Modern Games Need An Easier Registration Experience

Lately I started playing Assassin's Creed II on PC, which I bought last year during Steam's Holiday Sale. Lo and Behold, rather than just entering a serial number, I'm forced to register for a Ubisoft account, AND log into said account to play the game :|. This is old news to most of you, but I'm at the point where I have had to register accounts to play every blockbuster that I've really wanted to try, and worse, each of these games tend to have their own Achievements systems, their own "points" systems, and their own save or DRM systems. Right now I have accounts for Battle.net, LoL, Steam, EA, Bioware, XBL, Uplay (which I had to register to play AC2), and a handful more that I forget. I probably have to register another 4-5 accounts to play the rest of the games in my collection.

I understand the motivation behind these things, and I understand that companies all want to build their own distribution platform and perhaps rely less on Steam. For me these are not a problem, but I wish companies could work out a standard for how to identify users across all platforms to avoid the unnecessary repetition of registering over and over again on everyone's custom platform. At a very bare minimum, games sold through Steam and similar systems should use Single Sign-On concepts so that the user doesn't have to keep registering to every individual publisher's platform, but I think we can do one better.

Here's an idea for game publishers and devs:
  • Form a coalition to standardise registration data around a web standard, such as OAuth (Steam is an OAuth provider by the way).
  • Enable easier registration by allowing users to authenticate against this standard through social networks
  • Invite major game communities to support this standard so that, hypothetically for instance, users could use their Neoseeker credentials to create and authenticate an account on Ubisoft's network, or on Steam, or elsewhere.
  • Open up your platforms and standardise them so that Achievement data and other game community data is freely shared in communities such as Neoseeker, Raptr, and others.
This type of open sharing of communities is actually very beneficial to publishers and developers. It creates porous "walled gardens" that act to improve the user experience for customers as well as spreading social recognition for in-game achievements to more community and social sites like Neoseeker. It also encourages sites like Neoseeker to support standards that allow their communities to purchase and enjoy games with credentials they are very comfortable with already. If Facebook and Twitter social signin has shown us anything. it is that end users want a lower barrier of entry for registration and authentication, not a higher one.

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Responses (2)

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walnuts Jan 24, 13
Couldn't agree more with the post if I tried! Like you, I have a slew of accounts across the internet that are simply driving me crazy. It's not just the games that are driving me crazy, it's the online shops too. Why do I need to create an account just to buy a t-shirt? All I want is to add it to my cart, pay my money and be on my way - I can do this in a store, why can't I do this online?

In fact, it's gotten to the point where I've not bought a product from a store or bought a game based simply on the fact it doesn't fit in to the larger ecosystem. You would've thought that if you're buying a game through Steam, then people have their own account already - I don't want another Microsoft or Battle.net account to login in to the game AGAIN.

A worldwide standard on user accounts would be great, but this would require the companies to cooperate with each other - something they appear to have no intention of doing.
0 thumbs!
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Redemption Jan 25, 13
One reason why the scenario of cooperation is very unlikely is the "walled garden" effect. Until a few years ago Neoseeker didn't embrace Social Signin, and Steam Signin, and I think publishers are even more guarded about their users .
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Howard Ha

  • Vancouver, BC, Canada CA
  • Joined Mar 2, 2000
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