After some sort of split between the developer and publisher of Ascension -- I couldn't care less about the particulars -- the game will stop working online after next year..
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Nice choice of card to illustrate your point!
But Tom, Ascension Online, the replacement for Playdek's Ascension app made by Gary Games themselves will be free to play in its base form. Only the expansions will cost money, be delivered simultaneously with the physical editions, AO will enable cross play with PC and Android devices, feature a single player "campaign" and custom scenarios as well the ability to generate your own scenarios.
Playdek are unnervingly late with implementing Ascension's expansions and features and this is why GG decide to retake control of Ascension. This is a good move for us, the player base.
And don't forget that AO will launch this fall on Android / PC, and iOS in spring 2014. Playdek's Ascension will remain connected until 31.12.2014 - giving players more than enough time to switch apps.
Check out what Relic is doing with Company of Heroes 1 for a stark comparison. I think Relic deserves kudos as much as Stone Blade deserves complaint.
But what if you already bought an expansion? Do I have to buy it again? If so, I will chose to spend my money elsewhere
While that is all great will the people who bought expansions under Playdek be able to take them over with them to the new app? Or will they have to repurchase them?
From the friggin' linked press release:
"With SolForge in development, Stone Blade Entertainment is ready to bring its own products to the digital space, and will be launching Ascension Online on PC and Android. Stone Blade Entertainment is committed to supporting their new community and to take on the existing Ascension iOS community. The company will research ways to transition users, so that those who purchased content on iOS will not have to repurchase that content in Ascension Online."
So, you know, it's a perfectly valid complaint except they've explicitly addressed your complaint. Will it happen? I don't know. But even if it doesn't, you've spent, what, $20ish dollars on Ascension online? ($30 is about the most you could possibly spend with all promos and expansions isn't it? Maybe $40?)
Has the playtime you've gotten so far justified the purchase?
I don't think this is anything like EA rolling their servers over so you're forced to update to Madden 2k(n+1).
If this is coming out for PC I'm all for it.
"Researching ways" is exactly the sort of CYA language that's worth less than the paper it's printed on. When they've concluded that "research", I look forward to hearing what they've discovered.
But the fact remains that a game I bought will no longer work the way I use it. If you're comfortable with your money renting you a limited time with your games, at the discretion of the publisher, then you're going to be the perfect customer for many recent publishers.
The current app store page still lists "Full asynchronous support for multiplayer online games." as one of the games features. Will there be a legal push for companies to at least specify how long they will guarantee such support? It makes for terrible adverting, but the truth often does.
And even if Stone Blade does provide purchased content in their version of Ascension, there's no particular reason to think it'll be as good an implementation as Playdek's (brilliant) version; at best we'll be swapping an excellent implementation of a good game for a probably-mediocre one.
So the first time I sync my iphone or ipad after July 2014 I lose the game I paid for? So some combination of playdek / gary games is essentially stealing my money? F*%k that.
See, the point is that we paid for the iOS application. That is the app that should continue working. Whether they replace it with a new application that covers all the same content isn't really the point.
This is no different than EA's mass shutdown of online servers. Or the fact that The SimCity people purchased a month ago will probably have it's servers shutdown in 2 years after EA milks all the DLC options and needs to do The SimCity 2.
We do rent multiplayer on games now. Perhaps some end of life timeline should be established when multiplayer content is provided.