Ubisoft CEO Thinks Gamers Are Ready For Always-On Consoles

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Ubisoft's CEO has gone full retard or is trolling.

Someone make an article of THAT.

Fuck it, I'm ready for another games industry crash. Tens of thousands will lose their jobs and it will be horrible, but I think it needs to happen.

I don't get why they don't understand the difference between most of us being always online, and REQUIRING to be always online. A tablet or smartphone in the home is likely almost always "online" and connected to your wireless if you have it. However, it works fucking fine if your internet goes down, or you're on a plane, or it disconnects from the wireless. It can still play the games on it, it can still play the music on it, it can still play the loaded videos.

No one cares that we have to be online to use the virtual store, what we care about is that both our end and your end has to be working to use the goddamn console at all. If the rumors are true, you literally cannot do anything on the nextbox without an internet connection. Even Steam, for as shit as it's offline mode can be, works a lot better than that.

Hero in a half shell:
"And I agree, these services need to provide clear benefits"

BUT THEY DON'T!

There are no benefits to always online that you cannot also receive with an optional online mode. None. And there are many, many drawbacks: Artificial lifespan of games, increases costs of developers maintaining servers that you can be damned sure will be passed down to the customers, inability to play games when the connection drops, inability to play games when the servers of the console/ game servers become overloaded which they most certainly will on certain big game releases.

Always online provides a host of issues and no benefits. We are not ready for Always On and we will never be, unless you also make lobotomies a requirement for your consoles, so stop faffing about with DRM and make your games Ubisoft, and if I like the look of them, then I might give you some money.

This is what I came to say, always online should never happen even if we get the infrastructure to support it because there is absolutley NO benefit to not having an offline mode

Hiya all, a new poster here...

I have been following the "always on" debate on here and a few other sites for a while now. While I am personally against it, I do get it from a company's point of view, meaning an means to increase revenue. Not saying that it is the best way of doing it mind you. I would like to come at this from another direction though, from a security POV.

Last week another tech news site posted an article on how easy it was to actually set up a botnet. It is really, really easy to do and not that expensive. Take into account the article on The Excapist I read today about AVG talking about how most <90% of hacks contain malware and the fact that, what the heck, most of us have tired this at one, or more times, and suddenly the always on thing looks particulately unappetising to me. I think Mallet appreciates this with his statement,"...when players don't have to worry ..." statement.

Thing is, always on is the wrong idea at the wrong time for so many different reasons. It just does not make any sense from a consumer POV to me why I would sign up for any service or game that requires it.

Anyway just my 2cents...

Cheers!

What in the hell is it with game developers and game publishers? Are they just idiots and disconnected from reality? There is a BIG difference between having an online device that is still capable of operating offline (which is exactly how all these "always online" devices they like to site operate) and a device that is still capable of operation, by all the laws of physics, when offline but is forced to not do so for artificial reasons. I can still use my smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc. even when there is no internet connection because there are many operations which do not require an internet connection for the basic operation of entering, processing, or storing data. My smartphone and tablet can STILL PLAY the games even when there is no internet connection. This is completely different from a device that simply ceases to function entirely because it can't connect to some arbitrary server, even when the operations for it don't require use of the server.

If I recall, Adam Orth tried to make the claim that the always-online requirement is analogous to having to plug a vacuum-cleaner into a wall socket. Naturally, everyone saw the error in this logic. Electricity is a physically required source of energy in order for the vacuum-cleaner to perform useful work in running its motor to move air in sufficient volume per time and rotate the brushes against friction such to perform the operation of cleaning by the intake of air. A game console does not physically require an internet connection in order to perform useful work (yes, calculations require work), and, unless it is online-multiplayer only, the game does not require an online connection; even if the game is online-multiplayer only, it does not necessarily require that there be a server as an intermediary to connect between players and manage the game. Plenty of games operate just fine with a peer-to-peer type connection. For this reason, the always-online requirement is simply an unreasonable restriction that only serves to provide inconvenience to the user and questionable anti-piracy benefit to the manufacturer or game producer.

Also, because internet access and stability is not homogeneous and isotropic, there is the danger that any company selling a device that has an always-online requirement for operation will be significantly cutting their market presence. Further, the same company will be opening itself to substantial, overwhelming competition from other companies with similar devices that have no such requirement. This has the imminent danger of creating significant profit losses due to under-performing sales. In a business environment where one is already struggling to remain profitable, engaging in a maneuver that so clearly has the potential to shrink market penetration and sales success is just plain stupid.

TL;DR: An always-online connection is not required by either physics or necessary system design for electronic devices to function. Only electricity is required, which can be obtained in many different ways. Forcing always-online as a requirement for operation significantly reduces the viability of the product and carries an imminent potential for profit loss (you're not getting my money if you do this; I will leave video games entirely, if this is the direction of the industry, because it is not worth the hassle). Only an idiot would actually do something like this.

Yannis Mallat:
Ubisoft big dog Yannis Mallat says gamers will embrace always-on gaming as soon as they're able to stop worrying about it.

Or ...

How I stopped worrying and learned to love embracing always-on gaming between my buttcheeks.

I could live with the next xbox been always on as long as it doesn't turn into a terribly expensive paperweight if your connection drops for longer than 3 minutes. I have a reasonably stable connection but it's not unknown for connection to drop for hours at a time.

Why does Ubisoft remind me of a dog that pissed the carpet, got whacked with the paper, moped around a bit and just when everything seemed to be going well he's back sniffing the damp patch?

I know people have already pointed out, but allow me to make the point again just because of the Irony from Ubisoft.

If you can't even keep a game like Assassin's Creed 2 up and running on the PC due to DRM and failing servers, how can you expect consumers to be "ready" for always on consoles? an MMO is one thing, but a console game or any single player game that requires the internet to function is awful. What about lag? Diablo 3 has proven to us that a single player game can have latency and lag. What if more games connect to a server and will lag if it's busy?

Unless the world has been given garented super fast reliable internet, not everyone will be ready for always online gaming.

Something is going to explode in Ubisoft's faces in a few days.

Oi, Yannis, "suck it up" is not a valid reason to shove your business models on us. We are not ready!

And stop calling games a "service"; if you want to do that, do all the processing work in the cloud and then sell us a dumb-terminal that has the same specs for everyone (so that I can buy it from Sony, or Toshiba, or Lenovo for that matter) and play the streamed game there. Otherwise it is not a service. I have no idea what you call a "service"... the ability for you to track my online activities? To push ads on me and my family? To peddle other wares? To provide to me the "social" experience? To check that the products I own are legit? As I tell the annoying telemarketer at dinner time "If I were interested in what you are promoting I would go out and look for it".

Screw you Yannis and get out of my living room

I can play 15+ year old games on my Super Nintendo. Games I bought with good fucking money.

Will I be able to play games 15 years down the road on my NeXtbox? Games I bought with good fucking money?

Tell me, which 'service' is 'better'?

I will not get the next consoles. I do not like the always online requirement and have been dissapointed in all games that have it(that don't need it), I think it's a tyrannic move and highly unethical.

That being said...
I get what he means. I felt the same way about Steam for a long time, but I gradually got used to it due to its great sales and the easy access.
I still worry about servers shutting down one day and that I'll lose my games, but I've gotten used to it and that's the point; That players will eventually accept the always online console(s).

The reality is that there are enough people who don't care, who will buy these consoles and it will be a success, at least economically, in the long run.

You better get some lube for these $399 buttplugs, 'cause you're going to feel shafted for the first few months.

RatherDull:
Do you guys intentionally look for what news stories will cause the most controversy?

Since nearly all of the news posts here are sourced from other sties, id think so.

This reminds me strongly of this stolen pixel comic: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/comics/stolen-pixels/7265-Stolen-Pixels-175-Ubisoft

They are late to the party, don't understand the real problem, but put maximum effort in putting their foot in their mouth. The main problem is not the day-one-server-problems, the problem is, that they tack an alway online DRM on a single player game and try to sell it as a "experience enhancing feature" or even as an MMO. They want to take away the game from the players. Modding is evil, since it leads to piracy and free content for everyone, where they could sell their precious DLCs. I know, they try to and have to make money, but this is just plain dumb. The whole thing. The idea of an enforced alway online DRM which is already built into the hardware, and also the statement from Ubisoft.

I have to browse some picdumps now, I am so angry...

FEichinger:
For god's sake, what's so hard about not pissing your customers off?

We had this exact same argument from Orth, albeit phrased differently. And it's still plain wrong, because the premise is wrong. We don't need always-on anything. We need optional online benefits.

This man speaks the TRUTH! *hippie-hair*

There is nothing to NOT worry about concerning Always-On bullshit. It is absolutely nothing BUT a fascist anti-consumer pro-corporate flimsy scheme to fight imagined boogeymen (pirates) to maximize their short-term profits. I swear these fuckernauts never learn from their mistakes.

Wow. I notice while he does say that once people get used to it they will see the benefits he never mentions what benefits those might be. Ouya is starting to look better and better everyday.

Just to be clear this has nothing to do with DRM and more trying to squeeze out Used Game retailers and people who lend or trade games with their friends. Apparently they feel threatened because they aren't getting acut of these second hand sales. The idea is that it will probably link the diskid to your Xbox an thus render it only playable on *your* xbox. Which to be fair is sorta how steam works.

In essence: When Always-on stops sucking, people will stop thinking it sucks

I'm not a fan of Always-on on general principle (it's unnecessary), but I can't say he's wrong as far as popular opinion goes

FEichinger:
And here I was, thinking Ubisoft might actually become the least-bad of the Big Four (EA, Actizzard, Ubisoft, Squeenix) ...

Welp, guess I was wrong. For god's sake, what's so hard about not pissing your customers off?

We had this exact same argument from Orth, albeit phrased differently. And it's still plain wrong, because the premise is wrong. We don't need always-on anything. We need optional online benefits.

Lol, SQUEEE!!nix, sounds cute.

Oh look, he's late for April Fools...
I do want to be able to use my hardware and games years after the companies that made them have gone bankrupt and the servers have been shut down.

Andy Chalk:

Ubisoft big dog Yannis Mallat says gamers will embrace always-on gaming as soon as they're able to stop worrying about it.

Yup, of course that'll just require an adequate and worldwide broadband infrastructure that everyone has 24/7 access to. Then I won't mind an always on, because I'll never worry about my connection, nor will anyone else. This won't happen for another decade so while your statement is correct, your time frame is a bit off.

Legion:
In a hypothetical world, where every home has access to stable, secure, constant and fast internet. Where the companies using this always online service have constant, secure, stable and fast servers, yes, always online can have a lot of benefits.

We do not live in such a world. We live in a world where the vast majority of the world do not have internet connections good enough for this to be a good idea. A world where the wealthiest game developers on the planet cannot launch a single online always title, without massive issues.

You are forgetting though that we have had equally as large titles go off without a hitch. Sure SimCity and Diablo had problems but funny thing the last four COD's worked just fine even when there was millions online playing multiplayer at once on launch day.

Yep. That's something Ubisoft would say.

Sony, one thing worse than always-online console is when you promise for no such feature but do it anyways. Keep that in mind.

Of course I'm ready for always-online consoles. Why do you think I have a hunting shotgun?

In a perfect world where services work all of the time and are available everywhere then yes, why not. At the moment being consistently functional is far away enough, let alone perfection.

FEichinger:
And here I was, thinking Ubisoft might actually become the least-bad of the Big Four (EA, Actizzard, Ubisoft, Squeenix) ...

Welp, guess I was wrong. For god's sake, what's so hard about not pissing your customers off?

We had this exact same argument from Orth, albeit phrased differently. And it's still plain wrong, because the premise is wrong. We don't need always-on anything. We need optional online benefits.

...I've definitely heard of the Big Four.. But Squeenix was *never* in that list. They don't push/force online requirements.. Well, their first-party games, at least.. They're still complete, single-player experiences. I happen to know how dev teams at Squeenix work, I know how much detail and love they put into their games for people. They're nowhere near as lazy as the other three you mentioned. Microsoft Game Studios is the one you're missing.

-----------

ANYWAY.. This isn't to sound paranoid, but it's also been revealed that most loyalty cards and memberships for places, etc are literally there to spy on your purchases and information, which is sold to other third-parties for advertising purposes, unless they *explicitly* say it isn't (and even then..)

So.. I highly doubt an always-online console is as good as the minority of people think it is. Say, you want to play a SINGLE-PLAYER game. Entirely single player experience. "NOPE, FUCK YOU, GOTTA BE ONLINE." ...How is that logical!? The argument of "you're online anyway lololol" is bullshit because connections drop out, servers fail. Internet not working? NO GAMES FOR YOU. Console is completely worthless. It should *always* be an optional choice. Hell, Sony has the neat feature of syncing your trophies with the account you're signed in on if you happen to be playing games while not "online", when you're next online. I don't recall Microsoft having this for the Xbox.. Syncing achievements. No, if you're offline, they're only received "offline", they don't sync with Xbox Live the next time you sign in.

Ubisoft in their efforts to make Always online games have failed ridiculously without exception. They are not the people to go to for an opinion on this. How can they say that having never succeeded themselves and have anyone consider them as honest. Couple with that, he says himself, "they have to provide a clear benefit" and so far no games that have any always on connection has ever shown a clear benefit to the end user.

The only cases that have shown this to be necessary is MMO's, and I don't know anyone who only want to play MMO's. I mostly don't play them at all and most people I know pretty much avoid them. You could even argue that people who play them are in the minority based on the the big dawg (Blizzard). They have at most had about 12 Million subscribers at a single point in time and that is from people from continent playing the game. On a worldwide scale, those numbers are not that good. But it's still damn impressive from a business standpoint, from a single game stand point.

Edit: Realistically, it's stupid to weigh in on this if you are a publisher of games. As a publisher they should only concern them themselves with delivering games to their customer base, not weighing in on hardware policy decisions. You make yourself just look bad to gamers who aren't for that.

Is it really that hard for industry people just to stay quiet on the subject? There's not even confirmation that the Xbox720 (please don't name it that) will even have it...

Smilomaniac:
I will not get the next consoles. I do not like the always online requirement and have been dissapointed in all games that have it(that don't need it), I think it's a tyrannic move and highly unethical.

That being said...
I get what he means. I felt the same way about Steam for a long time, but I gradually got used to it due to its great sales and the easy access.
I still worry about servers shutting down one day and that I'll lose my games, but I've gotten used to it and that's the point; That players will eventually accept the always online console(s).

The reality is that there are enough people who don't care, who will buy these consoles and it will be a success, at least economically, in the long run.

You better get some lube for these $399 buttplugs, 'cause you're going to feel shafted for the first few months.

The good thing is.. Sony's outright announced the PS4 WILL be fully playable offline, because they're not complete asshats. They know people play games without being connected to a server. It's entirely optional. So.. Happy days?

I too am concerned about "losing my rightfully purchased games" because a server goes down. This shit bothers me as well. But it's a lot nicer knowing that Sony's officially stated that it won't be a worthless, unplayable brick just because you don't happen to be on PSN. It's Microsoft that seems to be pushing it.. And personally, says a lot about Western gaming..

Gearhead mk2:
Oh, just up and die already AAA publishers. Die so that the talented designers you enslave can split off into smaller, awesome studios, the loyal consumers get to keep their rights, and the executives can go back to whatever elderitch pit that they were spawned in.

I sure do hope Square Enix Japan Production Division 1 aren't classified as "AAA" and isn't in that "culling"..

It's why I've mostly given up on Western gaming completely. They're screwing *themselves* over. Say what you like about certain Final Fantasy games or whatever other Japanese-made title, at least they make damn certain you can play a single-player game.. While not online. No one is forced to like any single FF game, so no one HAS to like FFXIII (or VII, or IV, or whatever) so I hope you get why I'm saying this.. The standard/quality of the games are subjective, the way they're delivered isn't. I fully admit there are games in the series I don't particularly like/enjoy/didn't care enough to finish.. But that doesn't make them bad/evil, they're just not for me, why should I take away the enjoyment from others who think otherwise? Anyway..

Having read a bunch of neat information from the Ultimania Omega guidebooks for FF, etc from Japan (albeit translated), the Square Enix first-party dev team/s put *a lot* of love and effort into their games and lore. Extremely obscure references to past/other games, minor character design choices being incredibly important in the grand scheme of things..

Yeah.. I'll be fine with a lot of Western AAA devs buggering off and letting individual dev studios do what they do best, without a bad influence being put on them..

MattAn24:

The good thing is.. Sony's outright announced the PS4 WILL be fully playable offline, because they're not complete asshats.

Sorry for cutting your post short.

Once xbox sells and it sells well, demonstrating that people are willing to still buy an always-online system, do you really think Sony will sit idly by? They'll either have you use PSN to install updates(leaving them off the discs this time) or just do the same with the PS5 or whatever they'd call the following generation.

As much as I kinda like Sony, having their consoles, I don't trust them at all. They've shown their arrogance with the whole PS3 crack a while ago.

Another thing is the pressure from publishers and exclusive game rights. Companies will demand more DRM or more anti-piracy options "because their main competitor has it".
It might be a cynical viewpoint, but like I said, I don't trust them to see past the greed.
For every thing that gamers/consumers get suckered in to, the more commonplace these despicable tactics will be :(

Oh I get it!
This is not only the end of the current generation of consoles.
It's also the end of the current generation of AAA developer CEO's.

"As soon as players don't have to worry, then they will only take into account the benefits that those services bring,"

Oh really? Well I've got a stable internet connection and I still object.

This just in:

Another Vidja Gaym big wig talks out his ass. Sees colors.

Damnit Ubisoft, right when I was starting to see you with a better eye, due to Blood Dragon been standalone and selling for $15, on top of that awesome trailer and for scaling back your DRM scheme on PC, now no longer sure if will buy Blood Dragon, has I was thinking it finally lifting my boycott.

As a copyright reform aplologis, and as someone who feels generally bothered by corporate attempts at more control over digital data, I'm really worried about always-online games, because they are the sole aspect of all these impractical, arbitary, bothersome limits, that could genuinely WORK.

I don't care what DRM they try to put in e-books and music and films, because those can always be replicated in basic pdf and mp3 and avi files, so in practice. As long as we are talking about data pouring out of a speaker or a screen, DRM can always be easily and flawlessly circumvented. Thus their publishers are competiting with the possbility of piracy, and they have to comprmise, they need to be accessible, cheap, and rational. They need to accept that the times are changing, that access to data is only getting easier, and that they need to find profitability based on that knowledge.

Gaming is the only one industry, where based on the technological backround of how server-side calculations work, and how programming can lock software to a specific platform, really give publishers the possibility to ignore all reforms, and stay in their primitive user-unfriendly form, which sounds very profitable on the short term, but eventually it will lead to the gaming industry living in it's small anachronistic bubble from before the reforms, where every other medium is easily accessible, while games can still pretend scarcity, and whatever the publishers demand. Ban used sales, delete old games, charge monthly fees, lock out countries, there is no alternative anyways.

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