Amidst plenty of on and off rumors pertaining to an always online Xbox, the idea has been met with objection from certain segments of the gaming community, mostly vocal core gamers who make up the minority. Following Adam Orth’s comments and subsequent departure from Microsoft, the bottom line is, it’s a grey area and one which on one hand makes sense, but on the other seems like a stark move which ultimately would alienate vast numbers of gamers. Well the rumors have conflicted and it transpires Always On won’t necessarily mean, it will affect offline play – which is what many believed it would. However, there’s a more pressing and real Always On scenario which isn’t exclusive to next generation consoles but is here right now!
Cast your minds back to the game Shadowrun, ok, it was met with distatain from fans, but its structure was an online game, meant to be shared with others. Yet, the game did feature an element where players could embark on a tutorial set of missions for those offline, or not wanting to partake in the online portion (missing out on the essence of the game). Shadowrun didn’t lock out players who weren’t connected. However, take a look at the more recent Defiance from Trion Worlds and you see the effects of an Always Online game.
The video highlights the problems of an Always Online game, in this case the game is specifically set up for online play, but is perhaps the only game that actually completely locks out players – not even bothering with a single player option. For those without an Internet connection or willing to pay for Xbox Live Gold, seeing the TV series and then purchasing this particular product might not be aware of the small print on the case. The sting also comes with the fact that even with a silver subscription, this game still locks out players. PS3 gamers obviously won’t have to pay if they are connected via the PSN, but if they are not, then they will be in the same boat. Is this the future of Always Online gaming for many? Developers not even bothering with an offline single player component in favour of an online only product. Having played and reviewed Defiance, the game could have easily been tailored also to suit single players offline.