Server-Side Gaming and Cloud Saving Fail
I have always been against all forms of online only DRM, digital only retail, cloud-based play, cloud saving, server-side gaming, and all those “the future of gaming” concepts often praised by technologists and publishers. My reasons for this is that, as a fan of games, I have always seen these practices as being anti-player. When a player purchases a copy of a game, they own that copy of the game. They can lend it, keep it, play it, sell it, break it, or do whatever they want with it. I have recently become a bit more open to Digital Only distributions thanks to services like Good Old Games, which let me download a DRM-free installer for me to store in case that GoG goes under or decides to close its service. I have even become open to STEAM as a service due to the incredibly low prices, although with the caveat that when I “purchase” a game through STEAM I am not buying it as much as renting it indefinitely.
I have had conversations about this with many of my acquaintances, and some of them decry me as a STEAM detrctor, that the future of gaming is on server-side gaming, and that cloud games are the most efficient way of distributing games.
Today, Game Informer reported that EA just shut down its servers for NBA2k14 for the PS4 and the XBone, meaning that any players who had cloud saves loss.
That is the problem with server-side anything. Players depend on the goodwill of a third party to play the games that they have purchased. NBA 2k14 is a game that’s not even two years old, and it is now useless in the minds of many of its fans because of the server shutdown. Players are being forced to discard their 2k14 copies in anticipation for the upcoming 2k15 title. And therein lies the problem with consumers not being able to control their gaming.
And this is the same with any MMO games that don’t allow players to set up local servers and with services like STEAM. However, most MMOs are free and STEAM game often go for as low as .99 cents, so the impact is not as powerful as when one spends 60$ on a game with as much content as 2k14 to only be able to play it for a year.
Not cool, EA. Not cool.