When Heroes VI first came out, I didn't play it. The reason was the online system. The game needed to be patched with large files which had to be downloaded through the in-game updater. Also, much of the game was built around the Conflux and the Dynasty system, so I could not play the game with the full pot of bonuses and features. So I stayed away for months, basically just playing through the bugged campaigns in offline mode to see if it was worth my attention.

The reason for this was that until fairly recently, I did not have a very good broadband connection, only a poor mobile broadband connected through a USB modem, useless for anything more than normal web browsing. Naturally, I was shouting at Ubisoft for making the game so dependent on online features, but there's another side to the story as well. As Eidos executive Ian Livingstone explains:

"To keep up with the growing demands of the games marketplace, what we need is super-speed broadband. The games industry is big … it's the largest entertainment industry in the world (...) It's kind of crazy that we're fighting broadband the whole time in our industry. You're kind of holding us back in many respects."

In a 20-minute presentation, Livingstone told the telecom operators in the audience that a great expansion in the world's broadband infrastructure is required to keep up with the rising demands of the gaming industry. I've been saying this for years, but mostly I have been shouting at the gaming industry; I realize now that there are two sides to this coin:

I maintain that game producers need to take into account that there are people out there with slow connections, releasing their big patches and other files in torrent form, enabling download away from home, as well as removing the need for a constant and quick connection for actual play. However, the service providers also need a wake-up call. They need to take into account that most people nowadays have need of more than dial-up; even reading the online papers takes ages nowadays of you have a slow line ... let alone downloading 200MB patches.