Seattle – Amazon Web Services updated its Terms of Service on Monday and included a zombie scenario in one of the clauses. The team is not particularly known for its sense of humor but someone actually thought it was a good idea to talk about human corpses consuming living human flesh to generate interest in such a boring sector of the site.
The Terms of Service look like standard fare at the beginning. The statement reads that the use of Lumberyard Materials, from Amazon’s new 3D engine, must comply with the AWS Acceptable Use Policy.
It also states that game developers must not store copyright-infringing content on the server and that the right to suspend the service at any time is reserved.
The horror movie-inspired fun starts in clause 57.10 but it is so buried down that most people would never notice. It says that it is prohibited to use the materials for life-critical or safety-critical systems, including nuclear facilities, self-driving cars, manned spacecraft and air traffic control… unless there is a “widespread viral infection transmitted via bites or contact with bodily fluids that causes human corpses to reanimate and seek to consume living human flesh”.
The event that could end up in the extinction of our species must be declared by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the clause also specifies that infected people could be willing to drink human blood and eat brain or nerve tissue.
In the event of a zombie apocalypse in the United States, users might considerate spending their last minutes as humans using Amazon’s open-source software for creating 3D video games to run manned spacecraft and autonomous vehicles.
This kind of fun is most likely to come from Google employees, not Amazon’s. But game developers will certainly appreciate the joke, if they read the Terms of Service until the end. And of course, the little sentence in a 26,000 word document has helped promote the newly-released Lumberyard. The gaming engine must be hosted on either Amazon’s Web servers or the user’s own.
This is not the first time zombies appear in such an odd place. In 2011, the CDC released a guide named Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse that was intended to prepare people for an outbreak called Ataxic Neurodegenerative Satiety Deficiency Syndrome, or ANSDS.
The usual emergency preparedness announcements never got enough attention, so they came up with the idea as they were trying to figure out the most efficient way to tell Americans what to do in the event of natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes or pandemic outbreaks of influenza.