Replayability of modern games / Steam games / 2030
today most of us have Steam accounts and play downloaded games. I am REALLY SURPRISED the topic "replayability in the future" is rarely discussed. The veterans amongst us love to play old games for several reasons. For fun, good memories, getting our childhood/youth back, whatever. AND WE CAN DO IT, thanks to the "simplicity" of old games and DOSBox.
What about modern games? Skyrim? Even if one day we may have virtual machines with Windows 7 and emulation of todays video adapters which is complicated enough - in case of Steam games there's the IP overhead. I.e. in order to play the game, it needs to connect to Steam servers. IN 20 YEARS? Doubtful. Emulate the IP conversation? Oh my…
But aside from the technical side - people do not seem to be interested in replayability at all! What do you think? Or am I missing something?
I have a clear preference. First I try to download DRM/online activation free. GOG etc. Also, download from publisher first. If not available, then Steam which I would prefer over smaller and crappier services (like gamesload.de in Germany, I have doubts about their activation servers persistence).
I'm a bit more optimistic. If there is money in it, it probably can be done - eg the requirement to use Steam could be patched out. There will be a demand for old games as there is now, based if nothing else on nostalgia - eg so many people have played Skyrim, that gives a potentially very large base of nostalgic people to say "hey, I remember that game". So it wouldn't surprise me to still see older games reappear, rendered compatible with modern systems either via patching or emulation.
Where this might become untenable is if the DRM is like Diablo 3, where actual game data is held elsewhere. It might in such cases be uneconomic to try to produce a "stand alone" version of such games, or stream the data when the player base is so much lower. Mind you, Blizzard isn't exactly forward thinking in terms of making money from their old titles, I'd love to replay the Lost Vikings but the only option is abandonware sites. So it might be as much a case of producer/publisher attitude as economics.
Not an issue, in my opinion.
None of the old games I have recently replayed (or played for the first time) I installed from the original CD or (obviously) floppy disks. I have relied entirely on services like GOG, abandonware sites, etc.
Apart from the fact that I hardly have time to replay any games (not even to play all current releases that interest me), I think that the games most worthy to live on will live on, either through services or through fan volunteer efforts. Whether my original steam purchase will be of any value then is really secondary. For example, I have already rebought several games I used to own legally through GOG (very cheaply, I might add), simply for convenience sake. If I can get my 70yr old ass out of bed to replay Skyrim in 2030, I'll happily do the same.
Apart from that I am not sure I will see Steam go away - the most likely way for that to happen would be for it to get bought by someone else, and that would likely mean the service continues in some form. Hardware development may be the real problem - I am not so sure we will still have computers as in "things with a screen a mouse and a keyboard" in 30 years, so emulators or re-releases may have to be the way to go anyway.
Not to worry. Usually, if there's a sizable demand - people make it happen. Does that mean every single game will be playable 10 or 20 years from now? No. But that's always been true - as some games just don't work well with modern hardware.
I have to say I think any real danger of not being able to play these games in the future is pretty negligible - and I honestly wouldn't have the time available to replay very many at any rate.
My concern about the future is not having the free time to play all the games I'd want to (and do all the things I'd want to do). It's certainly not that there won't be enough things for me to do.
If a game provides enough replay value to keep playing it for a couple of years after launch, I'm already happy. I really don't expect to continue playing Skyrim in the year 2030, for example.
I'm sure I will have already moved on to TES XIV or whatever the latest version will be, provided my rascal wheelchair and geriatric diapers don't get in the way of gaming on holograms or virtual reality goggles, etc., in my old age. Now get off my lawn! :biggrin:
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