Bioshock EP4: Time to Get Tanked

By Shamus
on Jun 11, 2013
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

Has it really been three years since we made this episode? (August of 2010.) I guess so. Here is what I had to say about the BioShock DRM in the original post on this episode:

In this episode I brought up the subject of the BioShock DRM. While exotic and new at the time, it’s pretty much the order of the day now for a lot of PC games. Josh mentioned it’s getting better, which is also true. It depends on where you draw the line and what games you care about. Ubisoft has taken the idea to new an absurd heights. Other companies are following the example set by Steam and are trying to sugarcoat their phone-home systems by actually offering some features in return. Blizzard is a great example of this. The new Battle.net requires periodically renewing activation (this is based on hearsay) but offers a ton of new features. Evaluating what you’re really getting for your $60 is becoming increasingly complex.

Still, I’ll always remember BioShock as a forerunner is this regard.

Interesting to see how this idea has spread and evolved. By “this idea” I mean “naked DRM”. With Battle.net, Steam, and Impulse you have varying levels of activation going on, but the systems provide service for your trouble. You can download the game again, you no longer need the disk, it keeps the game updated, etc. Now maybe these features are valuable to you or maybe they’re useless. But they do give the companies a fig leaf to cover their activation. This is different from the online activation you had in 2k Games and Ubisoft titles where activation was only there to give you permission and offered no other features. (Or worse, offered negative features by making you create an account so they could spam you.)

2K Games tried online activation, and after a few years of insisting it was awesome they gave up on it. Ubisoft tried it on an even grander scale, requiring not just activation but continuous connection. They insisted it was working, then admitted it didn’t and gave up on it. Now Microsoft is going for the big time with an always-on console. Games will be locked to the console and you can’t give or loan games. Well, you can, but titles can only be gifted once and only to people on your friend list and you can only lend games if you log in to your account on their console… or something. You need a flowchart to follow the fine print.

If all your friends jumped off a bridge, and got very badly hurt, and said that jumping off a bridge was a bad choice… would you jump off an even bigger bridge?

Note to Microsoft: Everyone is laughing at you.

Hey Shamus! Wasn’t this post supposed to be about BioShock?

Shuddup.

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From the Archives:

  1. Hieronymus says:

    It’s also worth noting that Steam’s system requirements (while nothing to sneeze at) are much less impactful in today’s PC market than it was when it came out.

    And it has the overlay.

  2. Knut says:

    But you do get benefits.
    Like having the Kinect always listening to you, ready to service your command. And MS can store everything about your behavior online and run it through devious algorithms to find out everything about how you are.

    Also, I’m sure the brown hair of chest-high-wall-shooter-protagonists looks better when calculated online.

    /irony

    • Hydralysk says:

      With all the recent news about the surveillance scandal, Kinect is creeping me out more and more. Especially since Microsoft allegedly supplies data to it…

      • Scampi says:

        Funny, how Microsoft tries to remove the one advantage from consoles that might have gotten me to move from PC to consoles: the freedom of not being supervised and/or monitored by gaming companies…or worse…
        I guess there will be a time when I will have to call it quits and stop being a gamer altogether…I guess it will give me more time for sports and other activity? Maybe pets or sth else?

        • some random dood says:

          Go to GOG!
          Will admit, I am giving up on most new titles because the “ownership” conditions are so onerous.
          Now wandering off topic: Paging Josh! Begging request begins!
          GOG have just released Jade Empire (JE). If I remember correctly, a Spoiler Warning was canned for JE because of incompatibilities. With GOG running their magic over JE to get it working without DRM on modern OSes, maybe they have also made the problems go away? Would be great to be able to see the Spoiler Warning crew’s take on this game.

          • Kingmob says:

            I really don’t understand this. There is no practical difference for a consumer between GoG and Steam, yet somehow GoG is seen as the answer? You have to be online for both to get your game and they have the same advantages/disadvantages on this front. This is ignoring the point that steam doesn’t necessarily mean Steam DRM.
            I have an account at both and besides the fact that I think Steam is more user friendly (which is saying more about GoG I guess :P) and offers more features there is no reasonable difference for me as a user.

            I just don’t get what people are fighting specifically, since I see such posts quite often? Surely your answer should be to buy boxed games if the online bit is the problem?

            Tbh, I think we should be happy to have Steam and not just a bunch of publisher specific nonsense like Origin and Battle.net, which would’ve been more likely in hindsight. Just look at the state the movie business is in for instance, I would LOVE to have Steam with all its DRM there. Steam may not be ideal, but it’s better than we could’ve hoped for imo.

            • some random dood says:

              Actually the post was more about “Please can the Spoiler Warning gurus take another look at whether it’s possible to run a Jade Empire season with the GOG-released version”. Still…
              It’s all about trust. GOG says “we trust you”. No DRM. I really don’t think you get how much this is worth to some people. Whatever you say about Steam – the great sales, the excellent community, the additional services, added achievements, great service (guessing here – have never had to deal with Steam problems) – it’s all sugar-coating over a DRM pill. OK, unlike others, Steam has successfully made it taste sweet, but some people still find there is an aftertaste.
              Just boils down to: different people, different preferences/tolerances. For me, GOG’s extra respect for their customers has me preferring them over other options. (And in case you hadn’t guessed by now, I’m not the demographic that xbonehead is being aimed at.)

            • Bubble181 says:

              1. You can download any GOG game and just copy the files to a computer without internet – I’ve done it often before. This is (legally) impossible with Steam.

              2. You do not need to download a client for games through GOG. Their downloader is handy, but not at all necessary.

              3. Games on Steam come with all kinds of other DRM – can be Gamespy, GfWL, Steamworks, even such junk as SecuROM. Games on GOG come with no DRM at all, ever – they simply don’t carry any game that insists on 3rd-party DRM.

              I can have no internet connection at home at all, and still enjoy any game offered by GOG. I need to be on line at least once a month for any Steam game.
              Modern boxed games are often either just a Steam code in a box, or need on line activation (sometimes one-time, sometimes more often).

    • Warrax says:

      But but but… Don’t you want advertisements that are tailored to your deepest darkest hopes, dreams, fears, and secrets??

      Seriously, I took an online class on web design once. The instructor had a background in advertising, and he really and truly believed that data-mining for people’s personal information for the purpose of targeting ads was an invaluable service.

      There was no convincing him that it was intrusive, insulting, or unnerving in any way. I fear that attitude is common in the upper-levels of business, where a lot of the people calling the shots learned about marketing in the pre-internet era.

      • Trix2000 says:

        To be fair, it can be nice (at least in my opinion) to have ads that are relevant so I don’t feel like they’re annoying background noise or something. So there is value in figuring out what to show a person.

        Is it worth my personal information or other intrusive measures? No, not at all.

        • kn says:

          Yes, ads relevant to the page I am currently viewing is more that fair, and actually makes more sense than really out of place ads which appear just because I was reading something else earlier.

          • LassLisa says:

            Yes, ads which trip my “why do you KNOW that??” filter. It’s like going on a first date with someone and they offer to drive you home, and they already know your address – helpful, and not too hard with reverse-yellow pages lookup, but creepy as hell. If I’m reading a gaming blog I don’t want them to show me an ad for whatever I was just browsing at Crate and Barrel.

          • decius says:

            I wouldn’t have a problem if there was an extension to HTTP requests that allowed the client to provide demographic information (gender, age, interests) to the server.

            I would even offer demographic information which was close to my own.

          • Neko says:

            I think for me it basically boils down to this:- Ads which are tailored to be relevant to the content of the page I’m viewing it on are a good thing, ads which are using cookies and Facebook and who knows what else to try and target me personally are too creepy.

        • Scampi says:

          If it even worked…most of the ads I’m shown offer stuff I never need at all-I’ve not had the time or the money to make a vacation, so I get offers from tourism companies, I don’t use cosmetics, so I get offered moisturizers, I’m a male of 30 years and get offered toys for pre-teen girls…what’s wrong with that?
          What have I done wrong to receive THOSE specific ads?

  3. allfreightoncanals says:

    I think that it is important to note that, once upon a time, you were able to buy used PC games. DRM successfully stopped that. And we still buy PC games. And we mostly praise Steam (myself included).

    I see no reason why X-Box can’t replicate what has already happened on the PC. The Sony video was funny, but if Microsoft are successful they will follow suit in this generation or the next.

    • Supahewok says:

      Yet we put up with it because Steam Sales offer practically the same prices as the used games market. Not saying that that’s good or bad, but we at least have a substitute. For some reason, I can NEVER see Microsoft offering anything remotely similar to modern day Steam.

      As an aside, around where I live you can’t even buy new PC games on disc. The various Gamestops have a meager selection of games that are just activation codes, for Gamestop Downloads. (and despite what their site says about it being a new, free app, Downloads is just the old Impulse service tat Gamestop bought out) The only new hard copies of PC games that I can find are at Best Buy, and those are just the old Blizzard standbys. (WC3 Battle Chest, Starcraft 1&2, WoW+Expansions)

      • Karthik says:

        Aren’t Steam prices better than the used game market? The sale prices, at least. Like most PC gamers, I basically see the inability to resell Steam games as a tradeoff for the (sometimes) ridiculously low prices I pay for them.

        • Trix2000 says:

          They can be, it depends on how old the games are and how much the publishers are willing to go at a given point. Of course, I don’t think I’ve seen anything less than 25% off (excluding that 10% preorder thing they do often) if not significantly more when on sale.

          • decius says:

            The “sale prices” are the regular prices. I just finished a 10-hour game that I bought for 5 bucks (Rain-slick 4); a $60 game would have to offer 120 hours at that exchange rate of money for entertainment.

        • Phantom Hoover says:

          Not to mention the fact that Steam sales are much less fickle than buying used games make them a significantly better deal for the customer.

    • Thomas says:

      There’s hopefully a high chance that Sony are going to run home with this one though. It’s hard to tell, we’ve got 5 months to cool off and it’s really tricky gauging how much we have an effect on others purchasing habits (on the one hand, we’re a tiny segment on the popluation with often very different tastes in game, on the other hand, when someone isn’t sure what console to buy, they ask us). Steam had no competition and never made the fact widely aware, I frequently meet people who think you can sell Steam disk games used. And the PC is still an open platform, so at least the prices for the old games will go down. The Xbox is a closed platform and there’s no driving incentive to offer big reductions on old games

      • Klay F. says:

        To give you an idea how clueless MS is regarding sales:
        As of yesterday, the newest Mortal Kombat reboot is still $50 on MS’s Games On Demand service. For a two year old game…$50.

        Yeah they don’t stand a chance in hell.

    • Humanoid says:

      If I were interested in selling used PC games, I could probably just make sure I register each Steamworks game I own on a separate account. I don’t though, since I’m a hoarder.

      I still buy the occasional used PC game from ages gone. Picked up floppy disk versions of the Ultima 7 expansion Forge of Virtue and of Jones in the Fast Lane (already own the CD-ROM enhanced version) for the hell of it.

      • Thomas says:

        If you were in a position to make sure that account information would reach the person buying the game. And it would still be an inconvenience for them, reliant on log-in details attached to an email account they don’t own (unless you gave them the email account to, in which case, details to an email account attached to a back-up they don’t own) which if they ever lose the bit of paper and forget them they lose access to the game permanently. And they still have to be logging and logging out every time they want to play the game.

        I’ve got my brothers copy of Total War and I still constantly find I can’t play it (for example now, when I was trying to play it to test how the logging in/out worked) and he’s a facebook message away

        • Humanoid says:

          I’ve never registered with a third-party email provider (I use redirects provided by a domain registrar instead) so I don’t know what kind of information is required exactly, but yeah, the plan would to create a throwaway one linked on a one-to-one basis with the individual Steam accounts.

          I’m not sure if sourcing the games from the Steam store itself would complicate matters, but my “big ticket” Steamworks games are almost always physical purchases anyway, not just because I like boxes, but because it’s cheaper: $30-40 importing from the UK as compared to ~$80 from Steam due to regional pricing.

          • Thomas says:

            That would work out I guess. I was thinking you give them the boxed version because then you could write the account details on the back of the jacket or something so they don’t lose it, but I guess you could just as easily buy digital (without saving purchasing details) and transfer the account in an email which they keep.

            You are breaking steam terms of services though,
            ‘You may not sell or charge others for the right to use your Account, or otherwise transfer your Account,’

            I don’t know what Steam can do to actually enforce that. It’s possible they watch for IP addresses transferring lots of accounts. (Because Steam logs what company you’re using at any time right?) And maybe they’ll ban your computer from Steam or something.

            You also might struggle using a third-party system to sell your product because you need to communicate that you’ve solved the problem (and for them to search for you they need to know a solution exists)

  4. RTBones says:

    Funny – I was having this conversation with a colleague at work about why I wasnt getting an XBoxOne. Then I get home and check Twenty Sided for the next SW episode, at which point I see Shamus’s latest post, and then I play that PS4 video about 4 times in a row as I laugh.

    Of course, in that same conversation from earlier, we were also discussing the failings of Windows 8. THAT, however, is a story for another time.

  5. Darren says:

    Of course, a lot of this has to do with the developers. There are a few games that you can purchase on Steam but which can be run without Steam being open. There are some games which have universal CD keys–you can buy it from wherever you want and your key will unlock a DRM-free version from the developer’s site.

    Which is why I’ll reserve judgment on the PS4’s “no activation” claim until I hear more about it. Sure, they may not enforce it on their first-party games, but do you think EA will really be so generous? Won’t they demand that they receive the same treatment that they’re getting from Microsoft? If the PS4 sells far better than the Xbone, maybe they’ll have no choice but to cave, but can the PS4 do so without EA’s support out of the gate? Food for thought.

    • Thomas says:

      They have EA’s support out of the gate. The first year of console games has already been decided and coded (although this might explain why Microsoft have an unusually high percentage of third-party paid exclusives) and so if Sony can sell a million+ in the first year they’ll have reached the point where financially it doesn’t make sense to ignore them.

      Maybe PS4 owners will be screwed over on DLC. Publishers could still do that I guess

      • Darren says:

        But has there been any mention if the PS4 offline commitment is universally applied to every game? I’m well past the age where I see a reason to jump into a console launch, so forgive me if I missed something, but it just baffles me that EA would allow such a wide discrepancy when one platform gives them literally everything they’ve ever wanted.

        • guiguiBob says:

          I guess games like Diablo 3 will require to be always online so it is status quo, it will be up to the publishers. But it is better than to build it into the console.

          • Tse says:

            Actually, Diablo 3 will have online single player on consoles… Feels like a slap in the face of PC gamers, to be honest.

            • Adam says:

              You mean offline single player, right? That I still haven’t played DIII because of my personal boycott depresses me, but this is so dumb that I’m going to have to extend the boycott to all versions of the game.

              • Ateius says:

                I have played it. Don’t feel bad; you are not missing out on anything worthwhile. Everything is designed around the real-money AH, including your loot drops – you will almost never get something that isn’t drastically underlevelled relative to you beyond the first act.

                Get Torchlight 2 instead. Cheaper, more fun, and can be played offline.

                • Fleaman says:

                  That’s Diablo 3 on PC. From what I’ve heard, console D3 has offline play and no auction house. The loot rates have also been readjusted due to that.

    • Knut says:

      But in any case, it’s very easy for any developer to create an online requirement for any game, even to the PS3 or XBox360 today. What I think/hope Sony means, is that the PS4 will not provide any online-check functions for developers to use, i.e. they have to develop their own. Of course, Sony will not say no if they do.

      Also, the system software on the PS4 can easily be changed to facilitate online checks. So while I am positive so far, I also know how fast these things can change.
      (It’s also possible that MS will (at least tempoarily) disable online requirement for XBox One, seeing this backlash)

      In any case, all these things are governed by software now, and software can and will change, both before system release and after.

      • Humanoid says:

        I get the impression that Steam’s as-a-delivery-service only games aren’t something they prefer to have openly advertised, since it’s in their interest to lock people into the Steam client. I would not be surprised if Steam had some sort of financial incentive for publishers to ensure Steamworks DRM compliance.

        This makes it a bit different to the PS4 situation in that Sony is actively pushing the freedom as a selling point. Yes, we know they’re not bound to keep that status quo forever – remember the Other OS feature debacle? – but early buy-in is critical.

        They also cleverly gain a bit of PR kudos, despite the effective result not necessarily being any different than their competitors, because it squarely paints any publisher’s DRM as the publisher alone being the bad guys, as opposed to the complicity, both perceived and actual, between the publishers and Steam/Microsoft for their schemes.

  6. Phantos says:

    Note to Microsoft: Everyone is laughing at you.

    Remember a month or so ago, when everyone was laughing at Sony?

    Leave it to Microsoft to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    • Thomas says:

      That’s probably stretching it a little. In February the reveal was probably best described as ‘unimpressive’ with people swinging more to good or bad from taste. And then ever since the first One reveal Sony have been on a rapidly building hype train, only tempered by the fact that everyone thought they were going to eventually announce that they were following Microsoft’s suit

      EDIT: And it’s not like Sony hadn’t been planning this since at least 3 weeks ago. There was a very deliberate reason that they absolutely refused to confirm either way on used games and it was because they knew that they could absolutely kill Microsoft if it all came out at once when the moment was right

      • Yeah, from what I remember about Sony’s history, this seems an awfully un-Sony like stance for them. They’ve been the company that wants everything to be in a proprietary format they own (memory sticks, Blu-Ray, etc.) and don’t like people mucking about with their software (rootkits, anyone?) or hardware (are they still suing the person who put Linux on the PS3?).

        In a way, if they stick to the apparently positive policies they’ve announced, we’ve got Microsoft to thank for getting them to do it. Now we need for pressure from Sony’s buzz to make MS start patching their XBOne setup to be less intrusive, draconian, etc. I’m not holding my breath or anything, but I figure it’s at least in the realm of possibility.

        • Deadpool says:

          They DID hide their multiplayer behind an yearly subscription…

          Taking a step back when you take one forward? That IS Sony’s MO…

          • James says:

            To be fair to that announcement, PS+ is a genuinely good service, with discounts on PSN games, numerous free games, its cheaper, and so on and so on

        • Humanoid says:

          It’s not even Sony’s history, but their present – the supposed new kinder and gentler Sony is far from a company-wide trend. I can’t buy any Sony-published Blu-rays right now for example as they’re pushing Cinavia watermarking, which is hostile to HTPCs.

  7. Irridium says:

    Kind of funny how Sony’s getting so much praise for not being bad, which should be standard operating procedure for everyone.

    Kind of like how we praise PC games that offer exotic features like a FOV slider. Stuff that gets praised when it should be standard.

    Videogames.

    • Deadfast says:

      Yes, that’s the best part. At this point any PS4 announcement can pretty much boil down to the PS4 logo followed by “PlayStation 4 is NOT the Xbox One.”

  8. Thomas says:

    The one weapon upgrade visual that I didn’t like, was the baseball bat in Saints Row 3. The rest of the weapons showing the upgrades was cool, but the point of the baseball bat was when you wanted to pretend you were breaking someones leg for money, or beat them to a pulp. Something relatively non-lethal, and it was quite hard to believe you were just giving someone severe head trauma when your baseball bat was covered in barbed wire and nails.

  9. Paul Spooner says:

    “Has it really been three years since we made this episode?”
    I know right? The cynical rage is so much more understandable when you consider that this was made in a world that had just been introduced to MLP:FIM.

  10. Scampi says:

    Sometimes I have the immense desire to punch myself in the face when I realize I said something positive about any company and should have known they are just the company that was assigned to make the next ridiculously stupid “innovation”. I remember there was an instance not too long ago, when I said I’d rather trust Microsoft and use Games for Windows than either EA or Steam. Should have known they’d be the next to make a step forward and exclaim loudly: “We at Microsoft have decided to innovate. The next generation of gamers will be obliged to wear the Microsoft Slave Collar (MiSC™), as introduced in Fable II and perfected in Fallout 3, to enhance the gaming experience for players worldwide! The next Gen Consoles will also have an integrated mezzer gun, so we can use the MiSC™ to its full potential. We’d like to thank both Bethesda Softworks and Lionhead Studios for the opportunity of testing our new product in a virtual environment.”

    • Felblood says:

      I used GFWL once. It inspired a comic featuring a car salesman who requires his customers to extract their new purchase from a vat of manure, infested with giant, man-eating leeches.

      Suffice it to say, it was years before I got another GFWL game.

      It took me weeks to get the thing to log in to my old account. It’s a good game, but I don’t play it. GFWL occasionally just decides it does not like my computer, so every time I see that icon on my start menu, I remember all that hassle and decide to play something else, rather than risk being subjected to it’s petty whims.

      I guess what I’m saying is, I miss Pre-Gamestop Impulse. It checked you CD keys and updated your patches and then it got out of your face.

  11. Phantos says:

    Something I read on Tumblr that I think is relevant:

    “The fact that everyone is so happy that PS4 is doing what consoles have always done speaks loads to just how much Microsoft have fucked up.”

    • Hitchmeister says:

      That’s just it. People don’t want all new, completely different and annoyingly strange. They want the same old thing, just a bit more and better. The PS3 and Xbox 360 are getting kind of old. Even reasonably priced PCs are now able to do prettier graphics with higher frame rates in bigger worlds and fewer loading screens. That’s what they want in a new console.

      Nobody’s begging for HAL 9000 watching and listening to everything you do. They don’t even know what this “cloud” is supposed to do, but they’re pretty sure it’s just there to obfuscate DRM.

      We’ve seen motion controls. If we want to play Wii Sports, we’ll turn on the Wii. If we’re a teenage girl, we might want to put on a dancing game to laugh at our friends at a party. Other than that, we aren’t impressed.

      So the ideal new console is the one most like the old console with slightly better specs.

    • Thomas says:

      The best thing is, Sony weren’t even considering doing something unusual, they were always planning to carry on as usual and probably start charging for PSN like the Xbox does and then Microsoft went insane and Sony suddenly realised it was a big deal that they hadn’t gone insane too.

      It reminds me of these sketches (NSFW)
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeVrzT9gqfc#t=2m27s

  12. Kamica says:

    ”If all your friends jumped off a bridge, and got very badly hurt, and said that jumping off a bridge was a bad choice… would you jump off an even bigger bridge?”

    I have the suspicion you have been reading a certain comic =P.

    • Hitchmeister says:

      “You call that jumping off a bridge? I’ll show you jumping off a bridge!”

    • Shamus says:

      It wasn’t a deliberate reference to any particular comic. In the past I think Dilbert and XKCD have done the “all your friends jumped off a bridge” thing. I only read Penny Arcade and XKCD regularly these days.

      What comic were you thinking of.

      • Cuthalion says:

        I assumed it was a Dilbert reference myself. Curious if Kamica did as well, as you basically paraphrased the Dilbert one, but with reversed meaning. :P

      • Adam says:

        Really? That’s a crying shame. (or should I say, “Sham-“) If nothing else, I highly recommend Order of the Stick. It and your own DM of the Rings were my introduction to webcomics and I was consequently disappointed with almost everything else I read.

        But anyway, OotS! It’s fantastically well-written, the characters are great, it pokes fun at RPG tropes while still remaining accessible to people who don’t play those games, and it updates regularly (if slowly) so there’s a nice backlog for newbies to get through. It’s also pretty family friendly. (No gratuitous swearing, sex, or nudity. But then again, it’s a stick-figure comic!)

        • Shamus says:

          Oots is great, but I quit reading a while back. I never liked the Linear Guild, and when they showed up again the plot kind of came to a halt again. That, combined with the irregular update schedule, really drove me nuts. Instead of enjoying the comic I’d be thinking, “I waited two weeks for THIS?!?!”

          Rather than getting frustrated, I figured I’d let it go for a while and then come back and binge on it later. The plot digressions and side plots are a lot less annoying when they take ten minutes instead of four months.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Well you can always buy the books as they get out and read those.They do contain the full arcs,plus some bonuses that arent online.

            And the two prequels are also excellent.Especially the villains one.

  13. Moriarty says:

    just wanted to note that sonys policy regarding used games isn’t as clear cut as they’d like us to believe.

    http://www.polygon.com/2013/6/11/4419476/playstation-4-third-party-publishers-can-dictate-their-own-drm-terms

    They’re giving the devs or publishers control over the drm on their games.

    • Irridium says:

      So exactly like the system they have with the PS3? Alright then.

      Actually, this news means Sony’s getting rid of online passes for its games, which is awesome. So really this news is a net positive. Yay!

      • Ringwraith says:

        Exactly.

        People are making out this is a big deal, it isn’t.
        At least not a bigger deal than it already was.
        It is all business as usual for the PS4, apart from paying for multiplayer now, which kinda sucks but at least if you have any amount of time invested in them there are a lot of things like free stuff with Plus.

      • Erik says:

        Well, of course they’re getting rid of online passes. They’re hiding online play behind a pay wall now, remember? Doing both would be.. what Microsoft did last generation. Never mind :)

  14. Gruhunchously says:

    Just wait until Reginald Cuftbert crushes what’s left of Rapture’s economy by freezing everyone and smashing them and their loose change into pieces.

  15. Ciennas says:

    As mentioned before, and often on this site, Microsoft is not made of idiots, and this behaviour is nothing new for them. Every iteration of Xbox locked basic features behind a paywall, and did everything possible to prevent the end user from doing as they liked with their purchase.

    The original Xbox refused to play DVD’s without the presence of an otherwise worthless $30(!) dongle.

    Xbox2.0 wanted a dongle for HD-DVD, wireless internet, and to use only it’s own proprietary memory card format, regardless that it has two perfectly good USB ports on the front of the machine.

    Xbox 2.1 fixed some of that- you now had wireless built in, and at the same time, theyhad already relented and realized that nobody wanted to buy their damn memory cards anyway.

    But always, they placed what was free on everybody else’s consoles behind a paywall. Online multiplayer, and the ability to use streaming video and web browsing. (Seriously messed up, making me pay a fee to use what I’m already paying a fee for. In my case, Netflix. It’s not a real added feature if I didn’t want multiplayer in the first place.)

    Xbox 3.0 (Or Xbox Another One, as you prefer,) is just the logical end point of this relentless control freak attitude. All of its built in ‘features’ are more of the same, plus it wants to jump in on your OTHER not-them entertainment options, like a tumor- choking the life out of them as well if they perceive any ‘wrongdoing’.

    My question then is simple: Who is actually behind this? Who has been insisting on these features? And what were they doing before they were on the Microsoft Board?

    I know we’ve had publishers ruled by non-gamers before, but this…. is so far off the beaten path of older control freaks. What the hell are they thinking?

    (I’m being serious, mind. What exactly does a non tech-savvy indivdual think will happen with this thing? They grew up in the cold war at least, they have to remember or be vaguely aware of the intense hatred of Big Brother.)

    • Microsoft’s basic business model is to try to make sure customers are under control and competing products are hard to use, and has been since DOS. They try other stuff when it’s absolutely brain-dead obvious that approach isn’t viable, but it doesn’t come naturally.

      As to the Cold War . . . the Cold War higher-ups only hated the fact that they couldn’t be Big Brother because they had to look better than the competition. Guess what? There ain’t no competition no more. I’m sure Microsoft and the NSA understand each other very well.

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