15th September 2004
/me rubs id Software's nose in it's statement and spanks it.
The debate over the relative merits of Blizzard's decision to require an always-on internet connection in order to play Diablo 3 has been raging since the moment it came to light and will probably continue for months after the game's release. Supporters say it gives Blizzard more flexibility in how it approaches the game and that virtually all players will be online when they play anyway; those who are less-than-thrilled with the idea point out that despite the widely-held belief in internet ubiquity, not everyone has access to reliable, full-time connections and that making it a requirement for solo play is unreasonable and unfair.
One well-placed observer who's come out strongly on the pro-Blizzard side is Tim Willits, the creative director at id Software, a studio famed for its groundbreaking work in online gaming. He likes the idea, and he thinks that it could go a long way toward shaping the future of the game industry.
"Diablo 3 will make everyone else accept the fact you have to be connected," he told Eurogamer at last week's QuakeCon. "If you have a juggernaut, you can make change. I'm all for that. If we could force people to always be connected when you play the game, and then have that be acceptable, awesome."
Willits described himself as "a big proponent of always connected," saying that he and id Software fans in general are always online. "In the end, it's better for everybody. Imagine picking up a game and it's automatically updated. Or there's something new you didn't know about, and you didn't have to click away. It's all automatically there," he said. "But it does take juggernauts like [Diablo 3] to make change."
"There will be a few people who will resent the fact you have to be online to play a single-player game," he added. "But it'll change."
In theory, I like the idea of a world in which everyone is connected to each other and the developers, who can use that persistence to build a community and a better game. But from a practical perspective, I have serious reservations about making a game's accessibility dependent entirely upon the condition of external servers [see Ubisoft for more on that] and excluding a potentially large number of gamers based solely upon where they live.
But it's also hard to argue that Willits isn't right. If Blizzard can make people stop worrying and learn to love the bomb - and if any company can pull that off, it's Blizzard - then you can be sure there will be plenty of other studios and publishers following closely behind. Like it or lump it, this is the future.
Always-On DRM the way of the future?
It may be true though since many publishers love ideas like this.
16th August 2008
And no one will bother to make sales look bad enough for companies to reject the idea.
24th October 2007
There's probably a reason many developers like the idea. Not everyone is out to troll us.
7th December 2003
According to Blizzard they don't really care about always-on as copyright protection but want to use it as anti-cheat measure. Diablo 2 fans complained a lot about the lack of oversight on D2 battlenet servers where cheating was abundant, so this is supposed to make the multiplayer experience better. This doesn't explain to me though why the offline singleplayer option that existed in D2 was removed. They probably want to increase the popularity of the real-money auction house and stop players from creating mods.
22nd September 2005
Way of the future?
If that is the "way of the future", then I welcome the age of machines with A.I rising up, and destroying all mankind. :(
Bring on the T-800's!
15th September 2004
Schofield;5543534There's probably a reason many developers like the idea. Not everyone is out to troll us.
Not an excuse to force something many, many gamers hate upon everyone.
You wonder why I hate publishers? This is a massive reason. This very idea (Always-online SP gaming) lead to my first publisher boycott (Ubisoft).
No! I'm Spamacus!
17th June 2003
Always on DRM makes the least amount of sense to me. After six months of playing a game are they still worried I might pirate it?