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The Evolution of Multiplayer Games and Online Play

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the lan-of-the-lost dept.

PC Games (Games) 244

Ranga14 writes "The recently announced Command & Conquer 4 seems to be following the same path of Blizzard's Starcraft 2 in having no LAN/offline multiplayer. They will require users to be logged in at all times to even be able to play any facet of the game. What will this mean for LAN parties, gaming events and those who don't play online? Is this a sound business decision, or do EA & Blizzard not get that this method of attempting to thwart piracy will fail like others have?"

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When was the last LAN party you went to? (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688681)

I think it's a wrong move, but not because of LAN parties. LAN parties used to be a thing when internet was scarce, connections were slow and often you also had metered lines that only let you transfer so much traffic per month. Today, with bandwitdths that break the mbit borders easily and often hover about 10mbit, carrying your computer somewhere is, at best, something you'd do for special occasions. Events, maybe sponsored, where you may even win a prize for being good. Not just "getting together to play".

My argument against those mandatory online services is simple: What if the company ceases to exist or ceases to support the product? Good bye multiplayer (or even singleplayer)? Today I could still fire up a game of Starcraft, locally or through the internet, I needn't connect with BattleNet (let's assume it ever went away), I could play SC for as long as there is TCP/IP v4 around. Dunno if it works with v6, someone would have to try.

Tying a game to its maker essentially results in a better rental version. And I refuse to pay premium for renting a game.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688729)

Your comment is true in most senses, however, there are a lot of companies that do meter bandwidth, and that number is trending up. I personally would love to be able to LAN play because I still have a group of friends that can be pulled together for a LAN party, and I hate the thought that it would cost me more money just to game with them.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688733)

LAN parties used to be a thing when internet was scarce, connections were slow and often you also had metered lines that only let you transfer so much traffic per month.

This is still the case for satellite and mobile broadband in the United States.

I refuse to pay premium for renting a game.

Are you willing to give up video gaming altogether once all the major publishers of PC games have switched to this business model?

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688745)

Are you willing to give up video gaming altogether once all the major publishers of PC games have switched to this business model?

Of course.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (3, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688853)

I guess that's the fate I have to face, unless some get smart and realize that I'd buy their games if they didn't rely on a rental system.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (4, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688883)

The question is more of how much can the PC gaming community can take. First, it was more intrusive DRM, then activation, now its having to be online just to play a single player campaign.

I'm seeing an attitude in the game industry that is an off-putter. Yes, the economy in most of the world stinks, but instead of trying to jumpstart sales by putting out some innovative IP, I see the grip tightening over what stuff comes out. This creates a feedback loop because gamers either will just crack whatever protection something had (patch out DRM, make a server emulator), pirate the game, or just give the game company the finger and go back to playing WoW and not bother buying any works that are less functional than the previous versions.

What this does is create an opportunity for a small game company to take the market by storm by making a quality game that ends up widespread and played everywhere. This is how ID Software (and its predecessor, Apogee) got started. Yes, a lot of copies will be pirated, but a lot of times, pirated copies lead to bought copies. Right now, this market is ignored because of the white-hot iPhone app market, but once that hits saturation (could be six months to a year), people will want to have fun PC games again, and an indie software house could do well in all likelihood.

For new games, the barrier to entry is low, and it is high. It is low because almost anyone can write code, get an Authenticode signing key from MS, get an account with RegNow to handle registrations, then use Tucows or download.com as the main place where customers can download the executable. The barrier to entry is high because users are expecting 3D, theater quality graphics and sound at every turn. The days of writing a generic top-down RPG along the lines of Final Fantasy Legends are long over, unless one is writing an iPhone app. So, an indie publisher will have to deal with that by having gameplay so good it overshadows dated graphics.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (2, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688949)

"Yes, a lot of copies will be pirated, but a lot of times, pirated copies lead to bought copies."

And a lot of times, it doesn't. Pretty risky market to get into when you "might" be able to do better then a 90% piracy rate.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (2, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689049)

It is risky, but there are not many alternatives. A game company can:

Get a license to have their stuff on a console where piracy isn't an issue. This takes a lot of dough to get developer's access to this market.
Get an agreement to put titles on Steam. This also is cost prohibitive for smaller game writing companies unless they score a publisher.
Go with vigorous DRM which will help their first week or two sales, but will turn off legit users when the bad press mounts up.
Go with no DRM, and grumble about the freeloaders.

There is no best solution to this. However one solution that is workable would be to have the game have a CD-key that is checked for multiplayer play over the Internet, and is checked when it comes time to download a patch or added content. This way, single players and LAN play isn't affected, but if people want added content, they will need a valid key. Yes, this can be gotten around, but so can every other system out there.

Another probable solution, especially if first week sales numbers are valuable, is to put in a copy protected CD or activation based DRM system for a month or two on game release, then patch it out similar to how NWN 1 had the CD protection patched out. The downside of this would be the cost of paying the DRM library seller (or running the activation infrastructure in-house) for use of their product for a short time.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (1)

Malevolyn (776946) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689961)

Get a license to have their stuff on a console where piracy isn't an issue.

Since when is this not an issue? Enabling backups on the Wii is almost trivial, these days. And modchip installation is only getting easier.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28690279)

Good luck modchipping a PS3 or an Xbox 360. The second XBox Live sees anything out of the ordinary on the network handshake, or detects it during gameplay, that console gets permanently banned off their network. People still have yet to crack the ATA hard disk lock on those things, much less actually get pirated games working.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689813)

Citation necessary on that. The reality is that a game is going to be pirated whether the developer does something about it or not, but adding many tens of thousands of dollars. That's a huge number of games one would have to sell just to break even. Additionally there's been at least one study out that suggests pretty strongly that DRM itself causes a goodly chunk of piracy.

In other words, they'd probably have better luck if they weren't besmirching their own image by cracking down on people that are trying to use their legitimately paid for copy. I for one refuse to buy from Steam or any company that expects to lock down all of my content based upon what they feel like doing without recourse. Addtionally, as much as I'd like to play Spore, I haven't bought a copy because I absolutely refuse to buy software that can be deactivated after a few installs just because the company is afraid of piracy.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (2, Informative)

Trouvist (958280) | more than 5 years ago | (#28690031)

I think you need to read up on Steam. Personally I like it, though it does definitely have its pitfalls. However, the main point you argue about it (thinking you would lose access to it, is negated by the ability to burn ANY of the games you download to a CD/DVD and you also have access to the cd-keys that come with YOUR game). If you want references:
http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=892928/ [steampowered.com]
Also, offline works great for some games. I have bought Fallout 3 through steam but I don't play it anymore. However, my roommate still hasn't beaten it, so he plays it on his computer through steam in offline mode while I play TF2 or any other game I've got at the same time. No hassle, no worries, and of course I've got the Fallout 3 and Orange Box DVD's sitting right here, burned directly from Steam, which work perfectly.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689069)

The question is more of how much can the PC gaming community can take. First, it was more intrusive DRM, then activation, now its having to be online just to play a single player campaign.

No, the question is what alternatives are there and can EA buy them and then bring them into line. EA is always to go behave like this. Even if you have a different idea of how a game should play you still need EA or their ilk to distribute the physical copies.

The most promising invention to end this may well actually turn out to be Steam since they seam to have a much better attitude to their customers but that does not quite seem to have reached the penetration it needs to do this.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689123)

Even if you have a different idea of how a game should play you still need EA or their ilk to distribute the physical copies.

Only if you don't count online downloads (for cable/DSL users) or CDs by mail (for dial-up, satellite, and mobile broadband users).

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689831)

Steam isn't that much better, they do pretty actively clamp down on the second market and have definitely been known to deactivate entire accounts because somebody bought a couple of games on the second market.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (1)

fractalus (322043) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689111)

You are assuming that the current crop of game publishers gives a rat's ass about the PC market. They don't. They see the entire PC market as a den of thieves just waiting to copy their precious IP, and it's a tiny fraction of the size of the console market. Higher risk, vastly smaller return on investment, it's a no-brainer for them in a business sense: skip it. This is why they can justify trying to boil the frog by upping the DRM ante all the time--they don't really care that much if they lose the market.

The good news is, if the big publishers abandon the PC market, it will leave a demand vacuum and smaller companies will emerge to fill the gap by offering products people want.

Citation needed (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28690019)

the entire PC market [...] it's a tiny fraction of the size of the console market.

I'd like to see your source that the PC gaming market is a tiny fraction of the PLAYSTATION 3 gaming market. Or are you taking all the mutually incompatible consoles and lumping them into one market?

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689393)

The barrier to entry is high because users are expecting 3D, theater quality graphics and sound at every turn.

Except that doesn't explain the popularity of games like Plants vs Zombies.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (1)

Malevolyn (776946) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689921)

...now its having to be online just to play a single player campaign.

Don't forget requiring gamers to buy each campaign separately.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28690149)

This is how ID Software (and its predecessor, Apogee)

Apogee was not the 'predecessor' to iD. They are separate companies: Apogee was the publisher and iD the developer.

The reason you don't hear about Apogee anymore is because they changed their name to 3D Realms.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (5, Insightful)

Malevolyn (776946) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689907)

Are you willing to give up video gaming altogether once all the major publishers of PC games have switched to this business model?

I'd be much more willing to get into reverse engineering, actually.

What country? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28690161)

I'd be much more willing to get into reverse engineering, actually.

How much does it cost to move from the United States, home of Slashdot and EA and myself, to a developed country without a tradition of vexatious litigation against reverse engineers?

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688735)

Most companies when they go out of business especially one of any particular size they get bought out and sold to different companies/organizations. So if say Blizzard went out of business you may be able to setup a NFP Fund to buy BattleNet. for them and relicense it (You may not be able to GPL the code) or give it away to others. If a company is going out of business they are usually fairly open to selling stuff to you.

LAN Games have the problem with demographics now. Most people don't know when the LAN ends and the Internet begins, creating a support problem. Also it is not a heavily used feature as you said about LAN Parties are obsolete.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (3, Insightful)

prefect42 (141309) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688747)

There's also a trend of all assets being bought by another company, who then overvalues each individual asset such that this sort of venture can't happen.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (3, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688823)

Also it is not a heavily used feature as you said about LAN Parties are obsolete.

I agree that LAN parties are obsolete, though for an entirely different reason. Picture this situation: you have friends at your home, and you all happen to have the itch to play a video game. They don't have their PCs with them for any of several reasons:

  1. They didn't anticipate wanting to play a video game before they left.
  2. They aren't allowed to dismantle the family PC. (I see this a lot because I babysit.)
  3. Their PCs are laptops without a powerful enough graphics chip to play a recent first-person shooter. (This is becoming more common with the rise of Eee PC and other low-cost subnotebooks.)

The solution came in three pieces:

  1. In 1996, Nintendo added third and fourth controller ports to its Nintendo 64 video game console.
  2. In 1999, USB allowed connecting multiple gamepads to a computer through a hub.
  3. In 2008, television-sized LCD monitors became affordable, freeing from having to choose a laptop carefully to get SDTV out or buy and install an aftermarket video card to get SDTV out because HDTVs can display the VGA signals that PCs already put out.

So LAN parties, which had been popular throughout the eras of Doom and Quake, eventually became less necessary because friends can sit on the sofa and play console or HTPC games together.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688887)

What are you talking about?
Really, my group of friends still have LAN parties, and we're not the only ones. There's a big difference between playing a quick match against a friend over the internet and spending a couple of days together, playing and chatting and really just having a blast ;)

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688967)

What are you talking about?

I'll try to explain another way. A friend doesn't have a PC with him because he's at your house for a reason other than video games, but you two still get the urge to play a video game. With two people and one PC, not even a game that works on a LAN can save you. Solution: hook up the PC to a sufficiently large monitor and play a game designed for HTPCs.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28689295)

Alright, I see what you mean. I was referring to "planned LANs" myself. That's where the majority of my multiplayer gaming is done, anyways.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688983)

In 1999, USB allowed connecting multiple gamepads to a computer through a hub.

With Gravis GrIP you could hook up multiple gamepads on a single PC joystick port, this was released in 1996 iirc.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (1)

Saxerman (253676) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689005)

Don't propagate this myth. Hell, my Atari 400 came with 4 joystick ports. We had a multi-tap for our SNES so you could play 4 player games. That isn't new, and yet once we had our own PCs, we still went to LAN parties.

You can't play all games crowded around the same monitor. For some you really want your own audio/visual source so you're NOT all tied to one another in the same location. Playing games of 8 player X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter or Starcraft or Age of Empires, or 16 player Counter-Strike or Rainbow Six were expressly fun because we could all run off on our assigned tasks without worrying about going off screen or trying to watch our tiny slice of the split-screen. Breaking a LAN party up into two teams, where each team was in a separate room, beat the hell out of any cooperative on-line play I've ever experienced.

Now, granted, lugging around a 30 or even 40 pound monitor was a bit of a pain, even with those handy monitor tote straps. But, in the end, it only took a few minutes for us to tear down a PC, toss the cables in a bag, and pack it all into the car. As we'd have LAN parties every few (extended) weekends, setup was not the major pain. Have LAN party locations with adequate seating, power, ventilation, and ethernet ports was the tricky part. But once we had adequately sized apartments (gamers living in the next unit works fantastic) or homes, we had our gaming mecca.

Once new game consoles came out that have ports for everyone to plug in their own audio/visual head set, then you'll have a case. Until then, for me at least, there is still something to be said for LAN parties.

Five PCs in a nuclear family? (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689257)

Hell, my Atari 400 came with 4 joystick ports.

I don't count the 8-bits because they barely had enough palette colors for two players + enemies, let alone four.

We had a multi-tap for our SNES so you could play 4 player games.

The NES, Super NES, PlayStation, and PlayStation 2 had hubs for gamepads. But these hubs often didn't come out until one or more years after the console's release, and apart from games such as Bomberman that were bundled with a hub, programmers couldn't depend on one being present. That's why the N64, Dreamcast, GameCube, and Xbox had more games that actually used four gamepads.

You have fond memories of late-1990s LAN gaming. But as I understand it, PCs in the 1990s were still considered too expensive for mom, dad, and three kids to own five PCs among them.

Once new game consoles came out that have ports for everyone to plug in their own audio/visual head set, then you'll have a case.

PSP.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689445)

Lan parties have never been obsolete. What do you call 4 people getting together to play a video game, or maybe 2 or 3 consoles getting together to play?

Now what if these are say Xbox consoles with diablo 3, which now have to get online to play?

Guess you're screwed then, huh?

Your reasoning is just off in all ways. Lan parties still exist for tons of reasons such as a: people want to game together and b: some people either don't have the bandwidth to game remotely (but have the PC) or people I don't know, enjoy super great latency on a lan?

Sheesus man, your comment was ignorant.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689867)

Lan parties have never been obsolete.

I overstated. All I meant is that they're less necessary now that 4-player sofa gaming is possible on PC, Xbox 360, Wii, and PLAYSTATION 3.

What do you call 4 people getting together to play a video game

I call it a "brawl". Getting started with Wii multiplayer costs $500 for a TV, $250 for a console, $120 for controllers, and $50 for a game. It's a lot cheaper than mouse-and-keyboard games, which typically need a separate $400 PC, $200 monitor, and $40 copy of the game for each player.

Now what if these are say Xbox consoles with diablo 3, which now have to get online to play?

Unless it's an MMORPG like Final Fantasy XI, Microsoft will probably mandate that each developer include at least a single-player mode that can be played disconnected from the Internet. And I've seen hack-and-slash games that allow multiple players on one screen; one was Gauntlet, and another was Secret of Mana.

some people either don't have the bandwidth to game remotely (but have the PC)

I guess I'm just biased because I babysit, and in my experience, not having the PC is more likely than having the PC.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (1)

Mordaximus (566304) | more than 5 years ago | (#28690265)

The solution came in three pieces: In 1996, Nintendo added third and fourth controller ports to its Nintendo 64 video game console.

This is besides the point, but I can think of at least one system that had 4 joystick ports, the Atari 800, almost 2 decades before this :)

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (1)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 5 years ago | (#28690483)

I disagree. I see no reason that LAN parties would be obsolete. However the make up has changed.

Two things have changed. One is the industry sells a shit ton of laptops now, and for many years now, more lap tops than desktops. If anything this trend would see MORE LAN parties than ever before, if only because everyone is more portable now. The second thing is the people who might participate in LAN parties are more "mainstream" if you will, and are probably less tech savvy and don't care all that much about the latest and greatest hardware, so long as "it just works". That seems to be the trend these days.

That said you get a different type of LAN party, and this is what Blizzard is banking on. First of all if you think that StarCraft2 will not be designed to run on a laptop with integrated graphics your insane. If you look at any software that Blizzard has ever done, the one thing that they have been smart and consistent about is making software that will run on a very large range of hardware. Sure it may not look as good with everything dialed down, but if you can carry it around with you, that may be viewed as a decent trade off. So given that, these people are not the type that would spend a lot of time to try and figure out how the heck to network all their shit together to have a LAN party. Blizzard could have probably created something, but they already have something that does this, called Battlenet. Sure everyone connecting to Battlenet to network to the guy sitting next to you is not as fast as a direct network, but then again most will not be able to take advantage of speed due to hardware anyway.

This is not to say that hardcore LAN parties would not happen, but from a business perspective they are likely hitting their largest market this way, and that is not to mention the other advantages they gain from doing this (Piracy, control, expand on brand battlenet and invest in making it better, etc...)

I personally still think it is a dick move, as it sort of does screw over its loyal hardcore fan base (like me). I know I am not happy about it, but I understand their reasons for doing it, and if you think about it, it makes sense from their perspective, just not from mine. I know the decision moved me from the will defiantly pre-order and buy right away category, to they will probably buy it eventually category.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688989)

Just because a company is bought out it doesn't mean that whoever buys it will honor their "old" games and their players. Quite the opposite. Most of the buyouts care for IP, not for released games and (god forbid!) actually supporting them.

They don't want you to be able to play $good_game, made by the company they bought out. They want you to go buy $good_game 2 that they just released, which is essentially the same game with new graphics, but now from the new company. And now they can also make you do that: Simply snip the power supply to the server that enabled you to play $good_game.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688751)

I have to disagree with you on the LAN party bit. At least where I live LAN parties are still much appreciated events where all gamers get together and socialize and try to kill each other (virtually), and maybe have a few beers as well. Most LAN parties around here are held in locations where there are no internet connection, so that would be a huge problem. Some parties do have internet connections (e.g. at the university), but they might not be sufficient to hold a larger LAN party.

I agree with you on the problem that could arise in a few years if the company ceases to exist or ceases to support the product, but that is highly unlikely with Blizzard :) at least for now.

Tying gamers to an internet connection is very very very very very wrong.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689035)

Dag Nabbit. I am still furious that games are not longer played across Null Modem Serial Cables. This is wrong very wrong. Some parties they don't have Network connections only a serial cable and a couple of serial ports in the back on their computer.

Seriously though. If you have a LAN setup you normally have a good enough internet connection. If someone doesn't then they can hook up to your LAN and still play over the internet, As most peoples LANs have an internet gateway. Unless you just want to buy hundreds of dollars in equipment setup an infrastructure in you house. Just for something that happens once every couple of months and each month less and less people show up, because they can do it over the internet easier.

Now if say Blizzard went out of business what would happen? They just turn off all the servers an go home never to return. NO! they will sell it to an other company and they will maintain it, if not they will probably sell it, to someone who will.

We all know one... (1)

AdetheRare (1538769) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688763)

I think it's a wrong move, but not because of LAN parties. LAN parties used to be a thing when internet was scarce

Holy crap, I mean, I know someone who's only contact with *people* is when he has a LAN party. All this would do is remove any incentive he may have to wash...

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (2, Insightful)

Kentaree (1078787) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688789)

I frequent a netcafe where a bunch of my pals go and we very often play games like Counterstrike, Left4Dead on the LAN. I also remember having lots of fun playing C&C:Generals with a single one of my friends over LAN. Nothing beats hurling insults across the room to people you've just shot/been shot by, and the level of fun is huge. Of course now you could setup an online passworded game to only allow your friends to join, but that'll start to eat bandwidth really quickly...

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688839)

Pffft, I've been going to LAN parties for years, heck I used to organise them. There were some initial teething problems with steam, CSS, TF2 etc requiring an internet connection to play, and everyone rocking up needing updates. But these days? Nah, needing an internet connection seems normal now.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (3, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688971)

Tying a game to its maker essentially results in a better rental version. And I refuse to pay premium for renting a game.

And that is what this is really about. Content Producers (music, movie, and software publishers) don't want to sell you content any longer, they want to rent it to you. The problem with selling content is that you have to keep coming up with new content in order to ensure a revenue stream. If I can get you to pay me a rental fee (that's not what they call it), I can generate an ongoing revenue stream off of one killer product.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (2, Insightful)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689001)

My argument against those mandatory online services is simple: What if the company ceases to exist or ceases to support the product? Good bye multiplayer (or even singleplayer)? Today I could still fire up a game of Starcraft, locally or through the internet, I needn't connect with BattleNet (let's assume it ever went away), I could play SC for as long as there is TCP/IP v4 around. Dunno if it works with v6, someone would have to try.

Basically, tough shit. They make a product you can use it with the strings they attach or not bother. That is how things work.

This is probably also by design anyway since by retiring the servers for old games at an opportune time they can force you to buy a copy of C&C 5 when that is released. How do you think they have managed to sell what is basically the same game play over and over again. I have probably played every C&C game from the first Dune game they did in the 90s through to the latest Tiberian Sun. There really are not that many differences between them apart from the graphics getting ever prettier. I know this is true of a great many games but that is the reality of what the gaming industry has become.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 5 years ago | (#28690395)

My argument against those mandatory online services is simple: What if the company ceases to exist or ceases to support the product?

Basically, tough shit. They make a product you can use it with the strings they attach or not bother.

Well that's the whole point of this article, they will lose sales if they move to an online model. Some friends of mine have 2 PCs, one they use for internet access, and one that is offline 99% of the time but can be plugged into the LAN. They don't have a router, so only one of their PCs can be online at a time. Anyone in this situation will only buy one copy of a game, and will not be able to play with their partner or friend.

College lans.. (2, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689093)

Dormitories in college tend to be amazing places for mass lan parties.

Back in 03 in my last year in a standard dormitory I remember whole floors engaging in multiplayer FPS and RTS games, doors open, taunting, cheering, and having fun.

This move is indeed dumb, especially given the ever tightening noose on college gateways.

If no patch is made to incorporate lan play into the game, it simply will not be used by a heavy portion of the target demographic for lack of feasibility.

Re:College lans.. (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689299)

Dormitories in college tend to be amazing places for mass lan parties.

But when you graduate, marry, and have kids, will you have the money to keep five PCs upgraded, one for you, your spouse, and each of your children?

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (1)

autoevolution (1519077) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689371)

I think that laning will become more and more common now that we have laptops with wireless and even gaming laptops.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689883)

When was the last LAN party you went to?

Hrm... Come to think of it, I haven't been to a LAN party since 2002? Then came the career, girlfriend, family...

Wait a minute, this is a trick to make me feel old isn't it?!

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28690073)

What one must remember is that the upload bandwith which computer games use up more of than with regular http requests.

That is usually capped at around 128kbits for low speed dsl, 384kbits for 4-6 megs, and 768kbits for 10mbits and above.

Re:When was the last LAN party you went to? (1)

Dr. Impossible (1580675) | more than 5 years ago | (#28690287)

Today, with bandwitdths that break the mbit borders easily and often hover about 10mbit, carrying your computer somewhere is, at best, something you'd do for special occasions.

Few people have that kind of bandwidth. I was stuck with 50 kbps until my ISP mysteriously bumped me to 100 kbps. But even with 50 kbps you can play games like Counter-Strike: Source with a latency of ~20ms on servers that are close by.

The real question is (1)

gravyface (592485) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688701)

what will happen to co-op?

Re:The real question is (1)

Fozzyuw (950608) | more than 5 years ago | (#28690475)

Left 4 Dead is a great co-op. There's also a similar genre PC game from Steam called "Killing Floor", but I've never tried it. Left 4 Dead 2 will be having the same Co-op. I guess you can consider every MMO a co-op game. But as far as RTS, there's not been a whole lot in that category for a while. I just finished Bioshock and while that would have been awesome with a co-op feature, it just wouldn't have been the same. Of course, we're talking PC games. The new Ghostbusters game has great Co-op features. I just saved $100 on Guitar Hero: World Tour, which is definitely co-op.

So, you'd have to clarify what "co-op" you're talking about.

So they're not actually charging for the game? (4, Interesting)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688731)

If you can't play the game except through their online service, I assume they're not actually charging you for the game software itself?

No, of course not. They'd never double-charge people for a game, would they?

Re:So they're not actually charging for the game? (1)

Kentaree (1078787) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688807)

They haven't so far, as their service is free, however, looking at something like XBox Live (which, admittedly, has a lot more games than EA's service would ever have), a small payment for quality mightn't be a bad thing either

Re:So they're not actually charging for the game? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689149)

Quality is not a word I would use in combination with XBox Live.

A step towards charging to play (2, Interesting)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688897)

I think your point is accurate. I am absolutely certain the eventual goal is to squeeze money out of every second of time the gamers play the game, and the first step towards that goal is to have a means to account for all the time played.

What was free must now be monetized... how else can the business grow?

WTF is a LAN these days? (0)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688803)

This isn't 2001 when bandwidth meant dial-up and your local network was running at 10Mbps so the internet connection was an issue. This is 2009 when your internet connection is running at 8Mbps+ and your network is a mixture of hardwired and 802.11n. I've seen people on TRAINS with a 3G connection playing WoW, sure they get the occasional lag, but mainly it appears to be fine for them and that is on a TRAIN.

My backup storage is at Amazon
My email is at Google
My home network is accessible via VPN where ever I am in the world
My printer is on WiFi
One laptop is always on a 3G connection
One laptop is always on WiFi
One desktop is always on WiFi
One desktop is always hard-wired

I can flatten the network to include the in-laws if I need to do some tech support for them and they are 400+ miles away and I could do that from a laptop 5000+ miles away if I wanted to.

My point is that who the hell worries about a personal LAN environment for things like Gaming where most people have decent internet connections and really wouldn't have a problem either sharing the bandwidth (if they want to be social) or staying at home and going broad (if they want to be virtually sociable).

I really don't get why people in IT keep wanting things to be the same as they were at a specific point in time. I don't want to lug servers around for LAN parties, I don't want to have a dial-up connection to the internet and I really don't give a shit if games developers assume I have an internet connection for a multi-player game.

People will probably bleat about "piracy" and that this just "sucks" so here is and answer... if you want to do LAN parties and want to pirate software

Don't play games that require you to authenticate via a central server

See easy isn't it? Now stop bleating that people aren't making your piracy easy.

Re:WTF is a LAN these days? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688829)

Got over yourself. Not everyone is a dweeb like you. Some people like meeting up with others. *SHOCK*

Re:WTF is a LAN these days? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688879)

My point is that who the hell worries about a personal LAN environment for things like Gaming where most people have decent internet connections

My mother lives in the country. For her, a "decent Internet connection" is ISDN, which is faster than dial-up but not always on and still only 0.13 Mbps.

Re:WTF is a LAN these days? (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 5 years ago | (#28690101)

My mother lives in the country.

Your mother is neither "most people" or "most people who are gamers".

Unless she is some little old lady who happens to be hardcore FPS player screaming "Boom! Headshot!"

Re:WTF is a LAN these days? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28690239)

Your mother is neither "most people" or "most people who are gamers".

My sister, who lives with our mother, plays video games.

Re:WTF is a LAN these days? (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688921)

You seem to be making the case that if you want to LAN you also want to Pirate games, which simply isn't the case.

There are people, like me, who are much worse off than you internet wise, and, hell, much worse off than me...

My backup storage is on DVD/Memory Stick
My email is on the web, and I expect that something Internet based be on the Internet.
My home network is not accessible outside because I don't need it everywhere
I don't own a printer at home
I own one computer
I own one computer
I own one computer
I own one computer and it's on Wifi, because my socket is in another room and I'm not getting a 20m cable just to plug my box in

Not only that, but I regularly unplug my box (which is a midi-tower, and quite light) and take it up to my friends house so we can LAN together. We play things like Left 4 Dead, which while requiring Steam, CAN be played without a net connection active. We play old C&C games and Starcraft 1. Unreal Tournament, both classic and the newest one, SWAT 4 and various Half-life mods.

There's a difference between keeping progress at one point in time and maintaining some form of safety net.I don't mind games companies assuming I have an Internet connection, but I do mind them assuming I'll always have it up (LAN parties happen, outages happen, and if one does, I don't want my box to be limp and lifeless because of it - this goes for things like web-based office apps too)

I don't mind having to authenticate with a central server - ONCE. Or indeed, whenever I play online. Just let me LAN!

Ehem... there goes in flight entertainment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688805)

so you can't play it on a plane, train the channel tunnel so on and so forth.

Re:Ehem... there goes in flight entertainment (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688851)

EA and Activision make plenty of games for iPod Touch, DS, and PSP, none of which require an Internet connection and all of which are supposed to be playable on a plane.

Re:Ehem... there goes in flight entertainment (3, Funny)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689047)

I like to play Snakes on a plane.

Summary (2, Interesting)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688827)

Don't you love it when the summary already tells you which is your position? I mean, the editor may think it is not a good move, it will alienate users, and so on, but alright claiming that

do EA & Blizzard not get that this method of attempting to thwart piracy will fail like others have?

leaves little room for opinion. Makes you wonder why do they let us comment at all, since the truth has already been established.

Not sure why it will fail. (3, Interesting)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688857)

If they really have taken this decision as a measure to prevent piracy I am not sure why the summary above is so sure it will fail. Sure, the game will still be pirated and will still be available on the Pirate Bay in no time however this measure will probably reduce piracy.

If I was required to buy a legal licensed copy of the game to play online I probably would. The alternative is I download a hack that enables me to play a pirated copy, but if they ever patch the game or server to detect this hack that is massive risk as they have a permanent record me having used a hack.

My favourite online game is Americas Army. If you do well on my server I will look you up on this site (http://www.aa-accounthistory.com/). If I see a linked banned account, your gone and added to my server as a MAC ban. Since this history site links accounts by IP, MAC and the GUID associated with your account getting a banned account listed on it can be a right pain. To be thoroughly clear you may need to change you IP if you have a static address and also use a MAC changer (or buy a new network card).

To play any game well online takes practice. If you are going to download a pirated copy and then play until you get caught and your account banned that practice is wasted since any sort of online league play is out of the question. Also, if they implement a similar history tracking site then you may find you a new legal account from a bought copy is also banned as it is associated with a hacked previous illegal copy. There is nothing legally wrong with this as the shrink wrapped licence you have to agree to when you install the software probably mentions this could happen.

Ultimately this is what they are aiming for, they do not want to stop all piracy of their game since that is obviously impossible. They do want to keep it to a minimum by preventing illegal copies from being able to play online and hence they people using them will miss out on a large part of the gameplay. This is a major reason why game companies are moving towards games that involve an online component, it gives people an added reason to buy a legit copy.

Re:Not sure why it will fail. (4, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689031)

this measure will probably reduce piracy

Super. Now, will it increase sales?

Re:Not sure why it will fail. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28689451)

Super. Now, will it increase sales?

It sure as hell will. The only games I ever bought were ones for which there wasn't a working crack available. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one, either.

It doesn't work the other way round, though. I wouldn't have bought every game I ever pirated. In fact, the percentage would be quite small, but still I might have bought a dozen or so more games thus far.

Re:Not sure why it will fail. (1)

taffeli (915553) | more than 5 years ago | (#28690321)

Some time ago Blizzard tried to sue chinese Haofang for allowing gamers to play with non-legit cd-keys. Haofang works a bit like Hamachi - it allows to make LAN games over VPN. Reason why Blizzard lost the suit was that the judges found that cd-keys weren't really Haofangs problem because Starcraft already had a LAN mode that didn't require a cd-key. It might be possible that the number of chinese playing with non-legit cd-keys is too great a problem to for Blizzard to ignore. We still don't know how b.net 2.0 will work, perhaps it will simply add an cd-key check to LAN play (authenticated LAN play?). This would work well for Blizzard, if it want's to cut down on rampant chinese piracy - filing a lawsuit against a future service that doesn't care about cd-keys gets so much easier.

It's stupid really... and will fail (3, Interesting)

RaigetheFury (1000827) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688865)

This will only encourage people to build add-ons for the game that allow LAN play. Its happened with dozens of games and frankly this is just plain stupid.

LANS are there for people to get together and have a good time. A LOT of people use wireless connections in their house and that shit is attrocious for LAN play. You can say what you want, but most home hardware that people buy just isn't designed for 6+ people gaming over the internet at the same time. Forget the connection... just the hardware.

A $20 hub lets 10 people play in a LAN where it costs a lot more to setup the same level of connection over the internet in one location. You can try to argue with me but the fact is you're wrong.

I love LANS. People in the same room, talking smack, eating pizza, it's so much better than being on a headset talking over ventrilo. You can see their expressions when you nail em or overwhelm their defenses... It's also being able to come to a physical location, and as we get older, there are no kids, no annoying significant others (we have women in our group so saying wives would be wrong) who keep interrupting. They are there and not being hit with interruptions.

I've lost all real desire to play SC2. I was so excited about it... but the whole point of SC2 is playing with friends and removing LAN play removes half of the reason I play games like that. Sure... we can play online... but it limits us, or requires us to move equipment to other parts of the house so we can all hook up to the router physically since wireless is terrible, and most of us don't have wireless cards for our Desktops. Any gamer who thinks they can beat me while using a laptop is in for one hell of a spanking.

Re:It's stupid really... and will fail (1)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689109)

People in the same room, talking smack

I read that as "taking smack" ! I'd have thought speed was the drug of choice amongst LAN party-goers.

The LAN Experience (1)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689289)

I remember when a hub cost a lot more than $20 and broadband was a novelty. Back then, my friends and I would get together and hook our computers up via our serial ports using crossover cables to play Starcraft! Blizzard really went out of their way to give you lots of options for multiplay, and even the stranger ones (like serial-port daisychaining) had their uses.

Re:It's stupid really... and will fail (1)

cpricejones (950353) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689391)

Also, don't forget that for Starcraft the LAN connection is necessary for proper micromanagement of units (mutalisks in particular). My guess is that the games with the best fan support will quickly see mods that allow for LAN play. The games that see less fan support will likely suffer in the long run.

Re:It's stupid really... and will fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28689749)

"Any gamer who thinks they can beat me while using a laptop is in for one hell of a spanking.***"

*** Disclaimer: Does not apply to Asians.

Re:It's stupid really... and will fail (1)

Dr. Impossible (1580675) | more than 5 years ago | (#28690335)

I wonder how the loss of LAN functionality will affect professional gaming.

Steel Battalion all over again (3, Informative)

sargon666777 (555498) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688873)

This is a risky move on their part. If you want an example of what can occur when a company does something like this, and then decides that it may not be as profitable as it hopes look no further than Steel Battalion: Line of Contact from Capcom. That game was only out for right about 1 year before they shut down the campaign servers. After that a large portion of the game became unplayable. I doubt the Command & Conquer franchise will die, but I would be willing to venture a guess that in a few years the game may no longer be playable once the company realizes they have no obligation to keep these servers up and running.

asdf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688889)

I think you need LAN to have competitive play. I wont settle for a competitive match over the internet. Its not right. Although both users are fighting on the same equal grounds. It makes all the difference to defeat someone in real time. Blizzard should know this. There has to be LAN play. Maybe there will be some sort of Server Starcraft version that will be used for LAN Play. Could be interesting actually.

It won't fail, though (4, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688915)

The commentary added to the bottom of the summary is wrong. This has a good chance of success at thwarting piracy.

The goal of anti-piracy measures is never to eliminate 100% of piracy until the end of time. That's nearly impossible, and they know it. What they really want to do is make it so that either you can't pirate it for the frst little while, or that you don't want to. Having no functional online play whatsoever in the pirated version is a pretty effective way of making the pirated version worse then the retail version. (That's the opposite strategy of stuff like SecuROM, which generally makes the retail version worse then the pirated version.)

LAN functionality is a real problem in that department now, because it's used primarily for pirates to play on Hamachi (and the like) with each other. Remove it from the game entirely, and the pirates no longer have to simply bypass SecuROM or an offline disk check. They have to emulate Battle.net in order to get any multiplayer working.

Will they do that eventually? Absolutely. Will they do that within the first 2 week sales rush? Highly unlikely. If it takes them a couple months before the pirated versions have online play, then by the standard of what the companies are trying to do, it's a successful anti-piracy measure.

As usual, you crooks who rip off games because you want free stuff are just screwing it up for everybody else.

Re:It won't fail, though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28689009)

"The commentary added to the bottom of the summary is wrong. This has a good chance of success at thwarting piracy."

I agree. I also disagree with the post a bit - it IS a good measure anti-piracy. It will take many months until a new PVPGN-like server software comes; and depending on how well they did it (some code/functions/keys on the server only), it may even be impossible to do it...

Re:It won't fail, though (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28689147)

As usual, you crooks who rip off games because you want free stuff are just screwing it up for everybody else.

I usually purchase my games and then download a cracked copy so I can, you know, do what I want with my game.

Re:It won't fail, though (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689181)

The commentary added to the bottom of the summary is wrong. This has a good chance of success at thwarting piracy.

The goal of anti-piracy measures is never to eliminate 100% of piracy until the end of time. That's nearly impossible, and they know it. What they really want to do is make it so that either you can't pirate it for the frst little while, or that you don't want to. Having no functional online play whatsoever in the pirated version is a pretty effective way of making the pirated version worse then the retail version. (That's the opposite strategy of stuff like SecuROM, which generally makes the retail version worse then the pirated version.)

LAN functionality is a real problem in that department now, because it's used primarily for pirates to play on Hamachi (and the like) with each other. Remove it from the game entirely, and the pirates no longer have to simply bypass SecuROM or an offline disk check. They have to emulate Battle.net in order to get any multiplayer working.

Will they do that eventually? Absolutely. Will they do that within the first 2 week sales rush? Highly unlikely. If it takes them a couple months before the pirated versions have online play, then by the standard of what the companies are trying to do, it's a successful anti-piracy measure.

As usual, you crooks who rip off games because you want free stuff are just screwing it up for everybody else.

one word: bnetd

just because the court ruled against it doesnt mean it's not still there in underground circles and bit torrent sites, still under development by altruistic white-hats.

If they disable lan play they'll simply install bnetd on an old box and spoof a local server.

So yes, it will fail miserably at its goal and alienate vast swaths of the customer base with high latency satellite service and those behind ever restricted university gateways.

Re:It won't fail, though (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689243)

So, you've got a copy of bnetd working with Starcraft 2?

Will you have one within the first couple weeks of the game being released?

Probably not, in which case everything I said is true. Eventually there will be one that can do that, and the game companies know it. Their goal is to block piracy in the early period where they can get the most sales and make the most money. The goal isn't to block piracy 3 months from release (that'd be a bonus if they actually did it).

Re:It won't fail, though (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689283)

So, you've got a copy of bnetd working with Starcraft 2?

Will you have one within the first couple weeks of the game being released?

Probably not, in which case everything I said is true. Eventually there will be one that can do that, and the game companies know it. Their goal is to block piracy in the early period where they can get the most sales and make the most money. The goal isn't to block piracy 3 months from release (that'd be a bonus if they actually did it).

this is bunk.

pirates and people who simply cannot feasibly handle the latency will not buy the product, and will wait out the hack.

it happened with psobb, among many many other titles.

do keep spewing the party line though, i'm sure whichever lobbyping/pr firm which hired you for your low userid will give you a bonus.

Re:It won't fail, though (1)

Cnegurozka (1001038) | more than 5 years ago | (#28690423)

So, you've got a copy of bnetd working with Starcraft 2?

Will you have one within the first couple weeks of the game being released?

Yes, we will have it. This will just need to be a simple matchmaking service. The bnetd version for Warcraft 3 for example was ready while Warcraft 3 was still in closed Beta!

Re:It won't fail, though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28689239)

I definitely agree with the first part of this, the goal is only to limit piracy at game launch. I would not doubt that Blizzard will release a patch after 2 months allowing LAN play. They will say that it is because they are listening to what their users want. Everyone here will pat themselves on the back and say "told you so." Basically everyone gets what they want.

Now I don't think 2 months is a hard and fast rule. They will watch their own sales numbers and determine when it has petered out enough to put some extra wind in the sails. But I do think it will be coming.

Re:It won't fail, though (1)

mumb0.jumb0 (1419117) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689271)

It is my guess that, "some time" after the initial sales rush, they will release a patch that allows offline play - in much the same way some games required a disc in the drive to play initially, then that security requirement was patched out.

At least, that is what I'd do if I were them.

Re:It won't fail, though (1)

griffinfinity (121020) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689301)

I agree. This and many other platforms will not fail. They will lead to better ideas and ultimately one will prevail. They will all do their part and push the evolution of games. I do know that it is a good bet that people will be competing, watching and hanging out together whenever games are involved. That is a certainty and a good place to start. Expand from there. Games, whether they be board games, sports games, pinball games, atari games, sega games, floppy drive games, pc games, nintendo/x-box have one thing in common: competition. Yeah, they say that multi-player is being phased out. I remember when the opposite was the trend. Gamers love to hang out together if for no other reason than to engage in the lively art of verbal joust (conversation). It happened in the pinball arcades in the 60's, and it's happen right now.

We are seeing the very early stages of product placement and adverts written into the software. I believe that the games will all be free in due time, and that the advertising and product placement will pay for it all. We also have to remember that the technology will get better and there will be more for developers to work with. Remember, GAMERS pushed the development of video and sound cards. We overclocked and they paid attention. Pretty soon, we had our own experts lighting up the net with precise reviews, that got the attention of the hardware makers. We will continue to push this thing forward...

Thwarting piracy to what end? (1)

falckon (1015637) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689129)

Let's say they are successful, and they do make it such that you can't play online, or even at all without a legitimate copy. These copyright measures are obviously annoying to their legitimate customers, as evidenced by many /.ers here, and I'd venture a guess that they don't increase sales. I think that most people who pirate games wouldn't buy them anyways, they will just find something else to pirate. They may end up getting 5% of the people who would have pirated the game to buy it, but by annoying their paying customer base with limited functionality or a required connection to play I think it hurts sales more than it helps them in the long run. Pirates will always be there, freeloading your games, companies should worry about impressing their paying customer base.

This is (0)

Kurusuki (1049294) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689209)

This is the new paradigm for gaming. With new connectivity and methods of piracy the method for protecting the games assets has changed. The gaming industry, unlike the recording industries, has seen that the tides are changing and adapted to the new waters. LAN functionality was critical when the internet wasn't as assured. We're beyond that point and the delivery mechanism has changed to follow suit. Why everyone is so surprised an industry is evolving is beyond me. I'd have guessed /. would be some of the most understanding gamers on the web. Hell, we don't even know battle.net 2.0's functionality yet, and we're already burning the game at the stake for not having LAN. When has blizzard ever failed us? And we all act as if this is the first game ever to not have offline content. World of Warcraft, arguable Team Fortress 2 (sorta kinda), and it's too early with too little time to research for more than what's on the top of my head. But neither of those games flopped. LAN is going the way of VHS and dial-up modems. They still exist, but the people who use them aren't the same people who would be buying new blu-rays or games like StarCraft II. Honestly, if you want LAN play so bad just stick with StarCraft classic, nothing is truly wrong with that game aside from its horrendous resolution. Personally I don't give a damn if there is no LAN, I'm more than sure battle.net 2.0 will more than cover that functionality with gusto.

I Don't Care (1)

Loopy1492 (1308571) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689281)

You can still call it a "LAN Party". We do. It's kinda disingenuous, but who cares? We get together to play WoW at each other's houses all the time. My wireless network can handle it. It'll be the same for Starcraft and C&C. Whatever.

Re:I Don't Care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28689489)

We get together to play WoW at each other's houses all the time

MOM! More Hot Pockets!

Nice example of why PC gaming dying (1)

Fotograf (1515543) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689311)

there you go. Add limitations, remove features, lower fun, push graphics and requirements up.

I run one of the national Starcraft forums (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689635)

in my country. despite that, i wont buy sc2 if its missing lan play. i see that many of our community members will do the same too. whichever executive moron came up with that no lan idea, can shove the cds up his ass now.

I've Said It Before, I'll Say It Again - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28689745)

These companies are looking for two things when they hogtie players to their online services:

1. Eliminate the possibility of resale or modification by binding the copy to your computer and forcing you to call home every time you play, giving absolute control over your copy and your playable content to the publisher. There's a lot of room for abuse here, and also a lot of room for even more complications than what PC gamers already have to deal with.

2. Conditioning players for more subscription-based gaming and a vastly more expensive gaming experience. If you don't think you won't be expected to pay extra to liberate your already bought copies of Starcraft 2, Diablo 3, and Command & Conquer 4 once you get them, think again. These companies are taking the Korean approach, but here's the kicker - it was a pay-to-play method intended to support games that could be played FREE OF CHARGE, not games that are going to cost sixty dollars a pop.

Make no mistake about it. Vivendi and Electronic Arts are making some very bad moves. This stuff won't work, it won't fix anything, it will be broken, and it absolutely will piss a lot of people off. It already has. Fanboys might fall for this, but even kids can tell these publishers are asking us to get ripped off. They're MMOGifying everything just for the extra scratch while paring down features and even basic ownership, and that's bullshit.

Stop buying these new games and play Starcraft 1.. (2, Insightful)

autoevolution (1519077) | more than 5 years ago | (#28689767)

This is exactly why everyone should play Starcraft: Brood War, you may argue that the UI and graphics are shit but hey, the same could be said about chess or go, I mean, having to actually move the peices with your hand? Worst UI design ever, yet people still play these games. Plus, Starcraft has a lot of gameplay and metagame, taking a long time to master unless you are a genius, making the gameplay never boring as it is a learning experience throughout, even the pro's are constantly learning and changing their strategies. But for such a game, the latency ( or time between when your mouse click or keyboard hit is registered ) in multilayer games is very important for micromanagement ( especially mutalisk harassment where mutalisks are timed to launch their attack on the edge of their range and move back immediately to achieve a very optimal and powerful guerrilla warfare effect when done repeatedly ). Which is why latency changing tools have been added to the game so that latency equal to that of lan can be archived on battle.net ( of course with a penalty to lag which is not the same as latency ). Graphics to me, mean nothing, because just look at the world around you, if you want to look at pretty pictures, just look out your window. Starcraft's online environment is ( IMO ) much more mature than other games ( eg Halo on Xbox live ) since the players online are ages 20+, the only players under the age of 20 playing starcraft online are kids from Korea. Teens new to gaming will generally not play Starcraft in north america as they have much newer games with better graphics to attract that age group. However the argument that LAN is dead to me is completely invalid as I on a weekly basis have lan parties at friend's places through a wireless router, and everyone has laptops so it is not like carrying around a pc, nowadays laptops are so portable as you can carry them in backpacks designed to carry laptops.

Send them an email (3, Insightful)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 5 years ago | (#28690039)

I loved the original starcraft game but didn't really like playing online because of the cheating and honestly it's more fun to play in a room full of people you know. I also don't support this designed obsolescence crap. I can still load up starcraft and play it with my friends and will still be able to in 10 years regardless of what happens to blizzard.

I just sent off an email to blizzard telling them I'm not buying their new version and I suggest you do the same. It only takes a minute and if everyone started doing something other than sitting on their asses things might change.

http://us.blizzard.com/support/webform.xml?locale=en_US [blizzard.com]

I see no way to email EA without having an account. Maybe someone else can find a method.

Re:Send them an email (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 5 years ago | (#28690165)

I got an automatic reply. Here is more information -

Live Billing & Account Services REPS,
 
1-800-592-5499 USA
1-800-041-378 Australia (Missing digit? WTF)
1-800-2549-9273 Singapore
001-888-578-7628 Mexico
0800-333-0778 Argentina
1230-020-5554 Chile
1-949-955-0283 Other

Thanks (1)

Lije Baley (88936) | more than 5 years ago | (#28690329)

Thanks to the Hamachi-loving jerks who spoil it for families like mine which use LAN disc-sharing legitimately.

Steam anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28690461)

Steam anyone? I've stood by steam since it first released. Amazing product, no one else has been able to recreate it and it took them years to get to the point there at. But they did hit the nail right on the head, and it seems that most dev's/producers don't wanna shell out the extra for productions costs so steam is lookin pretty good.

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