The General Future of Games, DRM and ownership. Not for me? How about you?

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MEATBALL

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Edited By MEATBALL

I just feel like rambling some thoughts about the current path of the industry, with Microsoft's announcements about how DRM and connectivity will work and the fact that Sony will likely wind up with similar features. Apologies if it's all a bit of a mess.

Heading into next gen and the all digital future, I'm beginning to think that I just don't generally want a part in any of this DRM business. Or at the very least, given my history with Steam, I guess waiting until I can get everything ridiculously cheap to the point where I con't care about ownership quite so much?

There's certainly a sort of inconsistency to my reaction to Console DRM and the fact that I have quite a large Steam library. I think part of it is that PC games have long dealt with things like CD keys and DRM, and thus Steam for some part felt like a lesser evil? For me personally it's also because I'm not much of a PC gamer, and so purchases there have been on something of an uncaring whim, whereas on consoles I like to buy new and typically in a game's launch period. On consoles I've always really cared about gaming there and owning many of the games I play on those systems. If that makes any sense.

All of this business with console DRM has definitely caused me to pause and rethink the way I've been spending my money on PC.

Perhaps I will ultimately at some point get in on the next generation of systems, but be far less invested?

I have also made mostly digital purchases on Playstation Vita, but on Vita there is a large, easily understandable advantage to digital purchases that come with Sony's DRM - on a handheld having access to games without having to swap physical media is great. Whereas I don't honestly care about having to switch discs on a console. I think it's also a case of, again, not being quite so invested in the Vita and what's available for it, the one game that I really care about on that system I own a physical copy of. At least on Vita you have options, you can still purchase games without having to deal with DRM if you don't want to.

The industry's larger endgame at this point seems to be the "all digital future", where they can far more easily control users' access to games and receive compensation for any sale. I understand why publishers/developers feel they should receive compensation for any of their games sold, and I try to support them by buying new and extremely rarely buying used - it's a shame that while I care about their position, they don't seem to give any sort of shit about my rights as a consumer or what I want ownership to mean when making a purchase.

I also care about this whole "internet connection once every 24 hours" deal. Put simply, I want to be able to play games offline if a situation arises where I don't have an internet connection. Over the last two years I have gone through periods of a couple of weeks at a time without internet while moving, and the ability to play videogames has been extremely welcome. I'm not particularly interested in owning a console that won't let me play games if I'm without internet for any extended period of time, it was annoying enough when my WiiU would repeatedly ask me if I wanted to set up my internet connection when it didn't pick one up!

So, with things feeling personally somewhat bleak at this point, what does the future of gaming hold for me?

Ultimately I'm left thinking that maybe videogames are heading in a direction that I just don't want to be a part of. I'm really beginning to think that for me the future of videogames means Nintendo (which have their own problems when it comes to digital purchases, obviously), Vita, "Retro" and DRM-Free PC gaming.

I've long been planning to hold off on purchasing either a PS4 or an Xbox One, in favour of purchasing them at a cheaper price and continuing to play my current gen collection and WiiU games. I've amassed a great library of games this gen that I either would be happy to return to, haven't yet finished or haven't gotten around to playing. It's almost like I've been hoarding games for this very scenario like a crazy person. Perhaps this just means I'll be spending even more time with this current generation of systems than I originally anticipated.

Indie developers often offer DRM free purchases of their games; just this week I bought Gunpoint DRM Free and got a Steam key with it, so I could still play the game with the things I like about Steam, but still own a copy of the game that I get to own without any restrictions! Fantastic! Humble is doing awesome stuff with its bundles, and in the case of Gunpoint acting as the service from which you buy a DRM free copy of the game. You can even now sign up for an account and get access to all of your bundles/games in one easy place, all DRM free! And then there's GOG.com, no longer just a place for old games specifically, you can now also buy new DRM free indie games and we're seeing more "old" games that aren't quite so old.

So while I'm really disappointed that Xbox One (and probably PS4, but we'll see) are doing things to keep me from a generation of games that will likely be awesome, at least there will no doubt still be options in this weird transition period. Like a stick in the mud, though, I kind of just wish things would stay the way they are.

Thanks for putting up with my rambling if you got through all of that! I hope I made some semblance of sense!

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Hailinel

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It makes sense, and it's a weird time. Microsoft has shown a hand that's entirely unappealing, and Sony, while they haven't said anything specifically, is most likely leaning in a very similar direction. I don't have any intention of buying an Xbox One; as a PS3 owner I'd be more inclined to buy a PS4, but if the levels of bullshit are at the same level as Microsoft, I may not get one of those either. Certainly not at launch, and not until I have a truly clear understanding of what all of the catches are. And that's disappointing, because I know that I'd be missing out on a lot of great games by doing so, but at the same time, I can't support DRM that becomes obtrusive to the point of detrimental.

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Humanity

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#2  Edited By Humanity

All I know is that I like to play games and I am willing to adapt to new conditions in order to continue playing fun games that are console exclusive.

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golguin

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Not for me. I don't believe in the difference between "license" and "product" that prevents me from selling and doing whatever I want with whatever I buy. It's a grey area here in the US, but in Europe they actually care about protecting their consumers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-sale_doctrine

"However, in Europe, the European Court of Justice ruled on July 3, 2012, that it is indeed permissible to resell software licenses even if the digital good has been downloaded directly from the Internet, and that the first-sale doctrine applied whenever software was originally sold to a customer for an unlimited amount of time, as such sale involves a transfer of ownership, thus prohibiting any software maker from preventing the resale of their software by any of their legitimate owners.[3][4][5]"

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Hailinel

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#4  Edited By Hailinel

@humanity said:

All I know is that I like to play games and I am willing to adapt to new conditions in order to continue playing fun games that are console exclusive.

Even if those conditions are of no benefit to you and can actually actively impede your ability to use the console under network situations outside your control?

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Funkydupe

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I haven't shared a game with anyone, nor has anyone asked me to borrow a video game in like ten years.

I will pay, and adapt to whatever service I need in order to keep up with my video gaming hobby. I will not however pay for over-priced games. If the games are filled with extra services, dlc and whatnot on-top of the hopefully reasonable price for the actual game I might skip those entirely, as there is hardly anything more annoying than buying a game at full price and feeling that you only own parts of it.

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CrossTheAtlantic

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#6  Edited By CrossTheAtlantic

@humanity said:

All I know is that I like to play games and I am willing to adapt to new conditions in order to continue playing fun games that are console exclusive.

But my question--and I don't intend this as personal or hyperbolic which is how these conversations usually go--why do we as the consumer's have to adapt to practices that don't favor us? Why can't the businesses "adapt?"

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Daveyo520

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#7  Edited By Daveyo520

Its fine

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veiasma

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#8  Edited By veiasma

@humanity said:

All I know is that I like to play games and I am willing to adapt to new conditions in order to continue playing fun games that are console exclusive.

But my question--and I don't intend this as personal or hyperbolic which is how these conversations usually go--why do we as the consumer's have to adapt to practices that don't favor us? Why can't the businesses "adapt?"

Because we don't make the creative content.

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Humanity

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#9  Edited By Humanity

@humanity said:

All I know is that I like to play games and I am willing to adapt to new conditions in order to continue playing fun games that are console exclusive.

But my question--and I don't intend this as personal or hyperbolic which is how these conversations usually go--why do we as the consumer's have to adapt to practices that don't favor us? Why can't the businesses "adapt?"

I think it's mutual adapting. The market adapts to the consumers in their own ways as the consumer adapts to the market. Also as condescending as it may sound, very often we as the consumers don't know that we want something until it is presented to us. A lot of people thought the iPad was going to be a flop and no one needed it - now it is one of the most popular media devices. The consumer didn't know that they "needed" an iPad until it was presented to them. I think similarly we don't understand this new generation of consoles and a lot of the changes seem scary because they are so drastically different from anything we have dealt with before. since the inception of home based consoles, we have understood gaming in a very physical sense - cartridges, tapes, discs - we always had physical media. This foray into purely digital console gaming is new and can be scary but I honestly believe that through some initial growing pains it will help us enjoy gaming in a whole new way.

@hailinel said:

@humanity said:

All I know is that I like to play games and I am willing to adapt to new conditions in order to continue playing fun games that are console exclusive.

Even if those conditions are of no benefit to you and can actually actively impede your ability to use the console under network situations outside your control?

I am willing to give it a shot. Everyone's situation will vary but in my case I don't see a lot of negatives.

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EVO

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#10  Edited By EVO

I'm willing to put up with Sony and Microsoft's bullshit if it means being able to play an exclusive I really want. That being said, the future of console gaming is worrying, and for the first time I think the Wii U or even the Ouya might be the most deserving console this gen.

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BrockSampson

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@hailinel:

@hailinel said:

@humanity said:

All I know is that I like to play games and I am willing to adapt to new conditions in order to continue playing fun games that are console exclusive.

Even if those conditions are of no benefit to you and can actually actively impede your ability to use the console under network situations outside your control?

Even if they are no benefit to you they also aren't a determent. At lease not to me. And to what network situations do you mean?

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Hailinel

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@veiasma: As the consumers, we are not obligated to buy the creators' works. Particularly if those works are only accessible on platforms that offer no true benefit to the consumer.

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veiasma

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@hailinel said:

@veiasma: As the consumers, we are not obligated to buy the creators' works. Particularly if those works are only accessible on platforms that offer no true benefit to the consumer.

Right. We aren't obligated, but if the content is good then it will be bought by consumers regardless.

Also, to say this platform has "no true benefits to the consumer" is subjective.

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Pezen

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#14  Edited By Pezen

I want to reserve judgement but part of me is just alianated. A lot of the factors that come into play would not affect me at all, except principally speaking. But I can't shrug the feeling that accepting this, obviously, half-step to all digital is short sighted. The "what if.." questions in my head is louder than "man, that is shiny", and I am souring quickliy. And I am totally getting the "I don't feel at home" vibe from it all. As someone else said in some other thread, perhaps video games and I are growing apart and I'll have to reconsider my choice of hobby.

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Hailinel

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#15  Edited By Hailinel

@brocksampson: If your ISP craps out for more than 24 hours, or if Microsoft's authentication servers melt down, no games for you.

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Slag

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#16  Edited By Slag

@meatball: I feel largely the same way.

@humanity said:

All I know is that I like to play games and I am willing to adapt to new conditions in order to continue playing fun games that are console exclusive.

But my question--and I don't intend this as personal or hyperbolic which is how these conversations usually go--why do we as the consumer's have to adapt to practices that don't favor us? Why can't the businesses "adapt?"

we don't and shouldn't. This is the downside though to very few companies controlling an entire industry. They can collude to rob of us of true choice that free market competition should provide.

That's why theoretically, the US has anti-trust laws. Unfortunately they aren't enforced well or very often. In the era of globalization it's gotten radically worse very quickly.

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ThePickle

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If Sony goes to the same policies as Microsoft, I may just sit this generation out or go to PC. I've got my Gamecube hooked up just in case.

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mellotronrules

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meh, i'm fine with steam, so i'm fine with microsoft's restrictions. their console however, will live or die by the games (for me). until there's a price cut and something i'm dying to play, i feel no need for a new xbox. in fact, i'm thinking my next big games purchase will actually be a ps3 (should they announce a post-e3 price cut).

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EarlessShrimp

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#19  Edited By EarlessShrimp

With all this new information put out half of my brain is thinking: well that's not so bad. The other half is thinking: wait a minute, this doesn't really resolve any issues at all! With all the information available it's only pushed me further on the fence about the next generation. I feel you man, I really do.

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Vuud

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WELCOME TO THE CLOUD!

I'll bet they were going to call it "The Hive" but that was a little too obvious.

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BrockSampson

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#21  Edited By BrockSampson

@hailinel: I will be completely honest. In my 12 years or so of having cable broadband. My internet has gone down one time for over 24 hours. And that was when I lost power for 6 days after Hurricane Sandy. I understand that this isn't true for everyone, but it does make the 24 hour thing kind of a moot point for me.