It’s at times like this that I’m glad that I don’t have many online friends.
(And now, a pause – whilst the world’s tiniest violin picks out a plaintive melody…)
Corporate Titans and All-Round Mr Moneybags Electronic Arts have announced that they’re going to switch off the online servers for a number of titles – the likes of “Burnout Revenge” on Xbox 360, “The Godfather 2” on PC/360/PS3 and “Need for Speed: Pro-Street” are all going offline as of April 13th. I guess you can make a case for this, as the games have either seen multiple iterations since or were not as popular online as the developers and publishers might have hoped for.
Fair enough. What’s a bit sketchy is that some of the games – the EA brawler “MMA” and stealth action title “The Saboteur” were marketed with measures like Online Passes, which afford gamers who buy the game as new access to features prohibited to people who buy the game second-hand. If you pick up the game when it’s used, you have to spend £10 or $10 to buy an online code to unlock content. Developers and publishers get paid, stores still get to sell second-hand games, gamers get content, everybody goes home happy.
The upshot is that if you bought either of the aforementioned games, had put them on your pile of shame and hoped to go back to do stuff online with them later on, you had best get a move on.
I find it a little cheeky of EA to cry and moan about people buying second-hand titles, and loudly put a strategy in place to reward people for buying new and then take that functionality away – does it really cost that much for engineers to maintain and potentially police online game environments if those games are so sparsely populated online as EA‘s press notice would have us believe?
Does one, perchance, get a refund on the price of an online pass if that access is rescinded? No? Thought not.
Only in this hobby would consumers put up with a large part of the product being arbitrarily removed almost without notice – would Stephenie Meyer’s fans be happy if the studio decided that the special effects at the end of the latest “Twilight” flick were a tad ropey, they couldn’t justify the expense in fixing them and just hacked a bit off the movie on streaming services?
The tweens would be even more revolting than usual: Blood on the carpet – anarchy in the streets – cats and dogs, living together!
The moral of this tale is ‘be careful what you buy’ – there might not be as much game there as you thought there was…