First, I really want to play MW2. It certainly holds up to my expectation of a sequel. What doesn’t appeal is of course, the multiplayer implementation.

The essential PC experience is being stripped away. When you try to align the experiences of three different platforms, what differentiates them? What motivates the choice to choose one over the other? In the PC experience, customizable dedicated servers appealed to many over the static match-made console experience. It’s a fact that most gamers who own high-end computers also own at least one next-gen console. If you suddenly make the PC experience less attractive, why choose the PC version? If they’re all the same, why not choose the console version? They’re all the same price anyway.

They’re all the same price anyway. They’re all the same price.

402 has claimed that IW was hearing complaints from gamers that they couldn’t find decent servers to play the game. So the very vocal 2% of all players have changed the fate of all the players? I don’t believe this at all. I never had a problem finding a server and never dealt with cheaters. So I’m not buying this story.

Punk buster wasn’t flawless, but neither then is VAC. I just don’t believe that’s the reason why. This all smells sparklingly familiar to another publisher mishap earlier in the year. This reminds me of when LucasArts decided not to bring Force Unleashed to PC stating it would give a “watered-down” experience. That was truly the worst possible explanation.

No, I fear there is a far darker motive at work here. It’s the second oldest motive. Money. Bobby Kotick saw an opportunity here and he’s cashing in his capital. We all know how he would raise prices even more if it were up to him. Well it’s not. It’s up to the market’s consumers.

I can understand raising prices to pay for Hans Zimmer. I can understand raising prices to pay for added value of some kind. That’s not what I’m seeing here. The game stands on its own as an achievement of design and art. I can even understand raising prices because it’s a masterpiece. This piece of software has one tragic flaw though. It’s multiplayer experience has been conformed across platforms. Before you say, isn’t that a good thing, let’s lay out some facts. This is easier for a publisher to support since it doesn’t need to host dedicated servers. It’s easier to maintain for the developer since the netcode doesn’t need cheat patching. The publisher doesn’t need to worry about life of game extensions because modding isn’t allowed. You can’t play online with mods. You can’t play on a server of any kind.

The essential PC experience has been stripped from us. Paying less than console versions because we also have to pay for expensive hardware, extending our game with community supported mods, choosing which servers we play on, playing with the same folks regularly, having administration extensions for our server which offers more control and easier access to functions, and choosing the PC experience over console are all what has been taken from us.

The petition currently stands at 166,000 signatures. In revenue terms, that’s $10,000,000 that won’t go to Activision’s coffers. Will the publisher budge? Will the developer come clean? Is ten million dollars a good enough motivator to cave into market demands? The current state of the game without dedicated servers and IWnet implementation is a good enough motivator for me to keep my $60.

Infinity Ward and Activision will have to decide if they are a for profit corporation, which means their shareholders will never let them turn down ten million in revenues for any reason, or if they’re idealistic game changersl. Does Bobby Kotick really think he’s the guy to turn the PC market forever? Can this one battle really be won by the industry?

Can it come down to one battle? Yes it can. I can afford to be idealistic about games because for me, it’s $60 on the line now and a lot more if I cave in. For Activision, it’s ten million on the line now and potentially a lot more if they win. The consumers vote with their wallets. We stand to lose so much if we let Activision do this. Every publisher will then follow suit. All PC games will cost $60 and we will lose the PC experience forever.

The industry really wants this to happen. Every bit of modding available to consoles is sold in the form of DLC and the industry profits from that. PC gamers have been getting free DLC in the form of community supported mods for more than 15 years. We also were able to run our own servers with our own rules and content. console players must endure peer to peer playing with potential advertising piped into their multiplayer games. As you can see, this whole battle isn’t between the gamers and the publisher. This is a war against the server hosting industry.

The publisher doesn’t want that industry to profit from their product. So they must simply remove the mechanisms by which that industry operates. Thus the publisher can cantrol every aspect of their product and its use. PC gamers can expect DLC packs to be sold and their multiplayer experience to conform to the console experience.

So, I’m not willing to budge on this issue until our concerns are fully addressed with all due dilligence.

My $60 is staying put. Sorry Bobby. I’m especially sorry to Vince. I am very sorry I can’t purchase and play your game. It truly was going to be a fantastic experience.

Please note, M. Levy and M. Fourtou, this ten million dollars is hard to turn down, but I’m sure in the end you will choose what is best for your conglomeration. I’m sorry but I won’t relent.

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