As some you may know I enjoy used games, and one of the best places for used games is Amazon. But some time I just can’t wait three to five days for my order to ship so I go to an archaic establishment built of brick, mortar and the suffering of human souls. Some call this place GameStop. As anyone who has ventured in to a GameStop knows the employees are requested, no, required to try their best to force additional sales upon the unsuspecting consumer who only wanted a cheaper gently owned game. These tacked on sales can range from preorders to strategy guides to protection plans.
One day amidst my volley of noes, the sales person made an offer I found interesting. When you buy their discount card you are signed up for a subscription to their magazine Game Informer. I really couldn’t give a damn about the discount, but I was thrilled to receive the magazine subscription. It is good to see in a time where print media is dying, there are still some publications that are still going strong, but more importantly I was glad to have some bathroom reading material.
In a recent issue there was an article about online play and downloadable content that I found very interesting called Expiration Date. The article basically talked about the finite nature of most games today. Every online multiplayer game will one day reach a point where the server will be shut down and that aspect of the game will forever be unplayable.
I consider myself to be a solo gamer. Sure every now and again I will dip my toe in the multiplayer pool, but I never stay there long. My favorite kind of party is a Mario party. It is the only kind of party I ever get invited to. I enjoy playing with friends, but it is hard to find time when everyone is available to play games. Usually if I play with a friend it is a one on one kind of game. Every once and a while I will feel brave and log on to the internet and play strangers online, most of whom call me homophobic and racial slurs despite the fact that I am a straight cracker.
I see the appeal to online gaming, but I usually get board with online games after a day or two. I have friends who will play Call of Duty or Battlefield all day every day and never get tired of it. I don’t understand how they can play this over and over. I’ll play the single player mode, which I feel is the center piece of the game, then I will see what multiplayer is about, then I am ready to move on to my next game.
For me the single player, campaign, story mode is the driving feature. Multiplayer is just icing on the cake. I grow board with multiplayer very quickly and after a few rounds, am ready to quit. I need a goal or incentive to keep on playing and multiplayer just doesn’t do that for me.
I kind of got off topic there. I didn’t mean for this to turn into an article where I bitch about how I am not a fan of multiplayer, but that is what it seems like from rereading those last few paragraphs. I also want those damn kids to get off my lawn, music was better in my day and why are these damn hooligans wearing there pants below their buttocks.
Now where was I, oh yeah online segments of video games. Let’s look at a game like Super Mario brothers. Mario came out in 1983 (I think, and I don’t feel like looking it up) and people are still playing it today. People will probably continue to play it in the future. It is a classic that can be enjoyed as long as you have a system capable of playing it (which considering how many times it has been ported, is not a hard task). Now let’s look at a game like Mag on the Playstation 3. Mag is an online only shooter. It has no offline mode. Meaning when they shut the servers down for that game (if they haven’t already, once again I don’t know and don’t feel like checking but still want to comment on it, probably because I am an American) it will be unplayable. Ten years from now you can’t get nostalgic and bust out Mag. Likewise all the online components of other games will be unplayable. You will still be able to bust out Gears of War but only be able to play the story mode. The much beloved multiplayer will one day be lost in time confined to our memories. I and my mind sucks, so I have already forgotten about most of it.
Even the hotly debated downloadable content is not safe from the ravages of time. The article used Batman Arkham City as its example and so shall I. There are segments were you play as Catwoman. These segments are free if you bought the game new and ten dollars if you are playing a used copy, but regardless you to connect your system of choice and download these segements. At some point the combination of lack of interest and need to clear up space will claim this downloadable segment. All those who missed out on it will not get another chance and can only imagine what was.
Even though I speak gloom and doom, this current generation’s multiplayer and dlc are safe for the time being. I don’t see any thing being discontinued until the next cycle of consoles and even then the more popular titles will probably retain support for some time being. Do I think games should do away with online multiplayer and DLC? Hell no. People love them and they are money makers. However I do think developers should at least consider the longevity of their titles. Ten years from now I may not be able to play Uncharted online, but I will take solace in the fact that I will have a top notch offline mode that is playable as long as I am alive or have a working console. Don’t ignore offline mode, it is the difference between a fad and a classic.