Developers Sound Off on ‘Always On’ Game Requirements

In what can only be described as an awesome feature, Eurogamer polls developers on games that require a constant connection in order to play. The article, "Error 37: The future of always-online," offers the opinions from several developers on the issue including Chris Delay, founder of Introversion; Jeremiah Slaczka, CEO of 5th Cell; Christofer Sundberg, boss of Avalanche Studios; Alex Hutchinson, creative director of Assassin's Creed 3 at Ubisoft; Chris Lewis, Microsoft's European Xbox chief; Bethesda marketing chief Pete Hines; Ivan Buchta, creative director, Bohemia Interactive; and D Projekt Red marketing chief Michal Platkow-Gilewski.

The general consensus is that games should only require a constant connection if there is a purpose to that connection:

Chris Delay, founder of Darwinia studio Introversion, does not like the idea and thinks Blizzard's requirement is all about DRM. 5th Cell CEO Jeremiah Slaczka sees this requirement as a way to put game storage online and as a way to mitigate piracy and cheating. Christofer Sundberg of Avalanche Studios sees the benefits of using this method for offering worlds that continue playing and growing even when you are no longer playing it. Think SimCity. On the other hand he also sees it as an excuse to limit second-hand sales or prevent piracy.

Alex Hutchinson, creative director on Assassin's Creed 3 at Ubisoft thinks the technology is fine if it isn't forced into a product and has some important use related to the game it is being implemented in. Chris Lewis, Microsoft's European Xbox chief believes that there must always be a choice for players to play offline or online. Pete Hines, marketing chief at Bethesda thinks that, unless your game is an MMO, forcing players to be online is a bad idea.

Ivan Buchta, creative director at Bohemia Interactive sees "always on" as a bad idea because the developer in question will be expected to offer connected services that are pretty much flawless. Blizzard learned this lesson first-hand with the launch of Diablo III. Finally, CD Projekt RED marketing chief Michal Platkow-Gilewski repeated what the company has always said about always on and DRM schemes – they are bad for customers.

Ultimately everyone Eurogamer managed to talk to seemed to dislike the idea of always connected games. At the end of the day they all believe that players should always have a choice of playing online or offline and that such a requirement should be limited to games that are played exclusively online.

You can read all of these developer comments at Eurogamer.

Source: Eurogamer

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  1. 0
    greevar says:

    Don't forget that anyone who would prefer to play offline, if they could, actually represents someone who's definitely not going to participate in their cash auction house. The cash auction house is an online feature after all, so why would Blizzard want to let anyone opt out? The always online component is likely a ploy to make is easier for people to let their patience get the better of them and buy their way to items that they desperately need to keep up with the difficulty curve.

  2. 0
    Mr.Tastix says:

    So much this, and if there's one reason for why I hate all types of DRM, this is it.

    Cheating, hacking and piracy is not my problem. It's Blizzard's problems. They are the ones who have the most problems with those activities so they should carry the weight of the burden, not legit players like you or I.

    I did find it very amusing Ubisoft made a comment at all, considering their history with this very method but I've never really believed publishers/developers liked DRM and many just stick it in to appease ignorant shareholders.

  3. 0
    RedMage says:

    The big problem with the excuse of always online games being to mitigate cheating is that, as an honest player, that isn't my problem.  It's still Blizzard's responsibility to find out how to deal with cheating, and by doing this they've pushed the burden onto honest people.

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