Posts tagged ‘Microsoft’

06/21/2014

On rumors that Microsoft’s terms of service are anti-gun

by wfgodbold

Though the Firearm Blog and Lyle voiced their concerns about Microsoft being the latest in a line of companies to refuse their business to those engaged in lawful commerce in arms, I think their criticisms are, for the most part, unfounded.

The currently-in-force agreement incorporates the code of conduct that bans the sale of firearms and ammunition (the 2009 code of conduct referenced by TFB). However, MS has updated its terms of service (as of June 11, 2014), and the new terms–which go into effect on July 31, 2014 and replace the current terms–do not incorporate the reference to the 2009 code of conduct. If you wish to read the outgoing terms, they are listed halfway down the page under the heading “Archived Microsoft Services Agreement.”

The new terms also do not ban using the products to sell firearms or ammunition; instead of a long list of prohibited conduct, they have cut it back to general principles:

i. Don’t use the Services to do anything illegal.

ii. Don’t engage in any activity that exploits, harms, or threatens to harm children.

iii. Don’t send spam or use your account to help others send spam. Spam is unsolicited bulk email, postings or instant messages.

iv. Don’t publicly display inappropriate images (e.g. nudity, bestiality, pornography).

v. Don’t engage in activity that is false or misleading (e.g. attempts to ask for money under false pretenses, impersonating someone else).

vi. Don’t engage in activity that is harmful to the Services or others (e.g. viruses, stalking, hate speech, advocating violence against others).

vii. Don’t infringe upon the rights of others (e.g. unauthorized sharing of copyrighted music, resale or other distribution of Bing maps, photographs and other Content).

viii. Don’t engage in activity that violates the privacy of others.”

Those are all of the restrictions in section 3.6: “What type of Content or actions aren’t permitted?

So while it is technically true that the Microsoft Services Agreement–as it stands right now–prohibits using its products in conjunction with the sale of arms or ammunition, at the end of July it will not.

Disclaimer: This is not legal advice. Rely on it at your own risk. I wrote this mainly because I needed a break from studying for the bar exam.

01/12/2011

The 3DS is region locked, and I’m not happy about it

by wfgodbold

I suppose given the current economic situation around the world that this was inevitable, but Nintendo has finally revealed that their new three dimensional handheld console, the 3DS, will be region locked.

This will prevent Japanese early adopters from waiting the month between Japanese and American release dates to reverse import the system (and thereby taking advantage of how strong the yen is against the dollar).

Nintendo started down this path with the DSi, which region locked DSi specific downloads and software (regular DS titles remained region free); the original Game Boy, the Game Boy Advance, and the DS were all region free.  A system purchased in the US could play games released in Japan, or in Europe (ditto for systems purchased elsewhere); this was convenient when travelling, or when games were only released in certain regions.

Sony, on the other hand, has been going the other direction (for the most part).  The PlayStation and PS2 were both region locked; when they released the PSP, it was region free, and gamers could import games or systems to their hearts’ content, without fear that they would fail to work with each other.

The PS3 continued this trend; while the Blu-ray player is region encoded, the games are not, and importers are free to purchase any games they like.  This has allowed me to import the PS3 releases of Tales of Graces F and Tales of Vesperia (neither of which is likely to get an American release), and means that even if Tales of Xillia doesn’t come out in the US, I will still be able to play it.

Microsoft has taken a more neutral position with the Xbox 360; while the original Xbox was region locked, the 360 is technically region free.  However, it is up to the game publishers themselves to decide if they want their games to be locked to a specific region; while most games are locked to a specific region, some are region free.  Fortunately, Play-Asia.com has put together a list (though not complete) of games they’ve tested on US and Japanese Xbox 360s, and whether or not those games are region locked or region free.

In our increasingly global economy, it only makes sense that companies would try to protect their profits by region locking them (even if they take advantage of weak currencies themselves by outsourcing labor); most consumers won’t care one way or the other, and the vocal minority that does care won’t be able to make a significant impact on sales if they choose to boycott.

That doesn’t mean I have to like it, though.

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