In today’s world an internet connection is required to play many modern games or even use popular social and production applications such as a Microsoft Word, Facebook or Youtube. We refer to these products as being cloud based and it usually works wonders. However, this access to your game or application on the “cloud” (which is really just a connection to computer servers locked in some warehouse or undisclosed location) does have its drawbacks. But many people today might be surprised to know that any cloud-based drawbacks that might occur today didn’t always exist.
Are We Being Held Hostage by Online Only services?
For sake of a better phrase, I will call those days the good old days–a time when one could play a game or use a word processor without going online. In those days the user actually own the product they bought and wasn’t at the mercy of any internet connection or online servers. Of course those days are gone for now but there are reasons why being connected to online play or production simply to type a letter might be a good option but for this particular post I will focus on why cloud based software and gaming is actually a horrible idea for the consumer–and I believe time will bare this out.
When your online connected game or subscription is working things are good. We get to play our game or write our letter. Take for example, the Crew. It’s a massive open world multiplayer car-driving game. The playground is open for exploration and this “playground” is a condensed version of the United States mountains and deserts included. When the game works, it’s a blast especially the Monster Trucks but I digress. However, like many games and services, this game requires players to login into an online server. In this case the company who controls the server is Ubisoft. Nothing against Ubisoft as a company but when their servers are down for maintenance or other reason, the player doesn’t get access to a game they have paid for. (Speaking of down time, I write this post as I wait for Ubisoft’s services to return. The good news, my blog service Word Press is up now! )
Online Subscription Services
Now had such a game as The Crew been downloadable or installable on ones personal computer not relying on another’s server for access later as games once were, there would be no down time. We would also be able to own the product instead our being involved in a sort’ve lease agreement with the game/software developer and the product. Maybe you remember the days when Microsoft Word was a standalone product that could be paid for one time and installed on your home or business computer? Now Word is called Microsoft 365 and it is an endless subscription service rather than a standalone product. Google Docs and anything Google is cloud based. Many other company’s have gone the same way because in this cloud-based system we as customers don’t require a physical drive for storage and our account is always accessible across many devices. This is a convenience when it works. Internet connection not working? Too bad for you. Your online based report isn’t getting done today. Game or application company server down for maintenance? The only thing to do is wait until it’s up again to get access to our service. Yes, this is the future. And unfortunately it’s the only future many adults and kids will ever know.
I believe we have lost our way when it comes to our dependence and reliance on cloud based computing and subscription services. This system works in a developers favor to be cloud-based because of the control they have. They control when the customer gets access or when they don’t. They get our money regardless of our access to the product or satisfaction of it and maybe most importantly they get paid for however long we want to use it! Brilliant plan for them, not as great for the user. If you have Windows 10 running on your computer you may have noticed that Microsoft has been pushing for users to use the operating system online rather than having a local only account. Why the push for online use of the Windows 10? Because we get access to our data on multiple devices? Okay, sounds great but that should be my own business if I wanted such a convenience or not. I believe the push truly comes because someday soon everything we use related to computer will be a subscription. YouTube use to be free and it still is, kind of. Currently adverstisments abound but ever heard of YouTube Red? It’s Google’s way of shoving users away from unlimited free access (with adverstisments) to a product only subscription service. Software developers are brilliant and we customers will pay–literally.
Now, perhaps it’s true that the company or developer who starts selling software again that can be owned once and installed once, without the need for a subscription will become famous again. Of course, it would take a major breakdown of cloud-based services for this to happen but by then the world might be completely gone.
But there is Hope. And it’s not based on the internet’s or some software developer’s reliability or security. His name is Jesus. Of course, one would need to know the need for Jesus in order to be really concerned. Have you consider it?
images are personal in-game screenshots from The Crew except Ubisoft Maintenence Notice
Ubisoft image source