Should companies offering online services be required to maintain them?

in games on (#3F6)
story imageThe latest weekly HumbleBundle is a select of games from PopCap including the popular Bejeweled and Plants vs Zombies games. The caveats at the bottom for Origin, EA's answer to Steam, includes a term stating:
I am wondering at what point this becomes unacceptable? If I have paid for a game which has online "features and services" then shouldn't the company selling this support the online side for as long as possible, or am I just living in a pipe dream?

On a side note, it is a pity that this HumbleBundle doesn't come with the Android version of these games; and that they don't offer a DRM free download of the games.

One way or another (Score: 5, Insightful)

by on 2014-03-08 14:35 (#B0)

Barring actually running the servers themselves, the publishers should provide their customers a way of hosting their own servers. This should be baked into the code from the beginning; "if PUBLISHER_SERVER=DOWN, then ENABLE_LOCAL_HOST_SUPPORT". Or this functionality can be added by a patch held in escrow until the game reaches end-of-life.

Of course, publishers will never go for it. Aside from adding complexity to the code, they reap too many benefits from controlling the online server, not least of which is that it enables a forced obsolescence into their product. They don't WANT the customers to keep playing the same game year after year; they want you to buy the new model.

Publishers get away with this because the industry have managed to convince consumers that they do not OWN the product, but merely license it. Customers are merely paying for the privilege of temporarily using the product so long as the publisher allows it. More, they have been known to actively pursue hobbyists who try to add in this missing functionality. It's one of the great rip offs of 21st century.

I have games from 20 years ago that - with the correct hardware - I can still boot up and play. But some games that are only a few years old I'll never be able to play again.
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