Game Guru: Internet should not restrict single-player experience
Though the video game industry is relatively young, there have been numerous innovations in a short amount of time that have changed the way we play games.
The Internet has become an integral part of how we play games. Every game is almost required to have online multiplayer mode and downloadable content.
The newest trend seems to be PC games that require you to have an online connection, a development that is the source of a growing outrage from fans.
I think it is important to define on what kind of games the backlash is focused.
Certain genres of games, such as massively-multiplayer online games, require the player to be connected to the Internet at all time.
This restriction is inherent to the genre, since the Internet facilitates the connection between players, which is integral to how MMOs work.
The issue here is the requirement of a constant Internet connection while playing single-player games.
Since the single-player content is loaded from a local source, such as a CD or from the hard drive, there is no apparent need for the player to be connected to the Internet.
Players have complained that this is an unnecessary feature and that it forces certain players, who do not have stable Internet connection, out of the game.
The most recent game that bought this issue to the forefront is the announcement that the new SimCity game will be Internet-dependent.
Fans of the franchise will know that SimCity has historically been a single-player game, though the fourth installment had limited multiplayer functionality.
There are multiple reasons why a developer or a publisher might want this requirement.
Ubisoft has used the connection to the Internet has a way to combat piracy.
The Internet being constantly on is a Digital Rights Management (DRM) technique, which constantly checks the game’s validity while the game is being played.
The publisher, however, underestimated pirates, as they quickly found inventive ways to get around the DRM software, effectively rendering such software useless.
One of the most anticipated games next month, Diablo III, will also use a type of “always on” DRM.
Considering the more recent case, EA Games seems that it wants to push Origin on the users of the anticipated game.
Origin is an online marketplace that EA has released for the distribution of its games.
While the new SimCity will be available in multiple marketplaces, the players need an Origin account to access the game.
The lead designer, Stone Librande, has stated that the online aspect is due to an innovative multiplayer system in the upcoming installment.
Though the explanation is admirable, I cannot help but believe that there is another reason they are pushed on to the developers by the publishers.
Single-player content should not be tethered to the Internet in a vain effort to curb piracy or promote an online marketplace by forcing players to sign up.