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Always-on: Not Always Awful

by on May 8, 2013

If you are any sort of gamer, you’ve probably heard about the “demonic” and “communist-esque” always-on products. Over the past years, this thought train has been drilled in many skulls, but is it honestly that bad? I mean sure it’s inconvenient to most gamers, but will it really mean the end of gaming as a whole and bring on an age where no internet means no games?

The most recent and memorable game to have suffered from said issue is the now-infamous SimCity, which suffered tumultuous server issues on the day of its launch. This game was flooded by controversy, vastly overshadowing any positive news about its development just because of the always-on DRM. Nasty, unwashed internet nerds cried because big, bad EA had the nerve to make changes to an IP that belonged to them.

SimCity Panoramic_656x369

And sure the opening week of SimCity was bad, but what did you expect from a game that had 12 million pre-orders in a span of six months? Who could possibly have predicted that so many people would order and play this in such a rapid succession?  Even the monstrous Call of Duty does not get such a massive number of pre-orders. This game had some massive shoes to fill and unfortunately had a rocky beginning.  Furthermore, the problems with the changes that were made to SimCity weren’t accepted by the hardcore community, but the main point of this franchise reboot was to streamline the experience enough that anyone could possibly understand the game.

This is more of a problem with the changing industry rather then always-on, but it still had a huge impact on the game. Besides the point , always-on allowed for player interaction. The community craved co-op from the very beginning and this was the platform needed for such a thing to happen.  Just because we are so used to games that don’t limit us at all, doesn’t mean we cant live with such games that make these requests.

The main problem was that SimCity was aimed to the casual market. The always-on was a way for people with not so good computers to  play a game that is typically for “core” gamers who own thousand dollar PCs. The gaming industry is not just geared to core gamers, but has opened up to the casual market. Some consider this bad and some consider it good, but its just too soon to really see the impact this will have on the those that consider themselves the core group and what will happen to the games we know and love as the industry evolves.