A Personal Argument Against the Always-On Trend

So last Sunday I was all set up to write a post about crafting in The Secret World, how there is no real guide for it, and essentially make a guide for those not really knowing what to do with the random runes and dust they pick up. However, my Comcast internet would have none of it. Trying to play the game for research was an abysmal failure. Every mob I fought would straight-up slaughter me during a lag spike. My once strong download speeds without packet losses, lag, latency, or jitter, great for gaming and watching streaming video has, over the past week, degraded to the point that my primary hobby is fully out of commission.

Now, I’m relatively tech savvy. I built my own gaming rig, I know a thing or two about the multitude of OS options out there, and I’m asked frequently by friends, family, and strangers for tech advice. So, when I encounter network problems, I generally know how to approach them. After going through all the checks and rechecks, the problem is not my router, it is not my cable modem, nor is it my computer. The problem lies outside of the tech that I can affect, and now I must rely on Comcast to come and attempt to fix the problem, which could take weeks (or as a friend lovingly told me about dealing with Comcast, possibly months). Lovely.

Gaming wise, though, I have been stuck on The Secret World. Trying to play it now is utterly futile. Any MMO I would play is futile. Without a stable and reliable internet connection, there is no point in even trying.

But ANY game needing a full-time internet connection is out, for possibly weeks. With the current trend in gaming this would also means games like Diablo 3, SimCity, and if I had the next generation XBox, literally any game I would own for that console. These aren’t just MMOs, games where always being connected gives you the benefit of community, these are single-player games with unnecessary multi-player extras tacked on. But yet, if I owned them, I would now be completely unable to play them.

So, tell me, honestly, who hasn’t this happened to? Who hasn’t, at some point, lost usable service? Apparently,  if you have Comcast as your service provider, which in my area Comcast is the ONLY choice for wired internet and holds a monopoly, service drops are frequent and the norm. Getting lines repaired could cost me more out-of-pocket expenses (on top of my monthly fee) and take weeks or months to fix. I’m sure it’s not just Comcast, though.

If there is any physical component, and hardware involved in your network, that hardware is capable of failing. Sometimes there is nothing you can do about it, either. It’s not a question of how or why, but when.

So who is this shift in the always-on trend really supposed to be benefiting? With Microsoft telling us to just #DealWithIt, EA being named the worst company in America due to gamer backlash from it, and Blizzard straight-up not caring, it is certainly not the gamers. And yet, gamers will still throw money after money at these games and think nothing of it. Think nothing of the possibility of having their single-player games servers being shut off, or the possibility their hard-earned money is going  to a purchase that can instantly become as useful as a paperweight (less, even, a paperweight can still hold down papers).

I hope companies like EA and Blizzard really are getting the message that this is not acceptable. We, as intelligent people making intelligent purchases, should not give them a single dime for any product that demands these always-on connections. We’re simply paying them for the privilege of giving them more power. Power that they, frankly, don’t deserve. Give us real reasons as to why an always-on connection is beneficial, or options to use it or not, put the power back into the consumers hands.

Until then, I’m voting with my wallet, as it seems the only language these companies understand.

// Ocho

5 thoughts on “A Personal Argument Against the Always-On Trend

  1. I am definitely not a fan of the growing trend. The xbox thing is still a rumor but if it turns out to be a true one then I will not be getting a next gen console at all. Sad.


    • Hopefully with enough people standing up, realizing it’s not just “extra features” and not good from the consumers perspective, Microsoft and Sony will wisen up before they release the new systems. It may still happen eventually, but the infrastructure has to be stable and in place, otherwise they’re literally blocking swaths of the population from using it. There might be a better time in the future, but the time is not now.

      IE If they made, kinda like the 3G Kindle, a 3G/4G Xbox or Playstation that quickly used cell phone networks to transmit the DRM data, then your own connection would be entirely unnecessary. Cell phone networks aren’t 100% reliable either, but it would be much better than demanding your own always-on connection.


  2. We were completely on board to buy the new SimCity until we learned it was always online. Now, not. Same with the new XBox. F that, we’ll just get the new Playstation instead.


    • These are both just rumors so far (Microsoft sacked the guy that made the #DealWithIt comments), and nothing has been set in stone for the next gen systems yet, but the new Playstation is rumored to have their own form of DRM, similar to Steam. When you start to play a disc, it locks the code on the disc to your account. So you still need to be connected for it to do this, but this take a few seconds. You don’t need a stable connection, or even a good connection, just a connection to get it through.

      I have no problem with DRM. DRM is just a way for them to prevent pirating, and I’m not a pirate so I don’t mind. But yeah, when that form of DRM blocks me from using a product I acquired legally, it’s over.


  3. Pingback: Listmas 2013: For My 100th Post, My Top 10 Favorite Posts on Casual Aggro | Casual Aggro

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s