Opinions on "always online" gaming.

DracheHexe 101 Apr 15, 2013 at 17:41

Although it seems inevitable that the gaming market will end up there, what are your opinions on the “rumor” of the next XBOX being always online and the statement from Ubisoft saying that their audience is ready for always online? As a guy who lives in the boondocks whose internet can go out for an hour if a squirrel sneezes to hours during a rainstorm, I find it a rather harsh reality to swallow. At the same time it is hard to imagine the industry evolving in any other way.

Some would suggest that it’s a necessary step to keep gaming on the cutting edge, providing more to the game than they previously could before. And then it will be a neverending race to upgrade and provide better services along side better graphics from generation to generation. Content that makes use of the always online is an easier win for developers though because it isn’t based on hardware limitations like graphics.

But I think it’s more than just about providing better and more for the gamers. Among the rumor of no used game playing on the new XBOX is what I plainly call the worst case scenario of data-mining their is. While it’s no secret that companies have tracked your online habits for quite some time now supposedly Microsoft will not only know your gaming and web habits but how many people are in the room anytime the system is on, if they are male or female, among other data. When does “useful services” turn into invasion of privacy?

I may sound paranoid but I think that Microsoft exec who told us to “deal with it” may be speaking for much of the industry as a whole. Using it’s power to bully us into accepting how they want to run things. And the saddest part is we all pretty much deal with it because it’s about the only way we get to play games.

What are your thoughts? Is it a necessity? Is there some other direction the industry can go? Is privacy that big of an issue?

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fireside 141 Apr 15, 2013 at 18:36

I guess the guy that said “Deal with it!” doesn’t work for Microsoft anymore.
I somewhat draw the line at cameras. I have one on my current computer but don’t use it in anyway. I also don’t post pictures of myself on the internet. I guess that’s up to the individual. I live in the country and have a very slow connection, so I doubt that I would buy an xbox. We do vote with our pocket books whether we want to admit it or not. If no one cares, then it will work for them. If people are upset enough to go to a competitor, they will change their decision in a hurry.
The cloud is a reality and I doubt we will be buying boxed games a few years from now.

Stainless 151 Apr 15, 2013 at 20:46

I will never subscribe to always connected gaming.

If necessary I will hack the game, hell game hacking was my job for over a year, won’t take me long to get back up to speed.

Always connected gaming is totally unacceptable, and I for one will do all I can to kill it before it grows too big.

Anonymous Jul 29, 2013 at 11:04

Its very convenient to play games online ….. compare to installation games

Stainless 151 Jul 29, 2013 at 12:58

Not if your network connection is sh1t

What would you do if you had an hour to spare and wanted to play your favorite game but couldn’t because your broadband was down?

How many ISP’s will go out of business under the weight of legal fees when gamers start suing?

It’s the worst idea since someone in South Park decided to have a “kick a ginger day”

TheHermit 101 Aug 21, 2013 at 18:45

The always online stuff is the reason I didn’t get Sim City 5. There was tons of backlash around that event and for good reason. That said, there are situations where Always Online makes sense, in a kind of duh-thats-obvious way. MMO’s, for example. They’re a game where you have to be online to play, because thats the point.

There’s a lesson here. The reason why there’s so much backlash against Always Online stuff is that its being put into games without any associated value to the players to soften the blow. If you had a game that requires Always Online, but actually built its game-play around the online component, I think people would object much less. And even then, it just has to look like its supposed to be an online game - all of those grindy solo things people spend 90% of their time in WoW doing could just as easily be part of an offline game, if you think about it. But people don’t question having to be online for that, because as a whole the thing is an MMO.

Another model that is far more palatable is ‘online-enhanced’. This would be a game that is completely playable offline, but some parts of the game require being online to use. An example that comes to mind is the map designer/map exchange in Disgaea 4. Another example, one I personally find kind of repellent because it doesn’t really seem to add any actual value, is the Steam Trading Card thing - it only tracks your hours played if you have steam online in the background.

So really the issue is that the big forces in the industry are basically saying ‘you will be online and you will like it and you’re too weak-willed to not buy our games’. Thats a slap in the face to their customers, and its no wonder that its causing PR disasters.

rouncer 103 Aug 21, 2013 at 21:39

well it secures sales, stops piracy.

TheHermit 101 Aug 21, 2013 at 21:48

Thats not a benefit to the customer though, thats just a benefit to the company. Much like we have to consider different UI designs, constraints, etc when making games for Mobile, these larger developers need to figure out how to make Always Online good for the customer if they really want to push it. Otherwise, like a lot of other DRM, its going to be massively unpopular. People may still buy it, but it’ll generate a lot of bad press from a vocal minority.

I guess maybe they’re thinking ‘there’s no such thing as bad press’? Or perhaps that if they try to get the bad reactions over with all at once, eventually people will calm down and they can just go ahead.