What are the changes in the terms of service announced 24th February 2020 that go into effect on 23rd March 2020?
It is pretty much a 100% rewrite of the old terms. We essentially “copied and pasted” a German version of the TOS back in 2007 that I am sure would never have passed any legal test and we had a really, really bad English translation of that.
So a while back we got a lawyer to write up completely new TOS that are pretty standard among German online game providers. But I can’t really give you a list of changes. If you’re really interested, you probably have to dive into them yourself
I know it is a TOS and no one really looks at any of it too hard but this section is worded very broadly:
5.3 The user is forbidden from using any software that immediately or indirectly affects the game, its functionality (e.g. via so-called “bots”) or the data transmission between the user and simulogics. The user is also forbidden from using any devices, applications, software, scripts or similar which grant the user an advantage over other users who do not make use of such applications, software, scripts or the like. The usage of applications, software, scripts or similar which allow for an automated usage or control of the game is prohibited. The user is obligated not to purposely exploit programming errors in the game to their advantage. simulogics may explicitly approve of certain third-party software or scripts to be used with their game. Such approval can be revoked at any time by a notice within the game or on the website.
That phrasing makes it sound like you can’t use a spreadsheet or a calculator.
No reason to worry. This is the strictly legal basis of a contract with us. If it actually comes to it that this stuff becomes relevant, then we’re likely already in court or one step away from being there. Something which I don’t actually expect to happen…ever
simulogics may explicitly approve of certain third-party software or scripts to be used with their game
It looks like simulogics has to whitelist all tools used explicitly. However, this would allow for using spreadsheets without having to amend the ToS which might be expensive because lawyer costs. Notably developer of all player made tools would need to ask for being whitelisted. This would need to be communicated with the player base.
However, if amending the ToS can be considered:
The user is also forbidden from using any devices, applications, software, scripts or similar which grant the user an advantage over other users who do not make use of such applications, software, scripts or the like.
It might be reasonable to amend that sentence or remove it entirely as otherwise the vast majority of the player base is breaking ToS from the moment they are in effect. That might not be a healthy situation.
From the look of it, the remainder of the paragraph already seems sufficient to disallow botting, however, admittedly I am not a lawyer
The usage of applications, software, scripts or similar which allow for an automated usage or control of the game is prohibited.
the “usage” part seems to forbit usage of the API that is on the roadmap such that it might make sense to remove the part “usage or” as well (not the whole sentence).
Keep in mind that these are our general T&C that set the baseline for a contract between simulogics and a player. All our games and sometimes specific services might have more specific rules or “overrides”. For example, for AirlineSim we offer exclusive game worlds that amend the general terms with more specific ones just for exclusive game worlds. Similarly we have already stated certain exceptions for “tool usage” for PrUn and there is also such a thing a “common practice”, especially concerning the use of spreadsheets, where every person in their right mind (including a court) would agree that it would be impossible to ban them. And if we ever add an official API to the game, there might be a.) special terms again and b.) it would be inherently clear that the API is intended to “use” the game with external tools.
Don’t overthink this. In my whole live I have never had to refer to T&Cs, not for my own product nor for any that I use. Frankly, I think they are useless to begin with…but that’s just me. We add them because we have to.