The ever-present internet connection is the basis for a vast number of videogames today. This requirement has been the subject of several major controversies, including the release of Diablo III and the controversial Sim City. In fact, the ever-online requirement was originally planned for Xbox One, but Microsoft quickly reversed course after widespread opposition from gamers. However, the issue still remains: why do so many games require always online access?
While the use of an internet connection is often cited as an anti-piracy measure, it does nothing to protect the majority of gamers. The reality is that not every gamer has a reliable Internet connection, and punishing the minority is neither wise nor effective. Furthermore, by making gaming servers always online, game developers are ignoring the reality that not everyone plays the same way. In fact, consumer experiences vary geographically, economically, and socially.
While DRM is the least intrusive solution to video game piracy, it does not make sense for every game. However, for those games that require online play, always-on DRM makes sense. It gives publishers a double-edged solution. By checking the legitimacy of the game at the same time as a game is being played, publishers can verify the game’s authenticity at the same time.