Capcom released the PS3 version of the excellent Final Fight Double Impact with a surprise. Purchasers learned that the game could not be played offline, a means of eliminating “game sharing” across PlayStation 3 accounts (which let multiple users share accounts and download each others content). The shady practice, which Sony itself certainly knows about due a loophole in their own “five system download” process, has had almost no restrictions to date with the exception of some higher priced titles like Warhawk.
Double Impact was a shocker though, and not just because it prevented game sharing. There was no warning anywhere before the purchase was made that an online connection was required. Capcom admitted that mistake (which one could certainly debate whether or not it was a “mistake”) and corrected it while offering no compensation to date. In the case of Double Impact, playing offline carries some benefits.
All games, when played online, become an open lobby. Anyone can join, whether you want them to or not. Playing offline lets you pause, something you cannot do online since you are technically playing a multiplayer match. PS3 owners have been denied the ability to play solo and his start to pause, pretty basic stuff the Xbox 360 version allows.
The real debate here is why Capcom has to do this in the first place. If developers are becoming irritated by game sharing across PSN, why are they left to fight it? This is an issue for developers, and it should be up to Sony to deal with it. If Capcom wanted something done, why not withhold Double Impact from PSN on the grounds that Sony needs to address this problem? Why is the end user the one who suffers?
As it stands, Capcom has now lowered themselves to UbiSoft’s level, requiring a constant online connection to play a game legit users paid money for. That is a drastic connection to make, especially coming from a self-admitted Capcom fanboy. The company always seems to be in tune with the community, but in this case seemingly wants their customers to suffer the wrath of restrictive DRM and fewer gameplay options for something that is Sony’s fault first and foremost.