Every month, I pay Microsoft £5.99 so that I can play games online with my friends. More specifically, the friends that it’s too awkward or costly to try and physically reach as often as I would like. In an ideal world, I’d be able to play my Xbox 360 online for free like Sony does with the Playstation 3, but that isn’t the case and I really don’t mind; it’s not a lot of money they’re asking for after all. Why, then, do some developers insist on making games that do not make use of a console’s online services?

You want online co-op? nope.avi

I discovered less than an hour before I wrote this exact sentence that Rayman: Origins doesn’t have online multiplayer. Amongst some of the other titles being released this year, such as Skyrim and Battlefield 3, Rayman: Origins was one that I was seriously looking forward to. Ubisoft were taking Rayman back to his 2D platforming roots and exploring the origins of his character hence the “Origins” part of the name  and it was going to be made with this brand new ‘UbiArt’ framework that could effectively turn concept art into a living game world.

Rayman: Origins was also touted as having co-operative multiplayer; this was the selling point for me. I was going to be playing through these beautiful hand-drawn worlds as Rayman, and I was going to bring three of my friends along, with them playing as Globox and the Teensies. We were going to have great fun exploring, smashing stuff and finding sneaky secrets and it was going to be fucking magical.

But Rayman: Origins doesn’t have online co-operative multiplayer. Nope. It’s all offline. I’d be over-reacting to say that this revelation had shattered my co-op dreams, but it has severely limited them. I won’t be able to play the game with any of my friends who live more than a bus or train journey away — not unless ASDA sells dirt cheap system-link cables that are in excess of 400 miles long — that means you, English friends, Welsh friends and overseas friends.

So ronery and sadry arone.

Even taking a bus or train to go and meet some friends just to play a game is a pain in the arse. I mean, a train to Glasgow, where most of my gaming chums live, is about £10 for a return journey almost twice what it costs just to sit on your arse and dish out some Xbox Live justice for a month. Maybe that’s not expensive for the odd journey every month or so, but it’ll quickly start to rack up the more frequently you want to play the game with friends. A £40 game soon becomes a £50 game. Then a £60 game. Then before long it’s become a £100 one. That’s half of what I earn every month! Not great when you’re saving for some new computer parts.

I can appreciate this notion that some developers get about wanting to “bring people together”, but I don’t see how that equates to forcing them to be in a single room and have them all stare in the same direction. This is the 21st century for crying out loud: physical proximity is no longer a prerequisite for enjoying someone’s company. I should be able to pick someone’s brains about something after having splattered them across the nearest wall, regardless of where in the world the two of us actually are.






6 responses to “One”

  1. Tony avatar

    And on the flip side to this… why do some games ONLY have online co-op? Split screen or screen sharing is such a good laugh when people actually are at your house, but these days it’s often missed out in favour of offline. LittleBigPlanet does this very well, you can have a mix of players both in the same house and online.

  2. Mark P avatar

    Agreed. Both kinds of multiplayer are still extremely popular, so to limit a game to either one solely for some arbitrary reason is just foolish.

  3. Martin avatar

    I’m not sure about the age rating for the new Rayman, but maybe by opening it up to online play would have made it less child friendly? It is strange not include it in th emodern gaming world but I’m sure there is good reason behind it.

  4. Mark P avatar

    I see your point, but it’s not exactly fair on everyone who isn’t a bastard. In any case, I’ve heard worse language from these kids on Xbox Live than I do from most adults.

  5. Unit G avatar
    Unit G

    I agree with what’s been said- online and offline co-op should both be available- but I’m mainly posting to ask, in non-troll fashion, why do you buy Live on a monthly basis instead of paying for a 12 month subscription? I had the good fortune of phoning up Xbox recently to remove the auto-renewal thing and was asked why. I told the guy, “because I’m buying a 12 month subscription from a retail store for £34.99.” to which he replied, “Yeah that’s a good deal as we do it for £39.99. How would you feel if I offered it to you for £24.99?” So, I now have a 12 months subscription for the same price (thereabouts) as what you’ve paid for 4 months.

  6. Mark P avatar

    I know it’s more expensive, but I can afford it better in the short term. Not going to get into a big discussion about it.

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