Written by Ryan Johnson, RyanDJ Friday, 06 May 2011 05:00
"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." - Albert Einstein
When I started playing video games, it was on the Atari 2600. One stick, one button. And as controllers, graphics, and gameplay evolve, I've loved every minute of it. My big concern right now though, is online abilities. Einstein made that quote referring to advancing technology in weaponry eventually causing a major crash. I'm concerned the speed at which the internet and connectivity is used may be going a bit too fast.
Before I get into this, please let me say that this article is spawned from a series of unfortunate events that have plagued me recently. A bit of a vent, if you will. I love technology and where the gaming world is going.
With the Sony online fiasco going on right now, a lot of pressure is put on that company. I know there is a LOT more to it than this (identity theft, etc.) but I see a lot of complaints circling around gamers being "unable" to use their system "at all" due to the outage. I tend to be a local multiplayer fan, and play a lot of solo games. I appreciate online play, but it isn't the be-all-end-all of my gaming. I'm not an Xbox fanboy, either; I am aware that ANY system is hackable, and Sony was just the chosen victim. They may have made poor design choices, but you can't pin it ALL on them.
Secondly: digital downloads. I booted up Media Go (I own a PSP) to see if the fiasco hit there as well. All my downloaded games have an error message right now: "This file is missing from it's original location on disk." So they are on my memory card, but it seems I may have difficulties with those files had I deleted them. Also, on the note of digital downloading being the "wave of the future," tell that to my telephone I accidentally lost in the yard whilst playing with my son, only to mow over in the morning and shred. Yeah, insurance will get me a replacement, but where does that leave my gaming collection? Let alone, what if I can't get a phone compatible with them, even if they allow me to re-download?
I love technology, I just want it to slow down. I know I sound like an angry old "get off my lawn" kind of guy right now, but until my 8-Bit Nintendo dies from plastic corrosion and age, it will continue to play any game I find just as it was supposed to. Online dedicated games, one day, will lose servers. System crashes, such as the Sony problem, will cause interruptions. I feel there is a definite place for these things, but without focus and care, we may end up facing the same idea Einstein had in regards to weaponry.
What if all online console transactions required going to the store for a card instead of buying via console? What if all online matches required the friend-code activation setup? What if all digital media rights required you to download to a PC and save your personal files, or burn them to a disc to install on your own gaming system? What if there were no dedicated servers, and all gaming had to go through personal connections? These are some of the strict, failsafe ways that the companies could get around some major hacking issues. As Einstein's quote basically says, if battles continue, things can get so vicious that we are reset in the technological sense.
I love the current age of technology. Online multiplayer is great. And I know I am one voice against an army of hackers, out there to do more than just annoy people. Some are out to undermine companies, steal finances, the works. I feel if we don't slow down, stabilize the current technology and ensure its safety, find ways to guarantee that items bought are permanently owned even without a physical copy, we might see a company such as Nintendo saying that online isn't worth it! There are already rumors of third-party developers dropping Sony's online support, basically guaranteeing a good chunk of sales will go to the 360. What's next?
As I stated at the start, this is kind of a rant to get discussion started, not designed to bait any trolling. I miss the reliability and consistency of my old consoles, and find it sad that even the last generation original Xbox can't do everything it did when it started. I get frustrated at the amount of hoops I had to jump through when I downloaded data via code under my gamertag on a friend's console, unknowingly tying it to that console for all offline play. I sense wariness at companies to let loose of their product now that it is online and easily deletable, as opposed to the days where a physical copy was sold and that's it. And while people complain about point cards, friend codes, and non-dedicated server games, if hackers continue to circumvent all security, we may see a return to a simpler era of games. What do you think can/should be done to protect our gaming beyond the extra measures Sony's putting into their servers now? Sound off in the comments!
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