Like entropy, publishers will eventually destroy everything. Rather than keeping their games like the works of art that they should think they are, instinct to go to tremendous efforts to make them impossible to play is. The recent victims of these murderous antics are many of the Need for speeds released between 2006 and 2011.
Today, via Reddit (while most of the English-speaking world is on vacation) it was announced that Need for Speed Carbon, Need for Speed Undercover, Need For Speed: Shift, Layer 2: Unleashed and Need For Speed: The Run becomes “retired”. What I suppose is an apt word when you consider that they hobble off the tracks as they leave the digital shop windows today and their servers will be shut down at the end of August.
The reasons given are the usual ones: Maintaining servers for the few remaining players is prohibitively expensive, and hey, look, they have loads of (amazingly bad) NFS Play since then, so you could buy these instead!
“[T]The number of players has reached a point where it is no longer possible to continue the behind-the-scenes work that is necessary to keep it going [the games] in operation. We hope that over the past few years you have had many victories, satisfying drifts, moments of friendly rivalry and hours of joy playing these games. And we hope you will continue with us in one of our newer titles … “
It’s always like this. “Jerk! What more could we do ?!” Well, here are some other things you could do:
- They could release the source code for the 10-15 year old games and allow others to continue their development in the public domain
- You could share the server code for the games so enthusiasts can keep hosting the few remaining dedicated players
- They could offer to upgrade players to one of the many NFS 2010s games (although this can be more cruel than nothing)
- You could see that EA had sales of $ 5.5 billion last year also big hit
Removing them from stores just seems … petty! Sure, they don’t provide all of the features available when the servers are turned off, but they do come on. Quarter the prices – damn it, be decent enough to make them free – and let people buy them as single player artifacts of the past.
The deliberate, meticulous erasing of video game history is frankly morbid. Sure, at the moment I don’t feel like the horribly whipped and battered horse that is the cruel remains of the Need for speed Franchise, so what? But no, because I stopped counting the number of times I wanted to repeat something from 15, 20, 30 years ago and found that it is absolutely impossible to legally buy anywhere. I have reported far too often about games that no one can sell because neglect has resulted in their rights being lost in a miserable jumble between publishers. It’s just myopic and totally stupid.
For God’s sake, when you’re so determined that no one can legally buy your game, go to those extremes, easy release them to the public. It’s the only decent thing. Thank goodness for projects like Internet Archive’s Software library.