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Feature: If You Die, So Do Your Digital Downloads

This feature article has been salvaged from the burning embers that were once The Games Cabin, and re-published here on Pure PlayStation? Why? Because we started off as a spin-off site from The Games Cabin, but we’re now fully independent due to The Games Cabin ceasing publication. As such, it makes sense that we’d want to save the best work from the old site so it may live on here on Pure PlayStation. Huh, actually fits in quite well with the content of this article. Enjoy!


Today, out of mere curiosity I found myself wondering what would happen if I died. A bit of a grim thing to be daydreaming about, but we’ve all been there. (Monday mornings anybody?)

Who would get all my stuff? My laptop, my games consoles and games, they would probably find themselves in the hands of my much younger siblings, my clothes would end up at a charity and my money would probably be spent on crap that I would never buy.

But what about my digital downloads? More and more of us are utilising the “Cloud” and storing more and more files online, and why shouldn’t we? It’s safe and secure (for the most part) and it helps keep our precious hard drives free of unnecessary clutter.

It’s not just uploading our personal photos and documents though.

With our games consoles and all other devices now being constantly connected to the internet, it’s easier than ever to indulge in digital content. The market has grown phenomenally, and for me personally, it’s the convenience of being able to buy the latest releases without having to go outside, wear clothes, or deal with dimwit staff who aren’t qualified to hold a controller, nevermind be a representative at a video game store.

Services such as Xbox Live, the PlayStation Store and Steam to name a few, are pushing harder and harder for digital goods to become a viable alternative to retail bought content.

But do you really own them?

The answer seems to be no, not at all. Most of us know that we are only paying for the license to use the software. We don’t like it but we have accepted it, because once we are done with our discs we can trade them in towards a new purchase, sell them online or in store or just be a good friend and give it away.

The same doesn’t hold true with digital content. Once you buy it, that’s it. You’re stuck with it, no trades, no sale, and no refund. This is what led me to email Sony, and try to see if they would fall for my light-hearted, somewhat satirical take on the matter.

Email:

Dear Sony People, 

Hello, there! My name is Chris and I’m emailing you with some very, very unfortunate news: one day, I’m going to kick the bucket and die. I know it’s hard to imagine a world where I don’t exist but try, if you will, to imagine that I’m no longer walking the earth, but instead I’m pushing daisies. Actually, scrap that, I know for a fact that most of the people I know would want me cremated to make sure I can’t be resurrected.

Anyway, the point is that one day I shall die. It’s not something I want to happen, but it’s out of my hands. My problem is that I don’t know what to do with all the stuff I’ve bought from you. I mean, yeah, my Sony Walkman will be left to whoever I hate the most, and I’ll leave instructions to have my PlayStation consoles buried/burnt alongside my corpse so that I’m never lonely in hell. But what about my games? By that, I mean my digital ones. On my last count I had over 75 games that I owned digitally from the PlayStation Store, but I’m guessing that number is only going to grow in time. 

I don’t really know how getting broadband works in the afterlife, but I’m assuming there’s something in the PlayStation Network terms and conditions that I can’t migrate my account from Earth. What I’d like to know is if there’s any chance I could leave my account to a designated person here in the mortal world. I’ve spent a considerable amount of money on your PlayStation Store and I’d hate to see all my goodies and games die with me. If you could sort it out so that my mate Sam could take over my account when I’m dead, that’d be ace. 

Cheers, 

Chris

That’s the email I sent to Sony, and a similar one to Microsoft and Steam. So far, only Sony has managed to get back to me with this email:

Dear Chris, 

Thank you for your email. I understand where you are coming from but as stated in our Terms of Service, PlayStation Network accounts may only be accessed by the account owner. 

I hope this clears things up for you. 

– Name Redacted –

So basically, once I’m in my underground crib, my digitally bought PlayStation goods will be of no use to me and I’m not allowed to pass on my account details.

I have the feeling the same holds true with the rest of the online services we are all slaves to, whether it be iTunes, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, Steam, Origin or the countless other services, it seems that once we kick the bucket our digital goods do too.

Am I the only person who thinks this is just a tad unfair? If you can get you Facebook page “memorialised” when you die, why not your digital goods?

When I die, I wouldn’t mind leaving behind some of the music that I grew up with, that way my children or grandchildren or even great-grandchildren can mock me for my James Blunt collection before discovering that The Killers and Brandon Flowers are musical gods.

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