Monday, July 03, 2006

Free online multiplayer = too much modding and hacking

Unfortunately, it looks like Metroid Prime: Hunters is seeing the modders and hackers a plenty. I've pointed out the potential free = hackers problem before, but haven't seen much response to it.

For those who play Halo 2 online a lot, they know about the dark times when half of the games played was screwed because of some idiot kid modders. All it took was jumping on the internet for a bit and learning how to ruin everyone's fun. Thankfully, Bungie and Microsoft made a concerted effort to cut down on these nefarious activities. The problem's severity has been tremendously reduced.

Isn't it interesting how these weak players figure their rank is what defines their soul, even if it wasn't achieved honestly?

Just imagine how quickly some dedicated programmers/hackers could egregiously get into the PS3's Linux and start negatively affecting games. Most likely, it would happen through game saves or cached files on the hard drive. All it will take is one semi-popular online game to turn PS3 online gaming into a fiasco.

Let's think of motivations from the console makers. With Xbox Live, Microsoft receives money from any user that isn't on a free trial. That's a big motivating factor for them to step in and ensure the best quality of service they can. Another motivating factor is that the people employed by Microsoft are also gamers. They are invovled in the community, and get to witness any problems first hand.

With a free online service, what is the motivation to rectify cheating? There's no direct money involved, so why spend man-hours trying to fix the problem? Even if steps were taking to stop these malicious game-ruiners, what's to stop them from easily creating multiple accounts repeatedly? No credit-card-required means they are anonymous enough to have little concern of not being able to come back.

Suddenly, the whole $5 a month to play online doesn't seem like such a bad idea ($60 a year/12 months). The police don't work for free; and I'd rather have some support than none at all.


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