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The always online video game

Would you purchase a singleplayer game that requires a constant internet connection?

  • Yes, whatever.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No, I'm too cool for that $30 haircut.

    Votes: 8 80.0%
  • It depends, I suppose

    Votes: 2 20.0%

  • Total voters

Bowsette Plus-Ultra

ZD Legend
Mar 23, 2013

It's no secret that the live service model has lodged itself in the world of video gaming like a brain tumor resisting chemotherapy. For all the complaints about live service games, people keep spending money on them. Games like Genshin Impact will be derided by gamers for their feeding into a predatory world of microtransactions and gambling, but gamers just keep on playing them.

In recent years those live service design choices have started bleeding even into the world of singleplayer games. Games that would have previous featured more agnostic forms of gameplay and progression now rely on the dreaded gear score to facilitate player engagement and keep people coming back to make that number get bigger. Perhaps the most anti-consumer form this live service injection can take is the always online requirement.

Today the closed "technical test" for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League opened. If you've seen any gameplay (and the accompanying dislike, assuming you still have those enabled) then you know what to expect: a floaty mobility shooter packed to the brim with numbers, gear scores, and equipment screens that wouldn't feel out of place in some grindy Destiny clone.

It is also, in theory, a singleplayer game. You can boot up the game, ignore every prompt to engage with matchmaking (even though the game will pester you about it during moment to moment gameplay), and play through it entirely solo.

Until you cut off the internet.

If you boot up Suicide Squad without an internet connection then you're booted out with an error indicating that the game can't phone home. Suddenly this singleplayer experience pivots to a zero player nothing at all. It isn't even the first game to do such a thing. Anthem famously required an internet connection to play through its singleplayer campaign, and the Switch port of Mortal Kombat tied almost all of its extra singleplayer modes to an internet connection.

It's a big turn off to me. I still think of being deployed to Bahrain and waiting an entire week for Mass Effect Andromeda to download. If a game required a day one patch then I was never patching it and if a game was always online then I effectively couldn't play it. In the case of something like Suicide Squad it means the game's playability is tied to a server. The moment those servers go down the game stops being a game and starts being a brightly colored coaster.

How do the rest of you feel about the always online game? Do you see it as the dark future of gaming, a grey future, or do you think it's a trend we'll eventually beat out of publishers like we did the online pass?
I don't play too many always online games. I don't know if League of Legends counts as one, but at least that game is purely multiplayer, so it's all or nothing. Either all features are available or none. The worst is when a small sliver of features remains functional while most of the game is defunct. It's such a tease about what once was.


What’s the character limit on this? Aksnfiskwjfjsk
ZD Legend
Probably not. I say probably because I haven’t found one that’s interested me enough to even consider the question. Either way I doubt I’d be happy with it unless it had a really good reason to be that way, a reason I have yet to see.

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