Why Isn't Microsoft Learning From Maxis and Blizzard's Mistakes?[OPINION]

By Luke Caulfield , Updated Mar 23, 2013 01:06 PM EDT
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When you see launches for two incredibly anticipated games, hit within a year of each other, that have launched courtesy of your own OS, suffer under having to maintain a always online DRM, what part of the brain are you lacking by requiring your next-gen console to operate under the same standard?

That's what seems to be the plan for Microsoft's next console, the Xbox 720, or Durango, or whatever they plan on calling it. The monolithic company has yet to either confirm or deny their plans, so we'll just have to go on the strength of this apparently leaked document.

Maybe you're a fan of the always online system, maybe you're one of the vocal bunch who hates it. Sure it has its pros, particularly when it comes to fighting piracy, which is no doubt a big motivator for Microsoft to go this route but how many people do you know who have the technical necessary chops to play pirated discs on their 360s?

It was only a few weeks ago that we saw the utter mess that was Maxis' and EA's launch of "SimCity," with the two companies suffering a PR nightmare when that game's always online DRM met huge crowds on launch day. Even the ACLU took notice. Things have thankfully been ironed out since then, but the game still has a horrendous reputation that it likely won't ever recover from, rated 1.5 stars out of five at Amazon, and a 65 out of 100 at Metacritic.

Players with lengthier memories will remember earlier this summer, when the big game was Blizzard's "Diablo 3," which shattered records as the most pre-ordered PC game on Amazon. Then the game launched, and all of Hell and Diablo himself seemed to break loose. The game requires an always-online component in order to play. With the game just launching, servers were more crowded than Blizzard anticipated and thousands of players were left with a game they couldn't play. Didn't matter whether you wanted to just go solo, the single player mode still required an online connection to Blizzard's servers.

Again, things were fixed, and all was well in the magical land of barbarians and demons. But it left a resounding impact, so much so that when Blizzard revealed the game was coming to PS3 and PS4, they announced that the game would allow for offline play.

So here you have these two massive game launches, reputations irreparably harmed by a simple requirement that just isn't necessary. So, seeing this, why is Microsoft still seemingly insistent on requiring their new console to have a feature that's helped wreck games? Go ahead and explain, I'll be here.

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