In a few short days, the long awaited conclusion to Blizzard Entertainment’s popular Diablo series, Diablo 3, will be released. A great day for nerds everywhere. The first edition was released in 1996, and the follow up came out in 2000. Eager fans have been waiting for a dozen years for the third installment to come out, and it is finally happening. Unfortunately, there is an unbelievably frustrating feature incorporated into the game that will ruin the experience for a number of less fortunate nerds. The game will require everyone to log on to Blizzard’s remote servers to play the game, save progress and continue from your previous spot.
No, not multiplayer. The single player campaign. If you lack a stable internet connection (which, granted, is pretty rare nowadays), you’re out of luck entirely. You can’t play the game you just paid 60 dollars for. The cost of even getting to play the game has become so much higher than just the cost of the software itself. To start, the game requires a computer that can handle these modern graphics. If you’ve got an older (4-5 year old) computer, forget about it. You can either read about people playing the game, or watch someone else over their shoulder. In truth, this is not a unique problem for Diablo, but computer gaming in general. Technology and game capability has advanced so rapidly that if you’re more than a year behind in hardware, you are running an obsolete piece of equipment. And once you shell out the money for an up to date gaming PC, you need a stable and consistent internet connection. A solid ISP subscription can run you as much as the game itself, each month.
Sure, internet is available almost everywhere today. It is old fashioned to argue that a sizable amount of people lack access to the World Wide Web. But that doesn’t mean we should not have the ability to play the game when the construction workers on the neighbor’s house accidentally cut the internet cable. Internet connections drop all the time. Whatever the reason may be, if some freak occurrence knocks you offline, game time is over. I guess you can read a book or go outside or something. Gross.
To be fair to the major game makers, the fault is partially our own. Our penitent for downloading digital copies of games and developing CD key cracking programs has cut into these companies’ profits and forced them into taking action. The very same technology and innovation that allowed companies to develop today’s games allows end users to acquire a copy of said game without having to pay for it. CD keys no longer cut the mustard. Those can be faked too easily. A greater level of protection is in fact needed. But has this actually cut into profit margins to a substantial degree? Are executives at Electronic Arts living in cardboard boxes? This gamer says nay.
The world of entertainment is so replete with cash that even entry level employees have work benefits that rival the president (a tad exaggerated, but still). The gaming industry is a billion dollar world. Even in an industry rampant with piracy, movies and television, projects are pulling in record amounts of money. The newly released Joss Whedon film “The Avengers” broke the record for revenue earned in an opening weekend. I think Paramount Pictures is doing just fine, yet their products are being illegally downloaded 24 hours a day.
To clarify: I do not endorse online piracy. Whether it dramatically cuts into company profits or not, stealing is stealing. However, to use piracy and the loss of profits as an excuse to handcuff gamers into needing an internet connection and log in information to company servers is insanity. Give us the option to play online, but also give us the option to play offline. Although we are constantly pushing towards the future, a constant internet connection cannot be assumed. Everyone deserves the chance to play Diablo 3, internet or not, we’ve been waiting long enough.
Written by the marketing department for the Los Angeles injury attorneys, The Consumers’ Law Group