WHAT IF?: Games were always online!

In this day and age of gaming people like me have to live on truth and that truth is: offline gaming won’t last forever. With new games like Sim City and the third Diablo being online all the time and that the new Xbox might be online all the time, things are becoming clear that this is the way of the future. This has made me wonder how I feel about this, am I willing to have games be online all the time? How many games will now have no single player like Sim City? Is this something we are worried about for no reason or is it justified to worry? I want to use this time to make a short article discussing what I think the pros and cons are about switching over to always online; now, let’s be clear, I have no proof that this is how games are going and I have no confirmation that the new Xbox is always online just wild speculation. None the less, this will be a short article about what I think will be the good and the bad if this does happen in the near future.

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This article came about because of Simcity, the 2013 version, for those like me who don’t play PC games let me fill you in on the details. On March 5th the long-awaited SimCity launched for the PC and being the first SimCity to be released in almost ten years, because the game need a constant internet connection to play it is obvious that game release had an array of horrible problems including: Loading times, disconnection, crashing, loss of game data just to name a few. The problems caused Amazon to remove the game from its marketplace due to the amount of complaints and the fact that customers were trying to return the game, the release was called “disastrous” and has industry people worried it would taint how people look at always online games. I started getting curious, what if people are right and that soon all games will be always online; no proof has been released to say this will happen but it’ll be a fun little Else Worlds story. In this world where all games are always online launch dates, major releases, will always have these major problems, games like Bioshock or Assassins Creed will have major server crashes because these games are also highly anticipated so everyone will try to play it at once. Unlike SimCity not every game will be multiplayer only; in fact most games will have a single player campaign where the online will be used for auction houses, leader boards, micro transactions and co-op play. The most annoying problem with always online is the fact that if Xbox live or PSN is down then games will become unplayable, anytime the PSN/Live networks need any maintenance gamers will not even be able to play single player modes and will make gamers slowly unwilling to play these games that make the most money. This seems like an unlikely extreme but he have you read any else worlds it’s all about extremes! There are some major pros for an always online universe, DLC content becomes now has less installation times and probably easier to access thanks to the fact that the game is always connected to the store; the game could have a in-game store that allows players to access DLC during gameplay and maybe even get some rewards for doing so. Multiplayer and Co-op missions now become easier to access since everyone is on the same server so can easily come into a game when needed or wanted, unfortunately that also allows some players to “troll” other people’s games. Unfortunately, games like SimCity and any future games like it rely heavily on human decency to play by the rules and I just don’t have that much trust in my fellow-man but just call me Captain Cynical. The biggest pro in my personal opinion is that indie games may be able to have better promotions thanks to the internet always being connected, some games may be able to advertise in other games but not like commercials more like small pictures through load screens and such.

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So in the long run this world seems to have more pros than cons and we have to understand that it is an early concept and an early idea so of course it hasn’t been perfected yet. Gamers, much like comic book fans, need to learn that change isn’t bad in fact change is a very good thing; just because something is a new idea that doesn’t mean it’s scary and evil. If it is true that games are going towards always online than it’s a logical step in the chain of how games are played, you still don’t need to play games that are only multiplayer and turn off the co-op modes if you want to play without people like myself. Hopefully the companies will be able to stress test the games better so that SimCity crashes don’t happen with every highly anticipated release, but if they can’t then we just have to live with it and maybe not play the game the moment they get home than everything will be ok. I told you guys this was going to be a short article ahead of time but that’s my brief Else Worlds or what if story, take what you will from it but understand that this is mainly just a nerd rambling since he has nothing better to do with his time.

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