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Stop Shutting Down Servers!

If it isn’t popular, then pay the price

When you buy a car, you don’t expect several years down the line to be told that the brake peddle will be taken away from the car and that your left with having to use the soles of your shoes to stop it. No, thought not. You don’t expect to buy digital satellite to find several years later it no longer has high definition channels. So why then should we accept that if a videogame you buy depending on its online success rate, its servers will shutdown because the game house wanted to save money? It appears some of you do. If you happen to be one of them, then you are quintessentially mad.

Before people start throwing examples of shut down servers in abundance can I firstly state that, if the servers get shutdown once the next generation of machine gets released then, fair enough, however to turn the servers off whilst your still playing the current lifecycle of videogame entertainment just seems completely unjust. Sure Chromehound’s isn’t a popular game online, but there is nothing stopping myself and my friends list from agreeing in principle to pick the game up for next to nothing and experience the multiplayer for the first time. Perhaps what really took me over the edge was to see one of my favourite PSN games also fall victim to this same company ethos of, ‘if no one plays it, then pull it’. Calling All Cars is an absolute diamond of a game, the mastermind of David Jaffe behind one of the most entertaining top down racers since Super Cars & Badlands. Now unfortunately the servers have died and reading Jaffe’s blog of reflection and sorrow just made me scream ‘well you didn’t exactly have to pull them did you?’

Why should we pay for a title only to find that later on I can no longer play it online? Sure, if we all had new machines it wouldn’t be such an issue but the fact it’s happening right now, on two consoles with at least another 5-7 years support is unfathomable. Surely consumer’s rights should come in to play? Where does it state, clearly before we purchase that disc content is subject to change? Nowhere!

It’s a shame that companies have gone and taken this ethos, games on their life support machines could be given new vigour just by organising community revival days whereby people can organize a return to some of the original classics. I think that something needs to change in terms of making it fair on the consumer. Surely there should be a dedication by the developers where-by they will state their minimum commitment to keeping the servers online. At least then, as a consumer we will have a choice on whether we want to dip our toes into the purchase. For gamers like myself whom own several hundred titles, I often have too many other great online experiences to absorb myself into, to ever get round to playing the multiplayer of another title, keeping the dedication to servers not only serves people like myself, but those that see games as more than a disposable item. Thankfully there are some games that still support the gamer, regardless of popularity. PES5 on the original Xbox is an absolute cracker and so is PES6. Both games have yet to be bettered by Konami and thankfully the servers are still online to play matches. It goes without saying these games have been online longer than Chromehounds, longer than Calling All Cars and yet support is still there for them.

Imagine when the online servers of games that are only decent in Multiplayer mode start shutting down, Crackdown and Shadowrun are a few examples. Will we still be footing a higher bill for the game, or would they be reduced to the 99p bargain bins? It’s hardly worth thinking about. For heavens sake developers, support your customers from start of the project, until death of the console. If your games aren’t popular online, pay the price and foot the bill for the servers, don’t screw us over!

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1 Comment
  • Mikey
    January 19, 2024
    #1
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    I don’t think Crackdown was a good example at the end as it uses P2P and Live matchmaking. Live would have to go down before it does.

    But I do understand your sentiment. Dedicated servers can be a drain. And with a game like Chrome Hounds where there probably wasn’t much profit(if any), paying for dedicated servers for a non-existent fan base will just further eat away money. Especially if you have a large back catalog of online games, the costs can add up.

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