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Monday, July 29, 2019

BethesdaNet on DOOM Switch... And Its Quick Doom

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - What's the lesson here?

While everyone with a Nintendo Switch was, in one way or another, examining Fire Emblem: Three Houses on Friday, Bethesda spawned DOOM, DOOM II, and DOOM 3 on the same day on the same system. It also came out on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. July 26 happened to be during QuakeCon, which was DOOM-themed. In fact, it was called QuakeCon: Year of DOOM. (Though Bethesda's E3 2019 conference said it'd be called DoomCon.) Apparently it was DOOM's 25th anniversary. Feels like it was around longer.

My first question is that I don't know why they dropped the Roman numerals with DOOM 3. I know Roman numerals can be and are a pain—they're in use for the fun KoopaTV Feedback Form and Quiz series, now at Part XX—but id Software also has Quake III (which came before DOOM 3), so it's not that scary for them.

But what is scary is this screen:

DOOM Nintendo Switch port BNET BethesdaNet login ZeniMax code of conduct
When did pregnancy become a protected category? Are you sure this is 25-year old content?
(Screen captures from Modern Vintage Gamer's video on the subject)

Yes, in order to play DOOM (and the others), you need a BethesdaNet account. Don't have one? You gotta be connected to the Internet and make one.

As someone who doesn't want Bethesda to have my information, I respectfully decline. There's no mention of a sign-up wall on the eShop description or anything.

Fortnite doesn't do that either, and we all know the disaster that causes when kids are faced with making Fortnite accounts and reading EULAs. Fortunately, DOOM's ESRB rating should prevent any kids from having to deal with this, though it's definitely unpleasant, especially with that font choice.

Bethesda has been mercilessly mocked on social media—and for good reason—for putting digital rights management (DRM) and an online requirement (but not always online) to play a 25-year old game that you can play on many other platforms without those same requirements. 

To their credit, they supplied this response:

Well, it sounds like this whole thing was a mistake and harvesting BethesdaNet registrations was all a misunderstanding. It's supposed to be optional. I'm not really sure how they shipped these final versions of the games and didn't notice there's no way around it, but let's assume Bethesda isn't making stuff up and credit them for owning the mistake and working to fix it.

...I'm still not gonna buy DOOM.

I see some folks are taking this pro-consumer victory and then they want to apply their complaining and meme tactics to the tribulations surrounding GAME FREAK and Pokémon Sword, Pokémon Shield, and the National Dex controversy. If complaints and merciless memes worked with Bethesda, they should work with GAME FREAK and gamers can get what they want if they just assail the developers enough.

...I don't think that's necessarily going to be the case in every situation with every company. I wrote about the effect of fan influence before in great detail. Refer to that article to learn if this'll work for other companies.

If Ludwig put a high level of effort into this article, he would've made his own original BethesdaNet meme. But he didn't, and perhaps that'd be unfair to do after Bethesda already said they would fix it. Let Ludwig know in the comments section if you think this was a missed KoopaTV opportunity or not, and if you think reading DOOM's legal documents is more difficult than reading the text in Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

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