C&C4's Net Connection Mandate Violates Gamer's Bill of Rights

July 16, 2009 -

The video game industry continues to find new and creative ways to stick it to PC gamers.

In the latest example, EA has announced that the much-anticipated Command & Conquer 4 will require players to constantly be connected to the Internet, even for single-player campaigns.

That requirement, however, violates one of the basic tenets of the Gamer's Bill of Rights, a document released at PAX 08 by Stardock CEO Brad Wardell and Gas Powered Games CEO Chris Taylor. EA, however, is not a signatory to the Bill of Rights. No surprise there.

Specifically, the C&C4 requirement violates this point:

Gamers shall have the right to demand that a single-player game not force them to be connected to the Internet every time they wish to play.

Ars Technica reports comments on the connection requirement made by EA Community Leader "APOC":

As of right now, you need to be online all the time to play C&C 4. This is primarily due to our 'player progression' feature so everything can be tracked. C&C 4 is not an MMO in the sense of World of Warcraft, but conceptually it has similar principles for being online all the time.

 

While some may be taken aback by this, we've been testing this feature internally with all of our world-wide markets. We wanted to make sure it wouldn't take away any significant market or territory from playing the game. We have not found or seen any results that have made us think otherwise...

GP: This smells like backdoor DRM from here. Even if it's not, what if you're on a laptop? What if you're on an airplane? What if your Internet connection is down?

As a longtime PC gamer who has owned every version of the C&C and Red Alert games, this just sucks.

There is perhaps a glimmer of hope in APOC's comments. We note that he starts off with "As of right now..." Does that mean that this gamer-unfriendly policy is subject to change? 

It's time for PC gamers to make some noise about this nonsense.

Comments

Re: C&C4's Net Connection Mandate Violates Gamer's Bill of ...

The problem, though, is that you have to be online for the SINGLE PLAYER GAME. This isn't world of warcraft, this is like asking to be online to play Solitaire on the laptop that you payed full price for.

-If an apple a day keeps the doctor away....what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: C&C4's Net Connection Mandate Violates Gamer's Bill of ...

Learn to read. From the Ars article:

As of right now, you need to be online all the time to play C&C 4. This is primarily due to our 'player progression' feature so everything can be tracked. C&C 4 is not an MMO in the sense of World of Warcraft, but conceptually it has similar principles for being online all the time.

They are doing it under the guise of having persistant and current player stat tracking. This is something that can be accomplished by just asking the player if they want to connect and publish their stats.

There is no logical reason to force the player to be connected at all times.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: C&C4's Net Connection Mandate Violates Gamer's Bill of ...

I don't even know what to say to this idiocy anymore.

Congratulations, EA, you've finally reached the point where I can't even summon up the indignity to fight against you.

I'm going to go play Sins of a Solar Empire now, just to remind myself that not all publishers are royal assholes.

-- Sometimes the truth is arrived at by adding all the little lies together and deducting them from the totality of what is known

Re: C&C4's Net Connection Mandate Violates Gamer's Bill of ...

Good plan, and a great game. I think you're set.

Re: C&C4's Net Connection Mandate Violates Gamer's Bill of ...

There is only one bill of rights.  Any others are just gimmicks made by corporations to look good. 

Re: C&C4's Net Connection Mandate Violates Gamer's Bill of ...

Isn't EA notorious for "We respect your opinion, but we will ban you if you disagree with us"?

---You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

---You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

Re: C&C4's Net Connection Mandate Violates Gamer's Bill of ...

Area 51 does this. I can't play that either without it being online.

Re: C&C4's Net Connection Mandate Violates Gamer's Bill of ...

Y'know, for a while there, EA was almost cool.

But now I remember why I hate them.

Glad to see the old EA is back in business.

Re: C&C4's Net Connection Mandate Violates Gamer's Bill of ...

Ea gets my middle finger, always

smells like DRM?

GP, you're a hell of a lot more tolerant than me saying it only smells like DRM.

What reason does a single player game need to EVER connect to the internet for?

 

Re: smells like DRM?

It needs it because they're trying a system where everything you do (Single & Multiplayer) earns XP that levels up your commander and gives you access to new units. the net connection's to verify that you aren't hacking your way to higher XP.

Frankly, it sucks that they'd expect a constant connection. and is it any surprise that EA haven't signed up to something that promotes users' rights?

Re: smells like DRM?

It needs it because they're trying a system where everything you do (Single & Multiplayer) earns XP that levels up your commander and gives you access to new units. the net connection's to verify that you aren't hacking your way to higher XP.

The SMART way to do that would be to include an offline mode with the disclaimer "You are not connected to the C&C4 database. You will not be able to level up your Commander while offline. Proceed?"

I guess it's too much to expect EA to do the smart thing though. 
---
I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.


---
I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.

Re: smells like DRM?

 That wouldn't be possible unless you expect to do the final missions using only basic marines and power plants..

Re: smells like DRM?

You're right, if I've got a high level commander through playing a whole lot while connected it would be totally impossible to play offline, disabling my experience gains while I do so but keeping my commander.
---
I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.


---
I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.

Re: smells like DRM?

"needs" is a pretty bad word for this situation. "wanted by EA" is a better excuse. If people want to cheat in a SINGLE-PLAYER GAME, then I say let them. After all, they did BUY the disc. That'd be like buying a couch and having to phone the company i bought it from everytime i want to sit on it, and not being able to modify the cushions in any way.

-If an apple a day keeps the doctor away....what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: smells like DRM?

Leaderboard updates, I guess, but that should be at the discretion of the individual.

And gotta love EA's "We're not shafting anyone important" (paraphrased) approach.

 

"That's not ironic. That's justice."

"That's not ironic. That's justice."

Re: smells like DRM?

 Ya two things... plenty of people don't give a damn about leaderboards... and also, why can't the data just be saved on your game file and update your online profile the next time you sign on?

ofcourse, there is no reason why it can't be done like accept it takes away the real reason EA is doing this... backdoor DRM scheme

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