What's @#%^ed up about even having a disclaimer in place is that you don't get calls from your local supermarket/farmer reminding you that you should eat from time to @#%^ing time. It's your personal responsibility.
If you don't **** you can die, if you don't eat you can die - we're not just now figuring these things out...
It sucks that SE need to protect themselves - and from what? - Litigious Mother @#%^ers! - that's who.
The problem is that we live in a world where no one wants personal responsibility; whenever anything goes wrong, the first thing people do is look for someone to blame. Blame the video games for violent kids, blame the tobacco companies for cancer, blame the fast food chains for obesity... it's all about blaming someone else and making them give you money to make up for your lack of personal responsibility.
The flip side of this is that we live in a world where every one will happily lie to you about the risks of what they're selling you up until the day you die from it, just to make an extra buck. To be honest, I *DO* blame fast food companies (and frito lay, and pepsi, and most other "snack food" manufacturers) for promoting the lie that you can eat that stuff all the time and be perfectly healthy. I blame them for loading their food with extra salt, grease, and sugar and pushing Super Sized "value" meals that contain more calories than the average person will burn in a day.
Corporations are not stupid, they just have a very warped sense of priorities because they exist for the sole purpose of making money. Whereas you might be able to count on a co worker or a neighbor to be fair and honest with you just because of empathy between human beings, a corporation will lie and exploit people all day long as long as that's what leads to the best bottom line. A lot of people say that this behavior is "evil" but it's like a shark eating a seal-- the shark isn't doing it out of spite, that's just how he knows to thrive. Corporations don't usually exploit people because the CEO just likes to make people suffer, they do it because that's what allows them to thrive. Chances are, the CEO was chosen because he fits the needs of the company and not vice versa.
The costs of irresponsible behavior that spill over onto other people are never taken into account by a well run corporation except to the extent that those costs could spill back over onto THEM and change the bottom line. Lawsuits or the threat of lawsuits help to keep corporations honest and responsible in a way that thousands of angry rants on the internet could never achieve. It's just simple economics and business sense. It's why we have to create laws with stiff penalties for pollution or financial malfeasance, and why, when those laws are not strictly enforced, we get BP or Enron.
What you have to realize about "fatigue" systems is that there are people who cannot properly evaluate how much time they should be spending playing an MMO. An MMO maker cannot fix the mental or emotional problems of its users, but it can choose not to exploit them for further profit. Fatigue systems, disclaimers, etc are an effort to at least remind people that they could be doing some thing else with their time, rather than allow them to exist in ignorant bliss. What people choose to do with that information is their choice, but I'd rather see MMO makers try than for them to exist in the world of McDonald's, where they try to tell people that a 600 calorie, high fat, high salt sandwich is some how healthy. Edited, Jul 31st 2010 5:10pm by KarlHungis
The problem is that there's no sense of moderation. If I eat three big macs a day and I notice that I've gone from 150 to 180 and I keep eating big macs and get to 210 and I keep eating them and get to 250... at what point is the company no longer responsible for the fact that I haven't stopped and said "Hey, I wonder why I'm a big, fat, fatty. Maybe I should evaluate my diet and figure out what the **** I'm doing wrong."
I don't disagree that laws need to be in place to keep companies in line, but at the same time, those laws need to protect the companies from harming their consumers; there don't need to be laws to protect consumers from harming themselves via a company's product. If I buy a gun, stick it in my mouth, and pull the trigger, the gun maker should net be at fault because the gun didn't have a big orange and yellow "DO NOT INSERT INTO MOUTH AND PULL TRIGGER" label.
The problem with fatigue systems is that they punish players who -can- control their playing time in the name of "helping" those who can't. There are a lot of lightweights who get buzzed after two alcoholic beverages. Now there ARE laws that say that a bartender can refuse to serve you alcohol if they feel you're too drunk; this is GOOD, but it's another thing to limit ALL bar patrons to two drinks, because it adversely affects too many people.
And the people that -really- wanna get ****** up will just go find another bar and get two more drinks. If we assume someone is "addicted to gaming" and an MMOG limits them to 8 hours a day and they keep playing, what's stopping them from having two characters and changing character? Or two accounts and changing to a new account when they want to keep playing? Or even playing a second MMORPG when they run out of time on the first? Now you're going to start hurting legit players where two players share a house (and an IP) by limiting the IP's maximum playtime?
You can't tell your 2 year old, your 6 year old, your 12 year old, and your 16 year old that NONE of them can have soda because the 2 year old bounces off the walls when he does. People are different and some have more problems than others. These problems need to be addressed as they arise, not pre-emptively by punishing -everyone-.
I don't disagree that there -should- be laws to minimize the damage a company's product can do; don't wash your counters with bleach and then make big macs on them, don't let nurses who work around patients on oxygen smoke near them... there do need to be quality control measures in place that protect the customer from the product's inherent danger... but you can't just pass blanket laws to protect EVERYONE from themselves overusing a product because all these laws do is make people who CAN control themselves become inconvenienced.