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[Forbes] SimCity Meltdown: What Always-Online Says About Game Ownership In The Digital Age

post #1 of 85
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Quote:
At the heart of the issue is the question of whether or not we can actually return something that we don’t own: and do we really own our video games? If EA or Valve can shut down our Origin or Steam accounts, what happens to our catalog of titles? We paid to use those games, but did we pay to own them? If sometime far in the future, Blizzard shuts down the Diablo III servers how will we play our PC version of the game?

If EA and Maxis launch SimCity and you can’t log in to play, is it really yours at all? You may “own” the physical copy of the game or have a receipt for the digital download, but you certainly don’t own the servers that are required to play it.

How can we regulate any sort of mandatory return policy for consumers if we can’t even define ownership?

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post #2 of 85
You don't own the game, you are buying a license to play the games through their services.
post #3 of 85
All good questions, but also questions that everyone should have asked nearly a decade ago.
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post #4 of 85
What bothers me about all these server side games is that once the server is shut down I cannot play the game which I paid for the right to play. I did not breach contract, I did not break my game, they shut it down. Honestly, Doesn't seem right.

Also, this setup is inherently more costly as the companies must support a server network and all the costs which that entails. So they need to implement pay to win systems to pay for their costs (lookin at you DBlow 3). I strongly wish for the days of Hard Media, not connected to anything. I like my games to play off a disc with no other requirements (rare these days). Oh, And the piracy angle is complete garbage
 
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post #5 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Biorganic View Post

What bothers me about all these server side games is that once the server is shut down I cannot play the game which I paid for the right to play. I did not breach contract, I did not break my game, they shut it down. Honestly, Doesn't seem right.

Also, this setup is inherently more costly as the companies must support a server network and all the costs which that entails. So they need to implement pay to win systems to pay for their costs (lookin at you DBlow 3). I strongly wish for the days of Hard Media, not connected to anything. I like my games to play off a disc with no other requirements (rare these days). Oh, And the piracy angle is complete garbage
Actually the main reason they do it is to get maximum of the profit and cutting off retailers. Those added server costs is nothing compared to the extra money of not having to make dvd's/ship and all that other stuff.
The pay to win system is not required, just a nice added boost.
post #6 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Assirra View Post

Actually the main reason they do it is to get maximum of the profit and cutting off retailers. Those added server costs is nothing compared to the extra money of not having to make dvd's/ship and all that other stuff.
The pay to win system is not required, just a nice added boost.

You mean to say that the server costs for hardware, maintenance, and power for enough servers to host millions of players over the life of the servers is more expensive than a few million DVD discs? I dunno about that

This is moot anyhow, you could allow a digitally downloaded game to be playable without garbage DRM. No server costs, no hard media costs, No DRM, everyone wins... Seems pretty simple to me.

And then i can still play my game after whatever company turns off the juice at their server farm... Current trends in PC gaming are disheartening
Edited by Biorganic - 3/10/13 at 6:12pm
 
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post #7 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blameless View Post

All good questions, but also questions that everyone should have asked nearly a decade ago.

Well said.
    
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post #8 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blameless View Post

All good questions, but also questions that everyone should have asked nearly a decade ago.

My thought's exactly.
 
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post #9 of 85
Oh €A when will you ever learn?
post #10 of 85
Game ownership has never been a question, since you don't legally own the code, but you did own the perpetual right to run the game as long as you could make it work with newer PC's / OSes, the questions we should be asking for the past 10 years or so, and which are probably more relevant than ever given the accumulated experience we have now, are:

1. What kind of rights to using our games we have if a service provider like Steam or Origin goes bankrupt or just ends. Gabe alluded that they will make the game client work off-line if such a thing were to happen, but legally speaking there is no guarantee, and let's not forget that each game publisher that is present on Steam may have a different set of rules in their EULA and so converging all that together and be able to salvage our whole game library may be a tricky thing. In the end nobody worried about the future and we are just singing along the tune of great sales that render the discussion kind of a non issue when we look at each game purchase individually, but if we are to look at how much money we invested in the catalogue we already own, maybe it's time to start asking these questions and demand some legal changes, or at the very least some EULA changes.

2. With on-line play becoming more and more of a feature, and sometimes not for the best reasons (feels tacked on, sometimes even revealing that the developers are just expecting to be us creating the sense of immersion instead of them spending money hiring good writers to make a game with a great storyline), it is also the time to ask publishers and developers to be legally obliged to provide the server code needed to run private or public servers as soon as they shut theirs down. This would enable anybody to keep running servers and thus effectively fulfil the right to use all the game's features perpetually. There is no reason why they shouldn't make the server code available as soon as they shut down theirs. We are also talking about a major chunk of gaming history going forward that is at risk of being lost as all that there will be left is gameplay videos, screenshots and people's memories.
Edited by tpi2007 - 3/10/13 at 8:36pm
 
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