This petition represents a stand to support the fair principle of People before Profit in the face of a company concerned only with the gathering of wealth rather than upholding the basic principle of putting the concerns of the consumers before the numbers on a piece of paper. By doing this with such a popular game, Insight Venture Partners are also exposing vast numbers of children to this damaging philosophy.
Insight Venture Partners became majority shareholders of the game-developing company Jagex, creators of Runescape, in December 2010, the same time that the Founder of the game, Andrew Gower, left the company.
Prior to 2011, Jagex had strived to maintain an excellent game that put the players before anything else. Whilst some difficult decisions were taken, which provoked criticism at the time, the community regarded Jagex, and its founders, the Gower brothers, as genuinely concerned with, first and foremost, providing a game where the players were the top priority.
The management regularly posted 'News' messages on the site reminding players that a player's success in Runescape was never intended to have any relation to their wealth outside of the game. In 2003/4, they even went so far as to say "We don't want rich players to be able to simply buy their way to the top. This is clearly not how the game is meant to be played.". In addition to this, until the 5th of April 2012, the Rules of Runescape included a section enshrining this principle.
On the 2nd of April 2012, Jagex unveiled an update that changed the ethos of the game entirely. Players could now buy 'spins' on the 'Squeal of Fortune', an in-game activity that 'rewards' players with in-game money, items, or Experience Points. Upon release, and at the time that this petition was created, the method used to purchase spins used existing credit card data linked to that account, allowing hackers to spend a player's real-world money without entering any new credit card details, information, or passwords. The act itself has, by some, been criticised as being gambling. Since the game has no lower age limit, if this is the case, it is liable to break gambling laws in numerous countries.
Ignoring any security or legal issues with the update, it still goes fundamentally against the ethos that the game had upheld until the point when it was introduced. The Rules of the game were changed on the 5th of April 2012; it became official policy that, should one have wealth in the real world, one could use that to pave one's way in the Runescape world, so long as they did so via Jagex, and not a 3rd-party.
To some, this issue may seem minor, but to the playerbase, some of whom have stuck by the game for the past ten years, this represents a massive power-shift away from the players, and towards the shareholders, Insight Venture Partners. The very purpose of the game seems to have shifted, from being a fun game for all the family, to a cash-cow that seems to encourage gambling by those of all ages and milks players wishing to have any chance at being competitive within the game.
Uproar ensued on the official Forums of Runescape from the moment the update was announced, and Jagex have now taken to censoring many posts on the matter, hiding over half of the threads on some pages of the Forums. This action is unprecedented, and shows a desperate company trying to silence those who disagree with it. This update united the playerbase in opposition to the practices of Insight Venture Partners in how they have derailed the game from the fair principle of Players before Profit and exposed adults and children alike to the dark side of capitalism, where money comes before values.
If enough players, concerned parents and advocates for people before profit stand together, we can stop Insight Venture Partners from undermining the consumers like so many other companies.
This petition represents more than just a stand against Insight Venture Partners' actions; it symbolises the very principle of putting people before profit. We, the majority, can and will be heard.