There is no doubt we are very interconnected as a society through the Internet. As a gamer, I notice it more through the services I have access. But as of recent I’ve noticed a lot of publishers are taking advantage of cloud computing which I can foresee as just another of those features to exploit their audience.
Not long ago we use to have consoles and computer games which would save files locally and have multiplayer on LAN, peer to peer and peer to server connectivity. Of course some games still have this method to network players together to play together which isn’t a problem. You bought it so you should be play it indefinitely with people who did the same.
The beef I have is the service gating through the cloud. I don’t mind services that allow for digital distribution like Steam, however large publishers are approaching this differently. For one thing, they are approaching it like they’re a large free-to-play publisher. The worse part of it is they monetize off of it. Assuming at a certain point, they can’t make money to maintain the server where your save files or statistics. When they turn it off, then you’re screwed since you can’t play multiplayer. With how DRM works, this could also be a major problem since after the server shuts off; wouldn’t the DRM feature just lock you out any content associated? Then it puts you in a awkward position where if they release the next game, you have to gauge your experience with your last game to buy the next one. Well for me, I do judge how I enjoyed the last one to buy the next one. The reason I’ve been thinking about it is the whole “always-on DRM” EA has on the latest SimCity where your region and saves are on their servers. Once the server goes down or you don’t have a connection, then you can’t play SimCity since all that stuff is on their servers and they have total authority on when you can and cannot play. The interesting thing I could interpret from this if they wanted to, they could just shut it all down and say “We have a new SimCity out, it’s the same but better.” So you would have to spend another 70 dollars on SimCity and still have the same problems of not having the freedom to play whenever you felt like it since there is that chance that the servers retire or go away of whatever they do to them and you will not be able to play the 70 dollar game ever again. It just sounds like such a scheme to make you spend money over and over again.
Call me paranoid, but it sounds like a really bad marketing ploy that could backfire especially if it’s loyal fans who really enjoyed the games before this capitalist conquest. I played Battlefield 2 and 3; to be honest, I stop playing 2 because 3 came out and that the community splintered into mods. Then in 3, rather than mods, servers splintered off to exclude people who didn’t purchase the DLC’s which puts off a lot of players who would want to collect everything after they were done. This is why I went free-to-play since you don’t really have pitfalls with a community, they’ll always be there. Things will change in the game, but you will always have access to all the content; you would just have to decide if you want it or not rather than how much money are you willing to put in for a content update.
As for SimCity, I want to play it. Probably not now since it’s way expensive for a hard copy, but in time I want to get around to it. I’m just worried by the time I get to it, my purchase would be for nothing but some data on a disk I can’t access because of some lame code to verify server activity and such.