Buyer Beware

When I was a kid the world moved a little slower, this isn’t an excuse for anything I just want you to understand that in the past 15 years things have really in terms of how quickly you can spread information and data.

When I was a kid, everything seemed to be measured in months, magazines came out monthly and if you wanted up to date information on a computer game that was due to come out, you would have to wait for the next issue of your favourite magazine.
Nowadays with every company having it’s own website and most likely a facebook group as well, the only thing that keeps you from being up to the minute with information is the information a company decides to give out.

Keep this in mind.

Technology is moving at an incredible pace, there is no doubt about this, we’re capable of marvels that would seem like magic to previous generations, but when it comes to gaming companies seem to be taking things in a slightly dishonest direction.

The latest SimCity release, when the game was released we were dismayed to find it requiring a constant internet connection (I’ll talk about why I loath “always on” games momentarily), the logic for this was that the game itself required such vast calculations that the makers were doing us a favour by doing it on a central computer so we as users don’t have to use our gaming PC’s as much.
But the problem is that there is no evidence of computations occurring “In the cloud” as we were told, the game runs wholly upon your PC and as a source told Rock, Paper, Shotgun the server just handles save files and interaction with the Origin platform.
Not only is this bad enough, but during development SimCity promised something as small as persistent lives for the citizens of your cities, meaning your Sim moves into a house with a wife, has a child, attends the same job day after day and grows old and dies, but did this come to fruit? Not at all, playing the game users found their little NPC’s going from work to the nearest available house, just imagine this, you finish work and instead of making the 60 minute commute home to your flat to spend the night alone, you walk into the nearest house and settle down with a wife and a baby you have never seen before.
I know this may not matter to many, but when a pretty big feature is promised and fails to materialise? That’s just bad form.

Now, as for “always on”, I detest requiring an internet connection to play a game, unless I am attempting to play a multiplayer game, there is no reason to require a connection beyond a form of DRM.
When I purchase a game, it isn’t always in order to play it immediately, if a game company lies to me about the need for a constant net connection how can I trust them to keep those servers running in 5 years when I might want to play the game through at my leisure?

If I see a game requires a constant connection I will seriously have second thoughts about purchasing that title.
To put it into current terms, a form of DRM (Games for Windows Live) is to end this year, the service will stop and any games you have that require it will need to be patched by the developer or it will stop working, this is all well and good for developers who appear to care about their users, big titles like Fallout 3, Bioshock 2, the Arkham games have already been patched, but if you can’t trust the game Dev, how can you trust the game will continue to work come the deadline?
The same holds true for any form of DRM, if you can’t trust the server to run indefinitely then your games become worthless when they decide it isn’t cost effective to keep the server running.

But back to my main point, we now have unparalleled access to up to the minute information about games as they develop, a fact that many indie developers are using to great advantage, and though a great video of gameplay footage can spread like wildfire, if that footage turns out to be faked then that news will spread just as fast.
Game Developers can’t afford to misinform their public, it is easier than ever to have this information recorded and dis-proven and good will dry up rather quickly.

A great video can get so much interest in your game, but a bad video can destroy that interest just as quickly.

The only question I really want to pose to you is if a company purposefully misleads you about their upcoming title (or as it’s commonly know, “Marketing”) does the old adage of “Buyer Beware” come into account, are we to suffer a bad sale when we are lied to?

Silent

I am Silent, part time programmer and full time narcissist, gamer, geek and man on a mission.

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