The PC version of Crash Bandicoot 4 launched exclusively on Battle.net yesterday - and players weren't exactly thrilled to discover it's always-online.
Crash Bandicoot 4, which does not have any online multiplayer, requires an internet connection to play on PC - as seems to be standard practice with Battle.net games.
Players have reported issues with this requirement, such as login errors that force the game to close. These login errors reportedly present themselves even when your internet drops while playing. It also means that any issues Blizzard experiences with its authentication servers could make the game unplayable.
And then of course there's the issue of the game's ongoing playablity in the event of a server shutdown by Activision. As Activision states on Crash Bandicoot 4's product page on Battle.net: "Activision makes no guarantee regarding the availability of online features and may modify or discontinue those at its discretion without notice."
Activision's other Battle.net games, such as Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, have a similar always-online requirement. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2, which is available on PC via the Epic Games Store, also has an always-online requirement. But the difference here is Crash Bandicoot 4 is a single-player game whose multiplayer is local play only.
As you'd expect, this hasn't gone down well with PC gamers, who have expressed their concern on social media and forums.
Imagine trying to play a singleplayer game with always-online DRM during this time... (Crash 4)— Zachary Carreiro (@ZacharyCarreiro) March 27, 2021
Crash 4 on PC has always online DRM. This is unacceptable, and only ends up harming legitimate consumers. pic.twitter.com/QKcvkH2lTk— RibShark (@RibShark) March 26, 2021
I am fucking done with the anti-customer direction of gaming.— ItsYoji (@Its_Yoji) March 26, 2021
When you BUY a game but are unable to play due to bad DRM and always online in a strictly SINGLE PLAYER game.
My rule is to not buy always online single player games. Made an exception for Crash 4.
Was a mistake. pic.twitter.com/dGp8GLMneb
It seems reasonable to assume Activision included the always-online requirement in a bid to prevent piracy. However, just a day after it came out, Crash Bandicoot 4 has been cracked, which means those willing to pirate the game may have a better experience than legitimate customers.
Curiously, it seems this always-online requirement does not apply to the upcoming Diablo 2: Resurrected. Last month Blizzard confirmed the Battle.net-exclusive remaster is playable offline.