Let me make this plain. If you excuse draconian DRM practices like always-online or anything that will completely lock out the entire and most basic function of a game or a console, stop gaming right now. If you excuse these actions, you are doing harm to the gaming industry, not good. There is no justification for these practices and they need to end.
This blog isn't about Microsoft, this blog is about the idea of an always-online requirement and other similar schemes. Over the past month I've seen all kinds of excuses as to why an always-online console is not a bad thing, or is a good thing, or why someone can see why a company would go there. I'm here to tell you that that is the wrong attitude. An always-connected console can have benefits in terms of speed and for lazy people, but a forced online connection isn't one of those benefits. The copout of "well most people are always online anyway" is not a defence. Right now, on any of the consoles, you have a CHOICE of whether or not you want to connect to the internet to message friends, search the internet through a console browser, or play online multiplayer. If you do not want to do any of those things and you do not connect to the internet, you can still put in a game and play it minus the aforementioned multiplayer. That's good right? Right.
The premise behind an always-online required console is that said console will not allow you to use the basic function of playing any games offline. THAT IS OF NO BENEFIT TO YOU! You paid money for that game. You should be able to pop it in and play it. You should NOT have to worry that your spotty internet connection could boot you out of something you paid money for. There is no such thing as a 100% always stable network connection ANYWHERE in the world. I don't care what Cliffy B thinks, I don't care what Adam Orth thinks, IT DOESN'T EXIST!
Online passes are just as bad, but they affect ONLY the online portion of a game. That means you can still play the singleplayer portion of the game if you CHOOSE not to pay for an online pass. All of these restrictions serve no one but publishers. They are created based on myths (the used game market hurts developers) and over-exaggeration (piracy is such a huge problem that studios shut down because of it), but are founded in absolute greed.
The more we excuse these practices, the more we show even the slightest hint of apathy, the worse things will get. And if any of us have principles that would tell us "you can't buy this, it's wrong to support something like this" and more of us adopt this philosophy, then eventually either the core audience will cease being any kind of a priority to these developers/publishers and we all won't want to game anyway; or MAYBE these companies will see the error of their ways and revert back to before all of these pay wall schemes were invented.
Always-online required is a problem with which there is no justification. Any reasoning that publishers make is a bogus copout to hide wanton greed and control issues. It was unnecessary with Diablo 3 and I'm convinced that that game was successful because A)It was so long before the last Diablo game was released and B)It employed the same B.S. that FF13 did where people expected a great game and instead were met with DRM and mediocrity.
We have to stick together on this. We can't reward restrictions no matter who is imposing them. Whether it be blocking used games or forcing a network connection to allow for the basic functioning of console, we CAN'T allow this to go on. We are a community that CAN come together when we want to. Loudly and passionately. Our only problem is with how unstable we are, how inconsistent we are. That needs to change if we truly want the Golden Age of gaming to return once again.
Do not excuse DRM. Don't let these money grubbing control freaks think you agree with them in the slightest. That's the only way things can change.