Thursday, June 13, 2013

E3 Week

The real reason this page doesn't hear from me as often as I would like is because my writing juices are taken up at GAMEBREAKER.TV, where I write about industry news and occasionally inflict my views on helpless readers. I have cross posted a few articles before, but I mostly I keep the two separate. However, the following article was written expressly for this blog and ended up being a good idea over there too. It became a popular post. That makes me smile. Anyway, feel free to tell me what you think:

What Sony did yesterday is a game changer.
I’ve long considered a few things inevitable: Death, taxes and always-online games. The trend is undeniable. Companies are adopting practices that protect themselves and potentially give a few perks to players. One by one my favorite games have to be played while taking up my household’s precious bandwidth.
And it’s annoying. Whatever the reason given or assumed, there are pitfalls to being always online. I understand companies want to stop pirating and are losing money on reselling games (but are they really?) I understand how awesome it is to play with friends, heck I’m the most social gamer I know. I totally get how incredible it sounds to get up-to-the-hour updates on dribbling practices of NBA players. But one thing is for certain: I won’t always get to play!
I have decent internet, but when I’m not at home I play on my phone. If I find myself in an older building with thick walls, I simply can’t play a card battle in Order and Chaos. When I am at home, I’m not the only one using the net. If the kid is watching iCarly on Netflix and someone else is playing Call of Duty, I can’t run a scenario in WoW. That’s OK because I can dust off myXbox and do a few Portal puzzles. Also, I hear of people getting throttled if they are using too much bandwidth. This isn’t that great for gamers, and it seems like there’s not much we can do about it.
Well, it seemed like that until yesterday.
Yesterday, Sony totally pwned Microsoft when they gave their presentation at E3. Unlike theXbox One, the PS4 will not have to be online. You won’t loose your product license if you don’t check in. There will be online options and updates of course, but you can buy the system and buy disks and never ever hook it up to your internet if you don’t feel like it. Sony also announced that unlike the Xbox One, there will be no restrictions on sharing games with friends.
“When a gamer buys a PS4 disc, they have the rights to use that copy of the game. You can trade in games at retail, sell it to another person, lend it to a friend, or keep it forever.” Jack Tretton, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America
Oh yeah, one more thing: the PS4 will be a hundred bucks cheaper than the Xbox One.

But How Does This Affect A PC Gamer?

It doesn’t matter how awesome the Xbox One will be, putting restrictions on your system and games is anti-consumer. Sure, customers can vote with their dollars, but if all the companies are pushing the new guidelines, then we might vote our way back to pen and paper (no, that wouldn’t be all that bad). Sony made a decision to be pro-consumer. As a giant player in the game marketplace, other companies will be forced to watch what happens when the PS4 comes out. Depending on the outcome, they might just follow suit.
If Sony wins the upcoming console war, all game companies will have to take a look at why. If customers refuse to buy games that require online capabilities, or restrict the ability to share and resell, then maybe messes like Sim City or D3 will stop happening. If you and I purchase offline games, then EA, Blizzard, Microsoft… everybody… will have to continue to make them.
As a final kick in the neck, this amazing video popped up on YouTube and quickly made its Twitter rounds. It gives a detailed description of how to share PlayStation games. All you have to do is hand it to your friend. It’s as if sharing a game is the simplest thing in the world…because it is. 

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