In some controversial news, EA Games has announced that the upcoming Need For Speed reboot featuring car culture celebrities like Ken Block, Akira Nakai, and Magnus Walker will require an internet connection to work. Commonly referred to by gamers as “always online” this means if the game does not have an active connection to the interwebs it simply won’t boot up to gameplay. This isn’t just for muli-player mode either. Since Need For Speed will be based in an active open world environment even the “single player” mode will require a connection.
Now, some of you may be thinking that such a thing isn’t a big deal since these days high-speed internet is pretty much ubiquitous. Most of our game consoles are connected anyway so why does it matter if this game needs an internet connection to work? Well opponents of “always online” will mention that high speed internet isn’t quite as common as most of us like to think and not everyone has a reliable connection. They will also note that this would mean if the game’s own servers go down, an occurrence which is happening more frequently as of late, then the game may still not work despite the player themselves having a solid connection. Another con to “always online” is the possibility that if the game requires an internet connection it may also require a premium console-based internet service, for example Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus. These services generally cost about $50 a year. So, if for example someone has an Xbox One console but does not have Xbox Live Gold their cost to entry just went up as they would have to purchase the game which will likely be about $60usd plus the additional $50 for Xbox Live, bringing the total investment for one game to $110.
Taking all that into account it is understandable why some fans of Need For Speed are upset that the new game will be going the always online route. In fact, some fans are so upset that an online petition has been started in hopes to convince EA Games to reverse their decision. As of the writing of this post the petition has 2,065 signatures of their 2,500 signature goal. While that may not be a lot of people in the grand scheme of things, its definitely enough to be noticed. Despite that it is unlikely that EA will have a change of heart on this issue.
Recently the Executive Producer of Need For Speed 2015 Marcus Nilsson spoke to the Official Xbox Magazine in an interview and explained the choice to go always online. According to Nilsson, the main reason why the new Need For Speed will require an internet connection is due to the re-working of Autolog. For those who don’t know, Autolog is a suite of online-based features used in Need For Speed games which tracks player stats and also connects players to each other within the game’s open world environment. “We’ve been pretty big with Autolog throughout the years and, as we know, its a pretty big feature,” said Nilsson. “This time around it we’re going to give it more of a human voice. It will treat your friend’s play as if it were part of the narrative experience.”
Marcus goes on to mention some of the new social features that will make their way into Need For Speed: “We also have a new snapshot system as well; Which is taking pictures of lots of different moments – [they go] out to the Need For Speed network where people can ‘like’ them, and those likes are being pushed back into the game as currency. So you get progression from sharing your photos. The Xbox One has really good built-in systems to make videos and stream them, which we are also going to use.”
Those features actually sound pretty cool and I got a small taste of them when I had a chance to demo Need For Speed at E3 this year. In the demo presentation it was mentioned that attempting to get “likes” and attention from other players and characters would play a big part in the gameplay. It even has something of a Twitter-like built in social network which is used to send and receive messages in-game. So for some, despite the possible pitfalls of an always online game, it may be worth it if it means adding innovative, cool features like Autolog.
We won’t really know how big of a factor that Autolog and always online will be until the final version of Need For Speed is released. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to review the final version and give you my take on it before it launches.
For now, we want to know what you think? Are you upset that the new Need For Speed will require an internet connection? Or are you ok with it because of the features it will bring to the game? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or tweet to us at @MotorworldHype.
[Interview Source: Xbox Magazine]
[Petition Source link: Change.org]