This week was marked by the release of Diablo 3, Blizzard’s long-awaited dungeon crawling role-playing game, which signals not just a turning point for the long-running franchise, but it might also take the whole PC gaming scene into a new direction.
As most of you know, besides featuring classic Diablo gameplay, the new RPG requires a permanent online connection
to Blizzard’s Battle.net servers.
While such a thing isn’t completely new, as Ubisoft tried to implement a similar scheme in some of its older PC titles, like Assassin’s Creed II, this is the first time such a system was added to a very popular game.
As we saw this week, despite this obtrusive mechanic, Diablo III was a huge success
, managing to sell millions of copies.
Obviously, lots of people were upset because of the “feature” and were disappointed with Blizzard for failing to make sure it had enough servers to guarantee a smooth launch
, but they still bought the long-awaited game.
This success, despite implementing a system that doesn’t really benefit the consumer, might signal to other companies that make PC games that it’s alright to come up with their own mandatory online systems, thereby stomping out piracy, which is a big problem on the platform.
Ubisoft got burned by the media and gamers alike when it tried to place a similar requirement into some of its games but, now that Blizzard seems to have success doing this, you can expect the French company to revisit its mandatory online connection ideas.
While I hope that such a thing won’t happen, or at least that other companies will implement these systems in games that make sense or that are truly worth staying online to play them even in single-player, nobody knows what the future of PC gaming will be like.
What do you think? Now that Blizzard has shown that you can succeed even if you require online connections in your games, will other companies try to replicate its strategy?