Sunday, 13 May 2012

The Games Industry

I'm old enough to have been there at the birth of what we now know as the multi-billion dollar "games industry" and I've been along for the ride ever since.

Over the last few years I have noticed a disturbing trend, and that is tying games to the Internet, even when the game has no online aspect at all (or virtually none).

I don't count idiotic "achievements" as online play.

This weekend on Steam, an entry for "Tropico 4" appeared in my library and the news section indicated that it is one of those "free weekend play" offers where you get to play the game for the weekend and then decide whether to buy it once the deal ends.

I've seen Tropico in the past and thought I might take a look. It took some time to download it on my slow adsl but eventually it was all done and installed.

So, this morning the weather is crappy so I decide to spend a few hours trying it out.

I fire up the game and lo, what are I met with but an "enter your email address and password" screen.

What? Yes, like so many modern games it requires that I must register the game before I can start it.

This wouldn't be so bad if the game at least used my existing Steam credentials but no, it is not that clever. I must provide details to "Kalypso Media" before I can play.

Apparently the benefits to me of this mandatory registration is the usual bunk that has been the unappetising bait for registration seekers since the dawn of time, namely "Game news, Updates, "premium support" and "community features".

Right. Nothing I want then. The only benefit that of  any value, which is not mentioned in that list, is the ability to play the game in the first place.

Thanks but no thanks, I think I'll pass.

This is not the worst offender in the dubious registration stakes though, that accolade goes to Grand Theft Auto 4, which requires a grand total of three separate accounts (Steam, Rockstar Social Club and Windows Live) before you can play it.


It's this sort of nonsense which drives people to pirating games.

Obviously if you aren't playing it in Steam it only requires two registrations but that is still two too many.

I didn't register for Tropico 4 and have already deleted the game. That's one potential sale lost due to game industry stupidity.

Nice one marketing cretins.

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