw it. But remember we are the USA! Freedom!!! Do what ya want puck ncwest or ncsoft. 

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Posted (edited)

My understanding is that if we bought a physical copy, the game is effectively owned by us. Because the game is only hosted online does not change the calculus that the copy is still owned by us and nothing stops us from doing a 127.0.0.1 to host a server to play the game solo. Private for profit servers are somewhat more questionable, but I suspect the same argument can be made that owners of a copy of the game can host a game for others to play with.

NC owns the trademark which means you can't develop something that is a copy and or whatever. It does not mean you cannot host your own server, run your own settings and are forced to play on retail. If this was the case, Blizzard would have shut down DOTA long ago as DOTA was profiting off WC2Editor and third party scripting for a game within the WC3 system that used Blizzard trademarks and everything - but claimed copyfight for DOTA's creator. DOTA effectively spun off into DOTA2, while using Blizzard assets, development and trademarks for the initial run. Blizzard did not shut them down - I suspect it is because of the ownership issue. Same for older games like Diablo 2. I used to host a private server for Diablo 2 and had about 500 accounts registered, I own a physical copy even after Battle.net decided to no longer support the game, so; solution was to host my own. I don't recall ever getting cease and desist letters.

This is also in a way the same argument why they can't sue gold sellers to shut them down. If you own a copy of the game and you are generating resources in the game nothing prevents you from selling those resources that you effectively generated for a profit. Their only recourse is the ban the accounts and tell players it's "illegal" - under their rules - but not illegal in the legal sense of the word. No copyright or trademark laws are being violated through gold selling or even account selling. Property within the game without being modified is changing hands for an outside transaction cost is all. Copyright laws generally exist to prevent copies, rips and reverse engineering. Not when someone takes an existing product, does not modify it and simply uses it in an unconventional way. I'm no lawyer though.

 

 

 

Edited by Delessa-DN

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this is an interesting topic to be honest. 

I think it was easier when the copies we got were for solo games without the need of internet. Every game we bought on those days are still there and we can install and play them if we want. But how it is supposed to work with online games requiring a server (and official one)? Do the copy that you paid give you the right to play the game every time you want? (even in 2040? ) If the game requires a server, that means that NCSoft should provide one maybe for the next 30 years? If they shut down the game, are the players free to host their servers to keep their games?

I guess probably there are a lot of empty spaces regarding the laws for something like this. Online games are something really new and politicians tend to move really slow (and gaming is not something interesting for most of them :S ). 

But I also share the opinion that the laws that must be respected for most of the goods are the laws from the country where the item is sold. I saw that with other goods like wines. If you produce something in a country A you need to respect the laws about production, but when you sell the good in a country B, you need to respect the laws from that country B too. You can not say to the customer "this thing is made in A, so deal with it". If you want to only follow the laws from your country, don´t try to sell the goods out of it. 

So... in adition to that.... NCWest is in USA, so obviously they must respect the laws there... but actually we can join the servers from other countries too. And maybe we agree with the server rules, and they do not control who creates and account.... but they know where we live when we buy N coins (or BCM coins). And apparently not all the countries have that freedom. So maybe NCWest must also respect the laws in all those countries too. 

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Mempo-KT   
On 01/05/2019 at 9:47 AM, Tree-EK said:

Its pretty simple, Aion is a trademarked game.  That gives Nc Soft control over it, seeing they hold the trademark.  Meaning its their property or ideas that are protected under copyright laws. 

Yes. But they are the ones who decided to sell Aion here, and therefore agreed to our Consumer Protection laws. Law of the land is upheld worldwide, so I doubt NCsoft would be held to any different standard. Our consumer protection laws are better the China's copywrite freedoms, and there is nothing anyone can do about; see the link I posted where Valve lost their suit here.

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1 hour ago, Mempo-KT said:

Yes. But they are the ones who decided to sell Aion here, and therefore agreed to our Consumer Protection laws. Law of the land is upheld worldwide, so I doubt NCsoft would be held to any different standard. Our consumer protection laws are better the China's copywrite freedoms, and there is nothing anyone can do about; see the link I posted where Valve lost their suit here.

The video is nothing more but a talking dude.  He may cite this and say that.  But at the end, he says he needs help from lawyer or law student.  Right there the credibility is gone.  A law student could do nothing, because they'd be practicing without a law license and that is illegal.  With him saying he doesnt know what to do etc cause he needs a lawyer, shows that he didnt look up the laws, even in the US. Citing precedent make seem to blur the he is providing a good evidence, but thats all a rant, not based on any legal help. 

Doesnt't matter, if they dont want you to use the game while they have the trademark, they can sue you in a country like the US or Korea to cease and desist or for monetary damages.  Your court system or laws have no affect on what a Korean or American court rules.  You can try and run a private server, but if ncsoft wants to shut it down it can.  Remember, NC Soft is a Korean based company, which has a division in America.  I believe in EU, gameforge has a license to run, control and admin the game separate from NC Soft, but it is licensed to do so by NC Soft.

I believe a judgement for monetary damages in the US can be enforced on any person in the world.  Getting the money might be a problem unless they then sue you in your country's legal system for the monetary judgement of the American court.

Just cause you bought a game in your country doesnt mean the trademark owner doesnt have rights.  You may think your country's laws protect you from the game company, but that would be dead wrong.  This is business law 101. 

It would be the equivalent of your country protecting you from a copy right strike on youtube.  Then finding out youtube has the final say on their platform because they are based in a country other than yours and can bring suit in either country.  But guarantee that the suit will be brought in a country that has a favorable outcome to the company, not you, the consumer.

TBH, a cease and desist order would be the first step in the litigation process.  This can be court ordered or through the company's legal team.  That is like a slap on the wrist.  I'd be far more worrisome of a legal battle for monetary damages if you ignore the cease and desist order.  Because, depending on where the company files the suit, you will either ignore then and they win by default.  Or hire the lawyers in your country and the country the law suit was filed.  It would be cheaper just to comply with the shutdown than to fight a company that has resources far greater than yours.

That's all that should be said.  If you disagree, I wish you luck in your adventures where ever they take you.

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I think obtaining money from someone else´s intellectual property or trademarks is illegal everywhere. I don´t think it is right to create your private server and sell stuff to other people there using a game you don´t own. 

And even, now, creating a private server for yourself without getting money from it, when the owner provides servers for free, could be illegal. 

I think all the idea is about what happens if one day NCSoft decides to remove Aion and the servers from us. If the game it is not available for us, and somebody paid for a physical copy (and have the rights to play the game), can he/she create his personal server? And Aion it is supposed to be a game with a lot of people so most of the content can´t be done solo, so... can she/he make the server available for other people to join? And finally, that person must host the game for free, or he/she can obtain donations (giving items in exchange?) from other people to afford the costs (or even make it profitable)? I guess the last one is not legal even without an official server from NCSoft. But I saw that happening with some open source games, and apparently was legal.  

And also, if NCSoft decides to shut down Aion, will they complain or sue people if somebody create a private server? Maybe they wont care. 

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On 5/3/2019 at 11:48 AM, Mempo-KT said:

they are the ones who decided to sell Aion here, and therefore agreed to our Consumer Protection laws. Law of the land is upheld worldwide, so I doubt NCsoft would be held to any different standard.

Agreed.

I too bought a physical copy of Aion way back when and have been playing the game since it's release, so I have the same concerns. 

Unfortunately, with regard to the laws both international and here where I live in the US they are still considered to exist within a very gray area.

Aion itself today is soooooooo very different to what it was then, and has changed so much with regard to it's storyline I fear that any case brought to court after the game closes would ultimately fail unless by that time the laws change to specifically cover these consumer issues.

While I hope they do, given the state Aion is in ATM vs. how slowly the wheels of justice turn, I doubt there will be any recourse for any of us to take, no matter what country you live in.

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On 4/28/2019 at 7:50 AM, Mempo-KT said:

Take this video into consideration

Years ago, I bought a physical copy of Aion (and payed subscription fees), before it became free to play. When the Aion servers are shut down, the ability to play the game for which I paid for is taken away, as supposedly playing on private servers is a breach of the EULA.

Now, I am a little confused as to where Aion sits on this list.
1. Aion cost money to purchase in the beginning, requiring a CD key to create an account
2. Aion used to cost money to access, requiring a subscription
3. Aion now no longer requires a CD key to create an account
4. Aion no longer requires a subscription to access

In the scheme of things, by going free to play AND denying users the 'right' to access private servers, NCsoft have taken away the value inherent of the goods that I purchased, and have not ensured access to that good in the future.

What I want to know is; what do NCsoft plan to do for the people they will have shafted when the servers shut down?

Consumer protection laws in my country are very specific, very good to the consumer, and are automatically agreed upon by producers when they decide to sell things here. If I am not proven wrongly, I'm just going to assume that when Aion is shut down in NA that I am able to host my own servers in order to continue to be able to access the goods I paid for. As I will no longer able to access their service (which allows access), it would be an illegal practice to deny me this, wouldn't it?

A bit late with a reply, but I'm guessing this is your first or only MMO? Your understanding of U.S. Law is a little flawed. Basically what's going to happen is what happened with other MMOs that shut down here in the west such as SWG, City of Heroes (another NCSoft title,) Tabula Rasa (another NCSoft title,) Wildstar (Yet another NCSoft title I think?) etc.

That is to say they just shut down and you are not compensated in any way. You have no legal recourse at all. They are not obligated to continue hosting servers and you paid to access the game while it was still running. It sucks but that is pretty much the end of the story, that's the way it has always been. Aion is absolutely no different when it finally comes time for it to shut down.

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12 minutes ago, Jagblade-DN said:

A bit late with a reply, but I'm guessing this is your first or only MMO? Your understanding of U.S. Law is a little flawed. Basically what's going to happen is what happened with other MMOs that shut down here in the west such as SWG, City of Heroes (another NCSoft title,) Tabula Rasa (another NCSoft title,) Wildstar (Yet another NCSoft title I think?) etc.

That is to say they just shut down and you are not compensated in any way. You have no legal recourse at all. They are not obligated to continue hosting servers and you paid to access the game while it was still running. It sucks but that is pretty much the end of the story, that's the way it has always been. Aion is absolutely no different when it finally comes time for it to shut down.

They usually give back the last few months of purchases or so. At least that's what I commonly see happening.

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Just now, KonkersGG-EK said:

They usually give back the last few months of purchases or so. At least that's what I commonly see happening.

Very true, there is that.

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Reel-DN   

It doesn't stop them from releasing non or little money generating events at the end of the life span to generate nothing and say "Oh but you can get up to 2 months back"

I log in and see a lot of p2w which will keep the servers up at this rate for a while now.

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On 4/28/2019 at 9:50 PM, Mempo-KT said:

Snip....snip...
What I want to know is; what do NCsoft plan to do for the people they will have shafted when the servers shut down?
 

1

NCSoft should make AION, with some variations, a solo game for PC when they will decide to shut it down. Just for the people who like/liked to play Aion so they will continue to play it to their heart content.

I would be happy to pay for it because I really like AION.

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