In March, Square Enix announced a new policy on virtual items for Phantasy Star Online 2, a popular free-to-play online spin off from its Phantasy Star RPG series. In a post on the game’s official site, the company revealed a new clause in the Terms of Service, stating that the “unlimited” nature of some of its most popular items were at risk of being discontinued.
Phantasy Star Online 2 is getting a lot of attention these days because of its upcoming sunset of its free to play status. This has caused a lot of passionate discussion, particularly among the new players who have joined during their free period. Some are scared of losing their new characters, while others are excited to see how the game has changed.
It’s kinda weird to be writing a blog post about a free-to-play game, but since it’s a big deal it’s a big deal. It’s a big deal because, as you may know, most F2P games have a “term of service” that states that you have to play for a certain number of hours every month, or every year, before you can receive any lingering benefits from it. For example, you might have a monthly subscription to a MMO, and it might say that you have to play a certain amount of hours per month before you can get any benefits from it.
You may have noticed that the end user licensing agreement was changed in this week’s Phantasy Star Online 2 release. SEGA said it included a section for “Shutdown of Online Services,” a section for North American users outlining the “Binding Arbitration and Class Action Waiver,” and “[o]ther minor changes” that “reflect the present circumstances.”
It all sounds ominous, but it doesn’t have to be. The actual terms are boilerplate for MMO EULAs, as Reddit users have pointed out; SEGA reserves the right to “stop offering or supporting online services (if any) related to the Product at any time” and terminate accounts, and it basically requires you to agree to pursue legal remedies against the company through arbitration rather than a lawsuit or a class-action lawsuit. That second chunk is likewise not out of the ordinary, but the portion where it provides an opt-out within 30 days after purchase seems a little shady, considering that the conditions are established well beyond that 30-day period.
While most Redditors seem resigned to the fact that this is standard language for gaming terms of service (one mod accused people of “doomposting”), it has sparked some debate about the game’s health and the timing of the sunset section’s addition, given the perception that New Genesis hasn’t lived up to expectations in the west, though whether that perception is accurate or not is a matter of debate.
According to SEGA’s most current financial report, the game “well performed” and was the company’s second-highest earner in the second quarter of the New Genesis’ debut. However, the game’s revenues are driven by Japan, and a quick check at NG’s Steam numbers reveals that it’s dropped from 16K average/60K peak players in June to 5K average/11K peak on that platform alone, adding the game hasn’t exactly been catching headlines with major events or upgrades this summer. Let’s hope the fears are unwarranted and the adjustments are simply a matter of poor timing.
A few days ago I heard about the latest update to the Phantasy Star Online 2 TOS that was put in place. According to the TOS, after the expiration of the TOS, the game will revert back to its initial state, and users will lose all progress. Even worse, but I’m not entirely sure about this, the game will delete all your data, including your characters and all the data you’ve collected.. Read more about pso2 mods allowed and let us know what you think.
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