Stop killing games

You have missed your chance to play The Crew

A new campaign has started to try and preserve video games that become unplayable when the developer and/or publisher no longer wishes to support them.

This post is mostly a collection of random commentary on games that I have tried to order as coherently as possible.

For a more succinct description of the problem and what you can do to support, visit

Growing up with games

This is a topic that I feel strongly about. I grew up playing video games. The first games I remember playing were on a Commodore 64. The first that were my own were on a Nintendo GameBoy and Sega Master System. Since then I’ve owned many consoles and computers. I’ve owned a few that were essentially “before my time” like an Atari 2600. In fact I first got into programming on a Sinclair ZX Spectrum.

This means I have a lot of memories playing video games, and for most of that time I knew that those games would remain playable indefinitely. The reality of hardware degradation means that for practical purposes most people would have to resort to emulation, but in theory someone who owned the original game would always be able to play it.

That is no longer the case for many modern games.

New games

There are some games that fundamentally require server resources to run. For some those those can be run by individuals - many early MMOs like Ultima Online have private servers for instance. Others like EVE Online might never be reasonable to run locally. And despite the fact that I would like these to remain playable indefinitely, these are not really the games that concern me the most.

Live service games

The games for which this is a problem is live service games, especially ones with a significant single player component. I think if a practical solution is to be found, then the “single player” aspect is going to have to be important - after all a mostly multiplayer live service game is pretty close to an MMO.

One sticking point is disagreement between the people running the game and the people playing the game what kind of game it is. Both Diablo III* and Diablo IV require an online connection to play, and the latter certainly adds quite a lot of content that only really works online. But a large number of players, including myself, only play it solo. But I have also played both Star Trek Online and Elder Scrolls Online (which are definitely MMOs) predominantly alone.

* Interestingly, Diablo III on console did not require an online connection. The result was hacked save files, which meant choosing to play with strangers online was awkward. But playing alone was fine.

Ubisoft and The Crew

This issue has come to prominence recently after Ubisoft decided to shut down The Crew. This is not a game I have played but it sounds like it falls to the sticking point I mention above. A lot of the game is based around being online and playing with others, but not all of it.

Ubisoft are making the opinion of the problem quite clear though, apparently taking things a step further and revoking digital licenses. This seems like a crazy move - I can imagine people making well reasoned arguments about companies not having to put resources into supporting games, but that doesn’t really hold any water when considering removing all access to people with digital games.

What to do is probably the bast place to go for information on how you can help. I would also suggest being as selective as you are able in the developers and publishers you support. For me, I personally spend more time playing single player indie games which generally don’t have this problem (being the digital license issue).

My games

For my own games (currently this means Tic-Tac-Toe Collection but I intend it to apply to anything else I ever make) I will always follow the principle of not requiring an online connection unnecessarily. That means that core functionality should not require it at all, and any features that do require it should not impact the rest of the game.

I have accidentally proven this a few times by managing online resources badly and allowing services to go offline. The game continued to work fine.