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.

Re: One way or another (Score: 2, Insightful)

by on 2014-03-11 17:39 (#FB)

The reason they don't do this is because if they did, then the game they previously put out, which they are then making no money on (because they stopped making it, and stopped hosting it, and now have given to the fans in whatever fashion you desire) would end up competing with Latest Big Thing VII, their big block-buster premium new game of the summer. Be honest with yourself: if you had a choice between your personal #1 game from your youth, and the #1 game of its genre released today, which would you pick? For a lot of people, that answer isn't the modern one - Tetris is still good; Chrono Trigger and FFVI are amazing enough that they sell for major bucks at the reuse stores; and of the shooter genre, there are plenty of people still playing Counterstrike, Doom, and HalfLife.

Game manufacturers have a hard sell to make: first, they need to make a game as good as or better than what's still out there ; next, if they want to use the latest and greatest graphics/sound/whatever, they have to convince the gamers to upgrade , when many of them aren't in charge of their own hardware budget; and finally, they've got to make sure that what they output doesn't make it impossible for them to pull the same trick next time.

It's a tough market. Quite a few of those in it do the job well. EA is famously king of doing it shittily . It's honestly no wonder that they're looking for every single tiny scrap of advantage - they're competing on mediocrity in a race to the bottom, and the majority of their customers would leave them in a heartbeat if anyone else had the license to make games from the NFL player stats for 2015.

That said: if you're a game company and you're going out of business rather than being bought out, strategically speaking, releasing your well-loved game from server constraints is the best move you can make: it'll make competition for your enemies and maybe give you a new lease on life as people pounce on the new feature. (Heck, it might even open up a new line of business: tech support. "Sure, I can get that working for you - if you pay the fee, muahahahaha!")

Posting the source code, on the other hand, or turning it over to an awesome company like GOG, though... there's not much in it for them, if they aim to keep making games. Thank Zeus not everyone in this world is that fucking cynical, though.
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