Video Games have changed.
Go ahead and rewind 20 years. Video games were something that you would play on a cabinet, a console, or through your PC. The idea of playing online at that time usually consisted of several people getting together and hooking up through a LAN (Local Area Network) in someones home, basement, or even garage. In 2016, the online multiplayer scene is well outside of garages and basements. It’s now big business for companies like Microsoft, Sony, and even Nintendo.
In 2013 Yusef Mehdi, then Vice President of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, stated that Xbox LIVE members now number 46 million. In 2006, the time of the PSN attacks, it is said that 77 million registered accounts were affected. Start adding up the numbers and it doesn’t take a calculator to begin to understand why developers would want to concentrate on creating experiences for the millions of us that want to play together.
2015 marked a huge shift in the, “online only” space. Evolve started with a large head of steam moving toward its release. The concept of 4 vs 1 was interesting. Adding a class system, several different modes and monsters with unique abilities gave players a reason to hone in on the hunters and monsters that worked the best for them. Evolve, however, was met with a lot of backlash as well. It was an online title that asked not only for 60 dollars, but had prepared content that came with a paywall. Now this isn’t anything new, as season passes are something that has become a “industry standard”. For all the cost however, the online structure was solid; people were able to enter matches with friends, were rewarded for their time played by earning the necessary points to level up their respective characters, and the game fundamentally works. Unfortunately now, the amount of players left playing a game have significantly dropped and it is now left to only the true loyalists.
More recently, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege is another Triple A title that decided to bypass the idea of involving any substantial single player options and chose to focus on online multiplayer has faced major stability issues. In numerous conversations with Siege players, they love the game…when it works. It doesn’t take long to see that these conversations I’ve had are echoed. Checking Ubisoft’s Facebook page or diving into the forums, it doesn’t take long to make your way through expletive-laced tirades and paragraphs of frustration to know that there have been connection issues and malfunctions with overall game play. I, too, tested these accusations, struggling to stay in games with friends, let alone all be able to connect in the same party.
So, where am I going with this? Well, I wanted to know what happened when a product doesn’t work as it is supposed to; what are the expectations we, as gamers and consumers, are allowed to have? What type of footing do we have to stand on when we receive not a poor, but defective product/experience? The following information may surprise you.
One one thousand… two one thousand…Wow, huh?
Now Ubisoft isn’t the only one out there with this “protective” language. You can find this with publishers like EA, 2K, Square Enix, etc…The list goes on. So what case of action do gamers have? Sadly, they don’t have much. Writing the company and expressing your concern through different forms of social media are options, but in the cases I investigated I wasn’t able to see many issues responded to, let alone resolved, this way.
What are the expectations of online only titles? There are none. The only way we have to sway opinion is by choosing where our next 60 dollars go.
What do you think we can do? Should companies be held more liable for their “online only titles?” Respond in the comments below.
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