Bleszinksi Thinks Always-Online Is Coming Soon

Cliff Bleszinksi doesn't think always-online is a big deal because it seems like the natural progression of technology.
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The debate about always-online requirements continues, and the creator of Gears of War has decided to chime in with his thoughts on the topic.  “Technology doesn’t advance by worrying about the edge case,” is his assertion.

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I’d be willing to say that any early adopter for any new piece of technology is probably going to have some sort of solid internet connection. Also, and I’ve stated this before, keeping that umbilical cord connected might not always require some sort of insane fat pipe. Sometimes just 3G might be enough.

The edge case Bleszinksi considers the problem and source of the complaints that he was discussing in relation to Adam Orth’s recent departure from Microsoft is related as a special occasion or event.  Taking a weekend in a cabin out in the woods is the example he gives.

I think his statements can be summarized with the last sentence of the longer quote above.  “Sometimes 3G might be enough.”  The assumption, then, is that 3G is the baseline most people in first-world countries operate from, and the people in cities and more technologically-inclined individuals sit normally at 4G.

I would enjoy living in that world.

The sad truth is that high-speed internet is not as universal as most higher-ups in the gaming industry seem to think.  According to the New York Times, for example, a full third of Americans do not pay for high-speed internet at home, opting instead for dial-up or relying entirely on phones and tablets, or just not having internet at all.

That is a huge number of people to automatically cut out of any business model by calling them the edge case.  The number also does not account for those who pay for high-speed internet but have limits on bandwidth usage or only have access for limited periods of the day.  When you start at 33% removed from the equation, each new complication resonates heavier.

It sounds like most of the gaming industry does not think the people complaining about always-online problems are people they need to be worried about.  How could they complain online?

My response to this assumption is to ask a very important question.  In an economy where the biggest gaming companies and the console market itself is having trouble turning a profit… What if you are wrong?  What happens if you assume always-online is not a big deal, that people can just “deal with it” and you are wrong?

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Writer, gamer, and generally hopeful beneath a veneer of cynicism.