If there is one thing that the internet has created, it is the ability to overreact as a huge group on social media. It normally starts with a user on a service like Twitter finding something that they do not agree with, sharing it and then other users doing the same until there is a frenzy of outraged posts. The one thing that can often be guaranteed is that the situation has been overblown.
Give it a few hours and you’ll find suddenly things aren’t as bad as they seemed and the situation makes a lot more sense. This was the case with the terms and conditions for Windows 10 today. The offending section is:
“Sometimes you’ll need software updates to keep using the Services. We may automatically check your version of the software and download software updates or configuration changes, including those that prevent you from accessing the Services, playing counterfeit games, or using unauthorized hardware peripheral devices. You may also be required to update the software to continue using the Services. Such updates are subject to these Terms unless other terms accompany the updates, in which case, those other terms apply. Microsoft isn’t obligated to make any updates available and we don’t guarantee that we will support the version of the system for which you licensed the software.”
Now an interesting question to start with is why are people suddenly outraged now? If they are running Windows 10 already should they not have read the terms and conditions already? I’ll admit I’ve not, but that is my own fault, and I live with that decision.
The fact is, while Microsoft may act to stop you using services for pirate games, these games would only be those from Microsoft themselves, or using the Microsoft Store. Remember this is something that Microsoft do with Xbox consoles if they are found to be pirating games, so why would Windows 10 be any different? Also in the above quote, note the word “may” which is a key to the fact that they probably never will.
Right now we are safe, especially when most of our games come through a service like Steam, and not Windows Store. Microsoft may have a vision of the world where we are all wired into Xbox Live and their store where they control our games through that service, but I doubt the PC would ever become so controlled. So yes, our games are safe; Microsoft can’t just shut them down just yet. That’s not to say other services like Steam can’t also ban us from our games for breaking their terms and conditions too.
Valve may terminate your Account or a particular Subscription for any conduct or activity that Valve believes is illegal, constitutes a Cheat, or otherwise negatively affects the enjoyment of Steam by other Subscribers. You acknowledge that Valve is not required to provide you notice before terminating your Subscriptions(s) and/or Account, but it may choose to do so.Valve may terminate your Account or a particular Subscription for any conduct or activity that Valve believes is illegal, constitutes a Cheat, or otherwise negatively affects the enjoyment of Steam by other Subscribers. You acknowledge that Valve is not required to provide you notice before terminating your Subscriptions(s) and/or Account, but it may choose to do so.
As you can see, they have the power to terminate our accounts, which will take all our games with it, and this can be done with no notice. These are the agreements we make, and for the most part we never run into problems because of them.
What we really should be concerned about though is the privacy issues around Windows 10; it is a fact that Microsoft are collecting information about our usage and it may be a little too much, even if it is anonymous. It may improve their services if they know how people are using the operating system, but just how much do they need to know about us?
The answer to any worries you have about Windows 10 is to read the terms and conditions, and know just what Microsoft are doing with their software, and do the same with each service you use. If you don’t like what you read, then don’t agree to them, even if this means not using the software.
Don’t overreact after reading the latest well intentioned scare story that makes its way onto the internet, remain calm, and stay informed. That is your best weapon against Microsoft and the other companies people love to hate.