The Dark Side of Online Gaming

Let me know what you think about my reviews.
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 11886
Joined: April 1st, 2015, 7:23 pm

The Dark Side of Online Gaming

Postby VideoGameCritic » October 16th, 2014, 7:50 pm

I'd like your thoughts on my new article The Dark Side of Online Gaming.

Posts: 598
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

The Dark Side of Online Gaming

Postby Orion1 » October 16th, 2014, 8:54 pm

You defend your points well.

I am a video game collector who owns 44 consoles and pretty much all of the handhelds.  I would classify myself mostly as a retro gamer, but I do dabble in modern gaming.

That being said, I bought Killzone Shadow Fall during the launch of the PS4.  I quickly played through the entire game in about a week.  It was okay, but it seemed like something was missing.

I wanted to sell it, but first I wanted to try the online portion to see what it's all about.  My expectations were low, since I never had much interest in playing with the punks who are online.  The PS4 came with a code for a free trial of PS Network, so I redeemed it, and logged into the game.

The first few games was basically me getting slaughtered for 15 minutes.  After a while though, something clicked.  I came to realize that being inside a 3D landscape with 23 other players was quite fun.  Twelve of them were enemies, and 11 were comrades.  Not only was it enjoyable to talk strategy with the 11, it was also fun to fight against 12 human controlled opponents (much better than AI).

It felt like an actual war, and sometimes if my team was doing good, we would push the opponents backward toward their base.  Their was a definite battle line that would move throughout the battle.  Of course, other times your team would get pushed back too.  This may all seem dull the way I describe it, but when your in the middle of all this that is going on, it feels like gameplay bliss

There's also the fact that when you get the best of your opponent, having it be a human controlled one makes it ten times more satisfying.  Often, they would come back looking for you after they respawn, trying to get revenge.  I don't think an AI opponent would be able to behave in such a way.

Eventually I became so enthralled with the game that I ended up getting addicted, and after a few months I found that it was eating away a good chuck of my free time.  Eventually I had to stop cold turkey by selling the game on Ebay.  I still played it all the way up to the time I had to ship it.  It was the first time I sold a game because it was good.

Now, the things in your article about racism, homophobia, etc., are all true, but this game lets you mute players you don't want to hear, and if they really step over the line you can vote to boot them from the game.

The bottom line is that it was an intense gaming experience that was hard to duplicate offline.  The price I payed for it at launch, and the costs of playing online were all worth it.


Posts: 401
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

The Dark Side of Online Gaming

Postby Tron1 » October 16th, 2014, 10:37 pm

Best article ever! You pretty much covered everything I resent about online gaming. In contrast Orion probably illustrated the best part of online gaming, which sure as heck ain't worth the trade of the bad.

Here's a couple more that bug me.

1. Some games sold via retail have to be online to be played. I know it's not a rule or law or anything, but I thought it was a safe assumption that if the game was on a disc and sold at a store that you should be able to just play it on your console without the internet. Perhaps the worst part is that it's so hard to even find out that the game required the internet. Check out Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare at your favorite retailer. In tiny print on the back it tells you it has to be online. I actually almost bought this, but then remembers in line reading something about how it required the internet.

2. Quite simply it opens the door for much more worse things to come in the future. Single-player offline modes are starting to require the internet. Microsoft tried to strong arm everyone online, although they were not fully successful I surely wouldn't say that it won't come eventually. Once they find an excuse to get you online you've established that you "accept it". At that point here comes the drm. Even the retron 5 needs the internet?

3. No more collections on disc. All digital form only. Micro transactions for every title. Digital distribution erases the possibility that many games would ever be sold in stores. Some say it helps indie developers. I get that, but these indie developers could still work with other indie developers and put out a collection on disc. It has happened, but I doubt it will happen again.

Posts: 202
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

The Dark Side of Online Gaming

Postby Herschie1 » October 16th, 2014, 11:18 pm

I'm starting to see how bad it's getting. Especially annoying is when I'm playing an EA sports game, and I have to sit there and wait for it to connect to the online servers. Why do I have to do this when I don't even intend to play online? It's especially annoying on the Vita when I might not have a lot of time/battery power left to play. And then this voice thing; I could hear the other person, so that made me wonder, could they hear me too? What if I start singing a song to myself, or start talking dirty to my wife? Say I'm listening to a song that I wouldn't be caught dead listening to? Next thing you know, they'll have a camera watching your every move. 

And then in Madden, they release all these tuners and patches that make the game play totally different. This is really annoying when I had my slider set down pat. I turn on the game, all of the sudden, nobody covers anyone, I can't get any pressure, the plays I called before don't work.  I get that sometimes it's nice to be able to fix glaring flaws in a game, but especially with the sports genre, I don't wish to be playing a broken game for the first two months of it being out. 

I was really gloating on Operation Sports when people were having trouble with the midnight download of MLB 14: The Show after I had managed to get the disc copy three days early. 

Posts: 883
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

The Dark Side of Online Gaming

Postby Vexer1 » October 17th, 2014, 12:48 am

I'm perfectly fine with patches for the most part because let's face it, sometimes developers will miss some pretty serious glitches that need fixing, and for me those are definitely not "reason enough" to keep my system offline.

I will say though that I do not care for multiplayer much, mainly because I don't find it fun and because i'd rather not have to deal with 12 year olds swearing up a storm and of course all the inevitable racist and sexist comments.

I'm fine with online services needing your credit card information, as that's really no different then what websites like Amazon and Ebay do, but the EULA's are getting out of control.

Definitely agree with on disc DLC, Angry Joe perfectly summed this up with his video on Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3(ironically in his review of UMVC 3 he had joked about this very thing happening and was gobsmacked when it actually did), it is inherently anti-consumer in the worst way.  Though i'm not totally against the concept of DLC itself, as I feel it's a decent way to extend a game's lifespan while the sequel is in development(the Borderlands games have some pretty good DLC) so long as it's good value for it's price.

I'm really surprised you didn't mention anything about microtransactions, which I feel are the worst thing to ever happen to video games, it's a case of pay to win and a way for publishers to suck your wallets dry(see The War Z, or as it's called now Infestation: Survivor Stories for one of the worst examples of this practice).

Also cartridges and discs will not last forever, sooner or later they will succumb to bit rot, and uploading them online could ironically end up saving them from forever being lost to the sands of time.

I'm fine with buying games online on services like Steam and GOG, as you can get some pretty good deals there, and many downloadable games are often considerably cheaper on Steam then on console(especially during Steam sales).

There are some pretty good downloadable games like the Payday series, Alien Rage, Marlow Briggs and the Mask of Death, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, but I can't argue that a lot of downloadable games are complete garbage(see Guise of the Wolf for an example of one of the worst games of all time, it'll make you appreciate all the games you've given an F- grade)

I generally haven't had connection issues, Destiny is so far the only game i've played that required a connection was Destiny and usually it cooperated, but it was frustrating when the servers refused to work, so I do understand your frustrations.  Luckily bandwidth isn't an issue for me as I have an unlimited data plan, but I still see no reason to use the cloud to store my games when my 60 GB hard drive has more then enough space to store my data.

Posts: 202
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

The Dark Side of Online Gaming

Postby Herschie1 » October 17th, 2014, 8:50 am


Luckily bandwidth isn't an issue for me as I have an unlimited data plan, but I still see no reason to use the cloud to store my games when my 60 GB hard drive has more then enough space to store my data.


It has its uses. For example, with MLB: The Show, you can transfer your season between the PS4 and the Vita via the cloud. I also like it because if something goes wrong with the PS4, I don't lose all my data. Which really sucks when you're in the middle of a 162 game season. After each game, I usually save both on the hard drive, and the cloud. That way there's no problems. 

And you know, here I am bashing online stuff when I was just up all night playing Mariokart and Madden online. Nothing quite beats the feeling when someone rage-quits on you after being torn apart by Jay Cutler (Why can't technology be advanced by 30 years? I'd have had a field day with McMahon and Payton in Madden '86.). The PS4 doesn't really care who wins. I also like how I can play an actual human, and not have to bother ordering a pizza, or cleaning the house (At least until the wife starts nagging). 

Then there's all the Nintendo classics that I can download. In 1989, I would spend fifteen minutes blowing into these stupid cartridges trying to get them to work. By then, my dad would remember that I had to mow the lawn. It's nice being able to play these games at the drop of a hat and on the go. Not to mention how it helps cut down on wires. 

All your points are valid, but I'm glad that gaming went online. 

Posts: 909
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

The Dark Side of Online Gaming

Postby ptdebate1 » October 17th, 2014, 11:37 am

Critic, thanks for posting this article, which is well-written and well-argued.

I was with you 100% until the "Downloadable Games are Mostly Junk" section. It seems that you have made the mistake of equating Xbox Live's notoriously trashy indie section with indie games at large.

I'd actually argue an opposite extreme and say that most of the essential games released in the past five years have been indie, download-only titles. 

Many of these games are the types of experiences you've been missing out on in focusing primarily on modern, ultra-realistic blockbusters like Call of Duty or Madden. You don't have to go back to the SNES or the Dreamcast to find rich, arcade-like, or lovingly crafted games that are full of character and sharply contrast the crassness and anti-consumerism pervading the mainstream franchises.

You've had all of these recommended to you before, I'm sure, but I'll repeat them for the sake of concluding my post:

Gone Home
The Swapper
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Dust: An Elysian Tale 
Don't Starve
The Binding of Isaac
Path of Exile
Faster Than Light

I've been reading your reviews for long enough to identify your taste in games. I can confidently predict that all of the games I have just listed would range from B+ to A+ if reviewed. I feel like I need to emphasize this because avoiding download-only titles has robbed you from some of the best contemporary gaming experiences to be had.

That being said, I really appreciated the article. Great work, as always!

Posts: 3892
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

The Dark Side of Online Gaming

Postby Atarifever1 » October 17th, 2014, 12:20 pm

Great article.  I was prepared to debate the point about download games being junk too, until I read it.  I think you're actually right.  Especially with "early access" and "forever in beta" games, Steam is becoming a huge junk pile, and I used to love that service.  Now it's like going into the most cluttered, lowest quality store in the world.  For every Shovel Knight there seems to be 25 indefensively horrible semi-games. 

The article as a whole is well done, and I agree with most of it.  I know I'm sure tired of all the constant system updates eating into my very limited gaming time.  I get maybe -- maybe -- an hour a day of gaming if I stay up late.  To lose even 5 minutes of that to an update always makes me mad, every time.  I'm glad I don't have an eReader.  If I had to update to read a book, I think I'd just throw myself off a cliff and have done with it. 

I personally can't go offline with my consoles though, as I use all of my Wii, Wii U, and 3DS as youtube and netflix machines too, so they have to be connected.  Fun fact I learned on the IGN Nintendo podcast: Most of the Netflix, Hulu, etc apps on consoles are made by TouchFactor, a company made up largely from the people from the now dead studio Factor 5 (Rogue Squadron, Rogue Leader, etc.).

Posts: 378
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

The Dark Side of Online Gaming

Postby Jon1 » October 17th, 2014, 3:03 pm

Fortunately (and unfortunately at the same time) I haven't played that many new games since 2008. So I've been spared the installation times. That has got to be the worst thing ever, you can't even put a new game in and play it. As for online, I think the experience will get better. Games in the future will have more options. It'll take time, like how last generation took a while to get going. There's a lot of room for improvement in sports games to deliver a more advanced online experience. Although the game has to actually be good too. 

Posts: 883
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

The Dark Side of Online Gaming

Postby Vexer1 » October 17th, 2014, 4:18 pm

Most games nowadays do not require installations, there's only a select few i've played that did(GTA V, Watch Dogs, Destiny, Alien Isolation, Ground Zeroes)

Return to “Review Feedback”