GamingGaming: Guides

Are Private Game Servers Legal?

are private game servers legal

The use of a central server to host online games is prevalent. Unfortunately, as time passes, they develop a problem. It could be that the game developer simply closes down the servers, or the platform on which they were hosted. For example, the shutdown of GameSpy in 2014 led to a lot of games with inaccessible multiplayer. Players began to come up with workarounds to play the games on private servers instead.

Some argue that video games cause violence, and yet you may simply want to meet new people to get something out of each gaming session. Private servers can help you build a sense of community, and Serveur privé can help you do just that. Take World of Warcraft, for example: while playing on your own is fun, playing on a World of Warcraft private server with its own processes and rules can be even more enjoyable. Are they, however, legal or not?

Essentially, the game encourages server creators to add their names to a list. Users can vote and comment on them, resulting in a monthly ranking that ensures everyone has a chance.

It is, of course, completely open. People have the opportunity to play the game when you envision it as a designer. In those close-knit groups, you could get a lot more enjoyment out of the game as a player.

The use of a private server is a grey area with possible ramifications. It is possible that the legalities will be questioned. Is it alright if you play in them? Let us take a closer look.

What Are Private Servers and How Do They Work?

Any server that is privately held qualifies as a private server. That is everything there is to it. On the other hand, private servers are used in World of Warcraft to simulate the gaming experience of online gamers.

Why does anyone want to play on a private server, and is it legal to do so? Yeah, they are in theory, but there are loopholes.

Most private servers have their own set of gameplay rules (usually through modifications to the game files, commonly known as mods) that differ from those found on official servers. For example, experience rates could be 100x faster, or new characters could begin at the highest level possible. Custom pieces, rare mobs, and one-of-a-kind in-game events are examples of other differences.

Private servers are helpful because they enable you to play games that you would not otherwise be able to play. If a game’s official server is not available in your region, for instance, private servers can provide you with access to low-ping servers. Similarly, suppose a game is discontinued, and all licensed versions are removed. In that case, fans will continue to play other versions on private servers.

These reasons may not be sufficient to explain their existence or the act of playing on a private server. Still, they do provide an explanation for why they are so common.

Private servers are becoming increasingly popular year after year. Despite the ethical ambiguity surrounding private servers, they are unavoidable. Three more appear for everyone that shuts down. Let us move on to its legality.

Is It Legal To Set Up a Private Server or Not?

This topic is significant for both private server owners and players, as there have been many court cases so far. If you do not want to end up in court, there are specific guidelines you must obey when building your private server. You must also be cautious as a player since official game servers can be involved in your activities.

It is not a situation to be taken lightly. Blizzard, for example, have closed down various WoW private servers in the past. However, due to legal restrictions, they have only been able to do this in the United States and a few select countries. Private servers in other countries continue to run.

Official game servers consider the benefit from your private server to be a loss simply because the money spent on private servers could have been spent on official game servers instead. This is, of course, not true for all games.

Of course, there are a variety of variables to consider, which can differ depending on the official game. Official game servers vs. private game servers have been a debate for a while now, just like Cloud Gaming vs. Gaming PC, and that is not going to settle any soon; that is a certainty.

Is Using a Private Server Illegal?

There is no simple response, but these points shed some light on whether private servers are legal or not.

  • It is illegal for a private server to benefit in monetary terms.
  • It is illegal if the server is running on hacked or leaked software.
  • It is illegal for the server to distribute client files.

Legality is also not assured if the server does not perform any of these three rules. Companies may have less legal standing to sue. Still, depending on the situation, they may gather enough proof to file a case. These risks primarily affect server hosts.

As long as your game allows you to host private servers, then you are in the clear from a legal point of view as long as you adhere to the aforementioned rules.

Be Sure To Adhere to the Following Guidelines:

  • If you receive an alert from the developer, instantly and respectfully shut down your private server.
  • Microtransactions should not be used to benefit your players. You might still make money, for example, by displaying Google advertising on your website. You can, of course, ask for donations too. However, that is a legal gray area.
  • Please do not use the official game server logo or make any attempt to be affiliated with them.
  • Avoid using pirated or illegal software.

Is It Okay for Us To Play on Private Servers?

Official game servers can not do anything to prevent you from playing on private servers other than shut down the most common ones (if they don’t allow private servers in the first place). If you stream, for example, they will directly affect you. They can shut down your stream if you stream gameplay from a private servers.

It indicates that you are a well-known streamer who has persuaded other players to play on private servers instead. They might not even inform you explicitly that your stream is being shut down. All they have to do is clarify the situation to Twitch, and your streaming account will be suspended. Twitch generally does this without thinking because they do not want to become engaged in a lawsuit.

What if You Have Been Assigned to a Private Server as an Administrator or Moderator?

Unless the server is co-hosted with your assistance, the official servers have no beef with you in this situation. Suppose your partner builds the server, and you build the server’s website. In that case, you are also considered a party in hosting a private server.

Therefore, those who participate in hosting the server must exercise caution in abiding by the authorized rules of the game. This means that you should not be concerned about getting into trouble just because you are a player.

Be sure that your association with a private server, whether as a player or a server creator, is legal through copyright, EULA, and other legal agreements.

What happens if you do not abide by the EULA? No one has been sued for using a private server as of yet, so the worst thing that can happen is that the server is taken down or your account is banned.

About author

A finance major with a passion for all things tech, Uneeb loves to write about everything from hardware to games (his favorite genre being FPS). When not writing, he can be seen in his natural habitat reading, studying investments, or watching Formula 1.
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