It’s no big secret that I’m against digital download only titles
It’s not actually the titles themselves that I’m against, it’s the business model that accompanies them that I deplore. Digital only titles are just a front for publishers to get all ‘Nazi’ with the end user. It’s this total lack of control and horrible dictatorship over something I have paid good money for that I am 100% against.
Publishers want total control of what we do, when we do it and how we go about doing it. Why do we accept it?
If a title is only available online, you’ll need an online account of some sort to gain access to it.
If you have an online account, then you’ve also got internet access.
Publishers, knowing all of this, lump these two things together and the end result is a game that’s only playable once you have an active internet connection.
This is (somewhat) unavoidable if the game in question is an MMORPG but this practice goes far beyond MMORPGs and extends to games that have no online play whatsoever. Anyone who owns a digitally downloaded game on Xbox Live/PSN that’s had to migrate their online account to a different console will know this all too well.
I’m absolutely staggered that people accept this. It’s because of these people that this practice continues to eke away our rights as consumers. Most of us really are as fucking stupid as the publishers think we are.
It could be that you’ve never given any thought to the problems associated with a digital download only business model?
If this is the case, and you’re not one of the stupid ones then maybe the following will convert your way of thinking?
This is what ALL publishers should say upon the purchase of a digitally downloaded title;
CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve just downloaded your first digital download only game. It barely took you two hours to create all of the necessary online accounts and fill in all of the personal details about yourself that we (the publishers) asked you for. We need lots of information about you so we can create a digital profile of yourself and then profit from you even more by selling these details on to marketing skanks around the world.
We usually hide these types of things aay in our 748 page legal disclaimer section but here’s the answers to the questions you’ll be asking us when things have gone a bit pear-shaped for you;
1. What happens if I can’t access/connect to my internet for some reason?
You can’t play the game(s) you’ve bought.
2. What if my internet connection is a bit ropey and sometimes unreliable and slow during peak hours?
You’ll get sporadic connection errors, frequent crashes and/or constant game boots.
3. What happens if you (the publishers) are conducting server maintenance?
You won’t be able to play the game(s) you bought.
4. What happens if you (the publishers) close down the hosting servers?
You won’t be able to play the game(s) you bought ever again. Don’t worry though, we might tell you a month in advance that the NON-REFUNDABLE/NON-SELL-ABLE product you paid us for won’t work ever again. We might even ironically thank you for your purchase but because you’re an idiot, we’ll have a massive laugh about you too.
5. What happens if my console/PC that my online account is registered to breaks?
You’ll have to replace your hardware and then jump through a billion fucking hoops to gain access to your game(s) again. If you’re lucky, some of them might work again but others will probably knacker-up and revert back to demo/trial versions until you pay us to unlock them for you again, that is until question number 4 rears it’s head again, and It will definitely occur at some point. That, I can promise you.
The knock-on effect for this ludicrous business model is that physical media is also getting hurt in the cross-fire of publishers’ big-brother-isms.
You’re opposed to digital download so you buy a physical game from the shop but you still need a constant internet connection to play it.
A fine example of this broken (for the customer) business model is Diablo 3;
Diablo 3 has an online mechanic, namely an auction house that’s been shoe-horned in so that Activision (Blizzard’s mum & dad) can earn extra money from its players. They do this by taking a percentage of money from every item traded/sold within the game.
Sure there’s a smattering of other online things to do in Diablo 3 but it’s largely a single player, offline game. I don’t see why there couldn’t have been a simple ‘toggle option’ to allow the game to connect to a server during specific required instances?
This would certainly have alleviated a lot of the games server criticism
The simple reason is that they could have done this quite easily but opted against it. After all, the last thing they’d want to do is hand any control back over to the people that own their product.
Also, in other news a shit load of Diablo 3 accounts have already been hacked resulting in customers having items and gold stolen from them. They’ve also probably stolen all of the customer’s personal details too and are currently cloning their identity right now.
Welcome to the future of gaming….