Thursday 23 April 2015

Another foray into video games bites the dust

I like video games. I'm not much of a gamer, if I'm honest, I don't play that many games and I haven't owned a current generation system since the Gamecube. Every now and then, though, the stars align and I decide to make an effort on that front, picking up some cheap games or even a new console from the local Entertainment Exchange.

This time I decided to try out PC gaming. I own an X-Box 360 from the last celestial alignment and had pretty much all the games that attracted me (Skyrim, the Batman: Arkham games, Mass Effect and Sonic Generations, basically). I'm also a big fan of Jim Sterling so I'd seen a few good games (and many, many bad ones) available for PC that didn't look too demanding on the graphics hardware.

So I went to browse Steam to see what was available and I saw this...
Its Assassin's Creed set in China! This is basically a game tailor made for me and the trailer looked cool. It had a cool art style and 2.5D gameplay that looked interesting. It was only £7.99, too. I was ready there and then to set up a Steam account until I saw the requirements.

Not the graphics requirements, which my computer just about met, the DRM requirements. The game required me to download EA's Uplay system in order to play it. I opened a new tab, searched to find out what this was and my reaction was “No way in hell”, basically.

I resent the idea, quite frankly, of installing a system that has been shown to be a security hazard; that has been shown on multiple occasions to completely break games and render them unplayable; and that the system has such a history of failure, both mechanically and due to the fact EA still claims to suffer mass piracy of its titles in spite of the system.

The planetary alignment isn't over, exactly, and I might still get a Steam account and try out some games but the fact the first thing I saw was something I instantly wanted but would have to put my computer at risk to play puts a sour taste in my mouth over the whole affair.

Also, given what I've read of Uplay and other similar DRM systems it seems curious how determinedly anti-consumer these systems are. One of the biggest issues is that they can go down without notice due to technical faults but what bothers me is that some time in the future should EA close for business and their servers go away the game I purchased will simple cease to function forever. One of the advantages of digital distribution should have been that without physical, degradable media we should have had permanent archiving of computer games. Instead we have DRM systems that mean something that could exist forevermore is dependant not on the consumer maintaining it but on the seller continuing to exist.

Oh well, maybe this Good Old Games dot com people recommend me will be better. I'm told they run completely DRM-free. 

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