Microsoft suffered some problems with its Xbox Live platform over the weekend, with downtime that caused problems for people wanting to play online as well as access accounts with partner services and game saves. While most users are now back to issue free gaming, the outage highlights further problems with the always-on system, hated by most gamers but praised by a vocal few in the development world.
We first had Microsoft creative director, Adam Orth, ranting on twitter about how people should “#justdealwithit,” with regards to always online systems, suggesting it was an inevitable part of the future. While he ultimately resigned from his position, he prompted Cliff Blezinski to step up and make his point. He pulled numbers from nowhere, suggesting without always-on DRM, Diablo III would have sold only half as many units.
Despite its defenders though, always on obviously has problems. If the Xbox 360 was an always online console, then it would have essentially been an expensive brick this weekend, as it wouldn’t have been usable for any of the things it purchased for.
And Microsoft is still having problems. Can you imagine spending several hundred pounds on something and not being able to use it for a few days, simply because the company that made it messed up something unrelated to you and your hardware?
KitGuru Says: There are clear advantages to always on systems and many, many disadvantages, but why not compromise? Steam is pretty well accepted these days. How about a quick online registration and then introduce an “offline mode” option?