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Is the Gaming Industry Moving Online Too Fast? 185

Posted by Soulskill
from the fast-enough-to-stumble-now-and-then dept.
RyanDJ writes with his reaction to the Sony PSN outage, wondering if our rush to online services and digital distribution for games is a bit too enthusiastic. "I love technology, I just want it to slow down. I know I sound like an angry old 'get off my lawn' kind of guy right now, but until my 8-bit Nintendo dies from plastic corrosion and age, it will continue to play any game I find just as it was supposed to. Online dedicated games, one day, will lose servers. System crashes, such as the Sony problem, will cause interruptions. I feel if we don't slow down, stabilize the current technology and ensure its safety, find ways to guarantee that items bought are permanently owned even without a physical copy, we might see a company such as Nintendo saying that online isn't worth it!"
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Is the Gaming Industry Moving Online Too Fast?

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  • by rolfwind (528248) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @10:24PM (#36060034)

    I blew that thing so much trying to get it to work (often failing), I feel like a cheap whore now just thinking about it.

    That was the only game system that failed on me.

    • by SpiralSpirit (874918) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @10:29PM (#36060050)
      ...all you had to do to get it working again was to take a cotton swab with high purity rubbing alcohol and clean the contacts of the games and the system. Mine still works.
      • by adolf (21054)

        Indeed. Keeping the connectors clean is paramount. These days, I'm a huge fan of DeoxIT DN5 for recovering electrical contacts that have seen all types of abuse, including video games, but alcohol by itself works reasonably well for stuff that is merely filthy.

        Back in the day Nintendo would send out cleaning kits if you called to complain about the system not working properly (or at least they did for us). The kit consisted of some swabs for the games, a widget that could be used to easily clean the slot

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        You can't clean the inside of a cardedge connector with a cotton swab. If anything that will introduce nonconductive cotton fibers into the connector.

        The cheapest thing I know of which works is the edge of a PCB cut to size, but cleaning carts are bountiful.

    • by basotl (808388)
      76 pin connector. It was two bucks for me and made my console work like brand new. Extremely easy repair also.
    • I blew that thing so much trying to get it to work (often failing), I feel like a cheap whore now just thinking about it.

      That was the only game system that failed on me.

      I've NEVER had to blow into any NES games that I play via my purely digital NES (emulator) -- And yes, I dump my own ROMs (did have to clean some of their contacts -- but never again!)

      • by tepples (727027)

        And yes, I dump my own ROMs (did have to clean some of their contacts -- but never again!)

        What device do you recommend using to do this? There's CopyNES, but that's only for people who can solder.

    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      I blew that thing so much trying to get it to work (often failing), I feel like a cheap whore now just thinking about it.

      I wouldn't worry about it- it's not like you accepted money for it, so technically you're a slut, not a whore. :-)

    • They gave you cases to keep the games in for a reason.
      • by tepples (727027)
        Over roughly the second half of the Super NES's life, Nintendo stopped including the cases with the games.
  • by Adambomb (118938) * on Saturday May 07, 2011 @10:24PM (#36060036) Journal

    Honestly, this is ridiculous. I don't know if the submitter is some sort of apologist or just really lacking in the history of online gaming but online gaming and online game distribution has been around for about 25 years now give or take [wikipedia.org], and thats just one example. This would be about EXACTLY as old as the revered plastic grey box in question, give or take a couple if you were living in japan or not.

    Different networks and system have been more secure than others this whole time, and the real question is "Why would some companies risk security in the name lower maintenance costs given the number of terrible consequences these days". The PSN outage and data leak raises questions about Sony and their decision making processes, not about the state of digital distribution and online gaming in general.

    • by SpiralSpirit (874918) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @10:33PM (#36060066)
      It's more than that, though. I didn't move to buying stuff online until I felt there was a company/service that would be secure and have a relatively promising future (so that they didn't go under next year). The service I did choose, Steam, also mentions that should they close for whatever reason, they will release a way to play steam games without needing the steam service. This is unlike EA's system, where you need to be online to play at all - causing problems with the games who use those DRM schemes. I have games on steam I bought almost 10 years ago that I can still download and play, and often still do play. That's the benefit of it. I've also backed up a complete installation with all the games I currently own to a spare hdd, in case something untoward happens. If I want to play in offline mode, I can. Not so with the latest crop of 'always online' drm. that's sort of what this guy is saying. That being said, haven't pirate groups already cracked many of these types of games? I imagine in the future, when the servers are long gone, cracked exe files will be the only way to play the games.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by sqrt(2) (786011)

        I'd be careful with Steam. They make mistakes just like every company. I had my very first Steam account disabled (I wasn't cheating or hacking or doing anything wrong) and they flat out refused to even tell me why. I had used pre-paid debit cards to buy my games, and they demanded I give them my CC info I used to purchase them to prove it was really me trying to get my account reactivated. Since I didn't have the cards anymore and they were one time use I wasn't able to provide it to them. They wouldn't bu

        • by rhook (943951)

          Steam lets you install your games on as many computers as you want, the service will only allow you to logon with one system at a time though. It's all in the EULA.

          • by PhrstBrn (751463)

            Steam lets you install your games on as many computers as you want, the service will only allow you to logon with one system at a time though. It's all in the EULA.

            While Steam itself doesn't impose these limits, some Steam games have additional DRM created by the publisher. There are definitely a few Steam games where there are installation limits due to the additional DRM on top of Steam.

          • the service will only allow you to logon with one system at a time though.

            Then how are people supposed to play multiplayer within a household? It's not like most PC games let players hook up two to four gamepads and an HDTV.

            Besides, one user account used on too many computers within 12 months, even if only one computer at any given minute, might still be enough to trigger the abuse filter.

        • I feel justified in torrenting all their games for free until I get back what they owe me.

          You do mean until you've downloaded $250 retail worth, by Valve, correct? Because while I disagree with the notion that two rights make a wrong, and suspect there's another side to that story, that way would at least be somewhat defensible.

          If you're saying you'll download as many games as you want, OR from whichever company you feel like, until steam approaches you with a check saying "Hey guy, we're sorry, that was wrong what we did to you," then you're making flimsy excuses for scummy behavior.

          • by sqrt(2) (786011)

            $250 worth from Valve.

            And there is another side to it, but Valve won't even bother to tell me.

            • by xMrFishx (1956084)
              If they won't tell you why it's been locked at all, write a kind short email to Gabe and ask nicely. If you're lucky he'll poke the right person and give you a real answer, I'd hope. I understand he's quite proud of his service, so having bad custom is not helpful to the business.
              • by sqrt(2) (786011)

                That's what I did after the recalcitrant customer support person locked me into that Kafkaesque exchange about not being able to prove I was the account holder.

                This was over 1000 days ago, my friends can see my account and it says it's been that long since I've logged in. Considering that I shouldn't have ever had my account disabled to begin with, I've done all I could be expected to do on my part. This was a mistake on the part of Valve, and they've lost a customer for life. Honestly, just an explanation

      • by blahplusplus (757119) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @12:17AM (#36060372)

        Agreed.

        Just look at need for speed world. Not a bad game at all but and it's free to play but the whole point is when EA wants it gone it's their right to just shut it down. That on the whole is bad for gaming. Older PS2 games which had multiplayer shut down their multiplayer services, when you buy a game it should in theory never break and never become unavailable to you. This is the thing I hate about MMO's the most. MMO's mean revenue for game companies but it means no one gets to own the game and that sucks, especially if games keep putting online components in them which companies can simply disable or stop supporting.

        • For games with a single player component that stops working when the internet/sony is down it sucks, but for MMOs the whole point of game you 'own' is to play on their service. Compare it not to a single player game but more someone who buys say a mobile phone without a service. yes you own a nice shiny toy, but its pointless without the service that goes with it.

          • someone who buys say a mobile phone without a service. yes you own a nice shiny toy, but its pointless without the service that goes with it.

            A personal digital assistant, or PDA, is roughly the same thing as what we now call a smartphone without a cellular radio. They were fairly popular until a few years ago when 3G cellular data service became available. One typical PDA use case is to synchronize to the Internet when within range of a wireless access point with a known WEP/WPA/WPA2 key and then use applications offline with the synchronized data. Apple still makes "iPod touch" PDAs, and Archos makes the "Archos 43 Internet Tablet" that runs A

      • by Waccoon (1186667)

        The service I did choose, Steam, also mentions that should they close for whatever reason, they will release a way to play steam games without needing the steam service.

        By "close", I assume they mean shutting down their primary source of income, a publishing network?

        I think a more realistic assumption is that "close" means the company going under. If that happens, I don't think the decision of releasing the keys will be up to the developers, but up to the owners/stockholders, such as what will happen when assets are sold off.

        No thanks, I'm not going to trust a company that says they will do the right thing if they "close", because whoever was in charge before won't be whe

      • by ShakaUVM (157947)

        >>Steam, also mentions that should they close for whatever reason, they will release a way to play steam games without needing the steam service. This is unlike EA's system, where you need to be online to play at all

        Right. I agree with TFA to the point that recent developments in tying DRM to an online state have proven to be more trouble than its worth, and that no single player game should honestly demand an internet connection to function.

        EA's network chokes and dies under heavy load, which means,

      • by morari (1080535)

        The service I did choose, Steam, also mentions that should they close for whatever reason, they will release a way to play steam games without needing the steam service.

        Yeah, and you should totally believe them! I'm sure that they'll have time and resources to throw at that as they're going bankrupt or being bought out by a less benevolent company.

      • by feepness (543479)
        Regarding Steam, I had a problem with the DRM on one of the games they sell. It was a common problem reported in their forums, and I contacted them regarding a return within 12 hours of purchase.

        I learned that it is not their policy to do returns for non-functioning software. And if you do a chargeback on your credit card they close your account... and you lose access to your entire library.

        I found that if you push you can get your money back "this one-time". It took some effort in emails. This is
    • by hellwig (1325869) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @10:54PM (#36060148)
      And yet, it took only 4 years for Microsoft to shut-down their MSN Music service [wikipedia.org]. This should be the point of the article (in my opinion). However, the OP loses ground when he talks about companies like Nintendo deciding Online isn't worth it. I think consumers will decide Online isn't worth it, especially if Sony can just shut down the actual game servers when the next iteration of their console comes out. And no, it's not paranoia, remember, Microsoft shutdown all Multiplayer servers for the original X-Box. [tomsguide.com]

      Sure, I have a lot invested in my Steam games, and I hope if Valve ever shuts down their servers I can at least backup my games and play in "offline mode", but we'll have to wait and see. However, as opposed to a console, my PC is still useful even if Steam does go down. If future consoles play online-only, when those servers DO go down, the consoles will be worthless, regardless of how hard you blow into them. Will the manufacturers price the consoles and games accordingly? Doubtful, not as long as there's profit to be made.
      • The funny part? You can get "Steam rips" all day long on P2P so frankly Steam and GOG (who doesn't have any activation at all) are the only two I really trust. BTW anybody wanting a cheap game The Witcher Director's Cut is gonna be on GOG on Tuesday for $5, so snatch it.

        But this is one of those things where "If I can't pirate it I don't want it" because as long as I can get a pirate copy I don't have to worry about something happening that would bone me or allow me not to play. For a good example I bought Bioshock II on Amazon for like $10, but I play the hacked version. Why? Because the not hacked version requires GFWL which frankly sucks donkey nuts and the last time I tried using it I spent more time fighting with GFWL than I did playing the damned game.

        I have plenty of games like the original NOLF that simply won't play on x64 thanks to shitty DRM (thanks SecuROM, may you rot in hell) but thanks to the pirates I can just extract the files off the disc and with a NoCD I'm good to go. Thanks to NoCDs cooked up by the pirates there are nearly NO games that I can't play on my new X64 system-*.

        One of the reasons I got away from consoles is I got burnt by one of the early Playstations that would scratch discs and was basically told "tough shit it's out of warranty" but with the PC I decide what runs and thanks to the pirates any game I have that is no longer supported can still be hacked and played. Between Steam, GOG, and Amazon I have more gaming than I could possibly ever enjoy, cheap prices, and no online BS if I don't want it. Thanks pirate hackers argh!

        *.-The ONLY game I've found where I can NOT run it at all is my classic MechWarrior 3, because apparently they used some old Win9x hacks and when run on a modern system you get this "bouncing tanks" bug where things bounce 100s of feet in the air making them impossible to shoot. But even games where the company went tits up like Vampire:Bloodlines I was able to play through the game once a fan made patch came out, on a console that would have been impossible. If a game can ONLY be used online? Frankly they can keep it, it isn't like there aren't literally 100s of games I haven't gotten to play yet.

    • by jd (1658)

      MUD-1 (which is still going strong on British Legends) is one of the oldest online games - if not THE oldest online game. (I'm ignoring games that were capable of multiplayer use, such as the BBC's Double Phantom, but which weren't online in any real sense.)

      Having said that, I still play Oolite (the updated version of the 8-bit Elite - still the best space sim ever written) far more often than any online game because online games just aren't there yet.

    • Honestly, this is ridiculous. I don't know if the submitter is some sort of apologist or just really lacking in the history of online gaming but online gaming and online game distribution has been around for about 25 years now give or take [wikipedia.org], and thats just one example. This would be about EXACTLY as old as the revered plastic grey box in question, give or take a couple if you were living in japan or not.

      Different networks and system have been more secure than others this whole time, and the real question is "Why would some companies risk security in the name lower maintenance costs given the number of terrible consequences these days". The PSN outage and data leak raises questions about Sony and their decision making processes, not about the state of digital distribution and online gaming in general.

      No. You don't get it. When you play most XBL and PSN enabled games the "server" is one of the player's consoles! The only thing that PSN or XBL is needed for is to determine which players want to play with each-other ie for Matchmaking and score tracking only.

      The matchmaking server determines NAT and optionally allows for STUN in order to traverse NAT, selecting a compatible "game server" amongst those players.

      Now, let's say me and my 8 friends all have properly configured our NAT routers -- On a c

      • I don't really play console games...I was downright astounded when I was watching some friends play the original Halo and I saw the "finding new host" message. I asked them what were they paying MS for.

        Ofc, XBL is much better nowadays.
  • Sounds practical (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kenoli (934612) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @10:25PM (#36060038)
    After all, there's lots of profit in making sure your games remain playable for decades.
    • there's lots of profit in making sure your games remain playable for decades.

      True, just look at the relative profits of World of Warcraft and Missile Command over their life spans.

      No... wait--"true" isn't the word I was looking for.

      There is certainly a value in 'the long tail'. But there is *FAR MORE* value in milking a property for all it's worth in the short term.

      In 1989 Nintendo's Inflation Adjusted revenue was $4B.

      Today Blizzard is making about $2B a year in revenue off of just WOW. About half of Nintendo at the height of the 80s. And that's a single game not an entire catal

      • by jd (1658)

        I'll buy the "profit" argument. But picture a standalone game written in a highly modular fashion, such that any piece can be swapped out for an updated version. Much like the way the linux kernel is, in fact. You now have a game that can be updated forever, if you so wish. Sure, the original copies won't make much after a decade, but the game itself would still be being sold. And if you want to use WoW as an example, I sincerely doubt you'd get far running the very earliest release of the client, particula

      • by zAPPzAPP (1207370)

        Huh?
        If Nintendo took their profit and put it into bounds, they would earn money at the exact same rate. Money that comes from online games works the same as money from cartridges, once you "bound" it..

    • After all, there's lots of profit in making sure your games remain playable for decades.

      I'm sure you're trying to being sarcastic, but you failed at it.

      Yes, there is profit in making sure your games remain playable for decades.

      Why just last week I convinced 3 of my friends to purchase Doom, Doom2, Quake and Quake2. We can still play these games online via DosBox. There is no DRM in the games, ergo ID software is still making money on those games. The only thing they had to do to make them playable for decades: Not Impose Online DRM.

      Now, ID also open sourced these games, but you must

  • I tend to agree with this. There's quite a few problems with digital distribution that still need to be ironed out - not least of which is actual bandwidth consumption in non-US countries. Not everyone has an unlimited download connection, and with games getting larger and larger these days it does raise the concern that it'll cut into the ability to feasibly get it to potential consumers.

    In Microsoft's case, their digital distribution of most games cost as much if not more than what it costs to buy the gam

    • by Salvo (8037)

      The Conventional Conservative Corporate Gaming Industry is moving online too quickly, but smaller, more Progressive Companies exist Online almost exclusively. iD and Blizzard made their money, and retained their independence online, while Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo can't seem to make the move to online content without screwing up royally.

      Meanwhile, the App Store, Android Market Place, Ovi Store and have blown away other Portable Gaming Device due to their exclusive, convenient online presence while the on

      • by drzhivago (310144)

        I'm not really sure if you know what you're talking about. Xbox Live has been around in its current incarnation for 5 years. Not only can you digitally buy the smaller online games, but they even sell (some) 360 games that way now. That doesn't seem to be crashing and burning. I don't think Sony had any major problems before this current one, either.

        Also, id as a major company? They make great tech, but as a game company they've been a nonfactor for a very long time.

    • I live in Australia, where we are only just starting to get "unlimited" broadband plans. I don't believe there's a very high uptake of these plans at the moment because they're relatively new, and to be fair the bandwidth allowances for quota plans are typically quite generous.

      But in regards to the main point in your post, the bandwidth consumption issue, about half of the major Australian broadband providers host a Steam mirror for their subscribers. My ISP, Internode, has several regional Steam mirrors

  • by gweihir (88907) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @10:30PM (#36060054)

    Nothing about "too fast" here. Having your databases with customer data not adequately protected is just plain old incompetence. Same as with RSA on SecureID. My guess is IT security (and possibly network maintenance) spending is decided by managers without a clue, and on the other side the "engineers" supposed to operate the network securely are also incompetent. With just one of both parties screwing up, you do not get into a mess like this.

    Caveat: I am a IT security consultant, and, yes, it is not only as bad as you think, corporate IT security is usually worse. There are a few players that really get it and these often in addition pay people like us to make sure they did get it right. But those that do not get it usually only go for help if they are forced to by outside forces. It is quite clear to me in what class Sony falls. Not a surprise either, this had to happen to them sooner or later.

  • The only issue I've had with the latest generation of gaming consoles is their longevity. Two 360's, a Wii, and now a PS3 have died within two years, whereas I can still play my N64, PS1, NES, and Gameboy. It's pathetic how much they sacrifice to maintain their profit margin.
    • by NiceGeek (126629)

      I felt they were just cramming too much hardware in a limited space. The 360 and PS3 are essentially PCs but unlike a modern PC have to withstand much more abuse than the average desktop, and because of the need to make a consumer device small enough to fit in an entertainment center they just don't have the luxury of the same level of cooling.

      • Consider micro ATX and smaller form factors or a notebook for that matter. It's perfectly possible to have a reliable, powerful platform in a tiny form factor. The problem is simply in trying to build them too cheap with low grade components and underrated power supplies, and insufficient cooling. Modern consoles are typically sold cheaper than their cost to make, if they can minimize the loss they will.
        • by Xtravar (725372)

          Think about it this way: those consoles had the best GPU in them when they were designed. The best GPU right now takes two PCI slots because its cooler is so huge. Your theory holds little water. I wouldn't call notebooks reliable or powerful.

          • by adolf (21054)

            I feel like I'm feeding the trolls...

            those consoles had the best GPU in them when they were designed. The best GPU right now takes two PCI slots because its cooler is so huge.

            The point was simple: If "the best GPU" is installed in a console, and it's cheaper to use less cooling instead of more cooling (which it is, to a practical limit), then that's what they'll do.

            There's reasons why a 360 can often sound like a jet engine in normal use, and they really just boil down to MSFT being cheap. While designing

            • by Xtravar (725372)

              The GPU is mostly all that matters in games. Your laptop comparison is asinine. I've taken both consoles apart and believe me, the PS3's cooling is crazy non-standard and innovative. The 360 is the cheaper of the two (more like a PC); granted it fails more, but it still has custom fans and heatsinks. I wouldn't say either is skimping on the cooling; it's just the formfactor and the chip combined. The newer versions of both consoles are much cooler as technology has advanced.

            • The GPU isn't quite as slick as that in, say, an Xbox

              Then it's probably an Intel GMA, or "Graphics My Ass" as AMD and NVIDIA fanboys call it. An original Xbox has a GPU nearly identical to GeForce 3, and according to a chart at Tom's Hardware Guide [tomshardware.com], most GMAs aren't even as powerful as that. The same chart implies that the Radeon 9000, whose fillrate is similar to that of the Wii's Hollywood GPU, is likewise more powerful than most GMAs.

    • I have been very lucky really. Out of the 30-40ish consoles/portables I've ever owned (since Intellivision days to 3 DS's, PS3, 2 Xbox360's, Wii), the only real failure has been a Dreamcast that was DOA (RF Output) from Ebay. Even my PSP survived a soaking from a burst water bottle in my bag. N64 Pilotwings is a pain sometimes, but I just use some spray switch cleaner I have. Useful stuff that. I fucked a 48k Spectrum once trying to find a way of resetting it using a bent paper clip and the I/O expansion s
    • The only issue I've had with the latest generation of gaming consoles is their longevity. Two 360's, a Wii, and now a PS3 have died within two years, whereas I can still play my N64, PS1, NES, and Gameboy. It's pathetic how much they sacrifice to maintain their profit margin.

      If you've had a Wii and a PS3 die in the last two years, you're likely doing something to promote their decay.

    • pulled out my old vic-20 recently, it must be closing on 30 years. Perfect working order, even read the tapes.

  • by Hamsterdan (815291) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @10:37PM (#36060080)

    What about giving back those features?

    Starcraft II and Transformers WFC come to mind...

  • by lanner (107308) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @10:38PM (#36060082)

    Former gaming industry guy here, who worked in the online (MMO) space for games (mostly PC).

    It's incompetence. That's all. The gaming industry is full of excited youthful noobs who are willing to work 50-60-or-more hour workweeks in exchange for working "in a cool industry" and occasionally getting a free tee shirt or some other crap.

    The "online" portion of most game shops is seen as sort of like support. In fact, I've seen several places (some of them failed) where the online management (sysadmins, networking guys, etc) was actually manged by the online support person -- the same person responsible for level-1 customer support goons.

    Since it's not programming, not art, not design, and not the "core" part of making the game, it's just something necessary sucking money away from the people who really deserve it, so it gets minimal attention.

    That's all.

    • by gweihir (88907)

      I completely agree. My perspective is a bit different than yours (security consultant), but IT security is in a not very good state in other industries as well. I think your argument why it is possibly worse in the gaming industry is entirely convincing.

    • Former gaming industry guy here ...

      Same here.

      ... I've seen several places (some of them failed) where the online management (sysadmins, networking guys, etc) was actually manged by the online support person ...

      Different here. I've seen outsiders from the Linux world brought in to establish and run the online infrastructure. Not guys who could set up a LAMP system from a standard distro, but guys who could put together barebones custom installations with only what the respective servers needed at run time - less opportunity for exploitation that way.

      • by gweihir (88907)

        It can definitely be done right. But it needs somebody high up enough realizing how to do it right. Minimal installation with only what absolutely needs to be on there is a good start. Then you can add mandatory access control (e.g. SELinux) and application integrated or -aware IDS. The FOSS BSDs are also a good choice, and so was Solaris before Oracle bought Sun. And then you get a team to operate these systems that not only monitors security alerts closely, but also can do something about them fast if the

    • by cultiv8 (1660093)
      Welcome to corporate system admin, please move on.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 07, 2011 @10:58PM (#36060158)

    Get rid of this dedicated official server bullshit that we have to deal with, it gives me a headache when we all live within a block from each other in Australia but suddenly get shunted onto a US East server with 400+ pings. I understand why you would have to do it for something like an MMO, but a two or four player game? Ugh. Hamachi shouldn't be a requirement when you want to play games with brosefs without dealing with network shenanigans

  • by Leslie43 (1592315) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @11:00PM (#36060166)
    Don't lay Sony's stupidity on the rest of the industry.

    Just because Sony was too stupid/in a rush/incompetent to encrypt everything like they should have, doesn't mean everyone is moving too fast.
    It just means whoever decided not to waste time on encryption, should have their head sitting on a stake at Sony Software HQ as a warning to others.
  • TFA makes the flawed assumption that the gamer's individual interests align with the industry's. The industry has an interest in making you buy as many copies as they can and they have an interest in obsolescence. [wikipedia.org]
  • Bad news. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @11:03PM (#36060176) Journal
    I'm afraid that the poster is simultaneously correct, and totally missing the point.

    Is it overwhelmingly the case that games are trending toward(and many are already there) a place where they will be somewhere between crippled and bricked when some ill-thought-out online integration or financially shaky company bites the bullet? Hell yeah. Are those same games increasingly likely to be locked down as hard as the publisher can lock them, ensuring that hacking together a 3rd party equivalent will be pretty tricky? Yup. In that sense, he is entirely correct.

    However, he seems to be under the impression that this is some sort of honest mistake, a product of over-enthusiasm for cool gizmos among developers. Wouldn't that be nice. Beyond whatever bare minimum is required to sell the thing, longevity is a defect, not a virtue, from the perspective of the seller. After they get paid, you are a cost center, not a customer(Obviously, rank incompetence like having your walled garden go down during a major launch isn't in the seller's interest; but things like that are only a major deal because multiplayer functions are increasingly being forcibly centralized, rather than made a server offering that any player can run). People happily playing classic games are of no financial utility. I suspect that we will see much more of this, and it will not be by accident.
  • You said it man, "Nobody fucks with the Jesus". In any case, the bottom line is that the games industry is quickly getting FUBAR, in the literal sense, and our terribly intelligent population doesn't care if they can't play a single player hard-copy game when the network's offline until it goes offline, which is rare and won't be enough to cause a ground-up revolution. While I'd like to have some feel-good explanation for this, I think people may just be too damned stupid to look past their nose while our c
  • by Chas (5144) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @11:28PM (#36060260) Homepage Journal

    find ways to guarantee that items bought are permanently owned even without a physical copy

    That's just it! These companies don't WANT you to "permanently own" anything. This way they can sell it to you over and over again.

    And, with the move to online distribution, they have grasped you at the base of your snarglies because when THEY decide it's time for you to upgrade, they simply shut down all the older stuff. Period.

    And the lack of a physical copy simply gives them even more leverage.

    "We have no record of you ever buying anything through us. Sorry! Maybe it was the PSN hack a few years back! Heheh! PAY UP!"

  • Just buy games without DRM, or at least the games you really care about. Also, donate to all open source emulator and server re-implementations you care about. It'll reduce the pool of games you can peruse, but not that much.
  • "find ways to guarantee that items bought are permanently owned even without a physical copy" Try GoG, www.gog.com. Buy game, no DRM. Put installer on CD if you want. GoG has no client that must run in background. Games on GoG a bit old, but probably a huge improvement on Nintendo. That being said, Steam, Impulse, D2D all work. Bunch of 'em out there.
  • "Why in my days..." (use your imagination to fill in the rest)

  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @01:15AM (#36060500) Homepage

    Online gaming, as in a MMORPG, is fine. What's seriously objectionable are supposedly standalone games that insist on constantly checking in with a DRM server to work at all. They should forbidden the use of the term "buy" or "sell" in advertising, and should be required to advertise their products as rentals.

    Nor should PC game installs require administrator privileges or installation of services. Game companies can't be trusted with those privileges given their track record.

    • Nor should PC game installs require administrator privileges

      Where should the game install itself if the user is not in a group that can write to /Program Files? Even Debian and its clones require elevation to administrator (using something like sudo) before installing an application. Or are you talking about installing to the user's profile? There's no "My Applications" folder in a Windows user's profile, unlike "My Documents", "My Pictures", etc. Or are you talking about running the game directly from the disc?

  • Online games make it harder to use illegitimate copies. That makes it very much in the vendors' interest. Yes, there is the risk that the vendor may decide to discontinue the service. If that concerns you, then don't buy the game. As long as there are enough people that will buy games like that, they will continue to be available. You have to find out for how long you are guaranteed to be able to play, and ask yourself if it is worth the price you will be paying.

    Some might argue that if the vendor discon
    • The way the customers can do this, is by choosing which vendor to buy from.

      And it's likely to end up the case that no video game publisher will offer a reasonable guarantee on longevity for any of its online video games. Do you recommend that people learn to do without in mass numbers? If so, the publishers will probably blame piracy.

  • See topic.

    Sony behave like assholes and don't provide anything that makes their attitude towards their customers something worth tolerating.

    For me, "entertainment" is a mix of value, convenience, and cost. If "convenience" isn't convenient, if enjoying the work is too much work, if I have to create yet a-fucking-NOTHER account to access your whatever, well... your loss. The library got here first, I can talk to the used bookstore clerk (or owner!), and your Big Media Mandate just means absolutely fuckall

  • Is so 80's.. Its not just the gaming industry, everything is moving to a leased/cloud type of architecture to ensure a steady stream of cash.

    Games, software, music, movies, phones, cars, homes....

  • I'ts a matter of "too much" and "too monolithic". "Too fast" implies there will come a time when everything is magically ok to do things like PSN because we'll have magic security that can't be messed up by humans. No matter what you do, the wrong people will always mess it up. It isn't like the technology today is so immature that Sony couldn't have done a better job securing it, they don't have any particularly complex needs security-wise than anyone else has for over a decade. At *least* hosting pro

  • until my 8-bit Nintendo dies from plastic corrosion and age, it will continue to play any game I find just as it was supposed to

    Capcom for one are releasing games on PSN that need to contact servers in order to be played. Either it's planned obsolescence, or a fucking ripoff. I think it's both. Another example is game DLC. I'll always have my game disc and be able to put it in any system and play it, but I can't really do that with any of my DLC. Sure, if Sony and MS servers are set up, I can transfer licenses, but I'm sure those will be shut down or deprecated just like Xbox Live Classic was.

  • but until my 8-bit Nintendo dies from plastic corrosion and age, it will continue to play any game

    and that benefits the developers of the console and game ... how?

    financial, the subscription model is much more sound. within some small margin of error, they can estimate their earnings on a month by month basis.

Moneyliness is next to Godliness. -- Andries van Dam

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