The Nationalism of Online Services

My long-awaited special edition of Demon’s Souls just arrived. I got the US version in San Francisco some time ago. I fell in love with the game but I couldn’t get the limited special edition anymore. So I was glad to hear that the game will finally come to Europe. I used this opportunity to secure the elusive Black Phantom Edition.

So now I have two copies of the same game. I already played the US copy for some time. I have a promising character going on, some achievements… you might already suspect where this is going. Of course, for some brain-dead reason, the EU version is not compatible with the US version. Starting the EU version, it completely ignores my US save-game and my US trophies. Instead it proceeds to create a new save-game and a new trophy category. So now I have two “Demon’s Souls” entries in my trophy case.

Two Demon's Souls

Slogans like “It just does everything” sound like an insult when you have to deal with crap like this on a regular basis.

Maybe it’s because it’s so hot today, but I find this quite infuriating.

The entire Playstation library is quite annoying in this regard. For example, I wasted a couple of dollars on various Little Big Planet costumes because I bought them on a US American PSN account which apparently delivers DLC that isn’t recognized by a European Little Big Planet version. How wonderful of them not to tell that BEFORE you buy the content, isn’t it? Oh yeah, and you can’t undo any purchase you do on PSN, of course.

But things got even more annoying when I got the UK version of Heavy Rain. In order to get the Taxidermist DLC for it, I need a UK PSN account. I already have a German one and a US American one and that’s already quite inconvenient. But no, for the DLC I need a third one. But that’s not even all, I can’t just use my credit card for the UK PSN account because I need to have a credit card with a UK address. So what I need to do instead is to buy a pre-paid UK PSN card on eBay to load the UK account with money so I can spend a fraction of that on the DLC. That’s where I drew the line. The fucked-up system essentially locked me out from that content.

But Xbox Live has the same problems. I have a code for Call of Duty Classic I can’t use because the UK version this code is referring to isn’t allowed to be downloaded in Germany. The EU version of Eternal Sonata is considered a different game from the US version so Achievements from both versions are listed separately. And many people don’t realize that things like Netflix or Hulu simply aren’t availible outside of the USA.

Being a games connoisseur living in Germany that’s the kind of shit I need to deal with on a regular basis. The huge advantage of online services should be the fact that you can play with people from all over the world and access content from everywhere. It frustrating and straight out sad when narrow-minded nationalistic thinking spoils this ideal.

I wonder if this is REALLY something unique to where I live. Have you experienced a similar problem?

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

3 responses to “The Nationalism of Online Services”

  1. GhostLyrics

    Well, in Germany you – at least – still have lastfm, which went pay-only for most other countries. (Austrian speaking here)

    1. Krystian Majewski

      At least you still can get lastfm at all. I have no problem to pay if I get what I want and don’t have to jump trough a bunch of hoops.

      On the other hand, yeah Australia also draws the short straw in this so-called on-line technology.

  2. dfantico

    Yup, especially with Hulu. When it launched, I watched all the time, now you need a proxy or some such solution.


The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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