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  #1  
Old 05-28-2014, 02:50 PM
Silvers Silvers is offline
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Default Does an always online requirement for games actually help devs?

A neat looking strategy game recently came out. I was about to hit 'buy', when I noticed it required an internet connection. After that, I decided not to bother.

Apparently I was not the only one. More fun games than I can play in a year are released each month, so any hoop I have to jump through simply makes me move on to the next one.

A commenter on the game thread pointed out that rampant piracy is a problem for mobile games, and that devs see always online refs as one of the few ways they can get paid for their hard work. As time goes on, this requirement will only become more prevalent. Those who avoid apps that include it will find themselves with very few games to play.

Is this really the case? Does an always online requirement raise revenue? Even if it stops piracy cold, are most or any of the pirates converted to paying customers, or do they just move on to an easier to pirate game? I'd love to hear about dev's experiences.

Mobile games are not only competing with each other. If I woke up tomorrow and all games had consumable IAP and always online requirements, I'd simply shrug and go back to reading books, writing stories, watching shows, etc.

Being treated like a cash cow (consumable IAP) or potential thief on probation and under house arrest (always online) is not fun. The occasional superb game can be a treat despite this, but never because of it, but as the number of hoops and leashes increases, the likelihood I'll continue to patronize a particular app decreases. I'll never pirate a game, but I WILL switch to one of the millions of other entertainment products that treat me, the end client, with more respect.

That's just me, though. For all I know, my opinion may be exceedingly rare, and maybe these tethers ARE and elegant fix for a major problem in the industry. I'd love to hear from other TA users, and especially from devs. It'd be great to have my mind changed on this issue, as I could then find joy in many things that for the moment I can't stomach.
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  #2  
Old 05-28-2014, 06:33 PM
TheOutlander TheOutlander is offline
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I think that the Online Requirement can help the devs in certain games like MOBAs or Multiplayer-Only games (per say Fates Forever or ShadowGun Deadzone) for anti-cheat protection, small data fetching or stuff like that, but at times (like Gameloft case) it's a no-sense and the 'anti-cheating' Online-Only measure in Single player games (TASM, MC5 or The Drowning) is BS, because as soon they log in into the devs servers (GL servers are awful for recently launched games BTW) to play online they could detect any mod or cheat and ban the player, IMO it's because there are stuff like timers or events that last a certain time and the player can adjust the time settings and skip the waiting so the they fetch the time from the servers or it's because they are douche bags and think that everyone are theifs or pirates and not even the Online-Only can stop them of playing the game.
All of this is just my opinion as a guy who is also angry of the Online Only requirements, hopefully a dev can read this and clear my doubts about this practice.
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  #3  
Old 05-28-2014, 07:30 PM
kmacleod kmacleod is offline
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I think it depends on the type of game, honestly. A casual "play-anywhere" single player game like Threes would be insane to have a online requirement. A social game, on the other hand, would be insane not to.

If a developer is implementing it to stop piracy in a big budget single player game, they're already approaching the piracy problem the wrong way. Pirates can get around all of those limitations - legitimate buyers are the only ones who suffer.

The developers who implement this sort of thing are generally under the impression that iOS devices are always-on. Unfortunately, this is not the case. It's important to remember that the majority of iPads and ALL iPods are wifi-only. By limiting games to online-only, these potential customers are abandoned.

The question then becomes simple: will the always-on requirement gain you more sales from potential pirates who buy the game than the the number of sales it will cost from potential iPad / iPod customer who won't buy an always-on game?

I'd be shocked if always-on translated to anywhere near that many pirate sales conversions. So yeah, to me, seems like the numbers would suggest it's a mistake.
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Old 05-29-2014, 04:00 AM
psj3809 psj3809 is offline
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I used to mostly game on an ipod touch so online only games were a huge no no to me

Even now on an iphone i dont want online only games as i dont want them eating up my bandwidth on my phone

Granted theres a reason to stop piracy, but i always thought the 'download our game for free but pay an IAP if you want the full game' always worked quite well against piracy ?
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Old 05-29-2014, 04:42 AM
SherlockEB SherlockEB is offline
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I dont understand this at all. They lose customers. And no pirate is gonna buy the game if it's online only. They will just skip to another game.
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  #6  
Old 05-29-2014, 05:05 AM
psj3809 psj3809 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SherlockEB View Post
And no pirate is gonna buy the game if it's online only. They will just skip to another game.
But thats one of the main reasons they do it. If its online only pirates wont bother with it so thats a tick in the box.

However its 'us' who lose out who buy games but arent keen on online only ones.
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  #7  
Old 05-29-2014, 06:43 AM
kmacleod kmacleod is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psj3809 View Post
But thats one of the main reasons they do it. If its online only pirates wont bother with it so thats a tick in the box.

However its 'us' who lose out who buy games but arent keen on online only ones.
Therein lies the problem: a pirate NOT having the game isn't the same thing as a sale. Developers don't gain much by depriving pirates. Their goal should be to sell as many games as possible. Pirates will never be customers. I'm of the opinion that spending too much time worrying about pirates misses the point.
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  #8  
Old 05-30-2014, 08:58 AM
TheMerc TheMerc is online now
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You guys have said it all, I think.

I fully understand a developer's need to safeguard it's profit margin, and I don't think a constant connection requirement is in itself a bad thing (some games - social games, MMORPGs - merit and benefit from that requirement, in that it allows for constant technical support, faster updates with more new content and quick removal of cheaters or hackers). However, I see some developers (Gameloft's name has to be brought up here, because they have been the worst offenders of late) going overboard and not considering whether the game they are releasing merits having such a restricting feature.

The fact is, the only party that a constant requirement won't harm will be the pirate who only had a marginal interest in playing the game and, faced with the impossibility of that, will simply turn around and play another game. A prospective buyer whose internet access is limited by his device, his lifestyle, his place of residence/workplace or what-have-you will likely not spend money on a game that told him/her when to play and the developer loses that sale.

Some games with the requirement will obviously avoid the complaints and turn out to be successful. Some would look at the financial success of something like TASM 2 and, presumably, Modern Combat 5, when it comes out and say that the online-requirement does nothing to harm sales (nevermind the fact that a Spider-Man game was going to be successful no matter what measures the developers implemented on the game! The first TASM game is still on top of my country's charts, and managed to acomplish that without severely limiting some players' access to the game. Imagine that, huh!). I'd say that, if a game manages to be successful, it'll be DESPITE the constant requirement. All that is so far is a safety net for the developer and a hurdle to jump through for the player.

I'm personally in favor of the method that EA's FIFA 14 or WB's LEGO Star Wars The Complete Saga implemented: release a free game with an unlock-all IAP. That'd keep pirates from playing the game illegaly (since, from what I understand, pirates still can't access IAPs) and give people their money's worth without forcing them to play on the company's terms. If this method were to become more prevalent, I believe many of people's and devs' concerns regarding piracy would be solved in an elegant fashion.
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  #9  
Old 05-30-2014, 09:15 AM
psj3809 psj3809 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMerc View Post
I'm personally in favor of the method that EA's FIFA 14 or WB's LEGO Star Wars The Complete Saga implemented: release a free game with an unlock-all IAP. That'd keep pirates from playing the game illegaly (since, from what I understand, pirates still can't access IAPs) and give people their money's worth without forcing them to play on the company's terms. If this method were to become more prevalent, I believe many of people's and devs' concerns regarding piracy would be solved in an elegant fashion.
This used to be the norm for quite sometime, a bit like shareware, you download the game for free, get a level to try the game out with, then if you like it you buy a single IAP to unlock the rest of the game.

I always thought that worked well before ? Dont see so many like that anymore (Lego Star Wars i think as you say is the last one which does that).
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Old 05-30-2014, 01:58 PM
HarryWarden HarryWarden is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psj3809 View Post
This used to be the norm for quite sometime, a bit like shareware, you download the game for free, get a level to try the game out with, then if you like it you buy a single IAP to unlock the rest of the game.

I always thought that worked well before ? Dont see so many like that anymore (Lego Star Wars i think as you say is the last one which does that).
Ava's Quest originally had that model before switching to F2P.
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