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Paying For online Multiplayer

Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 1:40 pm
by Electriking
So, Microsoft, Sony and now Nintendo are doing it. Yes, I am talking about online subscriptions, where you have to pay monthly to play online multiplayer. So my opinion on this subject? I believe that this is an unnecessary pay wall that you have to go through in order to play with others online. Why does it exist?

And if you defend this by saying "But you get free monthly games with it!" Sorry but that is an insta fail. That defense automatically does not work. Sorry. There is objective proof that free monthly games or other additional shit is not necessary for online multiplayer to work. And some people don't give a shit about a couple random indie games every month (me included). All that we want is the ability to play online and the fact that free online multiplayer does exist means that we are not actually paying for the ability to play online. All the money goes toward those free monthly games, the online multiplayer part being a free addition that comes with those games, so those who don't care about or want the monthly games, just want to play online, well they have to pay for nothing to get that ability, and if you view it that way, you realize that it is a completely, utterly stupid, unnecessary pay wall that is only there so that companies make more money.

And let's face it. You can play online for free on PC, so if you were a company developing a PC game with online multiplayer, you would probably not even dream of charging for online multiplayer because you would be setting the foundations for failure, as it would be a severe con that would put it behind the competition with other games that provide online multiplayer. So it kind of baffles me that Sony and Microsoft are able to charge for online multiplayer and succeed (though obviously their consoles definitely have pluses that outweigh this, but don't you think that it is kind of sad that the Wii U, despite providing a free online multiplayer service, still failed against the PS4 and XboxOne, despite the latter 2 charging for online multiplayer?).

In my opinion, payed online multiplayer is unnecessary and only exist so that companies can make more money.

So I want to see your thoughts on this. Do you think it is good, or bad, that consoles make us pay for online multiplayer? And if you disagree with, I want to see a reason better than 'additional perks' because when you think about, they are only there to encourage people to pay for for online multiplayer.

Re: Paying For online Multiplayer

Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 1:51 pm
by Megar
maybe it's so they can actually afford to keep the servers running lol

Re: Paying For online Multiplayer

Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:16 pm
by onpon4
You know, if you're not paying for access to the servers they have to spend money to keep running, you're going to pay for it elsewhere. Could be increased cost of copies, making the game unplayable without buying extras, ads, or what have you. You can't expect everything to just be given to you.

If anything, I wish the mainstream game developers would make charging for server access their primary way of getting paid. This model, unlike the usual models, is not dependent on unethical proprietary software development and engaging in a war on sharing. They could just release the client, with full source code under a libre license, and make their money from server subscriptions. Then when it's no longer profitable and it's time to shut the server down, they could release the server program (again, with full source code under a libre license) so that fans can run their own servers. Not like I'd expect most developers to actually go this far, but it would at least be more likely if all the money they make comes from charging for server access.

Re: Paying For online Multiplayer

Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:28 pm
by Artemis008
onpon4 wrote: If anything, I wish the mainstream game developers would make charging for server access their primary way of getting paid. This model, unlike the usual models, is not dependent on unethical proprietary software development and engaging in a war on sharing. They could just release the client, with full source code under a libre license, and make their money from server subscriptions. Then when it's no longer profitable and it's time to shut the server down, they could release the server program (again, with full source code under a libre license) so that fans can run their own servers. Not like I'd expect most developers to actually go this far, but it would at least be more likely if all the money they make comes from charging for server access.
This is basically saying "Hey! Internet pirates, now you don't have to pirate games, you've just got to make your own servers"

Even not considering pirates, this would fail because eventually they would need to cut the online service to get newer games running online. After that, it's no different from pirating (except it's legal). Some games don't even have online either, so company's like Nintendo would have a terrible drop in sales. To clarify, no I'd don't like paying for online. The funding should come from the games sales, it's worked for the last 20 years so I don't see why it would not today.

Re: Paying For online Multiplayer

Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:38 pm
by Rhosty
Who's the sad person that chose yes? Anyways, my stance is that Nintendo already gets oodles of money from advertising and selling games and consoles alone, they really should not need a pay to play online service too. That's really what may drive sales of Switches lower than anything else because of having to play for online multiplayer. And don't say that they need that money for running their online servers, they get too much money from product endorsements and retailers.

Re: Paying For online Multiplayer

Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:09 pm
by onpon4
Artemis008 wrote:This is basically saying "Hey! Internet pirates, now you don't have to pirate games, you've just got to make your own servers"
Making your own server, when you don't have the server program, is much harder than breaking some DRM in a program you have and then distributing copies of the cracked program. It's not impossible, but someone would have to be exceptionally dedicated to do that in the period of time when the game is current.
eventually they would need to cut the online service to get newer games running online.
Of course, and that's exactly how it should be. There is no reason they should be expected to keep running servers that no one is interested in paying for anymore. They can release the server program when they retire the official server (when they no longer consider maintaining the server worthwhile), and everyone will be happy.
Some games don't even have online either
I'm talking exclusively about online-centric games. Any other game has to be funded in other ways. Crowdfunding comes to mind as something I'd like to see being used to that end, but that's largely irrelevant.

Re: Paying For online Multiplayer

Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:23 pm
by mariogeek2
onpon4 wrote:Then when it's no longer profitable and it's time to shut the server down, they could release the server program (again, with full source code under a libre license) so that fans can run their own servers.
That is actually technically illegal. I don't quite remember all the details, and I can't find the proof currently, but I'm going to try and look for it, and return with all the info.

I personally don't support paying for online multiplayer. That one thing alone is probably what swayed my decision on buying a Switch. I guess I'm going to have to join the PC Master Race club (I didn't think that'd happen any time soon). But I honestly feel like I should play devil's advocate for a moment because I feel people are sh*&#ng on game companies too much for doing this.

Running internet services and servers aren't cheap. You have to pay for the equipment, maintenance, ACs to make sure the darn things don't overheat, humidifiers to make sure static electricity can't build up and fry your sensitive electronics, dehumidifiers to make sure the sensitive electronics don't get shorted out by water build-up. It's all very delicate, and needs to be constantly monitored.

And for those people out there saying, "Well, game companies make MORE than enough money from sales in other areas to cover online costs" let me use an anology. Say there's a restuarant that sells mostly tons of chicken and a good amount (just not quite as much) of sides of fries. And people start using the argument, "Well, they make more than enough money on chicken sales, why can't the fries be free?" Even if that's true, that's not a completely solid argument. If people want fries, they'll be willing to pay for them. Why should the restaurant suffer profit losses just to give people something they were willing to pay for in the first place, or, worse, offset the losses by charging customers more who didn't want fries anyways?

Re: Paying For online Multiplayer

Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:20 am
by onpon4
mariogeek2 wrote:
onpon4 wrote:Then when it's no longer profitable and it's time to shut the server down, they could release the server program (again, with full source code under a libre license) so that fans can run their own servers.
That is actually technically illegal.
If releasing a server program you hold the copyright to were illegal, the entire function of the Internet would depend on millions of people breaking the law every day. Do you honestly mean to tell me that you think Apache is illegal? It's exactly the same thing in principle.

Re: Paying For online Multiplayer

Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:13 am
by mariogeek2
onpon4 wrote:
mariogeek2 wrote:
onpon4 wrote:Then when it's no longer profitable and it's time to shut the server down, they could release the server program (again, with full source code under a libre license) so that fans can run their own servers.
That is actually technically illegal.
If releasing a server program you hold the copyright to were illegal, the entire function of the Internet would depend on millions of people breaking the law every day. Do you honestly mean to tell me that you think Apache is illegal? It's exactly the same thing in principle.
No, not releasing a server program you have the copyright to, running a fan server.

I'm not exactly 100% sure, though.

Re: Paying For online Multiplayer

Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:12 am
by onpon4
mariogeek2 wrote:No, not releasing a server program you have the copyright to, running a fan server.
If the developer of the game releases the server program under a libre license (presumably the GNU AGPL), then anyone is free to do whatever they wish with that program. That's what I'm talking about: keeping everyone happy by releasing the server program to the public when it's time to retire the official server (presumably because it's no longer profitable to maintain it).

However, while I'm not a lawyer and you shouldn't take this as legal advice, there is no law against developing your own server program which is compatible with a particular client. So if you're able to develop a server program that is compatible with the protocols a game client uses completely from scratch, you're completely within your rights to do so. The only legal problem that might arise is if you accepted some sort of EULA that prohibits reverse-engineering (which is a condition that ought to be illegal, by the way), or if it turns out that the client's interaction with the server counts as "technological protection measures" under the WIPO treaty (implemented in laws like the DMCA). Of course, these can only apply if the client program is proprietary.

Re: Paying For online Multiplayer

Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:09 pm
by Snessy the duck
I think that paying for extended online features, like voice chat, and having basic online features for free is a good idea, cause it gives new players a taste of what they could experience by paying for the extended features, aswell as still giving people who don't wanna pay something to enjoy. But when companies make it so you have to pay for those basic features is where I think it gets a little greedy, as it basically forces people to pay for online in order to experience anything online related, and will likely turn a lot of people away.

Re: Paying For online Multiplayer

Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:37 pm
by mariogeek2
onpon4 wrote:
mariogeek2 wrote:No, not releasing a server program you have the copyright to, running a fan server.
If the developer of the game releases the server program under a libre license (presumably the GNU AGPL), then anyone is free to do whatever they wish with that program. That's what I'm talking about: keeping everyone happy by releasing the server program to the public when it's time to retire the official server (presumably because it's no longer profitable to maintain it).

However, while I'm not a lawyer and you shouldn't take this as legal advice, there is no law against developing your own server program which is compatible with a particular client. So if you're able to develop a server program that is compatible with the protocols a game client uses completely from scratch, you're completely within your rights to do so. The only legal problem that might arise is if you accepted some sort of EULA that prohibits reverse-engineering (which is a condition that ought to be illegal, by the way), or if it turns out that the client's interaction with the server counts as "technological protection measures" under the WIPO treaty (implemented in laws like the DMCA). Of course, these can only apply if the client program is proprietary.
Like I said, could be wrong. But I could've swore I heard from somewhere (I think in a reviewtechusa video) that if a company closes its game servers, some specific federal agency could prosecute if a fan opens his/her own server so they can actually play online multiplayer. But he could be wrong as well.

Re: Paying For online Multiplayer

Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 11:22 pm
by onpon4
Like I said, could be wrong.
Like I explained, you are.

There isn't a "federal agency" that concerns itself with matters such as this, and the only legal mechanisms to stop people from starting fan servers are directly controlled by the developer. So if, as I suggested they should do, the developer releases the server and client under a libre software license, then there is no law that prohibits anyone from starting a server for people to connect to. If instead the developer chooses to restrict the client with a EULA prohibiting its use to connect to unofficial servers, or if the developer chooses to include DRM that involves the server somehow, that's on them and they can correct it easily any time they want to.

Re: Paying For online Multiplayer

Posted: Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:48 am
by Rhosty
I don't know why "federal agencies" would worry about a stupid game server. They have bigger problems to deal about. There is this thing called Homebrew that lets you download a patch of Mario Kart Wii that enables the online feature and connects you to a fan's server. It has yet to be taken down by Nintendo.