What happens with your virtually bought games if you die?

Discussion in 'General Gaming Discussion' started by Taleweaver, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. Taleweaver
    OP

    Taleweaver Storywriter

    Member
    5,646
    1,661
    Dec 23, 2009
    Belgium
    Belgium
    A couple days ago, I read an article on how most people were underprepared as to what would happen with all their virtual traces (mails, accounts, that sort of stuff) should they pass away.

    Then I looked at my steam account. Over 100 games. But I'm the only one who knows the password. Obviously, these games and my account will be lost when I'm no longer around to play them add even more (mostly unplayed) games to that list. Obviously that's unlike the physical copies, which will probably make it to a flea market, ebay or sold to the nearby gamestores.

    This thread is twofold. First, there is this question as to how online services like steam handle someone passing away (with their million userbase it has to have happened). Does anybody know this? Can my brother or best friend just take control of my account? Can he/she transfer these games to their own account? Or even flat out donate games to friends?

    Second, I'm curious if I'm the only one who hasn't done ANY preparations(1) on this front. So the open question to everyone is: what will (most likely) happen to your virtual game collection when you pass away?




    (1) what can I say? I plan to live forever, and thus far, I'm doing great ;)
     
  2. Schizoanalysis

    Schizoanalysis From somewhere inside the rabbit hole...

    Member
    2,785
    368
    Jun 23, 2009
    ...
    This is an odd thread.

    If you were to die, would not the least of your worries be your digital games?

    It's a bit like saying, what happens to my MP3s on my ipod when I die? Who really cares...
     
  3. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    23,713
    9,583
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    There are password escrow services for the technically inclined and I have seen quite a few people burned by people up and dying* but not having passwords and account names written down in a form people can decrypt. As far as games go I assume the standard laws of inheritance apply but frankly I have only seen it from the business end where it is not the CEO that owns the software but the company itself (right down pretty much to sole trader level). How you would go about contacting Steam to reset passwords or whatever else I am not sure about offhand but I imagine starting out at their basic contact page would get you where you need to go. I imagine it will probably become a bigger thing when steam and co get slapped hard enough that they implement game resale.

    *late teens right through mid 20s is car crash central or worse for motorbikes (it is not unheard for companies to strongly discourage the use of motorbikes among their more valuable staff), 50 is now considered middle aged despite it being heart attack/stroke central and many people not exactly leading healthy lifestyles that would allow for it to be considered as such and even grandma probably has a fair few accounts all over the joint.

    Which all reminds me I should probably update mine and ensure various clients have theirs sorted.
     
  4. Veho

    Veho The man who cried "Ni".

    Former Staff
    8,900
    17,189
    Apr 4, 2006
    Croatia
    Zagreb
    That could happen only through organized customer boycott, and I don't see that happening any time soon.
     
  5. Cyan

    Cyan GBATemp's lurking knight

    Global Moderator
    18,564
    8,913
    Oct 27, 2002
    France
    Engine room, learning
    your MP3s and your player, your computer's files, etc.
    All of them are accessible to other people, but not the content stored online (emails, forum's account, facebook, etc.)

    I thought about it already, but never did anything in case of passing away, but I would like at least someone to inform other people (staff here, friends I know online only, for example).
    It's more about informing other friends, than having access to all the files.

    Maybe maintaining a testament-like with all "things do check, who/how to contact, etc." is a good idea.


    As for heritage with digitally bought content, I never saw any mention in EULA/TOS.
    I guess it could be applied automatically based on your death certificate and heritage/notarial act. but it will depend the country you live in and the server/company's one.
     
  6. cearp

    cearp the ticket master

    Member
    7,550
    4,813
    May 26, 2008
    Tuvalu
    leave the password in your will :)
     
    Thomas83Lin likes this.
  7. Pedeadstrian

    Pedeadstrian GBAtemp's Official frill-necked lizard.

    Member
    3,532
    1,565
    Oct 12, 2012
    United States
    Sandy Eggo
    Oddly enough, I have thought about this on more than one occasion. Although in a significantly more important way.

    I have friends that I've met online, and our only interactions have been solely virtual, which becomes a bigger problem when a death occurs. When your best friend from down the street dies, you'll find out, whether it's from their family, neighbors, etc. What would happen to a person if their best friend dies and they lived thousands of miles away? It's possible that there'd be a mutual friend that would let you know, but it's also entirely possible that you don't know their family or friends. If a person were smart, they'd not share their passwords, so it's not like a sibling is going to log onto their e-mail and send a mass email regarding the death.

    People fear death because they're afraid of disappearing without a trace in the world. When dealing with friends who know each other only through the internet, that may come to pass.
     
  8. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    23,713
    9,583
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    There have been a handful of legal cases that might provide the basis of case law here. That said yeah boycotts are probably the main way it is going to happen unless someone decides to martyr themselves and mount a case (it has happened in far lesser cases).

    You say you would be notified in real life. As time goes on I am increasingly seeing things along the lines of not seeing someone for a few years and then picking up where things left off then being a thing. Likewise "oh yeah they died about 5 years ago" is another thing I have met on more than one occasion. Granted most of my friends and acquaintances are drawn from those that are inclined to say screw it and move literally halfway around the world on a whim, more than a few of those are probably also likely to do that if they get the "you have ? months to live" news as well with a farewell of "See you cunts later, oh wait" being more than could be expected.

    A lot of lawyers and people dealing with wills and such things have also moved with the times and will either encourage people to add such a section, will prompt the executor to at least click on their browser history and order by most popular first and check through emails too. On the bolded part there are services (first result of such a search http://www.netarius.com/ ) which will do it for you and avoid the need for sharing passwords, if you have not otherwise done something in your will. Nothing stopping you from spinning off a keepass database and leaving the password in a will with instructions on how to use it, indeed it is how I usually do this sort of thing (here is your registrar*, SQL, FTP, social network, advertising network, financial accounts, backup passwords and email account setup password).

    *I usually make sure they have their own domain registrar (I have no interest in holding sites captive) and backups to the sites/services but as I am the one that often gets to handle it all or at least keep track of it all then it makes such things that little bit easier to migrate away from.


    That said as far as online communities/online only friends go if I vanish tomorrow then it is either because I died or I decided to vanish tomorrow (I make a habit of randomly deleting things from my bookmarks, dismissing pet theories and the like). About the only way people would know would be if a news report said "Roger Freedle Smythe III, also known as FAST6191, was finally brought down today after he took the piss one too many times. An estimated 50 million in property damage was caused and demonstrated the old adage of "if you are going to take out someone of the engineering inclination then make sure you hit the first time", he is survived by two cats and a wicked collection of sour sweets.".
     
    Sterling and cearp like this.
  9. Taleweaver
    OP

    Taleweaver Storywriter

    Member
    5,646
    1,661
    Dec 23, 2009
    Belgium
    Belgium
    It actually is the least of my worries NOW. But with more and more services and goods starting to be tied to online accounts and more things circulating in there, I'm kind of wondering about it. And I'd rather discuss it before I'm dead than afterwards. ;)
     
  10. Gahars

    Gahars Bakayaro Banzai

    Member
    10,254
    17,404
    Aug 5, 2011
    United States
    New Jersey
    I hope they get it figured out soon. I may demand that my subjects be buried with me, but I'm not unreasonable; at the very least, they should have some games to pass the time.
     
  11. ShadowSoldier

    ShadowSoldier GBAtemp Guru

    Member
    9,383
    3,300
    Oct 8, 2009
    Canada
    What if... Oxygen is poisonus, it just takes a long time for it to kill us?
     
  12. tbgtbg

    tbgtbg Shaking the ring ropes up in the sky

    Member
    1,951
    448
    Nov 27, 2006
    United States
    Poison us? Damn near killed us!

    Anyway, some services literally forbid transfer of your digital "purchases", so I guess if you die all your stuff just dies with you.
     
  13. CalebW

    CalebW Fellow Temper

    Member
    634
    154
    Jun 29, 2012
    United States
    I don't know about that...but H2O is the most addictive substance in the world. After you drink it once you can't stop, if you try you won't make it past the withdrawal period.
     
  14. duffmmann

    duffmmann GBAtemp Psycho!

    Member
    3,814
    1,580
    Mar 11, 2009
    United States
    put your passwords in your Will simple as that.
     
  15. tbgtbg

    tbgtbg Shaking the ring ropes up in the sky

    Member
    1,951
    448
    Nov 27, 2006
    United States
    Dihydrogen monoxide kills. Don't drink it or you'll really need to know what happens to your games when you die.
     
  16. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    23,713
    9,583
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    That surely strays into contract law territory where you can not create a contract that requires the surrender of certain rights.
     
  17. Hop2089

    Hop2089 Cute>Hot

    Member
    3,810
    209
    Jan 31, 2008
    United States
    Then there's death in the heat of passion, spouses can turn yangire at any time and then it's game over.

    Maybe I should consider a password escrow service.
     
  18. CrimzonEyed

    CrimzonEyed GBAtemp Addict

    Member
    2,494
    313
    Sep 3, 2007
    When I create my will I probably just attach a letters to it. For example one letter to my son/daughter(if I ever get one lol) which contains usrname and password for all services I could pass on and maybe instructions on how to make R.I.P messages on forums.
    Some accounts are probably best left to the unknown though :P
     
  19. koimayeul

    koimayeul GBAtemp Maniac

    Member
    1,343
    116
    Dec 2, 2009
    France
    France
    Not if, but as you die.. Well, I have my whole downloaded installers / manuals / guides / pics / songs etc.. on both my hard drive and an external hard drive, and with a text document saved somewhere in there I wrote my usual login and passwords for Steam, GOG, PSN, mails etc..

    So it will go to my close family, my brother already has his PS 3/4 so more to my growing 13yo niece.. As I don't know any cousin or friend close enough to have them yet, and still far from my own family.. Time will tell!
     
  20. BORTZ

    BORTZ You get a hat, and YOU get a hat!

    Supervisor
    GBAtemp Patron
    BORTZ is a Patron of GBAtemp and is helping us stay independent!

    Our Patreon
    11,714
    14,724
    Dec 2, 2007
    United States
    Pittsburgh
    The company that produced them will reposes them and resell your virtual goods for profit.