Let me paint a picture for you, ladies and gents. One day in the not too distant future, the president of Ford decides he?s gotten sick of used automobile sales, concluding that they?re cutting into his bottom line. As a result, he decides to issue a press release. From now on, every motor vehicle sold will come with a special code which unlocks radio, air conditioning, and heating. If a vehicle is purchased from anywhere other than a car dealership, these features will be unavailable unless the purchasing party shells out extra cash for their own code.
Sounds pretty messed up, doesn't it?
Now consider this situation: The games industry is rife with piracy and used game sales, which are lumped into a single category. One organization thinks up a masterstroke to deal with both problems ? each game will, at retail, come with an unlockable code which will allow players access to some intrinsic feature of the game: usually multiplayer. Anyone who pirates the game won?t have access to any of the online content unless they shell out for the pass. Unfortunately, people who buy the game used are lumped into the same category as those who don?t buy it at all ? unless they shell out for the Online Pass (or similar ?I bought this game? card), they cannot access the content.
It?s a piece of DRM that?s right up there with ?always-online? connectivity (which, thankfully, many developers have realized doesn't work and only serves to piss off their consumers), and it smacks of the sort of entitlement you?d expect from a two year old ? hopefully, the Ford example serves to drive this point home a little bit. Yeah, piracy is bad, but used game sales are not piracy ? and taking such active, hostile steps to prevent them only polarizes developers and publishers against their customers.
Worse than that, it?s an inconvenience ? and that is precisely the reason why DRM so often fails. It?s been said before, and it needs to be said again: developers aren't going to get anywhere by treating every one of their consumers like a potential criminal. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Gabe Newell put it best:
?Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem.?
Online Passes and their ilk aren't, believe it or not, intrinsically broken. It?s simply the way they?re implemented that is. The concept could work, in some context ? but only if it doesn't punish people for purchasing a resold game. Perhaps if a user purchases a used game, and can contact a developer with proof that they have a legitimate copy, they could be given a key. Or maybe they could set it up so that the pass doesn't lock the user out of content they wouldn't be able to earn on their own ? it simply gives people who've purchased a new copy a bit of a leg up on people who've got a copy they purchased used.
Or maybe the idea simply has to die, and along with it the idea that users are somehow obligated to purchase a title straight at retail.
Eight of The Most Memorable MMO Dungeons Ever Designed
Dungeons are a staple of the MMO genre; large-scale challenges requiring co-operation and co-ordination between anywhere from five to a few hundred players to adequately complete. Of course, not all are created equal, and some stand head and shoulders above their peers. Today, I'd like to tip my hat to those few legends, those instances that'll stick with us for years to come as shining examples of how to do dungeons right.
Ten Of The Best MMORPG Songs Ever Heard
In many ways, an MMO is only as good as its music. Many of the best and most memorable moments in an MMO invariably have a song associated with them; a piece of music which brings the memories flooding back the moment it reaches one's ears. Today, I'd like to pay homage to some of those songs - and some of those moments. Here, for your listening pleasure (and in no particular order, I assure you) is a list of some of the best songs ever heard in an MMO.
Facebook's Purchase Of Oculus VR Isn't The End Of The World
For those of you who've been living under a rock, Facebook recently purchased Oculus VR to the tune of $2 billion. Understandably, backers and developers alike were rather unimpressed, calling it a betrayal. As for me? I've never been more excited.
Seven Of The Worst Things You Can Say In League
If you've played league, you've probably encountered at least one toxic player. If you haven't, there's a good chance that YOU are the toxic one. Don't believe me? Ask yourself if you've ever said any of the following...
Six Reasons You Should Be Playing Dark Souls II
I've been playing a lot of Dark Souls II lately - and you should be too. Say what you will about the game's flaws, it's still arguably one of the best action RPGs released in the past several years. If you're up for a bit of a challenge, it's well worth the buy. Don't believe me? Let's talk, then.
Eight Reasons The Elder Scrolls Online Will Be Awesome
As you're all no doubt aware, The Elder Scrolls Online - currently in open beta - will be launching in a few months or so. In light of both the new release date and all the hype surfacing around it, I've decided that, over the next two weeks, I'll be looking at all the reasons to look forward to it...and all the reasons we shouldn't.
League of Legends or DOTA 2?
The debate between Dota 2 and League of Legends has been raging almost since the two games were first released. But which game is REALLY the superior of the two?
Ten Fictional Settings That'd Make For Awesome MMOs
Let's look at a few settings, worlds, and stories I'd love to see made into MMOs. I'm sure you'll agree, all the entries on this list have the potential to be downright awesome.
MMO Year In Review: 5 of 2013's Biggest Dick Moves
People are dicks - particularly on the Internet. While that shouldn't come as any great surprise, occasionally we come across someone whose level of sheer dickery reaches legendary proportions. As we move into 2014, let's take a look at a few such individuals from the previous year.
Censorship Spells Trouble for League of Legends Patcher
Internet filtering has been a hot button issue for the past several years. With the slow gutting of protective measures like Net Neutrality, and with governmental powers seeking an end to online anonymity, it's rather harrowing to see the slow progression of political and social policing of the internet. Recently, after about a year of lobbying, the United Kingdom enacted a piece of legislation that many have come to call the "UK Porn Filter." What the filter requires is for British ISP's to implement filters and controls, which are on by default, that will block access to "violent material," not imited to "extremist and terrorist related content," "anorexia and eating disorder websites," and "suicide related websites."