Ramblings | Offline Mode as a Feature

Our world is grow­ing more and more con­nect­ed every day. It’s gone from rude to almost assumed that smart­phones come out at some point dur­ing din­ner. Mul­ti­play­er in video games has felt quite a bit of this change as well. With rare excep­tion from Nin­ten­do, it seems that the norm for mul­ti­play­er is chang­ing from some­thing you do on the couch next to your bud­dies to over a web­cam or head­set. With that rise in the pop­u­lar­i­ty of online mul­ti­play­er, we’re start­ing to see some games that don’t even give you the option to play by your­self, to the point where the lat­est game in the Call of Duty series actu­al­ly lists “offline mode” as a fea­ture

OfflineBenThese online only games are still usu­al­ly the excep­tion and not the rule, but more have been crop­ping up late­ly and we’re start­ing to see some issues. Don’t get me wrong, peo­ple are enjoy­ing the games, the issue lies when peo­ple in areas that don’t have a great inter­net con­nec­tion are left of out being able to enjoy these games at all.

In a lot of these games, it’s obvi­ous that the main draw of the series is the online mul­ti­play­er. Call of Duty and Bat­tle­field cer­tain­ly come to mind when think­ing of this. Both of these series also throw a sin­gle-play­er cam­paign in there to make sure you can always have some­thing to play and to craft some con­text around the rest of the game. It’s eas­i­er to feel con­nect­ed to some­thing if you’ve got­ten a chance to see those char­ac­ters and loca­tions in a cohe­sive sto­ry. Are these sto­ries always good? Absolute­ly not. In fact, plen­ty of them are down­right campy and eas­i­ly skip­pable. The main point of their inclu­sion, aside from adding that frame­work, is to make sure those peo­ple with less than ide­al con­nec­tions out there have an option if they want to play.

Back­ing up to E3 this year, Microsoft got in a bit of hot water. They announced that the Xbox One would require an online check of the own­er­ship of the games around every 24–48 hours. This was, after an awk­ward­ly long few weeks, changed, but it has since attached a stig­ma to the term “online” in the mass media. While any­one who has played a Call of Duty game in the past would look at the offline mode icon on the back and say “well duh,” it seems more like this is sim­ply an attempt to make sure any­one who was con­cerned about it back then knows that the whole “always online” scan­dal does not effect their Call of Duty play­ing.

I’m not sure if the offline mode icon will begin to be a sta­ple on the back of game box­es. Whether or not the game fea­tures online only should def­i­nite­ly be com­mu­ni­cat­ed, and clear­ly, but I hon­est­ly think there being an offline mode in a game should be a giv­en and not a fea­ture list­ed on the back of the box.

Source: IGN

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