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For consumers, the cloud's appeal is hard-to-resist.

From music to documents to applications, and everything in between, the ability to access our 'stuff' anywhere we go on any device is an extremely attractive proposition.

Until it isn't.

Some consumers who spent $4.99 purchasing EA's Rock Band game for iOS are learning that the hard way after the giant game maker announced that it would be shuttering the game on May 31.

Players of the game, which was launched in late 2009, received the following in-app message:

Dear Rockers,

On May 31, ROCK BAND will no longer be playable on your device. Thanks for rocking out with us!

As TouchArcade's Jared Nelson observes

Servers being shut down and dropping support for games isn’t a new phenomenon, but in the increasingly more digital age of video games you’ll just have to keep in mind that the experience might be finite unlike physical copies of games which will last for eternity as long as you have the hardware to play it.

Needless to say, it appears that many owners of the Rock Band iOS app were caught off guard by EA's announcement and not surprisingly, many are not happy. Comments posted by those claiming to own the game indicate that Apple may be receiving a flurry of refund requests as Rock Band purchasers seek compensation for their loss. Others are clamoring for a class-action lawsuit against EA.

While it's not clear whether EA is acting in a legally questionable manner here (this would obviously hinge on the terms of purchase and service), the incident does serve as a reminder to companies offering products that feature a cloud angle: maintaining supporting for those products in perpetuity may be crucial to establishing and maintaining customer trust.

That, of course, is a tall order because supporting something forever isn't always easy to do. Sometimes it's an operational burden; other times it's financially impractical. The lesson here: for all of the cloud's benefits, sometimes there's nothing like the simplicity of selling a product that isn't tethered to the cloud.

Patricio Robles

Published 3 May, 2012 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (1)

Dean Marsden

Dean Marsden, Digital Marketing Executive at Koozai Ltd

That's pretty shameful, but there must be something in the terms protecting companies from the consequences of pulling a games support.

I think there's a distinct lack of publicity around the disadvantages of the cloud. The thing that worries me the most is if a cloud host/solution goes under, they will most likely take your data with them or at least not think about letting you know the service might go down.

My rule is to always keep a backup of your data. But as for iOS game support, this is something we are likely to see more and more and we must get used to a shorter product shelf life.

almost 4 years ago

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