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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: Getting the Stars to Realign

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24 posts found
  SBFord

Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 13261

 
OP  3/03/13 3:34:57 PM#1

One of the things that profoundly affects any community is the closure of a game to which its been devoted. In Christina's second installment of "The Social Hub", we take a look at what "losing" a game means in the bigger picture. Check it out before leaving your thoughts in the comments.

These days, I’ve been noticing a trend in the gaming press as mobile and free to play games shut down. When Rock Band mobile was shut down, some criticized the fact that people’s DLC purchases were rendered worthless. This is common when games are no longer purchases and instead “licenses”. Yet this is nothing new for MMORPG players.  The recent death of the free to play publisher Outspark brought several games to a sudden end, leaving only Fiesta Online, its most successful game, in the hands of Gamigo. Players that purchased real-money currency from Outspark for any of the other games saw their purchases not refunded, but converted into Gamigo’s currency. If players didn’t like Gamigo’s games, they were plain out of luck. There’s a belief among some that we’re potentially losing works of art due to the rise of online games, but for many gamers, the loss more often amounts more to experiences and opportunities.

Read more of Christina Gonzalez's The Social Hub: Getting the Stars to Realign.

Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

  adam_nox

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/31/06
Posts: 2062

3/04/13 2:19:24 PM#2

If lawmakers really understood gaming and how mmos work instead of being old stuffbags, they'd probably pass a law to force release of server code X years after cancellation.   Just like copyrights can expire for dead artists.

 

 

  birdycephon

Novice Member

Joined: 8/08/09
Posts: 1327

Not Safe For Woona (NSFW)

3/04/13 2:25:19 PM#3
People need to realize, that when they spend money on a game, they are not buying a product, they are buying the entrtainment the game brings. Once they realize that they dont actally own anything, they might actually think twice about spending their money they cant afford to lose in the future.
  apocoluster

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/15/07
Posts: 1295

\m/,

3/04/13 3:51:48 PM#4
Originally posted by birdycephon
People need to realize, that when they spend money on a game, they are not buying a product, they are buying the entrtainment the game brings. Once they realize that they dont actally own anything, they might actually think twice about spending their money they cant afford to lose in the future.

I think you think to highly of people   lol

No matter how cynical you become, its never enough to keep up - Lily Tomlin

  JaggaSpikes

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/21/06
Posts: 407

3/05/13 12:33:45 AM#5
Originally posted by apocoluster
Originally posted by birdycephon
People need to realize, that when they spend money on a game, they are not buying a product, they are buying the entrtainment the game brings. Once they realize that they dont actally own anything, they might actually think twice about spending their money they cant afford to lose in the future.

I think you think to highly of people   lol

educating people is never a lost cause. even if everything says otherwise.

  Talin

Novice Member

Joined: 5/20/04
Posts: 825

You only live once... make it count!

3/05/13 6:29:35 AM#6

For people who have purchased lifetime subscriptions in the past, it would have been nice if that had come in the form of a perpetual license. In addition, the agreement of that purchase should include access to the source code through an escrow account in the case of service termination or studio closure. This way if the game went under, people who had paid for lifetime access would be able to "launch" the game themselves.

Of course, providing source code doesn't mean it is easy to compile/host a game, but that's part of the challenge. At least it becomes possible.

  uidCaustic

Novice Member

Joined: 7/15/11
Posts: 148

3/05/13 12:50:00 PM#7
Originally posted by adam_nox

If lawmakers really understood gaming and how mmos work instead of being old stuffbags, they'd probably pass a law to force release of server code X years after cancellation.   Just like copyrights can expire for dead artists.

 

 

 

I agree, I'm going to go demand the rights for every television show that was cancelled that I enjoyed now... surely they won't laugh at my asinine request, after all, I paid my monthly subscription to my cable provider.  I am ENTITLED to be given ownership!

  Beatnik59

Elite Member

Joined: 11/23/05
Posts: 2213

"Playing things I shouldn''t be playing since 1977."

3/05/13 2:03:00 PM#8

It took a few closures for me to realize that MMO 'communities' aren't real communities, they are the illusion of communities.  And MMO ownership of virtual goods isn't real ownership, it's the illusion of ownership.  And "persistence" isn't real persistence, it's the illusion of persistence.

The sad truth about this genre is that it uses extortion to get what it wants: deliver more bodies and wallets to us, or everything good you play and pay for will be taken away from you.

And it would be fine if you knew your own body and your own wallet was enough...but it isn't.  It would be nice to know if the game was on an sound footing, an unsound footing, or "sound but not good enough" footing, but you won't get that either.  For even if you deliver more bodies and wallets, it's still no guarantee they won't take away everything you buy and enjoy, if their plans change and you aren't a part of them.

The CoH closure taught me that everything I know about the truth of this business: it's based on addiction, exploitation and deception.  It is not a fully legitimate industry to me any more.  It is, sad to say, one small step removed from the pornography and casino business.  And it can get away with it only because we, who immerse ourselves in the illusions, allow them to exploit us.

Everything can appear, from external signs, like things are okay...but things aren't.  We can no longer trust what we see or what the publishers tell us.  As a result, we are left to wonder "what's the point of doing anything that requires extra time," like help strangers out, build complicated things or engage in complicated plots.  As a result, isn't it any wonder why we are all at each other's throats all the time?  We're jaded, and rightly so.  We've been sold a bill of goods about these "virtual worlds" as a utopia in the first few years of the 21st century, but we are now realizing they are about as utopic as a Las Vegas casino.  They look like a paradise on the outside, as long as the money is flowing.  But it hides the savage, cold and unforgiving nature of a business based around exploitation and ruthlessness.

Community in this kind of business is like a community of dope smokers, meth addicts, compulsive gamblers or prostitutes and johns.  When all you have in common is the vice of habitual gaming, how can we not show our own vices in return?

But I blame the business for making us this way.  Nothing innocent escapes this business with its innocence intact.

__________________________
"Its sad when people use religion to feel superior, its even worse to see people using a video game to do it."
--Arcken

"...when it comes to pimping EVE I have little restraints."
--Hellmar, CEO of CCP.

"It's like they took a gun, put it to their nugget sack and pulled the trigger over and over again, each time telling us how great it was that they were shooting themselves in the balls."
--Exar_Kun on SWG's NGE

  RefMinor

Novice Member

Joined: 7/16/11
Posts: 3542

Hipster

3/05/13 2:45:28 PM#9
Originally posted by adam_nox

If lawmakers really understood gaming and how mmos work instead of being old stuffbags, they'd probably pass a law to force release of server code X years after cancellation.   Just like copyrights can expire for dead artists.

 

 

It is called abandonware, it is part of the reason, to quote the article "If you have a set of SWG discs, you can’t do anything with them outside of incomplete copyright-flaunting servers." which two of the most litigious companies in the world have left alone for years.

  tiefighter25

Novice Member

Joined: 7/30/12
Posts: 949

3/05/13 6:39:19 PM#10
The clown is pretty smart.
  waynejr2

Elite Member

Joined: 4/12/11
Posts: 3732

RIP City of Heroes!

3/05/13 6:59:58 PM#11
Originally posted by Talin

For people who have purchased lifetime subscriptions in the past, it would have been nice if that had come in the form of a perpetual license. In addition, the agreement of that purchase should include access to the source code through an escrow account in the case of service termination or studio closure. This way if the game went under, people who had paid for lifetime access would be able to "launch" the game themselves.

Of course, providing source code doesn't mean it is easy to compile/host a game, but that's part of the challenge. At least it becomes possible.

 If I am the guy supplying a third party library, I would not allow the transfer of my product to another group without some serious cash.

  prognar

Novice Member

Joined: 4/06/05
Posts: 10

Games are for fun.....
Pity most people who play them don't realize that.

3/06/13 3:09:05 AM#12

If people actually read any mmorpg EULA, they all pretty much state directly that you are paying for a service and all digital content belongs to the service provider, the user owns nothing just an acknowledged right to use data they will never ever own, while the service is active and usualy has a small extra bla saying the provder can give up to 30 days notice on cancellation of the service.  (effectivly you pay $x to ACCESS content not OWN content) You may not see it that way, but that is what it is.

 

And too the person complaining about lifetime subs (its the lifetime of the game not the person who payed to use the content)  Doesn't matter how much any "user" spends on an MMO you own nothing, all digital content belongs to the provider and you accept that when you hit agree on the EULA that you don't bother to read. 

  Ozmodan

Elite Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 6633

3/06/13 6:32:45 AM#13

For those that put money into many of these f2p games or an NCSoft game, it is like throwing money down a well.  It is forever gone and any value you extract from it, is extremely nebulous.  If you expect that your investment will be around for awhile you are naive.  These games come and go like a revolving door.

While I have played many of the f2p games, I am very careful of investing in them.  You should be too.

Anyone expecting compensation for their investment is living in a very unrealistic world.  Just will not happen.  When I see people spending large amounts of money in a game you have to wonder about their ability to rationalize their purchases.

So if you lose a large investment in a game, you only have yourself to blame when if folds.  

  SysFail

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/01/05
Posts: 377

3/06/13 10:10:47 AM#14

It's players not games that have led to the loss of communities at the end of the day.

 

Yes designers have made critical errors that have led to the downfall of communities, but it's really the disposable lifestyles people lead these days, fast food, fast downloads, etc and of course the "next big thing" that lures victims from one product to the next like good little lemmings.

 

Older gamers like myself(mid-30's) tend to be more loyal to a community we've gotten involved with, where as kids tend to flock to anything shiney like a magpie.

 

In other words, advertisers have won as people flock from shiney product to shiney product without even given it a second thought... the zombie apocalypse has begun. ;)

 
 
 
  Gishgeron

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/05/07
Posts: 1297

3/08/13 3:37:47 AM#15

The medium we are in is just complicated really.  The budgets are high, the return is a crapshoot.  Its hard to release code freely simply because doing so also relinquishes your rights, in a way, to that property.  No one wants to spend millions upon millions of dollars and years upon years of time devoted to a property just to hand it away.  More games should at least consider the skeleton route, tearing away development and leaving only a single server open.  But holding on to a project that isn't providing good capital for future investments is a bad buisness call.  Small teams can do this, as the demands on their finances are different.  Its not fair to look at the heavy funded MMO developers and expect the rules in their world to be exactly the same as what single players ones have.

There is no good answer, not really.  For all of our concern, we aren't really looking at the industry in fairness at all.  Its not like a work of art, not really.  Its entertainment, and what each generation of player wants from that changes.  WE change, our desires and joy change.  The demands on our time change.  A work of art like the Mona Lisa doesn't have to change because its not an interactive medium designed around a constant and changing pool of consumers.  Its a picture you look at.  The stimuli it creates is based on its stability and form.  A game is consumed for different reasons.  Most of which get lost once the audience has consumed it.  Only the very best games, usually with the most engaging story, tend to survive in our fond memories.  I will never play Legend of Zelda (the first) again.  I will Chrono Trigger, because the story was great.  You'll notice that this game HAS survived quite well. 

By design, MMO's really can't.  Their core of engagement (large groups of players) is something that changes, and fast.  Its not story we play them for, we have single player games for story.  We play em to do something fun with tons of people at once, and its an experience that changes with great frequency.

  allendale5

Novice Member

Joined: 8/19/12
Posts: 125

3/08/13 4:16:15 AM#16
We need a Players Union.  I would gladly pay dues to an organized citizenry of computer game players, through which we could voice our concerns, bring collective weight into the marketplace and courts, and exercise our concerted freedoms in unison, whether that be the freedom to push for fair treatment or compensate for unfulfilled promises made by game promoters, or altogether boycotting certain games.
  Icewhite

Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6495

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

3/08/13 4:48:24 AM#17
Originally posted by adam_nox

If lawmakers really understood gaming and how mmos work instead of being old stuffbags, they'd probably pass a law to force release of server code X years after cancellation.   Just like copyrights can expire for dead artists.

Sure....Your game and virtual lewt will be available again in 120 years. Carry on until then.

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  Calerxes

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 2/06/09
Posts: 1659

3/08/13 6:13:44 AM#18
Originally posted by Ozmodan

For those that put money into many of these f2p games or an NCSoft game, it is like throwing money down a well.  It is forever gone and any value you extract from it, is extremely nebulous.  If you expect that your investment will be around for awhile you are naive.  These games come and go like a revolving door.

While I have played many of the f2p games, I am very careful of investing in them.  You should be too.

Anyone expecting compensation for their investment is living in a very unrealistic world.  Just will not happen.  When I see people spending large amounts of money in a game you have to wonder about their ability to rationalize their purchases.

So if you lose a large investment in a game, you only have yourself to blame when if folds.  

 

What the hell are you going on about? You pay for the experience just like you pay for a meal you crap out 24hrs later or a beer you piss out 1 hr later, your clothes wear out, you car wears out, you can recoup some moeny but is it really any more an investment that buying a fancy hat in an MMO? You don't own the movie in the movie theatre, or the play. You go to Disenyland do you take the rides home with you? do you own your favorite sports team? there are so many entertainment products we will never own physically but we will always have the memories and thats what its all about. Life is finite, enjoy it as much as you can and accept that things don't last for ever and if you what you lay out gives you pleasure and memories then thats money well spent. There is too much entitlement in the world of gaming you are paying for the experience not ownership.

This doom and gloom thread was brought to you by Chin Up™ the new ultra high caffeine soft drink for gamers who just need that boost of happiness after a long forum session.

  RefMinor

Novice Member

Joined: 7/16/11
Posts: 3542

Hipster

3/08/13 12:05:11 PM#19
Originally posted by prognar

If people actually read any mmorpg EULA, they all pretty much state directly that you are paying for a service and all digital content belongs to the service provider, the user owns nothing just an acknowledged right to use data they will never ever own, while the service is active and usualy has a small extra bla saying the provder can give up to 30 days notice on cancellation of the service.  (effectivly you pay $x to ACCESS content not OWN content) You may not see it that way, but that is what it is.

 

And too the person complaining about lifetime subs (its the lifetime of the game not the person who payed to use the content)  Doesn't matter how much any "user" spends on an MMO you own nothing, all digital content belongs to the provider and you accept that when you hit agree on the EULA that you don't bother to read. 

The EULAs of older MMOs are not always quite so comprehensive, thus allowing private servers, such as the original UO version in Garrets article a few weeks ago and the SWG one mentioned in this article to be run as the EULAs of the original box versions do not prohibit it.

  Beatnik59

Elite Member

Joined: 11/23/05
Posts: 2213

"Playing things I shouldn''t be playing since 1977."

3/08/13 12:41:43 PM#20
Originally posted by Calerxes
There is too much entitlement in the world of gaming you are paying for the experience not ownership.

Except for the fact that we don't "pay for experiences" anymore, and haven't in this industry for some time.

We pay for "exclusive use" these days.  It's too shallow to even call it "an experience," because the notion that it is taken from us at a time of the seller's choosing, and not of our choosing, is fundamentally at odds with any legit entertainment I know.

I think a reasonable person would consider the purchase of virtual "experiences" to be rather suspect.  Because it's one thing to pay for the exclusive use of a virtual costume, or the service for $60, if you know you'll experience it for ten years.  It's another thing if you have it for less than a month or two, or you never get to experience the things that were promised.  But such things have been known to happen.  Games which seem to be healthy are suddenly cancelled.

This industry lies to us.  It tells us things are fine one day, and the next day, tells us "the party's over."  If you don't believe me, see how NCSoft told the people of Tabula Rasa that they were committed to the game long term, only to announce not two months later that it was cancelled.  Or look at CoH.  They release content additions, promise an expansion in a matter of weeks, offer costumes and a plethora of new things to buy in the item store days before it announces shutdown.  It then withdraws all ability to make a transaction the day it was announced.

Fully legitimate industries don't do things like this.  Only scummy industries like porn, gambling, get rich quick schemes and drugs do business like that.  And they get away with it because they exploit the naiive, the good-natured and the vice-addled, who trust that this industry is going to look out for their interests, when it is clearly out to exploit them. 

__________________________
"Its sad when people use religion to feel superior, its even worse to see people using a video game to do it."
--Arcken

"...when it comes to pimping EVE I have little restraints."
--Hellmar, CEO of CCP.

"It's like they took a gun, put it to their nugget sack and pulled the trigger over and over again, each time telling us how great it was that they were shooting themselves in the balls."
--Exar_Kun on SWG's NGE

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