Excellent wording, couldn't have said it better myself, and yes, this is indeed pushing the whole software industry in a whole new direction. What I'm curious about though is how many companies will follow suit with Valve, given the fact that you either love it or hate it, judging from posts here and on other forums on the net. If Microsoft would try something like this, they need to make it bulletproof as you correctly pointed out, as otherwise they'd be swamped by complaints and angry emails. We'll see what happens, thanks for the good read.
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Isn't MS already swamped with countless emails and hate mail from there Windows software??? I don't think they'd notice much difference if they started getting emails about software activation and such... lol
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yup I have a feeling that Sanders was inspired by the 'steam'.. incident... shall we say he was blowing off some steam
Good stuff Sander.. but as the world moves towards complete networking, when u buy a PC u'l invitably buy a permanent access to the net.... so surely in the near future, store-software will become a myth.. ofcours the odd software such as as OS would still be a store option, however microsoft has made the move even in that area with the 64 bit edition being available through their website....
OK, the gist of the article is alright - but the World of Warcraft example is outright stupid.
Fell free yourself to create an online RPG, where you play againt hundreds of other players not providing your own server, without demanding the players to be connected to internet... Reality check, please.
And I wasn't referring to WoW in terms of it being absurd you can only play online, as it says so on the box, what I was trying to get across if that you buy a game at $40 and then they start charging you to be able to play online, a subscription service, that's what I dislike. Hence the analogy with having to pay a subscription fee for your copy of Windows with Microsoft to be able to use it.
The reason for Sony and Blizzard keeping characters on their servers isn't so that you can't access it and play it offline. This about it this way: The original EQ, with expansions, was like 200 something square kilometers large. That's huge. Now think about trying to get through all that stuff by yourself (Vox would be friggin' hard to beat all by yourself, ya' know). That's hard. No one would know where to go because there'd be too much to do and interact with. And here's the kicker: If they made it offline and online compatable there would be cheating and hacking run amuck. Look at what happened with Diablo and Diablo 2: They were great offline (erk, well... 1 out of 2 isn't bad), but people could use hacks and trainers and dat files to edit their characters. Imagine if there were thousands of Level 1 Paladins running around with Fiery Defenders in the first month. Or two weeks into it, Rangers were weilding Swiftwind AND Earthcaller at level 15.
Keeping a character online isn't meant to be a punishment; it's meant to make and even playing field.
If they wanted to appeal to everyone, they would make it so that you can have offline AND online characters. You can make a character online, and there would be an option for letting you use him offline. Once you make that character, though, the name of the character is forever banned from any and all online servers. And if you make all specifically offline characters, then there would be no charge for playing online until you made an online character. Now, I know I just conflicted myself by saying "making and online character and then an option for letting you use him offline." What I meant by that is that there would be a checkbox in the character creation screen that would be unchecked by default. You would be able to check this right from the beginning and not have to pay an online fee. But, let's say you make an online character and about 2 months down the road you get bored of playing online, or it's just too costly. There would be an option that would turn your online player offline. This way you still have all your stuff and you can play offline with your friends through, let's say, a LAN option.
These are just ideas that I came up with, oh, about 5 minutes ago... What do ya' think?
Well said Sander. I could not agree with you more. I understand that developers want to protect thier content and hard wor, I'm all for that, but, I don't think it's right for them to make us verify every single day the validity of our software that we buy off the shelves in the store. On line verification for the sole pupose to verify that you bought a retail package is acceptable, but not in the sense to do it everyday. That is absurd.
I agree that if you buy a single player game in a store you should be able to take it home, install and play the game without going through some online verification process. However, the example given of the MMORPG game is poor. The model for these games is entirely different where the company pays for and runs several servers maintaining client information and persistent world data. These servers have to be maintained and the codebase is constantly updated and improved (hopefully) through the life cycle of the game. This has significant costs in both capital and man hours. The only option these companies have is to pass along the costs to the consumer. In the case of the games where you have to buy the software and then pay a monthly fee, I haven't bought and played any game that didn't come with the first few months for free and then you continue playing by paying each month. In those cases the initial cost of the game was usually about equal to buying the months of free time given with the purchase.
For WoW (or Everquest or City of Heroes for that matter) a more valid business model comparison would be to a internet hosting provider. IHP's often have upfront setup fees and then they charge you a monthly fee as long as you continue to use their services.
I have 2 things on different subjects to comment about this article. In any way, I have always been a fan of HA and come here every day and read, but this article in particular I dislike for the following:
1. Honestly, the online gaming RPGs have a huge cost of mainteinance and constant development, content creation is an everyday effort the software developers take. Thats why games like this one have a monthly fee, plus you are also paying for not just any server. The servers that host this games, are running in a cluster envrionment, and we are talking MANY servers to guarrantee stability and the game to be robust. So, I think the warcraft example is completely out of the line. I do agree with the steam example if what you said happened to you did happened. But this is my experience, I have half life 2 in 2 different computers, I have taken them offline and tested the game starting STEAM in -OFFLINE MODE-. And the game worked perfectly. Of course, the game was registered the first time I -installed- it on the internet that part is true. But again, after installation, I have played it many times in trains, and planes OFF LINE.
2. As a software developer I find it VERY sad to see you writing that we are the ones who put this kind of user agreements, should I remind you people that this is the Publisher's doing? STOP using the "software developer" term since it generates a whole negative envrinment directed to the people who use their creativity and intelligence to provide you with a fine product. Want to blame some body for user agreements enforcement? direct your complains to the publisher. THANK YOU.
While I appreciate the developers' capitalism-driven intent (make more money), I as a consumer oppose the degradation of consumer rights in the software arena.
The fact is, more money can be made be leasing a product than selling it. just like with anything else, the original owner of a property stands to make much more cash by renting out or leasing their product than by selling it outright.
Consumers want the option and the right to own a purchase. Developers aren't offering options to "renting." They're eliminating private ownership of commercial products, not providing an alternative. And these EULAs are increasingly becoming a way to backdoor unwary consumers. Never forget that even our favorite developers (like John Carmack), have defended backdoor utilities stuffed into their software which track information about the users of their products (Quake III, for example, initially sent PC configuration information to id unbeknowest to the user, without their consent, and without any announcement).
Let me ask you this, if you pay for a piece of furniture in your house, say a couch, and you pay all of it up front, is it yours? or are you buying the rights to use it in your house? and, can they come and take it away because they are the ones that created it and can tell me how to use it or where to put it?
You're probably not going to want to hear this, but both:
First off, you technically own it because you have it in your physical posession.
Secondly, by buying it, you agree not to illegally distribute the game developer's intellectual property, and the people most concerned with this intellectual property, is the publisher. Why? Because they spent as**t-ton to distribute it and, in the words of Jay from "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back," the publishers "want their mother f-in' movie check." And to make sure you don't illegally distribute or otherwise pass out the game, so they don't lose money, they give you a CD Key to enter to make sure you really have the game.
With the internet, it doesn't really matter. I'll go look you up a CD Key for Doom3 right now, if you want. But with newer distribution and registration methods, such as EQ/EQ2/WoW's method of registering a specific CD-Key to a specific account and through Valve's Steam registration, these publishers can finally keep tabs on their products. If you try and register one copy of a game onto two different Steam accounts, Steam shuts it off. Simple as that. They simply cancel that serial number and you're forced to go buy a new game.
So, in summary, you're doing both when you buy the game: It's your game because you are have a physical copy of it, but they also have the right to check up on what you do with the game (ie, "Game Registration") as long as they make it apparent. And boy, do they make it apparent.
I agree inna sense that they need to protect thier work, just don't ream us in the process. If they want us to register the game, I should not have to give them my personal information. That is going too far. I don't mind registering the game, just find another method to validate the prodcut.