Bioshock are largely considered some of the best games you will play, ever! That’s huge credit to the developers for creating 3 video game masterpieces who have recently released their remastered collection of these games including all the DLC’s for the latest gen consoles. This would seem like a great opportunity to pick up this amazing trilogy, whether it be to play them for the first time or whether you love the Bioshock games that much that you have to see them with graphical enhancements. However, 2K have added in one restriction for this latest game that has baffled many players who have spent money on their latest release.
Bioshock’s Stream Pipe Dream
Many gamers stream their game play to millions of other players worldwide with many viewers checking out new game releases through live broadcasting services. It would seem that 2K did not want to be part of this community as they have blocked the entire game from being broadcast from console. There could be multiple reasons as to why 2K deemed it necessary to restrict this common feature found in many modern games but for every fathomable reason it is hard to justify this decision. Of course, players who have played the game before will know the story line so if 2K wanted to target new, untouched players with this game release then streaming sites, like Twitch, then it makes sense to protect their story line by restricting its share-ability. However, by restricting live broadcasts it seems they have put themselves at a distinct advantage as this is often a tool used by many gamers to justify a new game purchase.
The problem is that the reputation of Bioshock should be selling point enough that 2K didn’t need to remove the broadcasting functionality at all! The players who are going to go out and buy this game are most likely players who have played the trilogy already or players who have been recommended the game from other players. In fact, Twitch is a very a powerful tool for recommending games it seems 2K have missed a trick here with their viralability the likely victim.
Finally, by not including the broadcasting functionality it almost comes across like 2K have something to hide. One might question whether the game really is a step up graphically to justify buying the game!
There’s Another Way, 2K!
If 2K wanted to protect their intellectual property and ensure all gamers were experiencing the game fairly then they could have blocked crucial cut scenes from being broadcast. This is a tactic that is often taken up by game developers and one which most recently affected my game play experience in One Piece: Burning Blood. This would allow gamers to share their experience of the game while restricting the concerns that the game could lose its desirability if the ending of the story has been revealed via streaming services.
The problem is that if protecting the story line is the main reason behind blocking streaming services from broadcasting the Bioshock game then it is criminal to try and protect a story line that has already been around 9 years and where the full synopsis will be readily available to anyone who knows how to complete a simple Google search?! You can’t rob Peter to pay Paul, especially when Peter (gamers) could be the main way to spread the word about your game which ultimately leads to Paul (2K) getting paid!
The Penny Drops
In the current video games environment, there is no way to completely stop people from sharing information. Any gamer would be capable of recording the Bioshock trilogy in its entirety through using capture cards, inviting their friends round or simply recording it on their phone. It’s impossible to restrict content from being shared without implementing a huge legal change in the way intellectual property is shared. Therefore, there seems little to no point blocking the broadcast functionality on 2K’s latest game.
It is unclear whether 2K will reverse their decision on streaming the latest Bioshock content as they have yet to make any response but from where we are sitting this looks to have been an intentional decision, one which I hope is revised very quickly!