Sony’s PSN Outage Demonstrates How Ineffective Online-only Games May Be

Sony’s PSN Outage Demonstrates How Ineffective Online-only Games May Be

If you were planning to relax with your favorite PS5 game last night, you were probably disappointed. During the evening in the United States, the PlayStation Network (PSN) went offline due to global disruptions. Sony had things under control within a few hours, but it highlights one major question about online-only releases. Why are games that should be playable without the internet completely unplayable?

It makes sense to lose access to online multiplayer games like Destiny 2 or Fortnite. These require broadband in order to connect with other players, and if no one can connect, the game is over. Unfortunately, single-player games such as Honkai: Star Rail, Diablo 4, and Godfall were also affected by the outage. This is due to DRM that is continuously active.

DRM (digital rights management) tools are divisive. On the one hand, publishers believe they are helping to reduce piracy and cheating. On the other hand, gamers believe they can impair performance and, in this situation, prevent you from playing at all. Always-on DRM does exactly what it says it does, forcing games to connect to the internet in order to function.

Sony’s PSN Outage Demonstrates How Ineffective Online-only Games May Be

The reasoning behind always-on DRM for otherwise solo experiences isn’t as implausible as you would think. Honkai, Diablo, and Godfall all rely on loot systems, and the tool maintains the item economy. That doesn’t take away the ache of being unable to play what you want during a blackout or when traveling. There must be a better solution, such as limiting offline characters to solely offline play. I’d make Diablo 4 my default Steam Deck game if it meant I could keep running on the train.

Not every game has a logical reason, either. Rainbow Six Siege’s Training Grounds feature, which you should be able to play offline, suffers from always-on DRM. Unfortunately, it’s a package deal, and if Ubisoft, PlayStation, or Xbox servers go down, so will every game mode.

I probably sound old, remembering when you could play till the disc was illegible. Still, nothing is more annoying than leaving school or work just to discover you can’t play something you’ve been looking forward to all day.

Rather than waiting for it to come back online, I propose moving on to something else right away. Your time is valuable, so use it to make more memories!