That was EA's claim, at least initially. They appear to have been lying, or at least overstating the case substantially. The only things that seem to absolutely require an active connection are resource trading (which a lot of players never do, anyway) and the cloud-based save system.
As I understand it, the game has already been cracked to work offline. The only reason it hasn't gotten more attention is because the inability to save makes it less than perfect for regular play.
Isn't that what KOTOR was? Although I wouldn't mind a Rockstar reboot.
Well, Knights of the Old Republic was a RPG using a modified version of the D&D 2nd edition rule set, not an action-adventure game. And since Rockstar is known for their sandbox games, and KOTOR wasn't even slightly sandbox in style, with planets roughly the size of a high school gymnasium, I'd say the similarities between KOTOR and the GTA games are pretty much limited to the fact that they're both third-person 3D.
Also, since Rockstar doesn't generally produce RPGs, they wouldn't be my first choice to reboot the series.
For that matter, neither Epic (developers of the Unreal titles) or id Software, both of which you mention, publish their own work, either.
id dabbled in self-distribution in the days of the original Doom days (which was mail-order only), but for most of their history they relied on third-party publishers. Mainly Activision (who handled all their releases from Quake 2 through Doom 3), until they were finally acquired by ZeniMax and became a second-party studio there.
I'm not as familiar with Epic, but I don't believe they do much of their own publishing, either. I know most of the Unreal games were published by GT Interactive/Infogrames/Atari.
Just see what happened to Bioware when it stopped being a publisher and had to dance to EA's tune instead of listening to customers.
BioWare was never a publisher. The two Baldur's Gate games, Shattered Steel, and MDK were published by Interplay, Neverwinter Nights was published by Atari, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was published by LucasArts, and Jade Empire was published by Microsoft Game Studios (for the Xbox) and 2K Games (PC version).
I don't disagree with your larger point, though.
It's not digital books that are hurting Barnes and Noble (and previously killed competitor Borders). E-books are a successful sidebar, and will very likely continue to grow. But the biggest threat to brick and mortar stores like B&N are online retailers like Amazon, and not even their Kindle offerings.
That bothers me more than anything else, really. I'm fine with digital books, movies, whatever. I've spent too many hours packing and sorting my dead tree book collection, not to mention finding places to put it all, to mythologize the format itself. But the best books I've ever read, I've found as a result of browsing the aisles at places like Barnes and Noble, and, before them, local retailers. That's an experience Amazon hasn't managed to duplicate, and they're considerably better at trying to do so that 90% of their online peers.
The NES was a pioneer of console DRM, actually. It was the first such machine to feature a lockout chip which prevented both unlicensed games and copier devices. And Nintendo was extremely proactive in terms of enforcement: they took a number of companies who produced bootleg cartridges, unlicensed peripherals, and their like to court.
Convenience was definitely a factor (especially since relatively few late 1980s computers were especially well-suited for the kinds of games that a dedicated console like the NES could produce, with poorer sound and graphics capabilities), but part of the reason why Nintendo proved so successful following the market shake-out that had eventually doomed earlier console manufacturers like Atari, Mattel, and Coleco was because they offered a closed ecosystem where it was feasible for a publisher to control exactly when and how their work was used. That's how Nintendo attracted the third-party developers that were instrumental in their success. Compared to the always-online, dial-home DRM schemes of today, sure, the NES was primitive, but it was a major trendsetter nonetheless.
I'm still amazed at how many games my circa 2008 PC can run at or near highest settings. There are exceptions, of course, but the fact that most modern games are written for consoles first and only then ported to PC means that there hasn't been a great deal of requirements creep since the start of the current console generation.
The wired Xbox 360 gamepad can be hooked up directly to most any modern PC. Most console-to-Windows ports even support this right out of the box. The PlayStation 3 pad is only marginally more difficult to set up. Even the Wii remote can be made to work with a Bluetooth connection and only a minimal bit of jiggery-pokery. If the directional pads are subpar, it's a problem that afflicts consoles in exactly the same way.
I wouldn't bet my life on it, but I'm pretty sure I upgraded directly from Windows XP (x86) to Windows 7 (x64) on my desktop workstation. Also, given how Microsoft basically treated Windows 7 as a "do-over" given the poor uptake rates of Vista, I'd be surprised if they limited upgrade potential like that.
Training is popular in Oz because of the "training guarantee" law enacted by the Hawke govternment a couple of decades ago.
The training guarantee rules went out the window some time ago. There is no longer a tax incentive to provide training for staff.
Remember, even if you win the rat race -- you're still a rat.