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Alternate History: What happens to gaming if the internet never existed?

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Shadow1980 said:
haxxiy said:

The Cold War was over before the internet became well-known to the general public. The Soviet Union had dissolved completely by Dec. 1991. The World Wide Web had only come into existence mere months earlier. I doubt the absence of a publicly-available internet would have changed anything about the outcome of the Cold War. Geopolitically, I imagine the 90s wouldn't have been much different without a public internet.

You got it the other way around. I'm trying to postulate a point of divergence for the internet not to exist, not speculating about its geopolitical effects or absence thereof.

Also, for the last sentence... butterflies and black swans. For all we know, in our alternate 90s, Putin could die from cancer and Bin Laden decide to really jam airline jets into nuclear power plants. That's what I'm saying it's useless to talk about how gaming develops in such a scenario. There would be no Google, no Facebook, none of the games and consoles we know in the last 30 years etc.



 

 

 

 

 

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haxxiy said:

You got it the other way around. I'm trying to postulate a point of divergence for the internet not to exist, not speculating about its geopolitical effects or absence thereof.

Also, for the last sentence... butterflies and black swans. For all we know, in our alternate 90s, Putin could die from cancer and Bin Laden decide to really jam airline jets into nuclear power plants. That's what I'm saying it's useless to talk about how gaming develops in such a scenario. There would be no Google, no Facebook, none of the games and consoles we know in the last 30 years etc.

The video I linked to covered the divergence point. I guess I should have clarified that I'm assuming that everything regarding the internet runs in accordance to their scenario (OP will be edited accordingly). The guest commentator in the video briefly commented that he thought gaming would be more niche in that scenario. I thought it would still become just as mainstream.



Shadow1980 said:
The_Liquid_Laser said:

You covered all of the main points.  Here is my take on some of them.

The first thing that the internet impacted was gaming magazines.  You could now lookup a walkthrough online, and walkthroughs and hints were the biggest reason people bought gaming magazines.  Also the internet had a very immediate impact upon Adventure games as a genre, because online walkthroughs destroyed Adventure games.  This may have had a bigger impact than you might think.  In the 90's the games with the best stories were Adventure games (although RPGs were somewhat competitive on this.)  Before the internet, when a developer wanted to make a story oriented game, they would make an Adventure game.  It was kind of a way to be an interactive novel, but it very much relied on the puzzles taking some time in order to be solved.  After Adventure games died off as a genre, you start seeing narratives in almost every type of game.  I would argue that a heavy narrative works a lot better in an Adventure game than it does an action game, since when a person is playing an action game they just want to kick some ass and the story is kind of a distraction to that.  But, because Adventure games died off, we get narratives in most of our action games now.

I agree that the internet had no impact on American arcades, since they were killed mostly by consoles.  Specifically most developers decided to focus on console games, because it was much easier to make money on the NES and SNES than on an arcade machine.  The lack of developers lead to a lack of arcade games and it inevitably declined and died out.

On the PC side, there were a lot of changes going on in the 90's and early 21st century.  Some of these were impacted by the internet and some were not.  One thing impacting PC's were that a lot of action games that started on PC's were moving to consoles.  This sort of thing actually happened with EA first, when they moved most of their titles to the Genesis.  When Sony came around it happened more, with franchises like Tomb Raider and GTA moving from the PC to a console.  How much impact did this have on the PC?  In my opinion, not much.  Action games tend to be a better fit on a console.  When I look at the best selling PC games in the 90s they tend to be things like Myst, Civilization, Rollercoaster Tycoon, and several games made by Blizzard.  Add in The Sims from early 2000 and you see what kinds of games were popular on the PC: Adventure, Strategy, Simulation, and (to a lesser extent) RPG.  None of these are action games.  So I think the PC would have still been fine even with action games going to console, because the best selling PC games were not action games at the time.  Without the internet, the PC would have been the main place to go for Adventure, Strategy and Simulation games and to a lesser extent RPGs.

So, two PC genres that were affected hugely by the internet were MMOs and FPS games.  MMOs would simply never exist.  FPS, on the other hand, is probably the only type of action game that actually is important to the PC, and I think its safe to say that FPS multiplayer is the main draw for this type of game.  In the late 90's, laptops were not nearly as ubiquitous as they are today.  I tend to think that as laptops became more popular, then LAN parties would have become more popular as well.  In the absence of the internet, this may have made PC gaming a solid home for FPS games.  After all, the PS2 had FPS games, but the FPS genre never really had serious sales numbers until generation 7 when online gaming came into play.  So, in the absence of the internet, I think LAN parties become the norm for FPS games and the genre tends to remain dominant on the PC.

All of this means that the PC would not undergo radical changes.  PC gaming would continue largely as it had before and it would continue to have a retail presence.  This is both good and bad.  For places like the US and the UK, PC gaming would continue as strong as it always had.  But one advantage Steam has had is that it has made PC gaming accessible to places where gaming doesn't have a strong retail presence.  I suspect there are a lot of places in the world like Russia, India, etc... that would not have much access to gaming if it had not been for Steam and online PC gaming.

Lastly, there are consoles.  I actually think digital distribution has had an even bigger impact on consoles than even online gaming.  First of all, there would be no smart phones without the internet.  Handheld systems have probably lost some sales to smartphones, so without the internet, the handheld market would be at least as strong as the home console market.  On top of that the "indie renaissance"would have happened on handheld devices, since that would be the medium where game development would have been the cheapest.  I also think that games would be less likely to ship early in the absence of the internet.  There would be a bigger effort to get it right before the game ships out the door once and for all.  I also think Gamestop and similar stores would be in much better shape without the internet.

Tying it all together, I tend to think today's gaming scene would resemble the 90's gaming scene a lot more without the internet.  Gaming magazines would still be ubiquitous.  PC gaming would still focus on non action genres like Adventure, Strategy and Simulation.  PC gaming would continue to have a retail presence and gaming stores would continue to be thriving.  In the absence of the internet, LAN gaming and handheld gaming would take the place of internet multiplayer and smartphone games respectively.  In general, gaming would continue much closer to the trajectory set during the 90's before the internet came in and changed the gaming landscape.

Regarding FPS games, the genre was already showing signs that it was viable on consoles in the 90s. On the N64, GoldenEye 007 sold 8 million copies, Perfect Dark sold 2.5M despite coming in near the end of the system's life, and both Turok 1 & 2 sold over 1M a piece. In Gen 6, Halo CE sold 5M copies despite not being an online title. Halo 2 sold over 8.4M, though it's uncertain how much of its sales improvement over its predecessor was due to the online; it generated record-setting pre-orders and had the biggest debut of any game ever at that point at a time when Xbox Live had a very low adoption rate relative to the install base, though the growth of XBL subscriptions from 1M in July 2004 to 2M by July 2005 can in most part almost certainly be chalked up to Halo 2. Aside from Halo, the Xbox also had other modest hit FPS titles: its port of Counter-Strike sold 1.5M copies, CoD2: Big Red One sold nearly 1.4M, and Ghost Recon sold over 1.1M. Additionally, both Star Wars: Battlefront games sold over 3M copies between the PS2 and Xbox, and the PS2 versions of Medal of Honor: Frontline and MoH: Rising Sun were multi-million sellers as well.

Meanwhile, on PC most notable FPS titles weren't actually massive hits. Looking at games released in the period of 1997-2007, by far the biggest blockbuster hits on PC were Half-Life and Half-Life 2, both selling 9 million copies. Counter-Strike sold something like 4M copies. Meanwhile, titles like Quake II, Unreal & Unreal Tournament, Battlefield 1942 & BF: Vietnam, and Far Cry performed relatively modestly. The last legitimate hit PC-oriented FPS was Crysis. And several notable PC FPS titles owed their success to online multiplayer, namely Quake III, Unreal Tournament, and Counter-Strike.

So, even in the early to mid 00s, FPS games were at least as popular on consoles as they were on PC. In a world where the internet never existed, I don't think it's too far-fetched to think that they'd have continued to be popular on consoles. By the start of Gen 7, they had already demonstrated their commercial viability on consoles. I imagine Halo still would have done well for itself. Call of Duty and Battlefield would almost certainly be a lot less popular, but they would probably still be around. The genre as a whole would be primarily single-player experiences, with some perhaps still having a split-screen competitive mode as well (though again I wonder if the LAN would have still been a thing). Many if not perhaps most FPS games would still come to PC, though, but I doubt the genre would have ever remained predominately PC-oriented. The cracks were already beginning to show in the late 90s, and in the decade between Quake II and Crysis there were only two smash hits that were single-player focused (both Half-Life games). There were only a relative handful of others that pulled over a million copies, but they were eclipsed by the big console FPS titles in overall popularity. If we were to make a Top 10 best-seller list of FPS games released after the launch of the N64 but before the launch of the 360, while the top two spots would be held by the Half-Life games, the rest of the list would be dominated by console-only titles and multiplatform titles that owed most of their success to their console versions.

These are good points about FPS games.  I had especially forgotten how successful Goldeneye was a generation before Microsoft even entered the market.  I suppose FPS would have inevitably made a serious home on consoles even without the internet.  However, I doubt franchises like Call of Duty or Halo would have reached the sales heights that they have without the internet.  Also I do think LAN play through laptops would have been something of a replacement for internet play on the PC side, which may have just ended up splitting the FPS genre into 1) local multiplayer games on consoles and 2) LAN oriented games on PC.

In spite of all this I still stick with my basic conclusion that without the internet PC gaming in the 21st century would have continued on the same type of trajectory that it had in the 90s with non action games being the spotlight, i.e. Adventure, Simulation, and Strategy games mainly.



No Facebook, so no Farmville revolution and FB games - FB is pretty much from were micortransactions leaked into "proper" games industry, though, to be fair, there were some really good midcore FB games.



The_Liquid_Laser said:

These are good points about FPS games.  I had especially forgotten how successful Goldeneye was a generation before Microsoft even entered the market.  I suppose FPS would have inevitably made a serious home on consoles even without the internet.  However, I doubt franchises like Call of Duty or Halo would have reached the sales heights that they have without the internet.  Also I do think LAN play through laptops would have been something of a replacement for internet play on the PC side, which may have just ended up splitting the FPS genre into 1) local multiplayer games on consoles and 2) LAN oriented games on PC.

In spite of all this I still stick with my basic conclusion that without the internet PC gaming in the 21st century would have continued on the same type of trajectory that it had in the 90s with non action games being the spotlight, i.e. Adventure, Simulation, and Strategy games mainly.

Call of Duty definitely wouldn't have been nearly as big as it is without the internet. There's plenty of evidence to suggest the majority of CoD players don't even touch the single-player campaign. The series exploded in popularity with CoD4, but without a popular online multiplayer mode the series may have stalled out with decent-but-not-great sales. CoD2 sold just shy of 6M copies, and I think that's probably a likely upper limit for the series if it lacked online MP. Actually, I think it might have done worse, maybe half that considering what even older entries in the series did. It might have done well enough for Activision to continue producing new games in the series, though it likely wouldn't have been its flagship franchise. We certainly wouldn't had the situation where at the series' peak it had four consecutive titles selling over 20 million copies across all platforms.

As for Halo, it too experienced tremendous growth in popularity, from 5M for Halo CE to over 8.4M for Halo 2 to a peak of 14.5M for Halo 3 (we never got official numbers for Reach and Halo 4, but they almost certainly sold at least as well as Halo 2). That's actually pretty extraordinary for an exclusive, esp. one not made by Nintendo (Gran Turismo 3 and Uncharted 4 are the only Sony exclusives to beat Halo 3's 14.5M). However, it's hard to say how many people never touched the Campaign and only got it for the multiplayer. I imagine Halo CE, being an offline game, owed most of its success to the Campaign. With Halo 2, as mentioned Xbox Live didn't exactly have a ton of subscribers when it was a new game and it had a record-breaking launch as a sequel to an offline game, but then again its multiplayer mode was extremely popular. With Halo 3, looking at achievement completion rates, the most common achievement was for completing the first mission in Campaign. The easiest MP-specific achievement, which required 20 wins in MP, had a completion rate 60% of that, which is comparable to the completion rate for the Campaign itself (the achievement for beating the last mission had a completion rate 58.6% that of the one for beating the first mission). Only 58.8% of those who played enough MP to earn 20 wins played enough to also progress to 70 wins and a matchmaking rank of at least 10. So, fewer players got to 70 wins in MP than actually finished the Campaign. I think Halo owes a far greater portion of its success to the single-player than CoD ever did, and is at least as well-known for its story and characters as it is for its multiplayer. While there are undoubtedly a lot of people who play the MP but don't touch campaign (I see them all the time), I don't think it's enough to where in a world with no online gaming that the series would struggle to succeed. Halo 3 probably wouldn't have sold 14.5M copies with no online, but I think the series would still have sold quite well, probably at minimum 5-6M per game I would think. Even without online, the couch co-op and split-screen still would have added tremendous value, especially if the Xbox and 360 were still LAN-capable even if there were no internet.



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Machina said:

Interesting idea.

Agree with all of the conclusion except this - "The overall market share of the Big Three in the console space would probably not be too dissimilar in Gens 6 & 7, but would probably be different in the current generation without the online-fueled factors that came into play prior to the launches of the PS4 & XBO in 2013".

Gen 6 I agree, but Gen 7 would probably have been quite a bit different. Xbox 360's market share in particular would have been lower, as some of its success in America and to a lesser extent Europe was clearly derived from it being ahead of the curve when it came to online gaming (especially with real life friends, which allowed Microsoft to quickly capture large groups of teens).

I actually think Kinect would have been more successful (though not enough to have offset the lost market share I speculated on in the previous sentence?), because in a pre-internet scenario I could see the gaming magazines and tv shows with their exclusive footage going quite OTT in how 'game-changing' it was going to be and really pushing it. It's a concept that sounds quite appealing, especially if you're not able to see video footage or experience its inadequacies for yourself. There would have been no gaff reals and internet memes surrounding its reveal; no parodies and piss-taking of the flaws, etc. Just a carefully groomed print and television media PR operation.

To some extent that applies to the Wii as well, which I could see performing slightly better in a non-internet world.

PS3 sales would probably have been broadly the same, but both it and the Wii's market share would be higher as a result of the Xbox 360's lower sales. Neither PS3 nor Wii really utilised online all that well, especially early on, when Sony's PSN service was also a lot more barebones than people remember; gaps between new PSN releases were lengthy, it lacked so many features XBL had, Sony seemed to scrabble around experimenting but with things that didn't take off (remember the digital magazine subscription, anyone?), and PSN was really playing catch up for several years. The only advantage it had was free online but by the time PSN had caught up to XBL even that was put behind a pay wall.

Looking at the 360's infancy, I think it's hard to argue that its success was driven by online gaming. While Halo 2 proved that online gaming on consoles could be popular, most of the biggest games on the 360 in its early years were not primarily online multiplayer titles. During the 2005-06 period, Gears of War was the most successful title, and looking at achievement completion rates, twice as many people actually finished the Campaign than played a single match of multiplayer. Other notable games from the period included Saint's Row, Dead Rising, Madden '07, Oblivion, and COD2 & 3. Only the latter two prominently featured a competitive MP mode, and they weren't exactly blockbusters (it wasn't until COD4 that the series reached super-hit status). In 2007 Halo 3 was the first major system-seller, but as I mentioned in my post above Halo 3 arguably had just as much of its success due to the Campaign as the MP. And while COD4 was also a big hit in 2007, the rest of the 360's best-sellers list for the year was filled out by games like Forza 2, Assassin's Creed, BioShock, Guitar Hero II & III, Crackdown, and Mass Effect.

Meanwhile, the PS3 debuted in Nov. 2006 with a launch price of $500 ($600 for the 60GB model), and with barely anything in the way of compelling exclusives for its first year. The 360 had an early advantage in terms of game library and price. It is absolutely unsurprising that the 360 absolutely steamrolled the PS3 in the U.S. and siphoned off a huge amount of Sony's market share in Europe. I doubt online factored into most people's decision on what system to get. That generation almost certainly would have started off on the same foot even if online gaming had never been a thing. The previous generation would have likely followed the exact same trajectory, with MS being forced to discontinue the OXbox early, which is likely the reason they had the 360 out to market by Nov. 2005. The PS3 still would have launched in 2006 with the expensive Cell Processor and Blu-ray drive and thus the same massive launch price. In our timeline, Halo 2 was essentially the face of online gaming on consoles until 2007, and I think that by itself is enough to suggest that online wasn't a massive factor. The initial conditions of that generation being what they were, and the kind of games that dominated the best-sellers charts for the first couple of years, I really do think that in terms of market share last generation wouldn't have been too dissimilar from what we ended up with in reality had online not been a thing. I really do think the biggest impacts would have been felt in game development. It took a while for online gaming on consoles to become hugely prominent, and by that point the Seventh Generation was already settled.

I think the lack of an internet would have only impacted things regarding market share in the current generation, and I think it would have benefited MS. Much of the XBO's woes early in the generation stemmed from poor reception from the gaming public, namely the heavy focus on multimedia applications in the announcement conference and, more importantly, the initial decision to make the system be an always-online console that placed heavy restrictions on used games. Whether or not MS would have force-bundled Kinect is hard to say, and if they did that may have still worked against them, but by itself I don't know if it would have hurt them as much as the one-two punch of forced Kinect and all the negative PR they suffered from in the build up to the XBO's launch. Without the internet, the XBO would have ended up a noticeably different system (it probably wouldn't even have the same name), and I think that would have had a greater impact on the outcome of this generation even if it likely wouldn't have much impact on last generation. The lack of always-online video games and no microtransactions would have also resulted in the software landscape being very different this generation, though its hard to say if it would have benefited MS or Sony more, or if it wouldn't have benefited either.

Something I glossed over in the OP was Nintendo. In this alternative timeline the Wii would have almost certainly been released as-is and become a huge success. But what of the Wii's successor? The Wii U's big selling point was the huge touchscreen controller. But if history played out like it did in AlternateHistoryHub's video, would touchscreens be a big thing? As cell phones would have likely retained their early 00s form factor in a world without smartphones (a necessary consequence of a world where the internet was never available to the public), I imagine touchscreens wouldn't have been as popular. Tablet computers likely wouldn't have been a thing had the iPad not been around to popularize them, and I imagine that without an iPhone or iPod before it I doubt it would have ended up being a thing. However, Nintendo had already had the DS in development starting in 2002, so they were already seeing the potential gaming applications of touchscreens years before the iPhone ever came about. It's hard to say if in a world where touchscreens would likely be far less ubiquitous for daily-use technology that Nintendo would have continued seeing the merits of touchscreens in gaming. If they went with the same basic idea for the Wii U, it would likely still have flopped. However, if they had a "Wii 2/Wii HD" it could have potentially done a lot better. Then again, it's possible that enthusiasm for motion controls would have waned in the early 2010s anyway. Hard to say. Whether or not Nintendo follows largely the same path as they did in our reality probably depends on if they continued seeing the viability of touchscreens, and that may or may not have depended on the high likelihood of touchscreens not being nearly as commonplace in an internet-less world.



Shadow1980 said:

I think the lack of an internet would have only impacted things regarding market share in the current generation, and I think it would have benefited MS. Much of the XBO's woes early in the generation stemmed from poor reception from the gaming public, namely the heavy focus on multimedia applications in the announcement conference and, more importantly, the initial decision to make the system be an always-online console that placed heavy restrictions on used games. Whether or not MS would have force-bundled Kinect is hard to say, and if they did that may have still worked against them, but by itself I don't know if it would have hurt them as much as the one-two punch of forced Kinect and all the negative PR they suffered from in the build up to the XBO's launch. Without the internet, the XBO would have ended up a noticeably different system (it probably wouldn't even have the same name), and I think that would have had a greater impact on the outcome of this generation even if it likely wouldn't have much impact on last generation. The lack of always-online video games and no microtransactions would have also resulted in the software landscape being very different this generation, though its hard to say if it would have benefited MS or Sony more, or if it wouldn't have benefited either.

That's something I forgot about and is a very good point. The huge backlash wouldn't have happened and so MS wouldn't have been fighting against the tide early in the gen. It almost certainly would've done better earlier on then. And who knows, without such a large focus on non-gaming stuff maybe it would've received stronger first party software support. If it did then the mid and late gen potential from a HW sales perspective would have been higher, but that's a big 'if'. Still, a stronger start would have put it in a better market share position regardless.

Regarding 360 I'm not convinced by your counter-points, because they're solely super early-gen focussed. The vast majority of platform sales for the PS360 side of the market came after 2007. I stand by my view that 360 would've done worse in a no-internet timeline because (without re-hashing my first post) it benefitted the most out of the three platforms from the boom in online gaming on consoles.

Last edited by Machina - on 07 September 2019

Machina said:

That's something I forgot about and is a very good point. The huge backlash wouldn't have happened and so MS wouldn't have been fighting against the tide early in the gen. It almost certainly would've done better earlier on then. And who knows, without such a large focus on non-gaming stuff maybe it would've received stronger first party software support. If it did then the mid and late gen potential from a HW sales perspective would have been higher, but that's a big 'if'. Still, a stronger start would have put it in a better market share position regardless.

Regarding 360 I'm not convinced by your counter-points, because they're solely super early-gen focussed. The vast majority of platform sales for the PS360 side of the market came after 2007. I stand by my view that 360 would've done worse in a no-internet timeline because (without re-hashing my first post) it benefitted the most out of the three platforms from the boom in online gaming on consoles.

Well, let's look at the trajectory of the PS3 and 360 in the U.S., the market where MS gained the most market share:



We can clearly see how the PS3 was struggling early on. Even when it was finally reduced to $400, it still got clobbered by the 360 in the 2007 holiday season, though the price drop did help following the holidays. During the Jan.-Aug. 2008 period, the PS3 and 360 were about even (the PS3 easily beating it in June because of MGS4). But when the 360 got another round of price cuts and some SKU reshuffling it pulled right back ahead. Then the PS3 Slim came out and it pushed PS3 sales back on par with the 360's for the next nine months. But then the 360 S was released an it absolutely exploded the 360's sales. While it wasn't also a de facto price drop like the PS3 Slim was (it was the first $300 PS3 SKU), it did fix the most glaring issues with the 360's hardware. If anything, the RRoD and other issues probably held the 360 back in its first several years, and without those issues it may not have been as back-loaded as it was. At no point in the sales curve is in indicative that anything having to do with the rising popularity of games with online modes (CoD in particular) had any impact on these sales curves. It all came down to pricing and hardware. The 360 already had the momentum, and while the PS3 was able to catch up in monthly sales in the short term a couple of times, once the 360 S was released that was it for the PS3 in the U.S.

That's why I think the outcome of last generation wouldn't be much different in an internet-less world.



In an internet less world you would have less of the runaway effect where friends all buy the same console to play together. 360's early lead pretty much set the outcome, just as now it's impossible for xbox one to turn things around.

In the old days before the internet, it was more beneficial to have friends with different consoles than you have, so you could go over to each other's place and play something different. It's no wonder Sony kept holding cross play off as it would lessen the runaway effect when people don't need the same console to play together. It's only beneficial to support cross play when you're behind.

Without the internet ps3, 360, ps4 and X1 would all be sold more equally.



SvennoJ said:
vivster said:
I dread to think how bad gambling would be in games without a central hub to complain about it and push back against predatory monetization systems. P2W would be rampant because there are less incentives for people to buy cosmetics.

Though I wonder if society would've even existed or would still have a need for video games. I'd fully expect that by now without the internet we'd either be nuked or live in 1984.

How do you envision those loot box systems would have come around without the internet? What would be the point of P2W if all there is is local multiplayer?

Without the internet actual journalism would still have existed to prevent 1984 or WW3. The internet much more helps 1984 than pevents it...

Arcades have been pay to win long before the internet existed. Believe me, there is always a way to introduce people to gambling. There are TCGs, sticker collectors and gatcha. Kids will pay for anything to look cool in front of their friends. That hasn't changed with the internet and would never change.

You mean the journalism that wouldn't be free because of their very limited reach and easy controlability by the state? Journalism is only a small part of freedom. What has an even greater effect is people's ability to reach beyond their borders and experience different lives. It's hard to lie to a population when the internet presents them with constant answers to their questions. And yes, modern journalism also manages to lie to the public, however it's rarely for political gain and it's only affecting a portion of the population and not 99% as if it would be without internet.

vivster said:
I dread to think how bad gambling would be in games without a central hub to complain about it and push back against predatory monetization systems. P2W would be rampant because there are less incentives for people to buy cosmetics.

Though I wonder if society would've even existed or would still have a need for video games. I'd fully expect that by now without the internet we'd either be nuked or live in 1984.

It's hard to see how post-launch monetization would have ever been a thing without digital distribution. It's something that literally only came about because the internet facilitated it.

I think you might be forgetting that aggressive monetization(arcades) and gambling(TCGs) existed long before the introduction of digital games. If anything the internet first curbed it because of the easier access to cheaper games, after that it became predatory to the max. The internet has shown us how far companies are willing to take it and you can't tell me that they wouldn't have done the exact same without the internet. Give their creativity and ability to squeeze ever more money out of their customers a little bit more credit.



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