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Half-Life YouTuber starts campaign to stop publishers destroying games

Half-Life YouTuber and Freeman’s Mind creator Ross ‘Accursed Farms’ Scott launches a campaign targeting, among others, Ubisoft and The Crew.

Half-Life YouTuber launches Stop Killing Games: A variety of cars from Ubisoft racing game The Crew

The creator of iconic Half-Life YouTube series Freeman’s Mind has launched a new campaign against publishers that close, shutdown, or otherwise bar access to videogames that players have already purchased. Ross Scott, also known via his YouTube channel name Accursed Farms, previously announced that he was considering ways to bring legal attention to this industry-wide practice after Ubisoft confirmed it would close servers for racing game The Crew on Sunday March 31. With that date now passed, Scott has launched a new website called Stop Killing Games, which outlines the campaign’s objectives while guiding would-be supporters to a variety of platforms that they may use to protest or petition “the practice of publishers destroying videogames they have sold to customers.”

Famous for the ongoing Freeman’s Mind series, which gives a voice to Valve’s iconic mute hero, and narrates his journey through both Half-Life and Half-Life 2, Scott previously released a video specifically addressing the shutdown of The Crew’s online servers, and outlining potential ideas for legal or political action against the practice of closing long-running or live-service games, such as the Ubisoft racing game, that consumers have already bought.

In recent years, online servers for games including Battlefield Bad Company 1 and 2, Friday the 13th, and the original Overwatch have been closed down. Multiplayer services for Assassin’s Creed 2, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, and Splinter Cell Conviction, among others, were shuttered at the beginning of 2024. The online services for a variety of F1 games were recently discontinued by EA. On the Stop Killing Games website, Scott outlines the goal of his new campaign.

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“An increasing number of videogames are sold as goods, but designed to be completely unplayable for everyone as soon as support ends,” Scott says. “The legality of this practice is untested worldwide, and many governments do not have clear laws regarding these actions. It is our goal to have authorities examine this behavior and hopefully end it, as it is an assault on both consumer rights and preservation of media.”

Scott outlines two ways that the campaign will pursue its goals. Firstly, the YouTuber describes “charges being pressed against Ubisoft,” specifically in connection to the closure of The Crew’s online services. Secondly, Scott highlights government petitions regarding videogame consumer rights that have begun in the UK, Canada, and Australia.

“The videogame The Crew, published by Ubisoft, was recently destroyed for all players and had a playerbase of at least 12 million people,” Scott writes. “Due to the game’s size and France’s strong consumer protection laws, this represents one of the best opportunities to hold a publisher accountable for this action. If we are successful in charges being pressed against Ubisoft, this can have a ripple effect on the videogames industry to prevent publishers from destroying more games.”

In 2018, Ubisoft published a blog post explaining that The Crew had attracted 12 million players. As on Sunday March 31, 2024, when the game’s online services were closed, 187 people were playing The Crew concurrently on Steam.

PCGamesN contacted Ubisoft regarding this story, but it declined to offer comment.

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