Jimquisition: Why An Always-On DRM Console Would Be Dumb Dumb Dumb

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It's about time to start suing developers for imposing always-on DRM and failing to sustain the conditions for it. It's an obvious breach of contract

You can't sue them for that for the same reason you can't sue them if they decide to shut down the servers after a year, which has happened before. In the manual or what ever it will state that they reserve the right to shut it down at any point and that the service is available at their convenience etc etc

That's why I'm so astounded why people buy these always online games, or think in the long run buying a massive music catalogue on itunes or all their games off steam is a good idea. The only way you can guarante you will always be able to play that game is if the only think it relies on is a hard disk and a power connection going into what ever box you choose to play on.

I hope these are just rumors and bids for free publicity so every one will be UBER :) happy if their not true. Won't be buying a console that has to have an internet connection to work, it's a joke. Even if you have a very good internet connection it's going to cause issue if for instance you live with any body else or if you want to be doing anything else with the internt. Ie for work I have processes running on my computer that I leave working away and at times it takes up so much of the connection spotify lags out. What if I want to play my console? Already have the best net connection I can get, without paying insane money to get fiber optic installed.

Steam works OK and has been working OK since i installed it in 2007.

Guys, why are we complaining about always-online... DRM? I fully support always-online... DRM. You should all fully support always-online... DRM. We should be calling for always-online...DRM... on the PS4. This is all a joke Microsoft, we actually love your dumb dumb dumb idea. C'mon, you can do it, become the one true tool as destiny has foretold. I believe in you.

Because it will kill consoles which will crash the AAA gaming market and that shit needs to die.

We've weathered a crash before. It's happened guys, no need to fear the reaper. 2010's reasons are just as valid as 1980's reasons. After the inferno caused by massive cheap game knock-off advertisements, the gaming companies rose better than ever. But they're become bloated and rotting and need to be burned to ashes... again. Don't worry, it took them a few decades to get this bad and after they come back from disaster, it'll probably take them another few decades before we have to burn them to ash again. Y'know... "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty" kind of deal but with "good gaming" instead of "liberty".

Gaming won't die forever, there's still money to be made, but things would suck for about five years. Besides, the indy market will still exist, just not big market games. Can you really not put up with only indy games for 5 years? Can you do it for the band?

For the band?


For some reason I love that first "ugh!" in the outro music of these videos.
It sort of puts the full stop after Jim's final line x]

Microsoft please do make your console require constant internet connection.

I'd love to see what happens.

MS = MacroSuicide.

Let's hope this is just rumors.

If the console industry does go tits up, I'm not entirely sure what I will do, considering I DESPISE gaming with M&K.

Given the massive backlog of games I still need to play this generation, I doubt I'll be buying a new one when it comes out, Always Online or not.

If the console industry does go tits up, I'm not entirely sure what I will do, considering I DESPISE gaming with M&K.

You can get a console controller for your PC, you know

Azriel Nightshade:
Why is always on-line for consols detrimental, but always online via Steam exempt from scrutiny?

I'm not asking this to be contrarian or witty, I'm generally curious. Mainly because the only two PC games I play are WoW and LoL, both on an 5 year old iMac. So I'm a bit out of the loop.

The thing is, Steam actually has an offline capability, for most games really. Also for the most part all steam games are playable offline except those that require online (.e. Team FOrtress 2, COunter Strike, etc)

Steam is also an example of always on DRM done right! It's mostly unobtrusive. You don't need to have Steam running all the time when you're not gaming, and it tends to make up for itself by occasionally notifying you of games that you like or may like going on sale. Steam is also independent of the retailers to a point and only serves as a quick verification. It does this quite simply; it keeps a record of the titles you have purchased or been gifted and your account, if it sees a game being run on an account with no record of the game eing purchased or transferred,, Bam it's shut down. Once the check is passed it butts out and lets you get on with your gaming fun. See unlike D3 or SimShity, all Steam does is verify that your steam game was acquired through one of 3 legal channels, Steam itself is more like the bouncer checking id at the nightclub door. D3 on the other hand has the real elephant in the room question? What happens to the game and all your paid for items and dlc, when the company decides to shut the servers down?

The only reason I can think of that they would go through with this is to sell more ad space. It's been creeping up more and more into all of their products, and they must have gambled that the loss of sales won't trump the amount they'll receive in ad revenue.

And that's the problem with most every (rumored) feature of the NextBox. Every one of them only serves themselves, the publishers, or the retailers; not the consumers. It's coming across as a very cold and calculated business device, and not a device to enjoy games on.

We can only hope that this is all wrong but.. I don't have much faith in MS to do the right thing. There are too many hands in the kitchen and no one to guide then into sync.

If the console industry does go tits up, I'm not entirely sure what I will do, considering I DESPISE gaming with M&K.

Use your controller?

MS = MacroSuicide.

Let's hope this is just rumors.

Then why don't they just come out and say so? Everything about "Durango" is bad news for everyone. They could use some plus points right now.

It's about time to start suing developers for imposing always-on DRM and failing to sustain the conditions for it. It's an obvious breach of contract, because the obligee (ze publisher) is denying a service, for which the customer has paid. Imagine buying milk from the store, paying for it and getting just the plastic jug without milk in it, because the cows aren't able to produce milk right now. It's exactly the same.

What I'm trying to say is that it's a legal issue. This is not a debate. People need to turn to court otherwise this bullshit will continue in the future.

Except every publisher who has been pushing Always-Online revokes your right to class-action-suits and shunts the case into arbitration (which is so hilariously one-sided against the customer that it is pointless).

The sick truth of the matter is that they want to push for more and more service-centric business because games, by their very nature, fall under the "natural monopoly" area of goods.

And when you combine "monopoly" with "service"...that's just a license to print money for many many long years.
Just look at the US telecoms-ISP industry.

I live in Perth, Australia. Our internet is capped, as is almost everyone else's in the country, as well as the fact that it runs piggy-backed on phone lines not designed to handle it. It's limited and drops out for a few seconds every once in a while, which will mean getting booted every time it happens. I cannot imagine an always online console being viable here. If the rumors are true then how the hell would anyone ignore the fact that there are a metric fuckton of people out there who would not be capable of running one, even in urban areas?

*Snip snippity snip until...*
Would anyone out there actually buy this console? I mean, like, what would it take to convince you to put up with always-online? I mean, Simcity and Diablo 3 still sold, didn't they? How much of a problem do you think this would cause?

I'll take the first part last, if I may.

Yes, Sim City and Diablo 3 sold well, but you have to bear in mind that once the cash register stops ringing and the screaming from people being unable to play goes quiet, there aren't that many people on the servers. Diablo 3 came out in May of last year and sold three and a half million copies. By June, just over two thousand were playing at 5pm on a weekday. Sim City sold just over a million copies in its first two weeks (no mean feat since Amazon pulled the plug), over half of which were digital. How many are using it now? I imagine you could probably knock two or three zeroes off the sales numbers.

That's a mountain of cash that was made on the front-end followed by minimal server load on the back. Why did the outrage happen? Because the publishers figured out that they didn't need to sink piles of money into servers; they just needed to wait for the screamers to go away and their current servers would be sufficient. They'd already been paid. They didn't care. $60 ($80 for those who embraced the purple shaft and bought the deluxe edition) times million is quite a nice payoff for a little bad PR.

If someone were to sell an always-on console, there'd be a flood of sales at the start, a massive public outcry, the ensuing debacle of "we weren't ready/didn't think it would break/are working to solve the problem/are drinking our celebratory champagne so please fuck off", and then the thing would work because over nine-tenths of the people who bought the stupid thing would put it in a closet or take it back to the store (for a fifteen-percent loss. Gotta love margin cushions). Assuming, of course, that none of the consoles broke (always a danger with new tech) or was broken by irate players. The company would have its money and then cast about for a new shiny to offer the magpie public.

I won't put up with always-online unless, as has been argued by others before me, the game I'm playing actually needs it. Multiplayer requires online, at least if there's real-time interaction. Otherwise, I'll be content with clicking on a link and watching my browser refresh or posting a move and waiting for my opponent to respond. Those are the only reasons I can see for needing an online connection for a game. In all other instances, my gaming is a solitary experience and dammit, I want to be left alone! I don't want someone tapping my shoulder when I play, stealing my kills or interrupting my narrative with "CAN GIVE SOJJJ?"

Would I buy such a console? Yes, yes I would. At a pawn shop, about a year after it released. For ten bucks. So I could show future generations an example of what hubris looks like when it takes physical shape.

On Topic: Mr. Sterling, if you could hear me, I'd applaud. If I could reach you, I'd shake your hand. As it stands, I thank you and sincerely hope you'll continue to call people on their arrogance, their ignorance, and their failings.

Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if they would pull through with this. Always-online DRM would, as Jim said, most likely cripple the used-game industry, hence likely driving more (albeit not as many were going to the used-game retailers) consumers towards them (AAA-industry guys). They're essentially getting rid of some competition and diverting revenues first earned by used-game towards AAA-industry and once they've actually gotten rid of them, they'll be able to raise prices some more, hence increasing their own welfare and reducing consumers', since now several people will no longer get to enjoy such games and the AAA-industry gets a couple more trucks with money.
We see an efficient form of production (used-game industry) being replaced by a less efficient (oligopolistic-form) industry and I seriously doubt that people would refrain from using always-online DRM products out of general principle and so on, since they can already afford it and simply want to enjoy the product. So the only thing I see that could fix this, is that some sort of regulations are established competitive-wise, since there's more to be gained for everyone as a whole (and more evenly distributed among industry and consumers) than when we move to the crippling of the used-game industry.

This is kind of why I'm loving my Wii U. Sure it has it's own bullshit but It doesn't look nearly as bad as this

Azriel Nightshade:
Why is always on-line for consols detrimental, but always online via Steam exempt from scrutiny?

I'm not asking this to be contrarian or witty, I'm generally curious. Mainly because the only two PC games I play are WoW and LoL, both on an 5 year old iMac. So I'm a bit out of the loop.

o.0 why do people keep thinking steam needs to be 'always online', it doesn't.

it has an offline mode, which I'm using the hell out of right now because an error is preventing my PC from actually connecting to the net, again. (posting from some moms laptop)

there's been no message telling me to connect, to verify anything, it just can't find a connection and switches to offline mode, and I get to keep playing the games I downloaded before the error hit me again. (I have recently discovered Torchlight 2, so I'm not hurting for things to do. I <3 my Embermage and 'construction' tree Engineer btw)

There was a two week period where my husband and I had just moved into a new place and didn't want to pay Comcast a zillion dollars for two weeks of tubes, since we'd have to pay for installation (see: Comcast guy flipping a switch for $50. Our place already had the damn box), then two weeks (which they would probably just charge a month for, then make us jump through hoops to get rid of the bill entirely. Not a horrible deal, but an annoyance on top of a horrible deal), just to have internet until the FiOS guys could get there. So, I had no internet. And I watched Blu-Rays and DVDs, while playing Torchlight II on Steam (which was totally fine offline).

I've also had moments where I've thought "bring game console to fancy hotel for some convention, so an overstuffed room of people can play games all night? Hells yes!" If I had to then pay exorbitant ($20 for one hour of tubes is kinda a little batshit insane) fees just to access the games, I wouldn't bother. Really, always online is extremely narrow minded. I want to play with this toy all the time! Where I want to! When I want to! I want to take it places and show all my friends! Always-online says, "You will play this console in your living room, after work, like a normal person. You will have the exact experience we tell you to have. If this doesn't work out for you, we're sorry, but we don't really care."

Although, I've gotta say, I'm not sure if the Sim City/Diablo III issues would be equivalent to an always-on console. People aren't usually buying consoles like they buy long-anticipated AAA titles. Consoles normally need good launch titles as well as extreme interest in order to get that kind of launch. Plus, it's always easier to download a game than it is to assemble enough consoles for a launch. Companies should have greater control over consoles sold. (This said, this does not preclude them from cocking it up royally, it should just be harder for them to do so.)

That last minute was immaculate. The conceit we're being shown is unconscionable. I'm almost looking forward to some big crash (I'm getting too old for hardcore gaming anyways), and seeing what rises from the ashes.

Probably the new indie console market. You've got consoles like the Ouya not only letting people make games for it practically for free, but they're actively encouraging their user base to take it apart and mod it however they like. Not saying that this particular console will necessarily be a success, but it and the other independent/open source consoles might pave the way for how the industry will operate once the big three implode from alienating all their customers.

Microsoft really is the leader of entertainment. If they go through with this I will be getting maximum entertainment with no risk to me or my wallet. So, how can we "support" this?!

I'm glad that idiot is getting media attention. Surely "deal with it" is a presentable catch-all reaction to disgruntled fans and will only promote the next console.

Next week I hope Jim can bring to light the fact that EA is twisting consumer complaints into an anti-LGBT movement. Please Jim, tear them a new one. Do it for the little guys.

Another issue: planned obsolescence. If the xBox 720 requires always-on verification, what happens when those servers are shut down in an attempt to force users to upgrade to the next next-gen console? In addition to the console becoming worthless, with no backward compatibility (a very real possibility if the PS4 is any indication), that would also make any game you bought on the 720 impossible to replay years down the line.

EDIT: that'll show me for commenting before the video ends, Jim actually addressed that point.

MS needs to realise that it produces a luxury item. As much as gamers are willing to put up with shit to play their favourite games, we all realise that we don't really need to play them. These are things we fill our time with to entertain us. Comparing it to things like phones and vacuum cleaners is ridiculous. Those things are necessary items. We put up with problems with them because the need for them will not go away. If the electricity goes out or the mobile network doesn't cover wherever we happen to be, we wait until those services return and attempt again.

If crappy servers go down just that one time too many, we won't wait any more. We'll go buy a PS4 instead. Or maybe we'll get a PC, or even watch a movie or read a book. Whatever example you can think of. But if your luxury product doesn't work exactly when it is convenient for us, then don't expect our patience to last very long. You can't demand that we "deal with it", you need to deal with us. If you're not fulfilling our requirements, then we're not going to give you our money. Simple as that. You need to work around our demands, not the other way around.

The stupidest thing about all this is that our demands aren't even that complicated. We don't really care about all this fancy gimmicky shit. We just want a machines which has sufficient power to run games, and for those games to be fun. Maybe a few online features as well, like online play and download services. We'll gladly give you money for that. Instead you'd rather overcomplicate everything, treat us like criminals right from the word go, and try to squeeze as much money out of us at every single possible opportunity.

Well said. One thing I'd add is the difference between an "option" and a "requirement" - consumers will like something as an "option", but dislike it when something is a "requirement". Hopefully someone with a degree in business can phrase that better then I, but I think that would be a stronger argument because given enough time the connectivity argument will be rendered moot by the slow march of progress in infrastructure, or by that being a small enough population to not impact the company's profits significantly enough.

the antithesis:
And that's how the Ouya will outsell the next Xbox. Deal with it.

My buddy's is on the way. He payed into Kickstarter.

I think it is a little behind the curb, but at $100, if it can be replaced by a Tegra 5 in a couple of years, I don't think that will even be an issue. $100 is a throw away item.

I've lost a couple of really good games because a company stopped having a server work. I didn't know when I paid Walmart $10 for a newly anti aliased copy of the original Halflife, I was only renting it and it would stop working from no fault of my own.

ITMT, enjoy:

[...] phones [...] are necessary items. We put up with problems with them because the need for them will not go away. If [...] the mobile network doesn't cover wherever we happen to be, we wait until those services return and attempt again.[...]

The funny thing is, I can still use my cellphone without internet or reception, to listen to songs, play games and a few other stuff.

Also, I live in Brazil. Games are popular here. But the minimum wage converts to around 300 US dollars, consoles and games, because of taxes, are 500 and 100 US dollars, respectively. It's already hard to have these, just recently me (20) and my brother (29) were able to start buying original products, and I will happily buy original games if they're not full of this kind of bullshit.
And the internet? It's also very expensive. I have a fast internet, but I share it with my brother, so I can't rely on it too much, and although I have a very big family, I don't know ANYONE who has a fast internet, so always online would be really stupid here. And the market really has a lot to expand around here. I mean, the country has around 200 million people, even if most don't have conditions, imagine the part of it that DOES, it still would be a considerable market, wouldn't it?

So, Google tried to give everyone in San Francisco free Wifi every where. Something consoles could take advantage of. Microsoft sued Google--Google was making a play on the OS market by doing this--to keep them from doing it.
Now, Microsoft demands that everyone be online all the time.
What, does Microsoft think its a Republican Senator now? They think they get to break things than bitch about how the tings they just broke are broken?

Just the episode I was expecting!

You know, it's funny; two years ago I would see 'PC gaming is dying!' being proclaimed all over the internet while people couldn't wait to see what the next generation of gaming consoles would offer. Seems like a bit of a role reversal now.

Anyway, consoles will die if they end up pushing this bullshit DRM. It's revolting how little such DRM supporters think of us consumers. It's insulting. I'm still hopeful that MS isn't stupid enough to include always-online DRM in the Nextbox, but if they do... adios.

I predict "deal with it" will become the rallying cry of the public as they boycott MS if all this turns out to be true.

So true. And so, so sad.

Here's to hoping it's just rumors.
Oh, but don't think you're SAFE once it's release without always on requirement!
Ever hear of "System update required to play this title"?
Boom! Now you're always on required after you bought it!

Remember PS3's removal of Linux support?


How long until there's a shiny new jim sterling 'deal with it' gif? XD

Sir Thomas Sean Connery:
I need this immediately.



Someone make it NOW!!!!

Got it done as soon as could, I might have a higher quality version up later.


Simply fantastic work.

I'll be using this frequently.

Great episode as always. But I have one question:

Does anyone know where to get/listen to the new background music? It's awesome (and I think it's by Danny B.?)

And so Nintendo will once again save the industry. I can already imagine how a conversation about Always Online would go:

"Extra features? Psh, we're a game console. You play games on us. Why the hell would we add features and drive up costs to add something that other products already provide?"

And so they will continue to just be Nintendo. Making Zelda, Mario, Metroid, Kirby, and Pokemon games that just print money.

Azriel Nightshade:
Why is always on-line for consols detrimental, but always online via Steam exempt from scrutiny?

I'm not asking this to be contrarian or witty, I'm generally curious. Mainly because the only two PC games I play are WoW and LoL, both on an 5 year old iMac. So I'm a bit out of the loop.

First, I need to define two terms:

True requirement: A requirement that is essential to the function of a thing. The thing could not possibly work without it.

Artificial requirement: A requirement that is unneeded but is forced on the user by the seller.

Any requirement, true or artificial, comes at a cost to the consumer. If I want to play an internet multiplayer game I have to have a stable and fast internet connection. That comes at a cost to myself beyond the base cost of the game. To put a number on that cost, I recently moved. My old wired solution was no longer going to work. I had to purchase a wireless range extender, a wireless card, and some other equipment. This cost me about $150 to establish this kind of stable internet.

Now, I don't hold it against Riot that I needed to spend $150 to continue playing their game, because it is a true requirement.

Next, steam. Steam does not actually require always online. Once you connect to your stream account once you are good for several weeks and you only need dial up speed and reliability to do that. The rest of the required connection is all a true requirement. You cannot download a game without a connection, you cannot chat with friends without a connection. The vast majority of required steam connectivity is a true requirement, the service could not possibly work without it. The core functionality of steam itself requires a connection, and the artificial requirement that I connect once every few weeks is very minor.

In addition, Steam offers a great service. With incredible sales and very easy management of my games I have seen a huge personal benefit using Steam. The tiny cost of connecting to the internet once every couple weeks is easily compensated for by the excellent service rendered. Had I not cared about having a reliable, fast connection I could have never spent that $150 and I would be no worse off using my previously purchased steam games.

On the other hand, the core function of a console does not require an internet connection. An always on console is a purely artificial requirement, a potentially significant cost to me for which I gain absolutely nothing. For many this is an insurmountable obstacle. And the only reason the next Microsoft console would have such a requirement is because Microsoft wants control.

They are, essentially, making us pay for their toy and offering nothing in return. When we say that we don't like this the closest thing we have gotten to a response is "We don't see the problem. Deal with it you whiny drama queens."

I don't personally care about the rumored always online requirement directly. My problem is the blatant anti consumer attitude. I do not want to do business with these people. They are rude to me and this is just one incident in a long history of annoyances. Owning the next Xbox is not worth dealing with their shit.

It's been said before: when your internet connection goes down, wouldn't that be a great opportunity to play some games on your console? How's that for always-on MS? This is such a bad case of head in the clouds, it's not funny anymore. Every programmer will tell you that you can't rely on any network connection. You just can't.

Azriel Nightshade:
Why is always on-line for consols detrimental, but always online via Steam exempt from scrutiny?

I'm not asking this to be contrarian or witty, I'm generally curious. Mainly because the only two PC games I play are WoW and LoL, both on an 5 year old iMac. So I'm a bit out of the loop.

I think it's because Steam has an offline mode. And there are many ways to get games you bought working when trying to play offline because on PC there's almost always a solution to every problem.

It's most likely going to take a long time to use most of them but in the end they give you more control over how you game than an always-online console ever would.

I always wonder why some executive with decision-making power hasn't seen shows or opinions like this or why they never seem to be aware they exist. All we as the common folk can ever do is speculate on how they feel, and whenever they DO speak out they say something that makes them seem like they're living in some sort of hypothetical reality where everything always works and there is an unlimited amount of money for everyone.

The games industry REALLY needs to make an effort to be more transparent with their decision-making process and have more open lines of communication with their consumers to allow them to see and hear these kinds of opinions presented on the Jimquisition and other very thoughtful video game journalists.

Because when they do things it always seems so.... out of touch. And I wonder what happens to a human being along the line of their life to make them start making decisions like the really shitty ones we always see today in the industry...

I live in a rural area outside of San Angelo, TX and my internet is mostly reliable. I often visit friends and family in San Antonio, TX. One friend I stay with has no internet. My relative I stay with has internet but no router. I still take my Xbox down there and play it. But if Microsoft does this the only thing I would be doing is transporting a brick. I wonder Microsoft's end game is to get away from consoles period. Between Steam and Mechwarrior online, I am slowly moving that way.

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