Who inherits virtual property in case of players death irl?

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#1 Posted by henrythefifth (2225 posts) -

Imagine gamer who has amassed massive virtual property in games like WoW.

Now, imagine this gamer dies in freak accident in real life.

Now, who inherits all his virtual property?

Can his relatives lay claim to his virtual stuff, like they lay claim to his real life possessions?

Can his team/guild in the game lay claim to his stuff in that particular game once they have shown to the admin that the said gamer really is deceased irl?

If the player was married in WoW, can his virtual wife lay claim to his WoW property once they have shown to the admin that the gamer who played their husband really is dead irl.

And finally, if admins of a online game find out one of their gamers is dead irl, can they auction the gamers virtual possessions, such as his house in games like WoW?

What do you say?

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#2 Posted by I_P_Daily (11434 posts) -

That's some funny stuff

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#3 Edited by Litchie (23718 posts) -

Good question. I have no idea. Virtual property can be worth a lot of money.

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#4 Edited by npiet1 (2094 posts) -

It would go to next of kin probably. They will ban the account if you sell it and get caught though. I wonder how many accounts have already been lost due to death. I doubt they would action stuff off, probably just claim it as their own, the same thing the government does if you die without a next of kin.

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#5 Posted by SaltSlasher (1006 posts) -

I don't think there is any actual legal'ness in online weddings. Then again with WOW, maybe the community would all shun/grief you for doing someone dirty.

If you know the login, its basically becomes yours, cause dead person can't ask for it back. Then again for some reason someone else could claim it, but the idea that admins would give someone the profile to someone without the email access or account access over someone who does have such things, is doubtful.

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#6 Posted by Sevenizz (3643 posts) -

Marriage between avatars are not recognized in WoW whatsoever. There’s not even an official wedding ceremony.

Nothing earned in WoW is owned by a player either. This is clearly stated somewhere in the TOS.

Are they in any mmo? Very doubtful.

Nothing happens to virtual items in WoW once your account goes dormant. I’m pretty sure your account remains unchanged from your last sign out. The only thing you’d lose are mail items including returned auctions.

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#7 Posted by BenjaminBanklin (4350 posts) -

Hopefully it remains inaccessible with the unused account to prevent online gamers from acting like vultures. Good grief.

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#8 Posted by R4gn4r0k (30727 posts) -

Pretty sure in the terms of use it will say something like

"Content is bound to a person"

or some **** so you can not, under any circumstance, legally get or inherit virtual property.

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#9 Edited by xantufrog (11175 posts) -

People don't own digital games. They have a single, non-transferable license to play the game. So I would argue that technically nobody gets it. That being said, GoG kinda does give you rights to do with the games as you please - not sure how their distribution model factors into the licensing rules

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#10 Posted by Ibacai (13803 posts) -

As stated previously, you do not “own” anything in WoW. Read the TOS, you’ll see you just “own” the right to play, you don’t “own” anything you acquire in-game.

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#11 Edited by Gatygun (1429 posts) -

The same way as banks do it.

Show case a legal paper that can be traced back to them that the person died. And showcase your ID and more papers that you are a relative then you probably can put a claim on it.

But like others already mentioned. Company's like valve etc pushed out that everything is a rental solution and you really don't own anything.

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#12 Posted by Ant_17 (12161 posts) -

Whoever figures out his account password gets to own it.

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#13 Posted by Planeforger (17990 posts) -

@Gatygun: Eh, licence agreements existed a long time before Valve and Steam.

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#14 Posted by poptart (7254 posts) -

Similar to Apples policy with iTunes I assume, i.e. they cannot be bequeathed, rather everything is sucked back into the digital ether

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#15 Posted by MonsieurX (38996 posts) -

@Ibacai said:

As stated previously, you do not “own” anything in WoW. Read the TOS, you’ll see you just “own” the right to play, you don’t “own” anything you acquire in-game.

Pretty much this, nothing will happen.

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#16 Posted by rzxv04 (578 posts) -

Interesting question.

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#17 Posted by Sancho_Panzer (814 posts) -

@poptart said:

Similar to Apples policy with iTunes I assume, i.e. they cannot be bequeathed, rather everything is sucked back into the digital ether

That's messed up. I don't suppose accounts get deleted according to death registers or anything but it seems intuitively "off" not to allow accounts with purchases to continue to be used by family members.

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#19 Posted by Rockman999 (7469 posts) -

Whoever has access to the deceased person's accounts.

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#20 Posted by tormentos (28760 posts) -

@i_p_daily said:

That's some funny stuff

Why? If you have 200 physical games and you die your family get those as those are your property,with digital sales is different as you don't own those you are license to them.

So they may get the console but once the console breaks they loss the games for ever.

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#21 Posted by AJStyles (739 posts) -

Digital houses don’t exist. No one owns anything.

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#22 Posted by lundy86_4 (52726 posts) -

Fucking lol... What? Nobody. It'll be dissolved and it'll be like nothing existed.

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#23 Posted by henrythefifth (2225 posts) -

Given that some rare items in games can be sold on ebay for thousands of dollars, this is very legitimate question.

That stuff is worth real money, which means that in case of owners death, there should be some legal arrangement for admins to sell such items and then transfer the resulting money to next of kin.

Also note that there are very limited number of some wanted items in various games. If such highly sought items just go dormant when player dies, it would also be a loss to the gaming community of the said game.

system where admins check on the real owner when virtual property is dormant for over a year, would be good. If they found out the owner was dead, they could then, as perviously said, auction the items and transfer the resulting profit to next of kin.

Avatar image for henrythefifth
#24 Posted by henrythefifth (2225 posts) -

Given that some rare items in games can be sold on ebay for thousands of dollars, this is very legitimate question.

That stuff is worth real money, which means that in case of owners death, there should be some legal arrangement for admins to sell such items and then transfer the resulting money to next of kin.

Also note that there are very limited number of some wanted items in various games. If such highly sought items just go dormant when player dies, it would also be a loss to the gaming community of the said game.

system where admins check on the real owner when virtual property is dormant for over a year, would be good. If they found out the owner was dead, they could then, as perviously said, auction the items and transfer the resulting profit to next of kin.

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#25 Posted by MonsieurX (38996 posts) -

@henrythefifth said:

Given that some rare items in games can be sold on ebay for thousands of dollars, this is very legitimate question.

That stuff is worth real money, which means that in case of owners death, there should be some legal arrangement for admins to sell such items and then transfer the resulting money to next of kin.

Also note that there are very limited number of some wanted items in various games. If such highly sought items just go dormant when player dies, it would also be a loss to the gaming community of the said game.

system where admins check on the real owner when virtual property is dormant for over a year, would be good. If they found out the owner was dead, they could then, as perviously said, auction the items and transfer the resulting profit to next of kin.

No legitimate questions here, you're not supposed to sell things you don't own. In any games, you don't own anything in the game.

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#26 Posted by R4gn4r0k (30727 posts) -
@xantufrog said:

People don't own digital games. They have a single, non-transferable license to play the game. So I would argue that technically nobody gets it. That being said, GoG kinda does give you rights to do with the games as you please - not sure how their distribution model factors into the licensing rules

So say I want to gift you a game that I've finished, GOG woul allow that?

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#27 Posted by xantufrog (11175 posts) -

@R4gn4r0k: I think officially no - but I'm really not certain. I believe the DRM-free policy is just to allow you to create your own backups, install as many times as you want, play offline, etc - and when it comes to sharing they say "we trust you not to abuse this".

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#28 Posted by KungfuKitten (26419 posts) -

@xantufrog said:

@R4gn4r0k: I think officially no - but I'm really not certain. I believe the DRM-free policy is just to allow you to create your own backups, install as many times as you want, play offline, etc - and when it comes to sharing they say "we trust you not to abuse this".

In that sense physical copies will always be much more valuable than digital ones.

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#29 Posted by xantufrog (11175 posts) -

@KungfuKitten:not really - the same licensing laws apply and GoG's DRM-free releases are just as giftable/shareable/mobile as physical. Indeed, most physical releases now use DRM. In that sense, GoG's digital games are less regulated than, e.g., a new PS4 physical game