It seems to me that one of the most attractive things about PC gaming was the local area network game. Attractive because it was like graduating from the sandbox to real weapons and "was" because I've noted an alarming trend. In the last year or so 3 titles I've been drawn to have not supported multi player LAN servers, instead opting for internet play only. Ok, I'm stretching a bit. Two of the games I'm giving the eye to are technically LAN capable. One requires an online connection to play at all (Battlefield 2142), and the other is as coy about setting a server up as it can be (World in Conflict).
The third, and most irksome, is Hellgate: London. In fact the only way to play online is to force yourself to connect to the giant hub. It seems as if the Diablo team forgot a layer from Diablo II. In many other respects Hellgate is a larger, newer Diablo. Some would argue it is a lesser manifestation, I generally disagree, except for the lack of a LAN server mode. The lack of local network support means I must put up with the likes of 'iEttsN00bs' and 'NeO436' just to get connected with my buddy. Not to mention I now lack access to my whole list of cool names! Petty, I know, but true.
Fortunately my broad band connection is sufficient to let both of us out at the same time. In the face of this trend towards web only games, which I suspect is simply DRM in sheep's clothing, the split screen extravaganza of the XBOX 360 looks even more appealing. Now I only need one copy of the game and an extra controller or two and we're good to go. A fun day of smack talk, soda pop and pizza. And a somewhat disgruntled wife, but that's a whole different post.
The PC is losing ground. I still consider myself a PC gaming enthusiast, but given the opportunity, I will take the path of least resistance.
2008-03-06 Footnote on this one: Seems Tycho and I are on the same page on this issue. Sort of. Look down at the bottom of the two posts.
Tuesday is Officially rant day. If you enjoyed this rant feel free to consider some of my earlier works such as Starcraft An MMO and Spiritual Successor. If you didn't like it, well that's what comments are for.