Posted by TheSquarePear (158 posts) 6 months, 29 days ago

Poll: How long should publishers support retail games online? (15 votes)

2-3 years 27%
4-5 years 7%
6-8 years 7%
As long as the online features of the console/platform is supported 40%
Forever or until Skynet plays all your games for you 20%

In light of this years developments regarding online support of games e.g.:

  • GFWL shutdown approaching

  • XBOX One DRM debacle

  • DLC being delisted and online support ending

I thought I'd ask:

How long should 'AAA' publishers support the online features of retail games (including DLC or likewise)?

The good:

Some publishers have given DLC away for free on PC in Steam in light of GFWL shutting down. So I want to give credit where credit is due.

The bad:

Some publishers choose to aggressively delist DLC or remove support for games, which I admit are part of the 'bro' Sequelitis genre who might not care as much.

I understand that most of the content that is removed is available in the new sequels but doesn't that negate the purpose of releasing the DLC or the sequel when it has the same content? It's just slimy business practices to get people to buy a new game with mostly the same content every 2 years.

The ugly:

  • SimCity had a rocky launch (source) which essentially made it impossible to play the game because it required the online part to work. Who knows how long it will be supported?
  • After a delayed launch GTA Online is not available to some players due to disconnections and similar (source)
#1 Posted by MB (11989 posts) -

I'm a little confused...you've got some arguments and questions towards the end here that aren't really related to your poll question. The whole "the ugly" section?

Moderator
#2 Posted by SunBroZak (1022 posts) -

It would depend on the community surrounding the game. I don't expect a game like Kane & Lynch 2 to receive support for years, but a game like Uncharted 3 should (and has). If a standard had to be set, I'd like the publisher to continue supporting the game for at least 2 years.

#3 Posted by mbr2 (560 posts) -

Being able to buy dedicated servers from a bunch of different providers.

#4 Posted by kagato (895 posts) -

I dont mind online modes becoming unavailable after launch for the most part, but dlc and being able to actually purchase the game should be protected. I understand the difficulties behind licensed games and maybe its not realistic to expect the likes of Capcom to pay a license fee to Marvel forever when the games have stopped selling, but if they want to sell us on this "all digital future" then they have to give us certain assurances that a game wont vanish forever after 2 years.

I dont think games like Aliens colonial marines should always be around, but games like The Last of us, fighting games like MvC that are still actively being used in major gaming tournaments, these should be protected somehow or at least i think they should.

#5 Posted by mosespippy (4036 posts) -

As long as the game is still selling a decent amount. Walk into a Best Buy or Wal Mart and you'll still see Diablo, Starcraft and Warcraft in the PC section. The games are still supported because the games still sell.

#6 Edited by BigSocrates (289 posts) -

I think online should be supported for at least as long as the game is available from the publisher and realistically a few years beyond that. I often don't play games as soon as they come out, and something like Resistance having no online in a few months is BS. What if I just bought it? Games where the online community has withered can't be that expensive to maintain one or two servers for (We're talking what, a maximum of $10,000 a year for games that often have 8 figure budgets? Not even a rounding error.) Games that still have communities still have communities. If you want people to switch from Gears of War 3 to Gears of War Judgment make GoW:J attractive, don't eliminate support for 3. Or make the next sequel better. The only games where you can force the community to move on are sports games, and that's just because of the license. Regardless, I think publishers shoot themselves in the foot long term by de-onlining popular games.

In terms of de-listing games as in not selling them anymore...I don't like the practice but I think it's less problematic. Not letting you spend money on something is much better than taking your money and then making the product useless. I don't like it when games are delisted and I think it's often bad for the art form when you can't explore its history, but games like UMvC would never be made if the license had to be perpetual, and people loved that game so it's better it's around than not, and the discs and digital copies will still be playable in the future, online even, so I don't think it's hugely unfair that it was unlisted (with warning.) You had your shot to buy it, now you need to hunt it down if you want it. Used to happen to cartridges and discs all the time.

The same goes for DLC. I think DLC that's REQUIRED to enjoy a game sucks, but if you want to buy it you need to do so when it's available, you're usually warned when it's going away, and you have your window. You can't expect that if you buy a game in 2005 but don't get around to playing until 2012 all the DLC will still be available. Most of the time DLC is just an added bonus to the game anyway. It's not like you can't enjoy Bioshock 2 without Minerva's Den or Mass Effect 3 without Citadel, and those are among the highest rated DLC. Now if they just popped the Asura's Wrath DLC off the digital store with no warning? That would suck balls. But that doesn't really happen, and that would mostly be a problem because that shouldn't have been DLC in the first place.

#7 Posted by Rafaelfc (1315 posts) -

Ultimately online servers should depend on how active the online activity is. If the game is being played, by all means keep it's servers up. Shutting down servers of older games just to move people to your shiny new and (more often than not) worse product is a bad practice.

Delisting DLC is terrible. If you buy a new game you should get access to all it's contents, full stop. Now if you are a greedy-ass company and decided to nickel and dime your consumers by having a billion separate pieces of DLC making it very expensive and hard to maintain, that is your problem figure it out. That DLC should be readily available as long as people can still legally purchase said game (alternatively just release a complete game of the year edition of the game and be done with it).

Now delisting full games, in my mind this is the big problem to be solved before the true digital future is upon us. Ideally it should never happen, but there are a few reasons why that happens that don't have any clear cut answer. If the company that owns the game's rights ceases to exist, what should happen? Should sony, microsoft and valve keep abandonware on their catalogs? If games are being delisted because of licensing contracts (like X-men arcade game, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, UMVC3 and Simpsons arcade are rumored to be) companies should come up with better ways to make those deals so that consumers don't get screwed over and their work doesn't come out with a self imposed expiration date.

#8 Posted by BigSocrates (289 posts) -

@rafaelfc said:

Ultimately online servers should depend on how active the online activity is. If the game is being played, by all means keep it's servers up. Shutting down servers of older games just to move people to your shiny new and (more often than not) worse product is a bad practice.

Delisting DLC is terrible. If you buy a new game you should get access to all it's contents, full stop. Now if you are a greedy-ass company and decided to nickel and dime your consumers by having a billion separate pieces of DLC making it very expensive and hard to maintain, that is your problem figure it out. That DLC should be readily available as long as people can still legally purchase said game (alternatively just release a complete game of the year edition of the game and be done with it).

Now delisting full games, in my mind this is the big problem to be solved before the true digital future is upon us. Ideally it should never happen, but there are a few reasons why that happens that don't have any clear cut answer. If the company that owns the game's rights ceases to exist, what should happen? Should sony, microsoft and valve keep abandonware on their catalogs? If games are being delisted because of licensing contracts (like X-men arcade game, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, UMVC3 and Simpsons arcade are rumored to be) companies should come up with better ways to make those deals so that consumers don't get screwed over and their work doesn't come out with a self imposed expiration date.

Games and DLC are almost never delisted because of the 'expense of maintaining the purchasing infrastructure' which is negligible or literally nothing (I don't think Microsoft or Sony or Steam charge to keep stuff listed on their stores. They want stuff in their stores.) When stuff is delisted it is almost always a rights issue or a deliberate attempt to push people to buy the new hotness. The types of rights issues are generally licensing or the company goes belly up and it's unclear who owns the rights (or the new owner doesn't want to bother to relist it because it's not profitable.) I literally cannot think of an example of a game being pulled from a major service that isn't about licensing, company-related issues, or pushing people to buy the newest version for more money.

Now taking down multiplayer servers? That's done to save money from time to time.