I've noticed a disturbing trend that's starting to take root, one that will probably grow into being the norm for the gaming industry. At the very least, certain types of games will probably change into this. Turning games which could of been a single player game, into a 'connected' single player game. Meaning that you have to be connected, in order to play the game by yourself. Online only single player, we've all noticed it.
Multiplayer isn't enough anymore, the whole game has to be online. Multiplayer is often included to keep the game in the system, to keep people buying it and buying content for it, and now singleplayer will be connected into that. So far the most notable games to include online only, is Diablo 3 and SimCity, but were does it go from here? How many developers will venture into this unknown territory, and what will be the end result of it all? Who truly wins from this, the players, or the developers?
What was once just idea's on paper, from various developers, is now being put into action. It's still in it's infancy, making small baby steps along the way. In the case of Maxis and SimCity, they state that it's due to the computing power required to run and connect multiple cities at once. It sounds reasonable, but I'm not sure if I completely buy into that notion. I'm no developer, but something seems off about it. Why not include a simpler version, then? One that can truly be played alone. I hope that one day we'll discover if this statement is in fact, true. Hackers may one day find a way to break the game open and see if it does hold true.
I can't help but feel that the real purpose of the connectivity isn't for users communicating and having fun, that's just icing on the cake for them, but for combating piracy. Not that I'm for piracy, but there is a big issue that isn't being addressed by any publisher or developer, and will it ever be? Once the servers are shutoff and gone, the game goes with it. And with that, what do you have? What plan, if any, do they have?
You bought the game at launch, decided to play it quite a few years later, you'll then find a game that no longer functions. A product that can no longer be played, and therefore, no longer exists. No server communication, no game. What is left, is a bunch of crippled files on your PC. Sure, if the developer / publisher decides to be altruistic, to be 'generous' enough, to develop a patch to include offline play, then that's great, but will they actually do it? Will they actually take the money, and time, that is necessary to make the game fully functional again? Or will they shovel their wares? "Buy our next game in the series! Pre-order now!" It remains to be seen, and I'm unsure of how it will all go down.
What happens next, when the servers go dark? In the case of EA and singleplayer connected games, they cannot apply the same tactic they do with their old multiplayer game servers; or will they..? Will they poorly fix a work around, do nothing at all, or will they do what is right? Looks like we'll all find out, in time. I feel that it will be a mixed bag, game to game, depending on which developer / publisher has control over it.
Boy, this shall be fun!! How about them video games?!