ImaJAN Media Network
MeltedJoystick Home
   Games  Members
Search +
Searching... Close  
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
  Login Using Facebook

Value Added?

View Nelson Schneider's Profile

By Nelson Schneider - 02/12/12 at 03:24 PM CT

This generation of consoles has seen numerous changes – with most of them coming in the form of things I dislike. One of the most obtrusive changes is the way in which online functionality has permeated every facet of our consoles. Once stand-alone bastions of simplicity, consoles have become just as dependent upon the Internet as PCs.

Had online functionality been implemented in a console-minded fashion – that is, simple and unobtrusive – it would have been an obvious choice for the title of “Best New Innovation” of the generation. A simple and free service to provide matchmaking for online games, mandatory software patches, and a digital marketplace: This is the bare minimum of online functionality, and it’s all we really need. Yet the recent greed of the game industry has lead them down the dark and twisted path of “software as a service,” in which they bleed users dry through subscription fees and microtransactions while simultaneously driving users insane with in-your-face advertising and the relocation of essential functionality behind a paywall.

Not owning an Xbox, I’m not an expert on Live. But I know everything I need to know about it to know that it’s bad: It costs money. While Microsoft supposedly provides a higher-quality service than their console competitors due to the fact that they charge for it, the fact that a Gold Membership is required to do things completely unrelated to online multi-player, like watching Netflix, says otherwise. Why should Xbox users who don’t want to play online have to pay to use their Xbox for other things? And shouldn’t the paywall in front of online matchmaking ensure that a higher caliber or player participates in these matches? Instead, Live has a reputation of being overrun by insult-shrieking pre-teens. Is the dubious privilege of being called a “nigger” by a 10-year-old really worth $60 per year?

And then there is PSN. Oh, PSN, how can we count the ways in which you have gone astray? At first PSN seemed like a superior alternative to Live, as it was free and provided all of the necessary functionality of matchmaking, patches, the PS Store, and even Netflix streaming. Sure, the stability was not quite as good as Live was reported to be, but it was free! But before long, Sony began adding “value” to PSN and ruined it in the process. Let’s set aside their massive security breach (hey, it could happen to anyone) and look at how Sony has “improved” PSN: PlayStation Home, What’s New?, and that annoying ticker under the clock on the XMB home screen. Home is just a glorified visual chatroom frontend for microtransations where female avatars attract hoards of drooling sycophants, while the What’s New? icon and the ticker are utterly worthless advertisements. Of course, Sony has proven to be the King of Missteps this-gen, and decided to add an “optional” subscription modeled on Xbox Live Gold, called PlayStation Plus. Plus provides “free” downloadable games and exclusive DLC to members as well as a cloud backup service for game saves. Except these games aren’t actually “free,” as they become inaccessible in the event of a subscription lapse. And the exclusive DLC simply breeds ill will among a gaming population that already chafes at the idea of paying for unlockables that used to be free by tying specific unlockables to, not just a one-time payment, but an eternal payment. The worst foul committed by Plus, though, is the cloud backup system, as it encourages developers to copy-protect the save files for their games, making it impossible to back them up via the traditional method of copying them to a USB flash drive. Instead, the security of these saves, which may have hundreds of hours sunk into them, is held hostage behind the PlayStation Plus subscription fee. How is Plus adding value when it takes away so much other value?

Nintendo largely stood by the wayside this-gen with regard to the Online Value Added Wars. Yet by doing barely anything, Nintendo managed to completely screw-up the idea of ownership of games purchased from the Wii Shop Channel. While not recording credit card data turned out to be a serendipitously brilliant move on Nintendo’s behalf (Hackers can’t steal your credit card information from Nintendo if you have to type it in every time you buy something!), the lack of a persistent account to which to attach purchases also prevents users from redownloading the games they “own” on a different Wii (should their current Wii die or should they want to play a WiiWare game at a friend’s house). We still don’t know how Nintendo will handle the mass-migration from the Wii to the WiiU with regard to digital purchases, but the fact that Iwata has declared the upcoming “Nintendo Network” to be focused more on services than functionality leads me to believe that they are falling into the same trap as the others.

At this rate, consoles are rapidly losing the simplicity and friendliness that has always differentiated them from PCs. With Microsoft’s next Xbox supposedly declaring total war on used games and our content being held hostage by online “services” packed with garbage disguised as “value,” it looks like the next generation of consoles won’t be holding a very strong hand. Why should gamers put up with this nonsense? PC gamers have been putting up with Steam for years now, and it has finally refined itself into a usable service, despite being a thinly-veiled DRM scheme. If Live, PSN, and the Nintendo Network present such a loathsome and user-unfriendly façade, consoles will lose their main advantage over PC gaming and encourage staunch console gamers to, at best, flee into the arms of Steam and Good Old Games, at worst turn to piracy.

MeltedJoystick Gaming Blog RSS Feed

Avoid spam Captcha: Sign Up + or Log In +   



Previous Blog Posts


All Posts

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021

December 2020

November 2020

October 2020

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

December 2019

November 2019

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

Log In
For members wanting to use FB to login, click here
remember me

What Members Are Doing

Comments about...

New Game Reviews

The Deep Paths: Labyrinth ... game review by Nelson Schneider
The Vagrant game review by Nelson Schneider
Avadon: The Black Fortress game review by Nelson Schneider
Strange Brigade game review by Chris Kavan
Satellite Reign game review by Chris Kavan
Watch Dogs 2 game review by Chris Kavan
Soldner-X 2: Final Prototy... game review by Hurain
Dead Cells game review by dbarry_22

New Game Lists

Top Super Nintendo (SNES) Gam... by Jonzor
Backlog by Nelson Schneider
Games I Own: Switch by dbarry_22
Top Game List by SIngli6
Top PlayStation 4 Games by Megadrive
Top Game List by Barmak
My Backlog by Chris Kavan
Games I Want To Play by Shaneo99




Contact Us Public Relations MeltedJoystick Friends    

Advertise and Business

Contacts Us


About us



Support Us

FAQ and Help

News and Press

Terms of Use


Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Are you sure you want to delete this blog?