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Microsoft changed console gaming by launching the original Xbox with a built-in Ethernet jack in November 2001, a move Sony wouldn’t follow until the PlayStation 2 Slim received an embedded Ethernet port in 2004. The American-based console manufacturer also shifted the state of things with the introduction of Xbox Live and Halo: Combat Evolved’s robust online offering. But Sony took its share of unique multiplayer-related strides upon investing heavily in Zipper Interactive and the genre-defining SOCOM franchise. Thus, though it lagged behind in terms of network services, the PlayStation brand doubled down on innovating in the software department. Nowhere was this more apparent than in 2010’s MAG.
The Zipper-developed Massive Action Game once held the Guinness World Record for most players online in a console FPS, courtesy of its ability to simultaneously host a then-unprecedented 256 users. Above all else, MAG emphasized teamwork, which Zipper underscored with an inventive command structure that brought a sense of order to the expansive online conflicts. The intricate leveling system additionally proved impressive for the time, as did the relatively minimal server hiccups.
MAG struggled out of the gate in some respects, however, due to a lack of map variety, balancing issues, clunky controls, and a faulty spawn system. Zipper addressed most of the shooter’s shortcomings across several post-launch patches, ensuring the multiplayer title matured into a PS3 favorite. Yet, MAG’s online-only status ultimately culminated in its downfall, a slippery slope that began during the infamous PlayStation Network outage of 2011.
This is the tragedy of MAG.
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