Author Topic: Shift from Family gaming PC to single user  (Read 733 times)

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Offline Granite T. Rock

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Shift from Family gaming PC to single user
« on: June 04, 2009, 06:35:33 pm »
I've noticed in recent years there has been a sizeable shift from developers to move from assuming that families are sharing computers and the games on them to that of a single user computer.  The biggest impact this has had is on games that have an online component and could be seen in a one serial number one screen name approach.  My two most recent experiences have both been with EA games. 

The first is spore, initially they only allowed one account per game which meant family members all uploaded their creatures to the same accounts.  This upset alot of people because the ownership over their creatures and wanted to take credit for them.  Not to mention brother might not like sister's subscription to the unicorn channel (or perhaps vice versa).  As part of their back tracking on the DRM, EA did eventually allow sub accounts.

The Sims 3 also provides no sub accounts.  Again if more than one family member wants to use the online interfaces (the exchange) and upload their customizations they all get lumped together.  The origional sims had built in functionality to allow for 5 sub accounts.

From a philosohpical sense this trend shows either a lack of awareness or worse, an intentional disregard for family gaming.  It also ignores the ecomonmic realities for most -- simply the Smith family is not going to buy 3 copies of a game for $150 so the 3 children can each have their own accounts.  Perhaps this is what the developers wish would happen.  The most user friendly options would be to allow either sub accounts or allow 3-5 registrations per account key or computer.  The current system means most families will "suffer" through sharing accounts.  Sharing first person shooter gaming stats or creative content is less than ideal of most people.  I wonder if a fair compromise would be to allow additional registrations for a small fee of 5 - 10 dollars. 

Interestingly, utility developers who in my experience have often disregarded this reality have recognized multi computer households. My anti-virus program for example allows 3 simultaneous registrations for 3 seperate computers.  Gaming has gone the opposite direction whether it is FPS, Spore, the sims or Steam.  The focus is one user, one key, one account. 

I guess where I'm going with all this is that I'm disppointed the direction things are going despite the many possible creative solutions.


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