Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Diablo III account sharing forbidden

My wife is showing some interest in Diablo III. Great, it is always nice when we play the same game. But then I realized that something has changed: We played Diablo I on one computer using a single copy of the game. I'm pretty sure that at least for the single-player game that was perfectly legal, with games generally having a single computer license, playable by the whole family. That isn't the case any more for Diablo III: You need a account to play Diablo III, and sharing that account is forbidden. Blizzard says so themselves (see point 3 there). If me and my wife want both to play, even if it was on a single computer, we will need to buy two copies of the game.

And yeah, I know that I could get around that, because on a single computer Blizzard would never be able to find out we shared the account. But I'm talking about the principle here: Earlier Blizzard single-player games had single computer licenses, now we are down to single user licenses.
I think it should have been obvious this would be the case with D3. That's not even the worst case of earlier Blizzard games allowing multiple users. There was the whole pure awesomeness of the Starcraft "install spawn" option so you could lan play with friends with a single copy. Now they don't even allow lan play if everybody actually owns a copy.
This is where I think the fear of copyright infringement is getting away from the publishers and the original intent/spirit of these protections.

The more things they implement to protect their product the more people will be forced to not play it. I'm personally torn over if I should buy D3 or not, I have alot of friends who aren't. I'm due to deploy right around the time it launches and due to the lack of reliable internet I probably wont be able to play D3.

Every developer/publisher assumes everyone has the internet, it isn't the case. My PS3 is NOT connected to the internet, nor is my Wii. I bought them for those times when I'm in the field but lately more and more console games have requires online updates to their software in order to play them, and they don't always have warnings on the box.
Does this demonstrate a move away from implicit assumption of sharing; to where a total separation of users is the legal default?

I like the "family" use option, where it allows one concurrent user, which might be a few people in the family. For gamers who have this opportunity I'd say it will be a feature of the products that will be a point of difference.

eg. You, your partner, and two kids all like games? No way you'll pay for 4 copies when a F2P game might allow you to play for far less outlay.

We are reaching another interesting time in game software.
Decision points like this should (in theory) give other game-makers opportunities.

Torchlight 2 is very similar to D3 except in being available for single player offline and for mods.

So will gamers vote with their feet against Blizzard's restrictions and buy the comparable product that lacks those restrictions?

I think some will.

I decided to vote with my feet against SWTOR in protest against the SWG axe. A very small dent in a very large revenue no doubt but I like to think that when they look at their Venn diagrams maybe the people who didn't buy it because they axed SWG will be a bigger circle than the people who only bought it because they axed SWG.

Same with Diablo 3. There's enough onerous limitations that some customers will be lost.
This is a non-issue. You should play on 2 computers TOGETHER.
> Every developer/publisher assumes
> everyone has the internet,
> it isn't the case.

It's not the case, yes. But very few gamers are unable to be online in 2011. And those few wont play Diablo III. In my opinion the "online only" option was a natural choice. Offline gaming leads to cheating, hacking and duping.

Now we will be able (finally) to play a "legit" game with "legit" players. Sounds good to me.
There is one exception to the account sharing: "a parent or guardian with a single minor".

But yep, no mercy for dastardly husbands sharing accounts with their wives.
I had not considered the game situation but I much prefer the new account based licensing. For example, I buy - excuse me license - a software program from the Apple store. I am now explicitly allowed to install it on my desktop, my old desktop and my laptop. in fact when I go to my second machine, it shows up as available to download.

So unlike most things, I find the one license the person not the machine to be more consumer friendly.
You should play on 2 computers TOGETHER.

We tried that in various games, including WoW, and it didn't work out. We have very different play styles, which makes it extremely difficult to stay together instead of running off into different directions. In the end we enjoyed it more playing separately.
I totally don't buy that argument (regarding incompatible play styles). My wife and I have separate solo play styles but have developed a different style entirely when playing together.

It all comes down to a shifting of goals. When you play together, the goal should be to have fun together rather than individual character advancement. Of course, you both have to adopt that mindset in order for it to work, but its very rewarding if you can.
Surely John, Tobold and his wife are allowed to play however they want.

If she played video games and he collected stamps no one would say they are "doing it wrong".

I've a friend who always wants to do everything together and I admit it gets too much sometimes. I log on in an afternoon and get "I thought you said you were logging on this morning" and I'm thinking "dude.........."
Lol -- touche Stabs. Though I wasn't trying to say Tobold's conclusion was wrong, only that I didn't buy his reasoning as stated.
To me this is a non-issue. If my wife wanted to give D3 a try, I'd let her. Not only would Blizzard be unaware this ever happened but if push came to shove I would totally deny it. Good luck proving someone else besides me played on my account.

Now, if my wife really wanted to play D3, not only would I buy another copy, but I'd even buy her a new computer. Sadly she's doesn't like games that are more complex than Bejeweled.
I think it is because D3 isn't a single-player game anymore. It is a single-player-online-game. So it's the same issue with wow.

aka pitiful excuses to demand more cash out of customers.
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