PlayStation Orbis: Online Forever?
With the rumors of the new PlayStation 4 (or Orbis as all the cool kids are calling it) swirling around, one piece of information in particular struck me: Initial reports are that you'll have to be connected online to play any game on it. This got me to thinking, is Sony hurting its market share by forcing people to constantly stay online? Or are they actually helping push the spread of Internet accessibility by linking it to a popular gaming platform?
As someone fortunate enough to live in the developed parts of the United States, as well as having a well paying job, Internet access is not a problem for me personally. But the world is not just me (sadly). What about all those people who live in parts of the U.S. (or other countries) that simply don't have access to quality Internet providers? What about those that can't afford the monthly charge their ISP might gouge them with if there are no other options in the area? Should they be disallowed from playing games on a system if their only crime is not being online? What happens if your service cuts out? Now you have an expensive hunk of electronics that might as well be a brick for all the good it's doing you.
Another thing I think Sony may have missed is that sometimes I don't want to be online. Sometimes I don't want to see how many millions of Gamerscore points Andrew Reiner just achieved; it makes me feel inadequate and sad, and slightly hungry. Sometimes I don't want to have a friend message or request pop up right in the middle of a moving cutscene. Sometimes I just want to play games by myself with no outside interaction, like I did as a child. Sometimes I want to be antisocial and sit in my corner with no cares about anyone else, and that's tough to do with required online access.
There's always the other side of the coin, however. If true, one of the main reasons Sony is pushing the "always connected" mode is no doubt to combat the used game market, but perhaps Sony is also trying to push progress. Internet is not available everywhere yet, but it's definitely a worthy goal to work towards; easily accessible information generally makes societies more open, intelligent, and productive in the long run, and perhaps the desire to actually play games on a system will lead people to push for cheaper, more available Internet. It wouldn't be a terrible stance for Sony to take.
So what do you think? Are you okay with always having to be online? Or do you just want the freedom to be left alone at times?
Chris "Warcraft" Kluwe is the Minnesota Vikings' punter, Tripping Icarus' bass player, and Andrew Reiner's yoga teacher.