Epic Considering Always Online For Fortnite [Updated]

Update: Epic’s issued a statement clarifying its meaning, noting that – while nothing’s off the table – it hasn’t entered serious talks about how it’ll implement online play at this point. Here’s the official word, in full: “We’re not talking about our plans at this time, mainly because that plan doesn’t exist yet. Fortnite is an iterative, living project and many things are still being decided prior to its release in 2013.”  

Original article: Let’s start with some good news, shall we? First off, Fortnite’s looking quite nice and – based on an interview I just wrapped with producer Tanya Jessen (which you’ll see all of tomorrow) – the Unreal-Engine-4-powered survivor is, by and large, taking full advantage of every tool at PC gaming’s disposal. In other words, expect a constant flow of new content, some form of mod support, and impressively open-ended, procedurally generated worlds. It’s not all uncharacteristically colorful cartoon roses, however. At this stage, Jessen told me, a constant Internet connection requirement ala Diablo is still a possibility. She assured, however, that it’d be used first and foremost to improve the game – not as a last line of defense against piracy’s nighttime pillages.

“That’s something we don’t know yet,” Jessen explained to RPS. “It’s gonna be really dependent on gameplay, and it’s also dependent on platform – the method of getting updates and stuff like that. So I can’t say for sure today one way or another [whether or not we’re going to use it].”

She added, however, that Fortnite is – above all else – being designed with multiplayer at the forefront, so whatever goes with that territory is fair game.

“Fortnite is a game that’s being developed as a co-op experience primarily,” she said. “That’s our number one focus. This is a game you’re gonna want to play with your friends, and it’s most fun with your friends. So whatever we decide to do there is gonna be more relevant to the most fun experience you can have with your friends [than it is to piracy]. But I can’t nail that down today.”

That said, constant connection or not, the aim isn’t to turn single-player into a stark reminder of the fact that you’re single-tear-sobbingly alone. Epic wrote quite a few chapters in the Big Book O’ Co-Op with Gears of War, though, so it – probably better than most – understands that forcing multiplayer where it doesn’t belong can sink an entire game.

“Single-player’s absolutely gonna be super fun,” Jessen enthused. “But, like I said, we’re building it to be a co-op experience. But co-op won’t ever be required in any shape or form. In particular, we’ve got this personality we call ‘the lone wolf’ – like, the kind of person who maybe likes to jump in and play with their friends, but not necessarily all of the time, or maybe they even like to play primarily by themselves. So we are definitely making sure that Fortnite will be super fun for that type of person too.”

“It’s just that, if you don’t design for co-op from the very beginning and make it a pillar of your project, then the game systems don’t tend to feel as solid in the co-op experience. So that’s how we’re developing the game from the outset.”

At this point, then, it’s simply a matter of waiting for Fortnite to truly take shape. Still though, it is a bit worrisome. Diablo III’s connection hiccups are well-documented – as is the point where they turned out to not be hiccups at all, but instead a complicationspewing volcano of mounting issues that sprouted from the very depths of hell itself, largely for an auction house that sort of defeats the purpose of the entire game.

Elsewhere, meanwhile, there’s at least some hope – slight though it might be. SimCity‘s ambitious online features at least sound like they could justify the cost of entry, and a disconnect won’t grind your game to a screeching halt. So that’s something, at least. But even then, EA has been known to send servers to the great farm in the sky long before their time, so it could all be for naught the second, say, a sequel comes out. (And is still no bloody good for anyone wanting to play the game without a connection – John)

Regardless, more and more major developers are pegging this as the way of the future, and I’m desperately hoping that no-strings-attached single-player eventually re-emerges from the fray in one piece. But, right now – with everyone still struggling to adapt and figure out what actually works – I see very few situations where this doesn’t get worse before it gets better.


  1. DarkLiberator says:

    If this happens, there goes any interest I had in this game. After the debacle with Diablo 3, any always online are off my interest list.

    • JiminyJickers says:

      Same here, not interested anymore.

    • mr.ioes says:


      DRM showed its ugly face with Diablo 3. Noone can guarantee that the developer’s servers are good. And if they are not, you’re screwed. Great stuff.

      It’s really sad, cause the game looks awesome so far. But we’ll see if they really do it as it isn’t set in stone yet.

    • Toberoth says:

      Yep, same. Poof! Just like that.

    • Alexrd says:

      Same… Their loss.

    • Shivoa says:

      Yep, always on (or even just enforced phone home every execution to allow offline play, which is the next step down in draconian DRM that turns a purchase into a rental with crappy limitations on the solo play – yep, I want SimCity but I’ll have to play one of the hundreds of games I own without this restriction if they don’t change course on that policy before release) is over the line for me. I might like the sound of your game, but I’m sorry I can’t reward your work with some of this lovely money stuff in case you get the idea that it’s ok to use this form of DRM.

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      prolly not going to bother with any game that doesn’t have public servers or ptp connections, there’s so many brilliant games i can afford to be picky about that stuff now.

    • neolith says:

      Exclusive: Neolith Considering Not Throwing Money Down The Drain For Fortnite

    • lorddon says:

      It would be awfully nice if content providers stopped non-consentually fucking their customers in the ass.

      • Laurens says:

        Ah, you obviously didn’t ctrl+f the EULA for consent…

        • Phantoon says:

          I’d ask “what about Apple users”, but then remembered they’re used to it.

      • Baines says:

        Non-consentually? Diablo III showed an excess of customers are quite willing to consent.

        Just like Blizzard wanted, and other publishers were hoping.

        • MrEvilGuy says:

          I read a poster in a bathroom that told me using manipulation or coercion to get someone’s consent does not qualify as consent.

    • djbriandamage says:

      I gave Diablo the benefit of the doubt and it fucked me. 3 or 4 times I lost connection for no reason and had to replay 10 or even 20-minute stretches of my single player game. Always-on connectivity is now on my verboten list just like games with limited activation DRM.

    • Lagwolf says:

      Yeah, don’t bother with this game. Have to send a developers that “always on” DRM does not equal solo play. If I can’t play the damn game solo when I bloody well please where I please then the company is just renting the game to me not selling it.

    • JBrr says:

      DRM like this just MAKES me want to pirate. I’m going to pirate the shit out of it.

    • Lev Astov says:

      I just have so many other games to choose from, I can afford to ignore this one due to always on DRM. Besides, what use is a game if I can’t play it while I’m stuck on a ship in the middle of the ocean for six weeks and terribly bored?

    • Grargh says:

      All of you who care about this game but won’t buy because of DRM: Please, please, write a short note to Epic on the day of release mentioning this decision. Otherwise we’ll just get the same old piracy whining and “PC is dead, told you so”.

      • Fumarole says:

        Surely it would be better to do so now, in the hope that they’ll see the sense in not using AODRM at all, before it is too late. Once it hits the shelves with AODRM it is dead to me, even if they remove it later. I have enough games to play that don’t include this nonsense.

    • boiglenoight darkstar says:

      Passed on Diablo III due to AODRM. My friends have already played it as much as they care to and their disinterest keeps me from thinking I’m missing out. In fact, the same thing happened with StarCraft 2. Come to think of it, personally I haven’t played a Blizzard game since WoW–none of the expansions…Blizzard used to make must play games in my book.

      Anyway, looks like Fort Nite will fall into the same category of “Oh well, what else to play.” It’s not like I don’t have a backlog generated by consecutive Steam sales.

    • moondog548 says:

      Whereas they lost me at, “more goddamn zombies yet again, except this time it’s like a cartoon or something? meh.”

      Which is a weird quote but that proves my point.

    • Dog Pants says:

      In the hope that developers note the response to this announcement, and why wouldn’t they read one of the world’s biggest gaming blogs, I’m adding my voice to this. Always-on DRM is highly likely to prevent me buying this game.

    • Ovno says:

      Still gonna buy it, strangely I’ve never minded having to be connected to the internet to play a multiplayer game (single player is a different matter, but this is not a single player game)

      • Chris D says:

        Really? I heard the single player was supposed to be super fun.

        • Ovno says:

          I’ve always found Co-op single player to be slightly less than ‘super’ fun, so I tend to ignore it as an option, perhaps that’s just me…

          But yeah always on single player is just another way of annoying your player base, better to make it multi only or do it properly and make single player offline.

    • ZarZad says:

      What about LAN parties? You shouldn’t be required to have an internet connection to play local multiplayer.

      • Ovno says:

        Very, very good point, sadly lan support went away along time ago for most games, so long in fact I’d almost forgot it ever existed :(

    • Dragon Master says:

      “So I can’t say for sure today one way or another [whether or not we’re going to use it]”
      Somehow I read that as: “We’re waiting to see if D3 gets cracked, to know if we should bother with this.”

    • stiffkittin says:

      Me too, I will not buy this game if they go this route. If you don’t draw the line somewhere you never will.

    • yesterdayisawadeer says:

      Came here to say that. I’m not buying anything with always-online DRM anymore.

  2. Bradeh says:

    Why do these developers keep shooting themselves in the foot….especially after the Diablo 3 debacle. It’s like their don’t want us to buy the games.

    • DeVadder says:

      This is because Diablo still sold incredibly well and because despite the vocal complains about allways-on, almost nobody asked for a refund about the problems.
      Blizzards test allways-on.
      Blizzard screw it up.
      Blizzard get away with it.
      Everyone knows Blizzard are the best.
      Everyone wants allways-on.

      • HisMastersVoice says:

        Ubisoft tried the same thing way before Blizz and didn’t fare all to well, so that’s something to thing about when you’re a non-Blizz publisher.

        • Kdansky says:

          Or you know, game quality.

          • SominiTheCommenter says:

            Assasssin’s Creed 2 is a bad game?
            Well, it’s you opinion. It was critically acclaimed, D3 was not so consensual.

          • RegisteredUser says:

            “Assassin’s Creed II sales hit 9 million”
            “Assassin’s Creed 2 beats sales forecasts”
            “Assassin’s Creed 2 Sales Record Announced”
            “Assassin’s Creed II has sold 1.6 million copies worldwide in its first week at retail”
            just FYI.

            We may have _perceived_ it different, but they “succeeded” with their online DRM just as much as Blizzard/Activision.
            Thankfully, despite being able to sell it, they eventually had enough about the backlash, but the main dilemma is that if you pay these people well, you really have only hope left to rely on, because the only fucking leverage you had as a consumer, you gave away to them when you financed them and their DRM product.

          • Hanban says:

            Keep in mind ACII is a console game as well. How much did it sell on PC?

          • RegisteredUser says:

            Actual figures are tough to come by.
            Ironically enough, we’re faced with a similiar problem arguing around the DRM: if the PC sales are not so super-duper, it may simply be because out of 10 million people 8 already bought it for their console, because well fuck giving the PC a simultaneous release date -> people buy it as soon as possible, and only for console, despite also having a PC or of the camp of herpderp PC too old and complicated -> numbers could be because of that and not of DRM.

            But FUD and spin don’t work with facts anyhow. What matters is perception.
            This is what we got to hear from Ubi:
            ” Ubisoft representative told PC Gamer the company has seen ”a clear reduction in piracy of our titles which required a persistent online connection, and from that point of view the requirement is a success.””

            Which is funny, because unlike D3, all of the titles were cracked and put online and torrented to buttfucksville regardless, even if it took a while. But here, too, maybe there is something to the initial sales spike / first weeks being crucial argument.
            If they only need to put off pirates for some weeks for sales to “work” – supposedly – and that was achieved, then its a success.

            Obviously the long-term pissing off of paying customers runs parallel to that. And if it really is only the first few weeks, why not make everything DRM free after 3 months?
            Or whatever.
            None of their logic ever really works completely, I’ve found, so quite honestly I find it best to just say pro-DRM is idiotic, in any way, shape or form, period.

          • Arglebargle says:

            If companies are so worried about initial release piraticalness, they could stick in some draconian DRM for the first couple of months, and then do the reasonable thing, and dump it.

            There are lots of good games, I don’t have to play the ones that are a pain in the ass.
            And AssCreed1 was enough of a pain in the ass that I’ve skipped them all since then.

        • Lolmasaurus says:

          It’s quite funny how the paying customers always get screwed by server downtimes when cynics like me put on their peglegs and have no problem. Always-online failed miserably as fair as the end user is concerned imo.

      • Caiman says:

        Except of course, quite a lot of people asked for a refund, Blizzard were threatened with legal action, and they irreparably damaged their brand. Just see them try it again and have the same sales, I think not.

        Epic talking about doing the same thing when the Diablo 3 DRM disaster is still fresh in everyone’s minds is tantamount to commercial suicide. It’s stupid, dense, and shows a huge lack of awareness, and they can get knotted.

        • Shooop says:

          Only in Korea though. Western gamers ate it up and begged for more.

    • mrmalodor says:

      You’re completely correct, they don’t want you to buy their games. They want a gullible consumer who makes stupid impulse buys without restraint to keep up with the Joneses. They don’t want to have customers who have the ability to think critically about what they purchase.

      • Mbaya says:

        “they don’t want you to buy their games” – I’m starting to wonder if this is actually correct.

        Kind of self sabotage so they don’t seem like the bad guys when they shun the PC when the next console generation comes out. “We tried to give you want you wanted as gamers with Fortnite and no one bought it, that’s why we’ve gone back to putting all our effort into the console market.”.

        I certainly don’t mean that to sound condiscending to console gamers, I simply mean more directed to a closed platform with more control. Rather than admit something like always on DRM was at fault, they can instead blame the gamers for their lack of interest or pirates (which they’ll likely still do if it doesn’t meet their sales expectations, always on DRM or no, hehe).

        • mouton says:

          If they can’t do PC at least reasonably well, then they can just go completely into the consoleland. If a game in question is so great that it cures cancer, I will buy the damn console for it.

      • Phantoon says:

        “Keeping up with the Joneses” is the entire reason that mainstream gaming is so crap, and I’m glad someone finally said the figure of speech that explains it best.

        Much like Skyrim was a game for the Call of Duty crowd.

        • Brun says:

          What? The Call of Duty crowd likes being forced through on-rails “cinematic” experiences. Nothing in Skyrim forces you anywhere, and it’s hardly on-rails. The only thing they have in common is “cinematic.”

    • derbefrier says:

      well that’s because, except for the first day or so, Diablo 3’s issues concerning its always online connectivity have been greatly exaggerated by this site and many others. The truth is the majority of players don’t have any issues with connectivity but certain gaming sites ignore that in order to push an agenda. Don’t get me wrong i am not a big fan of always online and if given a choice i would rather do without it. but that’s the truth whether you like it or not. It has nothing to do with consumers being stupid as you guys like try and point out, its just not as big of a deal as people make of it.

      • Xocrates says:

        This is not about consumers being stupid, this is about most consumers not caring regardless. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if more than half of the people getting the game didn’t even know about the always online prior to getting the game.

        And that’s the thing, aside from the vocal minority, most people don’t care about the industry politics behind most games. Ironically, from my experience, the same people that accept always online unquestionably are the same people who pirate most of their games.

        Do you know how much it boggled my mind hearing a friend of mine saying that he bought Diablo 3 but pirated Bastion?

      • Milky1985 says:

        “Diablo 3′s issues concerning its always online connectivity have been greatly exaggerated by this site and many others.”

        As a sufferer of said issues i can say it was not exaggerated. While i accept some people managed to excape unscathed the ammout of peopel that didn’t was high.

        That fact that they offered refunds shows just how high really.

      • djbriandamage says:

        After being subjected to cheaters, hackers, and player killers in the previous Diablos I was a huge proponent of the always-online requirement. In the end D3’s DRM disappointed me in every way possible. I was their biggest defender and because of Blizzard’s negligence and ineptitude I am completely on the other side. Always-on DRM is a dealbreaker for me now.

      • RegisteredUser says:

        One, as in a single, occurence of my singleplayer hardcore char dying or a save/progress being lost due to lag or disconnect would be enough to simply consider the game not worth bothering with and dysfunctional. And I know 4 people who bought this POS and they all suffered some kind of malaise with it.

        Whether or not its 50 times a day or once in 4 weeks, having a singleplayer character and your progress die because of an unecessary DRM feature should never, ever happen.
        Once is one too many times.

      • GrassyGnoll says:

        ” Don’t get me wrong i am not a big fan of always online and if given a choice i would rather do without it. ”
        Well the argument is, you where given the choice and you chose to support Always Online DRM.

    • Urthman says:

      The best part about the Diablo 3 debacle is that it showed a huge swath of gamers how bad always-on-DRM is.

      So now, unless your game is as utterly essential as Diablo 3, lots of gamers are going to see the always-on-DRM and say, “Not worth it.”

      Fortnite is no Diablo 3.

  3. Alexandros says:


  4. RaveTurned says:


    Oh yes, I went there.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Well, it certainly looks like this game will be little more than a fortnote in history, now….

    • Milky1985 says:

      I think i can join a lot of people in telling epic to fort off

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Time to say nite ‘nite.

  5. Delusibeta says:

    Well, this shows that Epic hasn’t been paying attention to PC gaming matters for the last five years.

  6. Ashpolt says:

    Simply put, I will never buy any game which requires a permanent internet connection even when playing solo. I’ve not bought any of the Ubisoft games that required it, I haven’t bought Diablo 3, and I won’t buy this if it uses it. If it means I miss out on some great games, that’s annoying, but not the end of the world.

    (And no, I’m not pirating these games either.)

  7. mrmalodor says:

    Haha, good luck getting my money if the single player portion doesn’t work offline.

  8. ColdSpiral says:

    What a shame.

  9. Rao Dao Zao says:

    Whatever happened to peer-to-peer multiplayer? Did LANs stop existing when I wasn’t looking? :(

    • mrmalodor says:

      LANs? Is that filthy pirate speak for playing a counterfeit copy?

    • houldendub says:

      Want to play games locally? With other people? Sitting next to you??

      Fucking pirate scum, you are ruining the games industry, how dare you!!!

    • PopeJamal says:

      Burn the pirates! Char their hides!
      Our smoke will blot out the sun!!!!

  10. NightShift says:

    Why the heck do you need constant internet connection for a singleplayer, eh? Whatever you do pirating will still happen, so don’t piss off your normal customers!

    • Mattressi says:

      It’s all for the customer, of course. Always-on means that the brain-dead target market won’t have to worry about complicated things like patching their game (or using that weird ‘Steam’ thing to do it for them). It also means that…er…experience. It means a better experience? For the customer?

      …something like that. Perhaps the day I understand what possible advantage there could be in always-on DRM for customers, will be the day that the publishers admit that it’s solely about convincing investors that they will “save sales” from piracy.

  11. rocketman71 says:

    Hahahahahahahaha!. And here I was thinking if perhaps I might even give Epic an opportunity with this.

    Always-on DRM and (I guess) no LAN?. Back to FUCK YOU EPIC, then.

  12. Stellar Duck says:

    I likely wasn’t going to buy this anyways as I don’t want to give CliffyB money, I don’t like the art style and I don’t enjoy many multiplayer games, but if they do implement always online DRM then they’ve made sure I wont buy it.

  13. HexagonalBolts says:

    It’d have to be a “9 out of 10” game for me to have to put up with online DRM again, and I really don’t consider diablo 3 to meet that standard so the bar is set pretty high.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Whether the game is good or bad, if you finance always-online DRM, you are part of the problem, period.
      There’s no wiggling room, just you individual weighing of you really, really “need it” bad enough to put up with something you’d normally not agree with.
      That still makes it something you find wrong; you’re just basically saying just pay me enough to dump my values.

  14. Kdansky says:

    I still say the relevant thing is what you use your always-online stuff for.

    Adding features that don’t work offline? Clever! Good! [Example: Multiplayer]
    Persistent stuff? Okay! [Example: MMO (that includes Diablo3)]

    Getting rid of piracy? Stupid! Impossible! Stupid!

    Sadly, RPS has fallen into the prejudice trap. I wonder why you don’t rail against Left 4 Dead. After all, that game requires you to be online to play it online!

    LAN? Yeah, tons of extra work to develop so three people can use it. Move with the time, guys. I’ve not done LAN in a decade, since my internet is fast enough to save me moving a heavy gaming rig across the country.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      I can play L4D on my own. That’s a pretty big difference. I don’t need to be online. I only need to be online to play online. Though Steams obnoxious offline mode might make that an issue. Seriously Valve, fix that shit already.

      • Alexrd says:

        I can’t. I need to have an internet connection to activate and therefore play it. To me, that’s as much DRM as always online. You’re still dependent of 3rd party servers.

    • Shivoa says:

      You mean L4D, the games with offline singleplayer mode? I don’t think that’s really comparable. The LAN mode is annoyingly hard to enable but I guess they really want everyone to play multiplayer in a connected stats-tracking way. Forcing me to be online for multiplayer is slightly annoying, making it so the exe does nothing (so no solo play or anything) if I’m not online when I want to launch the game is unacceptable.

      • dE says:

        L4D1+2 have even got Splitscreen Offline Multiplayer. On PC (With some fiddling) about which I nearly squealed in joy.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      The Diablo series is a single player ARPG with an option to play MP with your friends via LAN or online(but face-to-face social interactions were then deemed to be too social, human by the Diablo makers for 3, so no LAN anymore, and because fuck you that’s why no more offline SP).

    • Milky1985 says:

      “MMO (that includes Diablo3)”

      Diablo 3 is not an MMO, its missing the first M. This already got discussed to death during the launch as it was one of things people were trying to use to justify the always on :P

      I think the stats for that also said that about 70% of people only played single player or something anyway.

    • Brun says:

      I agree with Kdansky here. The ONLY reason people got so pissed off about Diablo III being online-only is because Diablo II had offline play. If the Diablo franchise had been an online game from the start no one would be complaining.

      You don’t see people complaining about having to log in to play games like LoL (which is not an MMO but still requires you to play online, and you can play by yourself with bots so it’s “single player”).

  15. Big Murray says:

    Diablo only survived because its Diablo, and there’s suckers who’d put up with it just because of the hype. A game like this won’t survive the negative impact of screwing over customers like this.

    The worst part is they’re claiming they’d do it primarily to “improve the game”.

    • briktal says:

      Diablo “survived” because even if the game had an offline single player mode, a lot of players would never play it. And some of the people who would’ve played it at least somewhat are the (weird to me) kinds of people who create a character on another MMO server when the server with all their characters is down for an hour. Some of the backlash to the Diablo 3 online requirement isn’t really because it required you to be online, but because that limitation wasn’t in the other games in the series.

      Then you look at a game like Assassin’s Creed or Fortnite and what’s the point? The new SimCity is at least giving you a reason to be online, but it’s yet to be seen if the online components have anything near the impact of the Diablo online features.

  16. ReV_VAdAUL says:

    RPS, when a company is giving the exact same excuses for their always on DRM as Diablo 3 “It is good for multiplayer” and “It will enhance the game somehow” then it may well be worth calling the company on the similarities.

  17. wu wei says:

    “It’s not about DRM, it’s all about the fundamental gameplay that always online offers…which we, uh, haven’t come up with yet, but it’ll be great! And core!!! Trust us! Not DRM!”

    It wouldn’t be quite so insulting if they didn’t keep singing this same damn song.

  18. lordcooper says:


  19. SkittleDiddler says:

    Wow, Fortnite now looks even less interesting than it did before. Good job, Epic.

  20. The First Door says:

    That’s a shame, I’m definitely less interested in this game now as well. Not because of the stupid always-on DRM, but because I don’t get much time to play multi-player games any more and games which focus on that are rarely as fun in single-player!

  21. HisMastersVoice says:

    Well, it’s not as if I was going to preorder that thing based on a few screenshots. If it turns out AODRM is indeed in, I’m out. No game is worth going through another Error 37 odyssey.

    Funny thing, the recent downtime of Ubi’s servers saw me play Anno 2070 in OFFLINE mode. If Ubi can learn it’s lesson (albeit not as good as I’d like them to) everyone can and there’s no excuse for not doing so..

  22. Snidesworth says:

    Unless a game is fully and completely dedicated to multiplayer an internet connection should never be a requirement. You might miss out on certain features by not being connected, but the option to play offline should be there. Dark Souls is a good example of this; many of its interesting features rely on you being online but should you be disconnected, whether through choice or circumstance, you can still play the game. It doesn’t lock you out because you’re not getting the full experience.

    • Mbaya says:

      Strong points Snidesworth – if you’re going to feature some sort of always on requirement, at least have respect for your customers.

      If there is some underlying form of persistance between play sessions, I can understand wanting to have an always online requirement – but above all else, there should never be any enforced online requirement for singleplayer.

      It just isn’t working, its putting people off the games, its causing major problems for legit customers and it seems its pushing people to look for ways to circumvent the situation or simply avoid the situation alltogether.

  23. Gothnak says:

    I think i need to start a blog to start a decent communication between devs and customers with reference to F2P, Always On Multiplayer, Monthly Subscriptions, online passes etc…

    The games industry is in major flux at the moment and however much the consumer thinks ‘Piracy isn’t a problem’ or ‘2nd hand sales don’t hurt the developers’, they are a huge problem and they cause a huge loss in revenue.

    It’s only sensible that developers think of new ways to sell, distribute and protect games, but i agree at the moment we aren’t doing a great job of making it painless for the consumer.

    If little changes then I predict that console story driven single player games will die out as well as all big budget single player (Not online) PC games, both are far too susceptible to both forms of revenue hurting practices.

    What’s the solution? I don’t know…. F2P is mooted a lot (even that has a permanent connection to the servers though), but everyone i know hates it, although i believe that’s partly due to the way it’s been implemented so far.

    It seems to me this is the area of games development that needs the biggest innovation rather than the games themselves.

    • Mbaya says:

      I think Free to Play is becoming more acceptable as time goes by, there are certainly games out there that have started to get things right in that payment method (League of Legends is always heralded as the leader of the pack here, but Tribes Ascend and Blacklight Retribution seem rather accepted as well), with the recent EU court ruling about being able to resell digital games – I see developers looking even more into offering games as a service rather than a product (although that certainly has its own share of issues).

      There are some pretty big players coming up too with the likes of Planetside 2 and Hawken – if they nail it, I think we’ll see many more people embrace it rather than be concerned over issues of pay to win or their always on requirement (although they have the benefit of being strong multiplayer games).

      As for singleplayer games…with the emergance of episodic games, I’m sure someone could be clever enough to merge that with free to play, providing a steady stream of content more akin to subscribing than buying a one off product.

      Its certainly an interesting time.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Yes. PC gamers are all pirates, and nothing can sell anymore. And SP is dead.

      Except for when kickstarters of promising SP games without DRM (ohnoes, copies) get 3-4 times overfunded.
      Or Notch/Team meat makes millions on a game concept that you couldn’t have gotten past the front office in a common publisher.

      If the “old industry” were to die out completely and all of game development had to become DRM free, kickstarter pitched, publically voted on stuff, it wouldn’t be half as bad as the half-assed console ports, sequels of sequels of sequels, DRM infested crap we have as run of the mill now.

      So what I mean to say is “Piracy is killing/might kill the SP” is bullshit, and has been bullshit since it was brought up in what, the late 80s? already.

      • Mbaya says:

        You’re not wrong.

        Kickstarter projects and games that don’t mess around with attempts to control their customers are certainly proof that there is a huge audiance out there that is screaming “We WANT to give you our money for this awesome game and because you’re not trying to screw us over, we’re going to!”

        I’m certainly in no possition to say if there is more proffit to be made by trying to limit pirates or by embracing your customers loyalty however, but the latter fosters community (potentually increasing your loyalty based customers for any future release) and certainly seems like a better place to be for all involved.

        One company I’m really keeping an eye on going forward is Crytek. Being very vocal about how many people have pirated their games in the past, I’m curious to see if there attempt to breach the free to play market shows similar proffits (showing its more a lack of interest in their games or simply people testing their rigs power output rather than people actively pirating just because they can).

      • Gothnak says:

        ‘Half assed, crap and bullshit’, so much for a friendly discussion…

        Let’s take Mass Effect on the consoles as an example. Great game, sold a couple of million, was played by 5 million. that means out of everyone that played it 2/5 of the purchase price made it back to the developer. People say ‘Well, if it was a GREAT game, people wouldn’t have traded it in.’ Yes they would, lots of people when they finish a game, trade it in, i’m one of them, i don’t want to play the same story again. Multiplayer games don’t have that problem as much as they have much greater longevity and people play the same content over and over again.

        • Milky1985 says:

          Actually i would say that multiplayer games have a worse issue with trade ins, because of a snowball effect of people leaving the multiplayer.

          If its not engaging it will be traded in quicker (stories tend to take time to complete), this causes a reduction in the ammount of people playing multi, so more people leave, only the hardcore stay and they are also likely to be the type of people that put others off playing (think lol community sort of things, verbal abuse, constant cries of noob and refusal to teach)

          Then it gets even worse.

          The ones you are thinkign off (the cods etc) still get traded in in big numbers, but also sold again in big numbers, it not jsut SP’s that suffer.

        • Surlywombat says:

          Why is trade in a problem all of a sudden? Piracy and trade-in have been part of the industry for thirty years. When creating a product you budget based on the current situation. You don’t budget for a perfect world. If trade-ins have become a problem now, its because the published caused the proportion to increase.

          If budgets for games are getting so high they require no trade-ins, then make more games with smaller budgets than a few huge games with massive ones.

          • Gothnak says:

            Trade ins are becoming more of an issue because to most gamers that is now the way to get games. Back in my day (yeah, the 80’s), there was moderate piracy, but to get the new stuff, someone had to buy it. Then the 90’s was more about everyone buying it due to no internet… The 00’s was where piracy took off, but also where games shops started doing trade ins. However, now some players only buy 2nd hand, they never buy new and tbh, it’s the obvious thing to do, after all games are cheaper. It’s the same with downloading films/music etc, some kids growing up today have never bought anything and downloading stuff is a way of life, it’ll get worse before it gets better. For people buying stuff before these new ways appeared, they a second hand game here or there but won’t see the huge turnover which is why every shop in England does it these days, and evil places like GAME push it over new.

          • Brun says:

            You sort of answered your own question – the issue is that budgets are getting out of control. None of the “big players” can afford to make a niche game that only sells a million or so copies anymore. Most of the major problems with modern gaming have this issue at their core (erosion of consumer rights, dumbing down and simplification of gameplay for accessibility, overproliferation of DLC, yearly releases and excessive milking of franchises, etc.). The traditional methods of monetization (i.e. selling games like they did in the 90’s) are no longer profitable at a $50-$60 price point, but the studios know that the market won’t accept another price point increase, so they have to get fancy with monetization.

  24. Rawrian says:

    Does anybody remember the time most home PCs didn’t have Internet connection and the said connection was more of a weird thing? And look where we are now. So, apparently, the future is with the Internet, and sooner or later people will have to deal with it.

    • woodsey says:

      The key phrase being “the future”. Always-online at the minute is merely problem after problem. If it’s not people’s ISPs fucking up (that’s assuming you don’t live in one of the ‘dead zones’ in the UK or US, or a place with strict data-caps like Canada or Australia) it’s the publisher’s servers.

  25. dmoe says:

    And there it is. Naw!

  26. deke913 says:

    “Single-player’s absolutely gonna be super fun,”

    It is these types of statements that set off my spidey senses.

  27. RegisteredUser says:

    Transparent lies like online-only DRM being “used first and foremost to improve the game” gives me ragefits of incredible proportion.

  28. RegisteredUser says:

    “Co-Op is super fun! Its not a must!” – I always worry this just means “We can’t figure out how to do either properly, so we hope you somehow muddle through both without realizing we can’t bring a game to a point well.”

    A can-but-not-must co-op game very often falls flat on its face if its “really co-op for 4, but only one guy currently playing”, whereas a well made singleplayer game can work okay for co-op as well..but its tricky.

    Basically what I am, as always, worried about, is that by trying to keep both in mind, they muddle SP.

  29. Bobka says:

    Oh for ****’s sake.

    If it has single-player, it doesn’t need to be always-online.

    If it has multiplayer, it doesn’t need to be always-online (LAN multiplayer, why oh why have you forsaken me?).

    If it has both…

  30. Flappybat says:

    Epic is clearly paranoid about PC piracy after their last couple of releases bombed.

    2003 – Unreal 2. A terrible game so no surprise there.
    2007 – Gears Of War. Very console focused game with a bad GFWL port.
    2007 – Unreal Tournament 3. Mediocre addition to the series.
    2011 – Bulletstorm. May have alienated audiences with it’s “dumb game” attitude. Weak multiplayer.

  31. Doghaus says:

    Off topic, but the art style is horrible. Surely this isn’t the best way they could come up with to showcase the Unreal 4 engine?

    • Mbaya says:

      The artstyle is certainly hit or miss, I don’t mind it too much myself concidering they could have just gone the gritty grey/brown route (with some added neon lights and shiney surfaces!).

      But I think you’re right, it seems like a weird flagship title to showcase UE4, especially after their previous UE4 trailer.

  32. MadTinkerer says:

    Well even if I can’t buy Fortnite for the same reasons I’m not buying Diablo III, there’s still plenty of Terraria, Minecraft, and A Valley Without Wind to play.

    Or maybe I’ll finally get into Dwarf Fortress or ADOM.

    Yep, always-online requirements will never affect me, because I’ll never participate.

    • pakoito says:

      Before jumping to the hard management/roguelikes try Tales of Maj’Eral, it’s an awesome starting point. Then Dungeon Crawl or Powder.

      • RegisteredUser says:

        Dungeons of Dredmore is worth a mention for a light, modern UI, fun-poking timewaster. And its on sale for 3 bucks right now on steam.

        You can run it without steam after the install.

  33. jikavak says:

    Maybe they’d change their opinion if they read these comments,rite?

    • RegisteredUser says:

      0 sales would help, but its the actual people that can’t help themselves.

  34. Pippy says:

    I think this so called “Lone Wolf” player is a myth and has never existed and nobody has ever played any of the few single player games that have been ill advisedly released.

  35. virtualmatrix258 says:

    Puts always-on DRM on their game, nobody buys it, blames it on piracy…fuck you epic.

  36. wodin says:

    Always on…it’s “super fun”.

  37. Zarunil says:

    After being burnt by Diablo 3 (I caved in and bought it) due to a never-ending queue of problems (disconnects making me lose progress and loot, lag spikes in every session since I got the game [and dieing due to this lag], misc. error messages closing my connection to their servers) I am NEVER buying a game I intend to play single-player with always-online DRM again. Never, ever.

  38. Milky1985 says:

    So Epic come crying back to the PC with their new game and engine (cause they want to show it off and the current console hardwarecan’t run it properly, despite them banging on about how its scalable graphically)

    Then they say they are considing always online with the same line (“that it’d be used first and foremost to improve the game”) that has been used every single time and proved to be bollocks each and every time as well?

    lets be honest they would be better off telling us that they are conisdering beating puppies with sticks than telling a pc gaming comunity they are considering always online, would turn less people against the idea of the game.

  39. woodsey says:

    Hahahahahahahaha, fucking idiots.

    I await the inevitable post-release “Why Our Game Failed (Pirates Did It! Waaaah!), by Mark Rein” with glee.

  40. Ghoulie says:

    So, exactly HOW is it that always online makes a better experience for the customer?
    I don’t understand.
    They keep on claiming that it will make it a better experience, but don’t say why.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      This is one of the worst thing about this always on DRM. Not only is it DRM. Not only does it require constant connection… but the companies selling/developing these games have to insult the fans by telling us lies or dodging the truth like we’re ignorant children.

      I think this announcement is a sort of toe in the water… see how the internet reacts if we say, “maybe it will have always on DRM.”

      So, please, be pissed and be vocal.

  41. JB says:

    “it’s most fun with your friends.”

    Number 1, thanks for telling me how to have fun.

    Number 2, you don’t know my friends. (I kid, I kid, they’re great!)

    • Skhalt says:

      Who knows, maybe they’ll be trying to sell us friends in a day-one DLC.

  42. Kucd says:

    Here’s the problem as I see it.

    Everyone and their dog bought Diablo3 even though the game ended up being less than good. This alone has sent a signal to all developers that it’s ok to do online-always DRM because Blizzard did it and got away with it.

    This now is the result of the massive Diablo3 sales and everyone saying “yes” to always-online DRM with their money. Expect more and more of this because, quite frankly, everyone had a chance to say no to this kind of DRM and yet everyone went and bought a game by the millions with this kind of DRM.

    You get what you deserve.

    • Milky1985 says:

      Actually blizzard got hit hard with the first time a PC game has had mass refunds in a while, even being prosecuted in korea over it, lots of bad press which they have had to try to ride.

      They got what they deserved for it, a lto fo bad press and a massive dent in the trust consumors have over there products.

      • Kucd says:

        The message was still sent, and that is that PC Gamers will give money gladly for an always online DRM. That’s the only thing developers and publishers care, PC gamers gave their money in droves and affirmed the D3 DRM. As such this is just the beginning of the consequences for the millions of sales of D3. SC5 is doing it as well. Expect things now to get way worse because PC gamers didn’t have the courage to say no to the newest shiny thing.

        • Captain Hijinx says:


          This is not accurate, the massive initial sales for Diablo 3 were down to the sheer strength of the brand and the expectation from fans of what has been a huge PC franchise, one of the most popular ever. Developers and publishers would be foolish to relate the success of Diablo 3 with it’s online component, which has been roundly detested by most of the gaming public and gaming media. That’s not to say that having a game always online is a bad thing in and off itself, it just depends, it’s case sensitive. Epic don’t really have a massive franchise with millions of established fans for this new game of theirs, this decision could make or break the game. I don’t think they’ll enter into it lightly.

  43. malkav11 says:

    When will developers learn that I don’t care that they claim the always-online requirement isn’t about piracy, I just don’t want anything to do with any game that uses it?

  44. Shooop says:

    As I said before, Cliffy should stop making games and just make game engines. It’s all he’s been good at for years now.

  45. SirKicksalot says:

    Good to see everyone already shitting on Epic although they haven’t made any decision.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      What would be the point in shitting on them after they had made a decision?

    • Ghoulie says:

      The fact that they’re contemplating it is enough to start complaining.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Actually that is a good thing. This announcement was made to test the waters and people need to react so perhaps the always on DRM will be canned.

    • The Random One says:

      “It was pretty childish of the police to arrest me before I even had a chance to murder that guy.”

  46. Eddy9000 says:

    Looks like my offline-required DRM is going to prevent another company downloading my money.

  47. BreadBitten says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong here, but isn’t ‘Left 4 Dead 2’ designed primarily around it’s co-operative play and yet it still includes a single-player component (no matter how dull) that is fully playable offline (as long as Steam’s offline mode works, that is)?

    “Single-player’s absolutely gonna be super fun…”

    “…Fortnite is – above all else – being designed with multiplayer at the forefront, so whatever goes with that territory is fair game.”

    Then why even include single-player? WHY? The only reason I can muster up is that Epic is hanging it’s cherries hoping that a few million poor schmucks will buy the game off of Steam noticing the ‘Single-Player’ tag on the lower right corner not realizing that the game was “designed with multiplayer at the forefront” and requires a constant internet connection to be played! BUYER BEWARE! TOUGH LUCK! SEE YOU IN COURT MATE, ‘CUZ WE HAVE A TEAM OF LEGAL EAGLES WAITING TO FLIP IT INTO A COUNTER SUIT FOR WASTING OUR TIME!!!

  48. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    I don’t know what bothers me more, the potential for always on DRM, or the fact that the interviewee keeps calling the game “Super fun.”

    • Skhalt says:

      In a way she reminds me of that unbearable TV cook in Californication.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      I thought that! It hits the same alarm button as when films are referred to as ‘wacky’, ‘zany’ or ‘hilarious’.

  49. alilsneaky says:

    No thanks, not interested in DRM.

    May pick up the pirated version at one time to see what the ue4 fuss is about.

  50. alundra says:

    @ Everyone saying the answer to this is pirating the game, DO NO PIRATE IT. What we need to send these crooks is the message that we are not interested on their products anymore, if we pirate it it will justify them on their schemes and if it fails to sell well they will blame it on piracy, not their stupidity.

    Act like grown ups and turn away completely from these products/companies.