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DRM XBox (Games) Games

New Console Always-Online Requirements and You 435

An anonymous reader writes "The new Xbox is almost here and the details appear to strongly suggest 'always on' is the way forward. We all know that this is an artificial requirement and certainly there are plenty of people on all sides of the table. To paraphrase the user 'tuffy' who commented on this issue at Ars Technica recently; if you're trying to sell 'always online' as a feature of the future, there needs to be some benefit for me the customer. There is not one. Or, rather, there is no sign yet of any actual clearly compelling reason why any end user would support this limitation to their purchase. So, what's the best way to express this? Spend your money on an Ouya? Contact the Xbox team? These are all valid options but they also lack visibility. What we need is a way that could help actually quantify the levels of discontent in the gamer community. Maybe E3 attendees could turn their backs in protest like some did during Thatcher's funeral procession. Or gamers could sign some useless petition. What do Slashdotters think? Is the upcoming Steam box a reasonable plan? As a gamer, I'm of two minds about the whole thing. I really don't like it but I may roll over eventually and join the herd because I could get used to it. Then again part of me is rankled by this slow erosion of access to me and my data."
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New Console Always-Online Requirements and You

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  • Re:Steambox (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anubis350 ( 772791 ) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @06:12AM (#43565821)
    Last year I moved to my grandmother's place to house sit for a few months while she was away. She has no internet, I was entirely reliant on my phone. My workstation stayed at my home, accessible remotely as needed via laptop+LTE from my cell (or starbucks), but I did haul my gaming machine out with me. It had no internet access for quite a while and steam offline worked just fine...
  • by zephvark ( 1812804 ) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @06:27AM (#43565873)

    The time people will really start caring is in ten years time when the activiation servers are switched off and they can't play their games anymore.

    Optimist. Microsoft "PlaysForSure" lasted for all of four years.

  • Re:Steambox (Score:5, Informative)

    by sourcerror ( 1718066 ) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @06:35AM (#43565903)

    When did you have this problem? Last year around October there was a major Steam client update. Since then I can go offline without an internet connection too.

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Saturday April 27, 2013 @07:52AM (#43566189) Homepage Journal

    Steam only has DRM the publishers chose. You're free to support the ones who do things DRM free. Steam does not require a connection to play in any way shape or form.

    These are the facts.

    Well, no, those are not the facts. Those should be the facts, but in reality the fact is that Steam often reverts to online mode, especially when it crashes, which it does a lot. There is no excuse whatsoever for this behavior. It wouldn't even happen if Valve were competent. Actually, that's a lie. Valve can clearly fix a bug that is this pathetic, if they try. It wouldn't even happen if Valve were not doing this deliberately to force logins.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 27, 2013 @08:20AM (#43566303)

    Part of the reason I don't own any recent Sony consoles, either. At this point, the only way I'd consider an always-on console in my house would be if it's on a separate filewalled subnet. And I'd NEVER use it for anything but gaming, and likely give false information when initializing it. Let the companies collect that data.

    Another thought: like everything else Microsoft creates, it will eventually get hacked, and we could each sue Microsoft for forcing us into a situation in which our data was stolen. Aiding and abetting hackers by forcing customers to connect unnecessarily.

  • Re:Or you might just (Score:5, Informative)

    by tmosley ( 996283 ) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @08:36AM (#43566383)
  • your alternative is to maintain a ridiculous and expensive beast of a PC where the video card alone costs more than a console.

    Video card? What video card? Skyrim is playable without one now [].

  • Consoles are better for developers as they have uniform specs

    True, but PCs are better for (especially smaller) developers in a different way: lower barrier to entry. PCs don't automatically exclude home-based businesses [] nor charge a $40,000 fee for patch certification [].

  • Or a PC these days (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @09:04AM (#43566525)

    Seriously. Want to still play games, but the consoles don't do what you want? Use a computer. They are first-flight gaming platforms these days. Currently more powerful than any console, even with lower range hardware. You can also get games with whatever your DRM tolerance is. Being open platforms, developers can really do wahtever they like so you find it runs the gamut. There are some games with always-on DRM, Ubisoft is pretty (in)famous for that. There are games with DRM that requires you to go online to activate once, but then not again. There are games with DRM that kinda fades in to the background and is just part of the setup (like Steam). Finally there are games with no DRM at all.

    So you can play whatever games meet your requirements in terms of level of DRM. There's nothing being forced by a larger entity, and indeed because of the varied market it is easy to vote with your dollars and developers can see the result of that.

    So you don't have to wait for some alternative, there is already one here, and you probably already have the basics of what you need. A Windows PC (there just aren't many games for Linux at this point) with a reasonably modern processor is a good foundation, then knock a $100ish graphics card in and you are good to go.

    Yes you can hook it to your TV and use a controller, if that is what you desire.

  • Not quite (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Saturday April 27, 2013 @09:09AM (#43566553)

    Steam forces their own DRM, Steamworks, on all games. Unlike some other DD servers (Impulse for example) there is no capability to release a game without the built-in DRM. Publishers can use additional DRM as well, but Steamworks is mandatory.

    It's pretty low key DRM over all, most people are ok with it (I am) but it is DRM. You have to have Steam running and be logged in to your account to be able to play a game. You don't have to be online, you can cache your credentials and play offline, but you must have Steam running and logged in or you cannot play a game.

    Many people are ok with Steam DRM, I'm one of them, but don't be disingenuous and claim there isn't DRM. There is and it is required.

System checkpoint complete.