Do you really own your Diablo 3 game?
At this moment, there are over 6 million players of Diablo 3. All these individuals paid for the game and expect to play it under their terms. Nobody thought that they are actually leasing the game from Blizzard. Good old Gaming or GOG as they are frequently referred to condemns such practices. DRM games are in danger of becoming historically void. If a player wishes to play a classic game such as Diablo 2, he is free to do so even if he just bought it now or 12 years ago.
“I would say one of the downsides that is going to be really bad for games that have an always online requirement is that unless at some future date the person who made that game removes that constantly online requirement you won’t be able to have a service like GOG selling that game”… “So when you lose that online connection, “…” you lose a chunk of gaming history.”
However, the entire idea of paying for something but not owning it is wrong by definition. What if one day Blizzard decided to close down the servers? What should the players do? Throw away the installation disks? How can a game become a classic if it ceases to exist when the developer dies? It is just like saying nobody will be able to listen to Michael Jackson because he is dead. So what are players paying for?
Why should Blizzard decide what to do with the payer’s money if they sell a product over which they have absolutely no control? They sell it as a standalone game that does not require subscription and yet they control how gamers play it.
Always-on DRM does enable players to interact with each other but what if the buyer wants to play alone? He will have to get a permanent internet connection but this is not enough. Blizzard needs to have its servers online.
A game becomes a classic after years but it is doomed to be forgotten if players cannot enjoy it anymore due to server side problems. If Blizzard disappears, Diablo 3 will cease to exist and instead of remaining imprinted into history as one of the best hack and slash RPGs, it will be forgotten and only the nostalgic players will remember it.
And let’s not just think that Diablo III is a one-off case, there are publishers looking at the success of a video game with a single-player component being sold as a service and not a product and eyeing the possibilities of that very same concept for their games. We’re already seeing that with services such as Call of Duty Elite or Electronic Arts renting out multiplayer servers for Battlefield 3. The idea is to slowly strip away ownership rights in place of leasing non-tangible, non-sustainable services.
I truly hope more people become aware of what Diablo III aims to push into the gaming industry and instead of focusing on having fun for now gamers can think about what ownership rights they give up as consumers for the future. Full here