I’ve read the ludicrous defending of Microsoft’s new XBOX and completely disagree with it. There is no reason, other than a money grab by the creators, for a game to ever need an always-online connection. Reddit user yukeake has an excellent example as to why always-online gaming is detrimental to gaming.
The thing I don’t ever see being discussed is that we won’t see the real harm from this for a decade or two.
DRM, “always on”, anti-used games — they all lead to not being able to play any of these games in 25 years.
I can still find working Atari 2600s and cartridges for them. I can still play Combat, Pitfall, Night Driver – heck, even that godawful E.T. game if I’m feeling particularly masochistic.
I can hook up an old NES, SNES, Master System, Genesis, Saturn, Lynx, TurboGraphix 16, Neo Geo, Playstation, PS2 or whatever – and play those games.
I can show those to my kids, and share with them the games I grew up on. I can show them the games that were the ancestors to the ones they’re playing now.
In 25 years, when the DRM servers are shut down, the online services long gone, and no “new” games available for these systems – my kids won’t be able to share their childhood memories with the next generation.
This age of games will essentially be a “dark age of gaming” in the future.
As a child of the arcade generation, that makes me incredibly sad.
Microsoft may very well be committing gaming suicide by forcing everything online. Only time will tell.
While I’m not a big fan of RPGs, Witcher 3 is going to be DRM free and CD Projekt RED has said they are planning on getting rid of all DRM.
I asked if CD Projekt Red would ever consider doing always-online DRM. Badowski’s response: “No.” “We are trying to get rid of DRM,” said Szczesnik. “If someone wants to pirate a game, eventually he will.” “Which is bad, of course,” Badowski interjected. “But you can’t do anything about it, so. We want to give the best user experience possible. When we removed DRM, people on those torrents were actually asking people not to download our game, because we [weren't using DRM].” While they were clear that they don’t want people to pirate their games, both Szczesnik and Badowski said that invasive DRM isn’t the answer.
At least some companies are getting the idea that always-online DRM is one of the worst ideas ever put into gaming.
Last week, Microsoft Studios Creative Director Adam Orth sent out several tweets on twitter that displayed just how badly he doesn’t understand always-on DRM.
Mr. Orth, it appears, has not been following the recent fiascos that are SimCity and Diablo III, nor does he understand the backlash that occurred following each games’ decision to use always-on DRM. Mr. Orth also wants every device to be always on. He doesn’t see the need for people to not have an internet connection when playing video games. This includes video game consoles where there is absolutely no need for an internet connection to play them.
When other twitter users asked him about what happens to people with no internet connection, he commented that people should get one because the internet is awesome. Here is the problem. Some people cannot afford an internet connection, but can afford a few games that they may replay. Some people have no desire to have an internet connection in the home, yet love playing video games. There are still others who cannot get reliable connections to their homes, yet Orth doesn’t seem to care as they should just live somewhere else.
While Mr. Orth was forced to apologize and Microsoft has issued their own apology, the damage is done. There will be people who do not mind having an always-on DRM video game. I am not one of those people. What we see here is, again, DRM not being used to prevent piracy, but as a way to control what people have legally bought.
Orth’s twitter profile has now been set to private and there are rumors that he may no longer be working for Microsoft.
UPDATE: It has been confirmed that Orth is no longer working for Microsoft.
Yep, I’ve played them all.
It’s amazing how much has changed over the years in video games. I’m so glad Lara looks more like real a real person now and has lost the massive forehead.
I have written numerous times about how DRM is detrimental. It’s counterproductive and, more often, intrusive, preventing enjoyment of most games. Last week, Reddit did an AMA with SimCity developers that quickly turned into an argument over DRM.
As Techdirt aptly puts it:
EA, the publisher of SimCity, has seen fit to up the annoyance factor on legally purchased copies of the game by requiring an internet connection to play the latest title in the series, even in single player mode, and funneling the users through its horrendous Origin “service.” Not only that, but players’ games are saved online, so if you lose the connection, not only will you be prevented from playing your purchased game, but you’ll be back at whatever point you were at when your service died.
It’s a shame that SimCity has all this DRM, preventing the user from playing offline. SimCity has always been fun, but it will not be listed in my repertoire of games. I won’t buy such games and neither should anyone else. Until gamers actually stop purchasing games from companies with such practices, the consequences will only get worse.
User somersetbingo on Reddit, made this list of people asking for the DRM to go away.
The SimCity Community on EA/Maxis’ proposed DRM:
“Please just make it playable offline -___-” -PumpkinLatte
“This is why people make cracks and sales get barfed over to TPB.” -secretchimp
“Being required to stay online to save a game is so stupid. There are many other consumer friendly DRM alternatives.” -drylube
“Always-online DRM is a slap in the face of any franchise’s fan. It’s like putting a security guard to explicitly follow a customer…” -goldensox
“I would love good city builder but I refuse to support extreme DRM abuse.” -Namell
“yeah i would 100% pay for this game if [...] it only had the gentle steam drm.” -RatherDashing
“…this kind of DRM is completely unacceptable to gamers. I am a huge simcity fan…. but hearing this news is a completely turnoff. I refuse to be punished for purchasing a game…” -terrific_happy
“It doesnt matter, I am not going to buy the game if this might cause me problems, so I want to know the answer.” -shooptek
“I don’t care how good of a game it is, this question will decide whether I buy it or not.” -PersonPersona
“…it just doesn’t make sense that a company is so deaf to their hardcore fans opinions.” -Metallican
“The option to play online is AWESOME, but being forced to have an internet connection to play… is that really something that enhances the player experience?” -badpersonlivingbadly
“why the need to FORCE this type of gameplay? multiplayer should be optional, there are many people that just want to build cities by themselves… i seriously don’t understand this decision.” -xYOLOSWAG4JESUS420x
“But it’s definitely bothersome that I can’t choose to make a single-player region and keep it offline, with or without cloud saves.” -payco
“I don’t think I’ll be buying this game if you can’t play it offline…” -Bloodyfinger
“You just lost a lot of customers.” -evilbob
“…I will not support this type of DRM…” -nhepner
“This is total bullshit and why people pirate games.” -RandomLego
“Sorry, I’m not going to play your game then – Why? This is DRM, it’s being forced on me and it’s completely unnecessary.” -coniferous1
“I dont have a problem with DRM, but requiring an internet connection is a deal breaker for many people, myself included.” -Idmorul
“I’ve been a fan of SimCity since I bought the very first version on floppy disk. I was hoping to be able to play the new SimCity while on the go, traveling by train or airplane. :/” -xippilli
“Ditto to all the other comments; I’m out. No to always-on internet connectivity required DRM.” -dasinternet
“I am not buying this game unless it can be initiated and played offline.” -apos
“Online-only DRM? You have chosen…poorly” -Doctor_Insano_PhD
“I won’t be playing your game if I can’t play it offline. It’s a shame too because it looks really fun.” -Milol
“A singleplayer city building game does not require an internet connection.” -dt_vibe
“This is fucking bullshit and that’s all I needed to know to stop reading this AMA. You are pulling a diablo 3 singleplayer. Completely unnecessary [...] Skipping this one…” -andrewhl2
“Go tell your DRM team that they just lost another sale. I know it isn’t your fault, I know if you guys had a choice it wouldn’t be this way…but let them know. Show them this thread if you have to, say “this is what paying customers think about your DRM.”" -InfamousBLT
“Is there a “sunset clause” in the TOS somewhere that says that someday, a few years from now, when the game servers are shut down, that there will be a means to continue playing the game afterwards, perhaps via a patch? Because if there isn’t, I can promise you I will never spend money on this game.” -Philo_T_Farnsworth
“You’re making a decision that is actively hostile to your customers. Please rethink it.” -Aiede
“I’ll be pirating your game in that case.” -battlemetal
“Please tell your whole team that I will never pay money for a game that should be playable offline, but requires a connection. Never, ever, ever.” -offguard
“I work on an offshore oil rig with limited internet. I will not purchase a game with this type of DRM. I had been really excited to buy this game, but now I’m not.” -combatmedic79
“Didn’t work for Diablo 3 not going to work for you. Sorry, just lost a buyer.” -Bidwell64
“If anything, it gives people a reason who have any issue(s) with the DRM to seek out a pirated solution.” -notcaffeinefree
“Great, not buying your game. Thanks for the honesty but DRM is a deal breaker. Oh well, I’ll go play something else (likely from another publisher).” -Rhakan
“And you wonder why People pirate games when you have utterly ridiculous DRM like this.” -nimie
“Wow…. That sucks.” -chewp911
“Sorry Maxis, my childhood was your games, but I will have to pass on this one.” -bigger_higger
“minutes? Thanks but no thanks. I’ll spend my hard earned money on something else. “ -jojotv
“…deliberately preventing players from saving their cities offline is insulting to a long-standing, dedicated and loyal fanbase that deserves more respect…” -Eunomiac
“Sorry, add me to the list of not buying this game..” -ThatFuckinGuy-
“If I buy the game, it should be mine.” -Griffun
“I don’t buy games that I don’t own. It’s as simple as that.” -ArthurTrollington
“…I can’t support crap as hell DRM and stupid business decisions like this.” -Mattaro
“Was super excited, probably not going to buy it now… DRM is a fact of life and I’m ok with that, always online DRM hurts you AND us.” -MeMoosta
“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that EA hates its customers this much, and has literally no idea what they want…” -TamponTunnel
“If a game requires me to be online all the time to play it, sorry, I can’t get behind buying it.” -BrewerPhil
“Going to be brutally honest, I reckon this will turn away about 1/4 of the people who were planning to buy it, me included.” -richardcook
“…my heart cried out in despair when I learned that you plan on making it rely on the worst DRM method ever, and we can’t have offline single-player. I’m sorry, but I won’t be paying money for a game that does that.” -FixLag
“If you have DRM and DLC like the Sims 3 I won’t touch your product!” -koolplatinum
“Sim City now requires a constant internet connection? What the fuck for?” -Cabana
“You don’t force a strong community, the strong community comes if the game is worth it.” -kissapuu
“This the #1 concern that would stop me from buying what looks like an otherwise excellent game.” -rustypig
“I will NOT buy this game so long as you have to get it through origin and have an internet connection. It won’t happen, and I’m not alone.” -Jaerdo
“There are only downsides for consumers, no upsides. This is why always-on DRM should be frowned upon and killed.” -_Wolfos
“I will absolutely not purchase this game if it requires an always-on connection through Origin. I will not purchase this game if it acts as a limited time “license” of the game either. It’s either my game and I can play it with some interruption of internet connection, or I’m not buying it.” -throwmeawayout
The SC5 model: lock people into a social network, pressure them into keeping up with their peers who have the latest expansion packs, and thus constantly invasively suggest they buy expansions via this soft incompatibility. I will not buy SimCity. -somersetbingo
“I too will not be paying for this game due to Origin and DRM.” -Zaxer
“I will not be purchasing this game if it requires the constant connection. I am a fan of the franchise, but not of the DRM movement.” -rubberbabybugybumper
“I have been playing Sim City since the 5.25 inch disk days. But I won’t play a game that demands a persistent Internet connection.” -Cramulus
“…all these horror stories about Origin has caused me to completely avoid their games.” -Liquid_Feces
“I don’t buy anything with ea on it anymore. Sorry to developers, its not you its the company you keep.” -DeathHaze420
“I grew up on Sim City. My dad taught me to play it when floppies were still actually floppy…. Sadly, will not be getting this one if online only persists.” -cass314
“I, too, will be passing on this because of the required internet connection and Origin. Pass that along to your superiors.” -jefferytaylor
“I don’t want to go online to play. I don’t want a social aspect to it. I just want to build cities.” -240ZT
“I had intended to purchase this game but after [...] seeing I must be online I have to pass out of principle. [...] I had no idea things have gotten so bad in the gaming world….” -Jwaness
“No gamer likes this kind of thing.” -Bob_The_Avenger
“…this is a very restrictive move… surely it must be possible to enable offline play for those without reliable internet?” -frymaster
“I know you all have limited control over this decision, but I urge you to push for an offline option.” -Nyxalith
“…whoever made that decision just lost a very excited customer.” -HoffmanMyster
“I won’t get this edition if it requires origin and always on internet.” -Maxion
“there’s absolutely no reason for it to require internet access. Prove me wrong?” -bekindeverytime
“We pc gamers want 2 things: No DRM and the ability to mod our games. This is not new information!!” -Alexanderh86
“I was really excited about this game until I learned about the internet connection requirement. As much as I realize EA doesn’t care, they’ve lost a potential customer.” -mathgod
“I will be passing on this game massively in part due to the always online origin requirement.” -dsi1
“I have bought and played almost every Maxis game released but I refuse to purchase any game that requires an internet connection to play that isn’t entirely online such as eve, wow, etc” -c12
“I pray you guys don’t ruin the game with an always online requirement…” -LeCrushinator
“I can’t support a game that requires me to have a constant internet connection.” -Kensin
“I’m really sorry, but I cannot support an online-only game. When I am paying $50+ for a game, I want the decision for how and when I play it to be mine.” -DaWolf85
“I don’t agree to the unnecessary conditions being put on me in order for me to play a game I am paying for. So I will have nothing to do with it.” -apricotmuffins
“I have been a fan of SimCity games for a very long time, but I am (with a broken heart) going to pass on this one as well due to the requirement to always be online.” -redatwork360
Comment length limit reached! Have to go to work now — cheers!
This list alone constitutes $3000 in lost sales. It doesn’t take into account the word of mouth sales lost because of what these 50 people will say to their friends and family. It also doesn’t account for people who don’t read Reddit who also will not be buying the new SimCity. Vote with your wallet, folks. It will get worse if you don’t.