Come May 30th of this year, the online services for Gran Turismo 5 will terminate. No more online play with Gran Turismo 5. That's not all, though. In addition to shutting down the online services, some of the DLC packs will also cease to exist, meaning you won't be able to download them anymore... ever again. They will cease to exist, forever.
The news comes courtesy of a PlayStation blog update where the company further explains about the shutdown of Gran Turismo 5, something they originally announced late last year before 2013 ended. We knew that the Resistance multiplayer, and MAG and Gran Turismo 5's multiplayer were all being shutdown, but what you probably didn't know was that the DLC associated with a game like Gran Turismo 5 would also become inaccessible. That's right, you'll no longer be able to access some of the DLC packs, even if you thought you owned them. In an all digital future, ownership goes out the window.
As noted in the blog...
“...the remaining online services for Gran Turismo 5, including Online Lobby, Seasonal Events, Museum, News, Community, Remote Race, Log in Bonus, Online Dealership and DLC purchase, will no longer be available after 03:00 EDT, 30 May, 2014.”
If you just think that relates to having the ability to purchase DLC, think again. Not only will the DLC no longer be available for purchase, but actually accessing the purchased DLC will also cease to be made available.
There are some exceptions to this rule, however, as Sony dictated that the "Racing Car Pack" and "Course Pack" will still be available for download for those of you who already own the DLC. As for the “Paint Pack” and “Racing Gear Pack”? Well, here's what Sony states in the post...
“You will be able to use the items even after the termination of the online services; however, you will NOT be able to install them again if you delete the GT5 Save Data after the online services end.”
Under the category of “Any other DLC Items”, the description doesn't detail which packs fall under this category but we're to assume this means “all other”, however the wording doesn't explicitly state it as such, so take the following with a word of precaution, as the blog states...
“If you delete the GT5 Game Data after the termination date of the online services, you’ll be able to download and install them again. You can find the instructions in the “How to download the DLCs when you deleted the Game Data” section on this page.”
I'm pretty sure we all knew that a lot of these online games would bite the dust at some point (under the banner of triple A publishers), but I don't think anyone thought that their paid-for content would be treated like a leased service that would expire whenever the company deemed it so.
Now I'm sure a bunch of people are quick to retort with “It's the company's content and they can do with it what they please. You're not entitled to anything!” to which I say “Ohhhhh heck no!”
Previously I wrote about the growing entitlement of publishers, how this very thing that's about to transpire this year would become a common thing; how it's an unheard of practice in the movie or music industry because there's still some form of physical ownership involved.
As I mentioned many times before with ranting on the Xbox One's proposed “all-digital future”, when these services shutdown you not only lose access to the perks of the services (achievements, leaderboard rankings, online community hubs, etc.,) but you also lose access to the content of these services. In some cases it can even render the game unplayable. A Reddit user going by the name of ArizonaIcedOutBoys mentioned something similar happening with his experience in Forza 2, writing...
“I am going to try and hijack this comment, but all of forza motorsport 2's content was removed from xbl years ago. I wanted to go back to that game and see the cars I designed a while back and I couldn't load my game without the DLC that I couldn't download. I had my save, but couldn't load it. Hundreds of millions of in game dollars and cars and paint jobs lost. It is not unique to Gran Turismo.”
Now this is not to say that all DLC and all digital platforms and all digital services are bad, it is to say that you need to be wary of how much control you relinquish to these corporations; corporations who wish to do nothing more than control the monetary flow from this industry, by any means necessary.
In this same way, I should also note the reticent demeanor of Sony regarding PlayStation Now; it is a worrying thing. While it seems promising that some form of backward compatibility is being made available through the service, you do begin to question how much of Sony's history will be force-fed through this all-digital platform that may be rendered obsolete or the content inaccessible at some point (e.g., Games For Windows Live)? Remember, when content is wholly tied to a server-side digital infrastructure and that infrastructure goes down, that content is no longer obtainable by anyone (e.g., Diablo III).
It would be nice if there were some kind of digital reservoir of old content for non-PC platforms. While PC gamers have the luxury of piracy to keep some old titles afloat, console gamers have nothing. If it's lost in the digital wind, then it's gone for good.