SimCity: The Backlash

from the still-plenty-of-'online-only'-hate-available! dept

It’s not as if EA couldn’t have seen this coming. Pretty much everything that could go wrong with SimCity’s launch has gone wrong. But EA was warned. A Reddit AMA with the SimCity developers made it perfectly clear how unhappy people were with the online-only requirements. SimCity’s closed beta had its own issues, mainly server access (not enough of it).

But EA didn’t seem too concerned and went ahead with the launch. Shortly thereafter, everything fell apart. The servers couldn’t handle the demand, something which would have been less damaging if there had been any sort of offline option. Much of the processing is handled server-side (along with storage of all saved games) and if customers couldn’t find a free slot on a server then they just didn’t get to enjoy their $60 purchase.

The backlash was immediate. And immense. Polygon (the Verge’s gaming site) lowered its original 9.5 rating to 8.0 because of the online issues. Giant Bomb gave it a rather low 3 out of 5, largely due to the fact that EA made a single player game multiplayer-only to justify its online-only DRM/”social” features. Reviewer Jonathan Cresswell handed in quite possibly the most succinct (but most telling) review of all.

Elsewhere, paying customers have expressed their displeasure. Metacritic’s critic score sits at 82. The user score? 1.8. Things are nearly as bad at Amazon, where SimCity currently holds a 1.5 star rating. (The digital version is faring even worse1.0.) In a rather unprecedented move, Amazon has pulled the PC Download version completely, citing EA’s server issues. When will it be back? Amazon says: “We don’t know when or if this item will be available again.”

Other game retailers have pounced on the opportunity provided by EA’s colossal blunder. GOG tweaked EA with a tweet pointing out that DRM-free SimCity 2000 doesn’t require an internet connection (and is only $5.99), resulting in a sales bump that has sent SimCity 2000 to #3 on the “Top Sellers” chart. Another Redditor suggested Steam follow suit and kick off an “offline-capable city sim sale,” featuring non-online-only city sims with new deals arriving each day “until SimCity is playable.”

EA, for its part, is working hard to add capacity, but much of the effort seems a bit too late. The damage has already been done, and EA has destroyed a lot of gamer goodwill, something it really doesn’t have in excess. As part of the effort to extinguish these self-inflicted fires, EA is now shutting off “non-essential features” to ease the server load. One of the first to go is “cheetah speed,” the fastest simulation setting. This may do exactly what EA hopes it does (free up servers), but it is going to piss off even more customers, as Kyle Orland at Ars Technica points out.

Presumably this is to give the servers more time to process the thousands of simultaneous city simulations that are all feeding into its global and regional networks. In any case, this is a core piece of the gameplay that’s now being hampered by EA’s continuing server problems; in my 16 or so hours playing the game, I’d estimate 15 or so have been spent running at Cheetah. Slowing things down, even temporarily, is likely to impact a whole lot of players negatively.

Whether or not this backlash/implosion will hurt EA in the long run remains to be seen. It has made no secret of the fact that it wants all of its games to eventually have some sort of “online component,” if for no other reason than to (slightly) impede piracy and eliminate second-hand game sales. The odds are that EA will continue to push the online requirement, passing the costs of any outages along to the customers in the form of useless purchases and higher game prices.

Some gamers are attempting to push back. A petition has been started at requesting EA remove “online only” requirements from SimCity (most likely impossible, but…) and future games. It’s well on its way to hitting 25,000 signatures in less than 24 hours (and should be well past that by the time this hits the front page), which should give EA some idea how many people are displeased with the SimCity debacle.

It’s not completely unheard of for AAA developers to reverse course on onerous DRM (Ubisoft, for one), but EA didn’t become one of the most hated companies in America by catering to the whims of its customers. If nothing else, gamers can take heart in the fact that other developers will view this as a cautionary tale, rather than a blueprint for success.

Now, if you’re still waiting for an open server slot, why don’t you kill a little time with the included Solitaire game? (Image by Redditor PainLing)

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Comments on “SimCity: The Backlash”

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Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I think the impact would not be so hard and it would open camp for copyright trolls. Reminds me of the Hurt Locker. The movie did terribly in the box-office and ended up being copyright-troll-bait. Nobody cares if bad games flop due to drm. But when major franchises like this go boom because of bad practices it gets plenty of attention and reviewing. Rises awareness.

I do love Sim City too and it saddens me that this is the game that flopped big time. But if it serves to stop such stupidity (draconian DRM) then so be it.

AzureSky (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

saddly, EA is more likely to use this as an excuse to never make another simcity game if it dosnt sell well, after all, it flopping, and that coudnt be because people where pissed about the shitty moves they made with online only and poor server support….

sadly this is typical of game companies today, and they wotn sell the IP even if they think the franchise is not worth continuing, because they dont want anybody else making money off it either.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

DH, I enjoyed the Sim series. I also enjoyed Need for Speed, Command and Conquer, Road Rage, Mutant League Football, Skitchin, and other games that EA’s developers produced. But we should be very clear about the nostalgic impulses here…

The creators of those games are gone. Some moved to different projects, some created their own studios. All of the people that created the games you knew are not a part of this publisher’s war on piracy.

You might want to support them, but there are some serious competitors that can take their place on various fronts. I like the City XL game myself and I have a phone that plays another city builder game for free.

If EA wanted my money, they would stop trying to fight piracy, compete with their past games and provide better features than what they have now. The anger and rage that people are feeling is the rage of people being exploited for no reason other than trying to make money as quickly as possible.

Sad to say, but if their best games are in the past, then so is that company. Nothing they could do could convince people they’re worth a damn if they have a history of thinking of the public as morons instead of deserving customers.

Jeremy Lyman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I share your consternation, I’ve been playing “sims” (not just The Sims) since they were on green-screen monitors. One of the comments on Penny Arcade pointed me at a kickstarter for “CiViTAS” which looks like a SimCity built with the right principles behind it. Check it out if you want, but I think it would be awesome to throw EA’s DRM failure back in their face with a super-successful customer friendly version.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Me too. SimCity and I go all the way back to the beginning, and it occupies an important place in a number of aspects of my life.

This new SimCity release makes me very, very sad.

What’s even sadder is that I wouldn’t have even cared if they had marketed it as the MMORPG they clearly think of it as now — then I would not have thought of it as a “real” SimCity in the first place, which as it turns out it is not.

Ninja (profile) says:

Also, this should be highlighted:

Stating that it cannot be played offline because the simulations are too heavy for a PC is complete bullshit. The average PC today could probably handle being a server for a small region with 2 or 3 cities that would interact with the single-player gamer. You know, multi-thread and so on?

This was just an attempt to stop piracy with lame excuses that backfired in the most epic way.

Tim Griffiths (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The thing about this is that simulating regions and keeping saves online for multiplayer makes sense but by requiring every one to do so they;

1) Get DRM.

2) Can squeeze performance out of lower end machines lowering the min specs.

3) Don’t have to spend time and money having a local version of region simulation in the client.

The whole thing stinks of saving money and gaining advantage at expense of the consumer. Any one who thinks EA is actually running a serious amount of simulation on their servers just needs to think about the costs involved in that. The game is not subscription and they clearly couldn’t be assed buying enough server space to actually cope with a launch, hoping instead to ride out the wave based on pre sales.

Greg (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Do you really think they are saving money by standing up and maintaining dozens of huge server cluster all around the world vs just putting the some extra code in the game? They had to write that code and put it on the servers anyway, so it isn’t even saving them paying someone to write it.

I honestly think the amount they may loose from piracy has got to be less then the cost to build and maintain the metric shit ton of servers they need to run the game as it is now. I work for a company that runs data centers all over the world, this stuff is not cheap.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

This is another reason why I dislike copyright, especially in video games. Imagine decades from now, Sim City 5 falls out of copyright. How would one then actually play the game? To do that, you’d have to massively rewrite the game to run it on a local machine, such that its now a new game entirely.

Sure, decades from now it falls out of copyright, but at that point in time, EA (if its still around) does not have to make the process of actually playing it easy or simple. There’s no legal requirement to release the source code or to develop and publish a fully working crack, or to patch the DRM out of the game. All that would happen is that EA would lose the legal right to sue people for distributing the game. That’s all.

MrWilson says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

In the fantasy world in my head, if copyright isn’t completely rejected, it’s at least balanced with citizen rights and stronger public domain rules, including the requirement that in order to receive any copyright protection, original manuscripts, source code, movie footage, etc. for works must be archived by a competent (hey, this is my daydream here!) government agency that ensures that these materials are released to the public domain upon the expiration of the (very short) copyright duration for those works, so that no cultural artifacts are lost or withheld.

What’s the point of incentvizing the creation of works if they never fall into the public domain, whether because the duration is too long to be relevant or the duration is too long for the work to be preserved in its original medium?

Copyright incentivizes making money off of copyright and that’s it.

JohnnyRotten (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I mentioned this on another thread, but repeating myself – if the game requires more horsepower then the average desktop could deliver, how is it financially viable to stand up (and maintain) servers behind the players to crunch those same numbers? It’s not like servers have “super CPU” and “super RAM” components. If it beats up the desktop, it’s gonna beat up the server.

Sure, servers can hold more RAM and more processors than the average desktop, but those components are expensive (for both systems). A lot more expensive then a one time per customer $60 purchase would ever cover, even if every penny went to the server infrastructure.

Unless you did it on the cheap, and simply didn’t put enough server resources in place to handle the player load. Maybe build a queuing system to force players to wait for their slice of server CPU/RAM. Nah, that would be an evil thing to do to your customers.

Wouldn’t it?

Roaster says:

Re: Re: Re:

I have a high end PC and I am struggling to run it at the highest graphics settings (no lag with highest graphics settings on other very recent games).

All well and good if it helps people with lame pcs to get it to run, but in my experience so far, the limiting factor to performance is the required internet connection.

Machin Shin (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Stating that it cannot be played offline because the simulations are too heavy for a PC is complete bullshit.”

Well that should come across as obvious bull shit to anyone who knows about computers. Is EA really saying they are going to setup super computers to run their game for everyone? That is insane path to take. They have to then maintain lots of very powerful servers.

This game is doomed just because of the cost to EA of running all that. In a few years they will pull the plug on servers due to high cost of running them.

Alec Perkins (user link) says:

Polygon review down to 4

Polygon dropped their rating down to a 4, citing the removal of important features (cheetah speed and leader board) and the lack of server improvement. Such a shame. I was really excited to hear that SimCity was back, and even more excited by the low level simulation they demonstrated. It’s impossible to say exactly why the decision for always online was made, but it’s a safe bet it came from higher up, and was forced into a game mechanic. This is why smart suits just stay out of the way of creatives.

out_of_the_blue says:

"Some gamers are attempting to push back."

No, QUIT PULLING EA by buying! You can’t push on a rope.

“Whether or not this backlash/implosion will hurt EA in the long run remains to be seen.” — Yeah, “capitalism” doesn’t work the way you think. Once a corporation gets above a crucial point, it’s increasingly independent from pressure as enough dolts go along with it regardless. — MICROSOFT.

As there will, despite this, remain enough buying to keep EA in biz, I don’t see the good of your ranting. — It’s just part of the “gamer” syndrome so you can’t keep from it.

But you haven’t actually shown anything about DRM: I think it certain that EXCEPT for (this anomaly of) bad implementation (that’s likely fix-able), it’d be a minor nuisance.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: "Some gamers are attempting to push back."

“But you haven’t actually shown anything about DRM”

You haven’t been reading properly (or most likely filter out whatever’s inconvenient to your attacks and arguments).

This is the latest in a long, long line of disasters that have left people unable to access the content they have legally purchases or created new problems only experienced by non-pirates. Anything from “Plays For Sure” DRMed music being revoked to content being randomly deleted from Kindles to rootkits on CDs, any attempt at DRM that affects anyone at all will only affect legal customers. The pirates are laughing at you while they access the content that DRM hasn’t prevented them from accessing.

DRM is a disaster and always will be. The way to get people to pay is to offer better products in the way people want them. As soon as you people stop pretending that anyone who criticises DRM must be a pirate and actually listen to what customers are demanding, you’re doomed to failure repeatedly.

“I think it certain that EXCEPT for (this anomaly of) bad implementation (that’s likely fix-able), it’d be a minor nuisance.”

It’s not a minor nuisance if you don’t have a regular/constant/fast internet connection. With or without server problems, this decision left many unable to play at all, and left many others finding that they can’t play where they wish (want to play on a long plane flight? Sorry, you must be a pirate, no gameplay for you!).

They’ve lost more customers over this than any kind of piracy, I’ll bet. I certainly won’t be buying this crap, fix or no fix, just as I didn’t buy Spore, Diablo 3 or any of the other games they tried to destroy their own customer base with.

Their competitors thank them, and supporters like you who cheer on every bad decision.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: "Some gamers are attempting to push back."

Once again, you still manage to surprise me with your idiocy…

This failure isn’t and anomaly/exception/whathever you can come up with. It is THE FUCKING RULE. DRM’s main policy is to Royally fuck up the user that BOTHERED TO BUY THE GAME. If you need examples, take a look at SecuROM, Sony’s infamous XCP, Starforce and EVERY SINGLE ALWAYS-ONLINE DRM. I can’t name every single failed DRM scheme because the list would be far too long, but those should give you an example.

With that said, i wonder if you really mean what you post OR if you are just an attention troll trying to get… well… attention. You write too much idiocy in only one post… I can’t imagine someone is that stupid…

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: "Some gamers are attempting to push back."

“DRM: I think it certain that EXCEPT for (this anomaly of) bad implementation (that’s likely fix-able), it’d be a minor nuisance.”

If DRM locks me out of anything I’ve purchased through no fault of my own (doesn’t have to be a video-game) then its NOT a minor nuisance. I’ve made the choice to pay the company to play the game. They’ve taken the money and ostensibly given me access. Now I find out that I can’t use the software at a time of my choosing: I have no control at all over the servers.

Besides, the removal of features…can’t that be classed as a bait and switch. EA promised features XYZ…and pulled features Y and Z. Wouldn’t that in and of itself be illegal?

PeterScott (profile) says:

“Whether or not this backlash/implosion will hurt EA in the long run remains to be seen. “

It won’t. As a mob, people are stupid with short memories.

I swore off EA back in the Spore days:

But that didn’t slow down EA any more than this will. Because while they might lose a few, the Mobs keep buying the EA sequels.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

This is a bit different, I think. Spore’s DRM didn’t really cause problems for most people. It’s the concept of it that was the big problem, and the fact that it wasn’t made clear on the box that the restrictions were there. But, most people didn’t really encounter the problems. They will, of course, if they try accessing the game offline or in the future when the relevant servers are defunct, but in terms of real problems at the critical time, most got off lucky (even if they don’t know it).

Here, however, we have several very real issues. First off, EVERYBODY is affected. From reviewers to retailers to gamers, everybody’s having problems. You can’t play the game without being aware of the online component and how bad it is. Anyone seeking support will be quickly informed that the problems are due to a deliberate, unnecessary move by EA. There’s a huge amount of bad press, including from mainstream outlets like the BBC, not just gaming press and forums.

Even that might not be enough, but there’s the reactions by retailers to consider here. They will have lost sales by Amazon’s suspension of sales. EA’s management can’t be blind to the reactions from competing vendors – they might not mind that an EA game is getting sales on GoG (assuming they still get royalties), but Steam are literally making money off the back of this for their competitors.

Add to that the inevitable class action suit that will be filed against them, and EA have a major public image problem among people who might not have noticed or cared before. There could well be problems, and changes at EA to try and mitigate the damage. Not holding my breath, but this is definitely worse than their previous problems unless people really do forget about it completely in a week when the problems are ironed out for most people. We shall see…

That One Guy (profile) says:

Looking at the ‘official’ scores, I have to wonder if it’s a case of ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’, where they don’t want to give the game the lousy review it deserves, lest they get cut off from being able to review/get exclusives on future releases by EA.

I get that for the most part(namely when it’s actually working) the game is supposed to be quite good, but ‘a great game that doesn’t work’ should not be dropped down to ‘a mostly great game that doesn’t work’, it should be dropped down to ‘this game is broken, do not buy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Actually, they gave the reviewers a private server that worked most of the time, and promised all the problems that happened in the beta would be fixed. It’s very common for developers to do this with review copies (by to the reviewers, “X, Y, and Z will be fixed in the final release”), and generally reviewers are expected to take them at their word.

G Thompson (profile) says:

To any Frustrated Aussies

For anyone within Australia who has bought this ‘game’ (and I use that word loosely at the moment) through an offline store you can return it and demand a full refund of the purchase, every offline store (JBHifi, EBGames, BigW, Target, Dicksmith, etc) MUST abide by that under current Australian Consumer Law

If however you bought it via Origin you can still demand a refund via Origin service, though it might take a while (And a lot of pushing, threatening to take to local Fair Trading Dept, and writing of your grief on places like Whirlpool etc).

For those who have been told they cannot get a refund, EA just released a Press release in regards to the Origin Store

“Origin Australia is covered under the Origin Global Terms of Sale. However, for our customers in Australia, Origin will always comply with Australian consumer laws that apply to the purchases consumers make in Australia. These consumer rights are in addition to those in the EA Terms of Sale in our Origin store.” [emphasis added]

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: To any Frustrated Aussies

Yep they do, they especially hated the new laws that came into effect in 2011 that stated that software is now classified as ‘goods’ and not as a ‘service’ and that it must work and perform as advertised or the customer has the option at there discretion of either a refund, replacement, or repair.

They are fully statutory rights that can never, no matter what is signed or agreed to, be taken away and are also for the life of the product not just a set 12 month warranty period as it used to be. Oh and telling someone they cannot get a refund/repair/replacement (consumer choice) is also an offence.

You can just imagine Microsoft, Abode’s, and Apple’s (to name a few international corporations) distress at the audacity of consumers to state what they will get 😉

Eponymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: To any Frustrated Aussies

Wow, so that law means that EA can’t kill the servers in a few years without a barrage of refund requests?

If it were me, I’d demand the repair option. Sorry EA, but screw you and turn the servers back on. You broke it, now fix it. Maybe that sort of forced commitment to legacy support would actually get them to rethink this always connected nonsense.

Onenemesis says:

Easy answer

I know its tough but the only answer that works is to stop buying their products. It was well known that EA could not support the users so why keep telling them that you agree with their policy by buying the product. I personally refuse to buy any software that does not run on a stand alone basis. I have no major objection to using an “online only” feature, but I want to be able to use the product without that.

It’s the same thing that Adobe has done with Photoshop–you cannot find a stand-alone version of it. You must run it online. The benefit — oh you get almost immediate access to new features — whoopee! But you pay 50 bucks a month forever if you want to use Photoshop.

You just watch–EA will want you to pay for “real” access and limit you unless you pay. It’s just a money grab. So, don’t buy into it–do not support this and they will stop if they want to stay in business.

Yes, I know you love the game(s), but do you want to pay FOREVER just to play? There are other games out there, go play them until EA comes to their senses.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Easy answer

“I know its tough but the only answer that works is to stop buying their products.”

I stopped buying their products, and stopped PC gaming in general a long time ago. You know what got blamed for my lost purchases? Piracy.

That’s the big problem – these people have convinced themselves that piracy is the big boogeyman and the only thing they need to fight, to the point that they don’t see all the other problems.

Sadly, until they see reality and realise that they’re losing actual sales due to the attempts they make to regain the sales they assume they have “lost”, this will continue. But, simply losing sales won’t be the answer until they can be convinced that it their own actions, not piracy, that’s the cause.

ac says:

Re: Re: Easy answer

Certainly, stop buying their products. However there are many good indie DRM-free games out there that are not only a lot of fun, but that deserve support for doing it right.

(Although if your reason for giving up gaming is a lack of time, sadly enough, I completely understand that one.)

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Easy answer

Oh, I certainly do still buy games, I just abandoned PCs. Giving up PC gaming enabled me to finally escape Windows full time for my home machines (I’d previously been dual booting Linux), and I’ve never been happier.

I still buy plenty of console games (from small/indie devs as well as mainstream stuff), and I regularly buy from GoG and Humble Bundle for Mac/Linux (every bundle in fact apart from the Android ones) as well as other less travelled venues.

I’ll definitely continue to support the small guys, and I’ve bought more than one game purely because the devs have made it clear that a lack of DRM and other restrictions was a major focus. My response above was just to illustrate that my switch would have been interpreted by the likes of EA as lost due to piracy, rather than my real reasons.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Easy answer

Exactly the same here, Console games are what I prefer nowadays and like you I’ve bought every Humble Indie package (and nope the Android ones aren’t on my buy list.. my phone is a PHONE – except for the solitaire game ;P)

Though I did buy one game that I play both Console and PC – Battlefield 3, though there is a reason for that. BF3 on console is okay.. but on PC – 63 other players per map.

I still support EA through Console games (FIFA is mandatory in our household) but no more PC (WIN) games.

Piracy though has been around ever since games of any description were able to be played on PC’s and DRM is NOT going to ever solve the problem. Though I do remember some older games that came with a ‘shock horror’ paper used to ask for a code from page xx before play. That is all DRM should ever be and start actually producing innovative new games with entertaining value that lasts more than 10hrs and have value added structures and maybe people will buy more. Or be happy that the limited amount of peoples entertainment budget is being spent on you at all.

Simon says:

Leaving money on the table

I skipped this when I heard about the on-line only element. Too bad, as I used to play the original on my Amiga years ago and would have been a prime target to buy this. My kids and I have spent a lot of time playing the old Theme Park Tycoon games, but this one we are skipping.

If EA really believed in their ability to serve their customers, they would not charge credit cards until game has successfully activated on the installation PC – but I’m guessing they’d rather take the money and (maybe) sort out the issues later.

Out of interest, are pirate versions available yet?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Leaving money on the table

Out of interest, are pirate versions available yet?

This one will probably take until at least Sunday. As far as I can see they need to either write or obtain and modify the server code to run locally, and then update the current game client to use that reproduced local server. Multiplayer options will probably take 2 weeks.

Take that piracy!

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Leaving money on the table

Actually…crazy thought here…but wouldn’t this DRM actually work? As in, this particular DRM, wouldn’t it prevent piracy? Since basically no-one can log into the game, the crackers can’t obtain the server code they’ll need to emulate. Sure, the legit customers can’t play it, but as long as the crackers are stymied, that’s just small potatoes!

CK20XX (profile) says:

Everyone must understand that EA is a bottom-line company. They’ll only fix issues like these if it means more sales, but it doesn’t because everyone already bought the game. They’ve already made their profit, so the rest doesn’t matter to them. They’re happy to continue living in a world where single-player games don’t exist. The outrage they’re weathering now will only be enough to make them fix the servers, but not enough to keep them from pulling this stunt again with a future game.

gorehound (profile) says:

Re: DRM Magic

DRM = Dirty Rotten Media !
I refuse to Buy any of these Games and have for years.When they decide to End their bullshit then I will come back to the fold.
Till then it is TPB,Skidrow,Reloaded, and the rest of the Gang.
I used to have no issues Buying Legit Games when all you had to do was put in your CD/DVD and use Serial Number.
I Boycott all Dirty Rotten Media ! And I have stood by my Belief for many years………….forget how many but at least 7 years I bet.

Toofy says:

EA not supporting the troops

I would like to point out that our troops are often without an internet connection but also with down time. This always on DRM is locking our service men and women out of the game.

Studies show that game play can help reduce PTSD.

What does all this equal? EA is making moves that can result in our troops having worse PTSD. Is that aiding the enemy?

(Ok, I know thats going a little far, but really our Troop on deployment can’t play these types of things with this DRM. )

Anonymous Coward says:

Correct me if I’m wrong but since EA went down the path of this game being completely dependent on server side I don’t see how they can fix it without re-writing the whole thing from scratch.
I would hazard a guess they may roll out a patch in a few months (for a nominal fee) that would allow storing data locally to allow you to migrate to another server.

Anonymous Coward says:

Meh, I’ll stick with lincity-ng or even the much older micropolis. They may not have whatever features are supposed to get me to buy the new simcity but at least the Online only drm bullshit is kind of pointless wuth copyleft open source software.

Funny thing about that is that micropolis IS the original simcity released under GPL by EA for the one laptop per child thing.

Spaceman Spiff (profile) says:


EA/Maxis have to be taught a hard lesson – we are BUYING your stuff, NOT RENTING IT! If a single-player game cannot be run offline, then it should not be rented. Don’t give those asshats a single penny – their execs will soon be booted out of their offices by their shareholders, and (hopefully) more intelligent and aware people will replace them. Yeah, that and $5USD will get you a nice latte at Starbucks!

special-interesting (profile) says:

Command & Conquer has went down hill and I stopped purchasing EA games when one of them did not work right out of the box. I never want any online game requirements and especially wont tolerate an always-online game.

The problems EA has, if they are determined, can be solved but its likely a massive server investment is on the executive chairman’s desk right this moment. I think its idiocy to demand that most of the processing is done at the server level and makes the arguments they used weak at best if not total fabrication.

If anyone wants to sell me some software it had better be a stand alone disk or a way to make one that can be used for a 100% recovery without using the Internet ever. I have made exceptions for business reasons but as soon as an even closely viable alternative pops up… -jumps-

Btw, the games on Linux are slowly getting better.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Btw, the games on Linux are slowly getting better.”

Valve are creating a console based on Linux, and as part of that they’ve recently released a Steam client for Linux (technically Ubuntu only, but it works on other distros, it’s just not officially supported).

Watch this space for updates, it’s only going to get better, and much more quickly I think:

Anonymous Coward says:

*clap* *clap* *clap*

Couldn’t happen to a more deserving gaming company (other than Ubisoft). Years and years ago I quit buying both EA and Ubisoft over such BS. Only back then it was the stupid drm that acted more like a rootkit with no method to uninstall. The idea that you buy a game only to find out you can’t install it but so many times before you have to buy a new license hasn’t won anybody over either and totally eliminates the idea that I buy a game to play again and if I like it will go over a couple of computers. Viruses and malware make sure sooner or later you’ll format and lose some of those installs.

If you are still buying from EA or Ubisoft, then suffer the consequences of not being able to tell them no with your wallet closed. It’s not like they started this stuff with this one game.

If there was a motto for the pirates it would be “it just works” and yes, it’s already been cracked. Apparently the server side doesn’t do all that much calculation for the game.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

While they’ve made some missteps in the past, one of the things that’s always impressed me about Amazon is their level of customer service. Even their Kindle fuck up (deleting books from peoples’ devices) was a one-off that they’ve visibly backed away from and not repeated. It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that they’d value their customer experience and lower the amount of complaints they had (which must have been significant) rather than whatever small profit they’d gain from a single product.

Mega1987 (profile) says:

They have this coming

They’re not expecting a VERY huge Tsunami, as big as Russia(in land mass) crashing down at a dam they build to handle the largest river on earth that it got wash away.

Epic Fail on EA’s part, like how they ruined RA3 with too much hamminess and unit gimiks.

Their so called server can’t handle the massive influx of users popping in to play the latest Simcity. So it crashed, and burned due to overcapacity that leaves an almost denial-of-Service attack effect to all.

Congratulation to EA for making this sooo… HARDER than it has to be.

And I’m pretty sure the pirates are happy that their old, off-line simcity copies are now up in the charts and being sold like mad. 😛

Gregg says:

The don't understand SImCity players

What get’s me out of all of this flap on online DRM and the types of games it is being applied to, leads me to believe that EA has no idea what kind of player plays SimCity.

This is a personal game, it’s not a real multi-player game. Some people like to leave it running (like the sims) all day. Some like to play on many different difficult levels and others like it to be it’s own ecosystem like a fish tank. Online DRM won’t let you do that. No matter how good an internet connection you have, you are risking losing the game at some point in 6 hours of play.

This is what happens to a company when a CEO get’s an idea put in their head and they run with it for all products. They have to listen to the public and the analysts….ok just the public.. on how their games are used, appreciated and enjoyed.

If they are so concerned about piracy (which is not a real issue) then have the DRM on launch and then have it fuck off for the day.

RyanNerd (profile) says:

EA could scupper the Pirates

What would be funny is once the DRM has been removed by pirates. EA grabs the code that adds the feature of being able to play without an internet connection and then sells this to the fools who buy their crap.

That would be ironic. EA wouldn’t need to pay any developers to add this feature; it would be developed quickly and they would make a buck off the backs of the pirates.

Anonymous Coward says:

Please ask EA...

Tim (or anyone), please, when you next ask EA for a comment on SimCity, ask their press people what happens to our saved games on these servers they’re adding for extra capacity now once the demand dies down in a few weeks? Since games aren’t transferable between servers, I’d really like to know if anyone on these presumably temp servers are just going to lose what they’re working on now.

alanbleiweiss (profile) says:

I hadn’t even known the game was still in existence until recent news about it. That news had NO mention it was “online only”. When I viewed the preview trailers, NO mention of online only. Pre-paid for it. First couple days trying to download then play it blew wads.

Have had a couple good sessions, though a mixed bag of continual play vs. being knocked off the server.

If the server you’re on when you start a city is busy when you return, SOL baby. Start a new city. wow.

I do expect it to get better but the online only thing? for $60?

And the online petition is now up to 47,000 signers. So yeah, a sliver of hope on that concept. WTF should I, a paying customer, have to be online to play? Oh right. I must be a criminal because I own a computer. So I must be protected from being tempted to join the piracy.

Anonymous Cowherd says:

Succession wars

Only an idiot “buys” something that requires begging for permission from the manufacturer to use it. Only the heir to the throne of the kingdom of idiots buys something that can only be used under constant supervision of the manufacturer.

Only an idiot buys something before knowing what it is. Only the heir to the throne of the kingdom of idiots does this even when they know they can’t get a refund if “it” turns out to be garbage.

Looks like succession wars in the kingdom of idiots…

alanbleiweiss (profile) says:

Re: Succession wars

so many ways to respond to your notion of “only an idiot”…
I don’t own any other online-only games. I’ve been a SimCity owner previously – and never before had any in the series been online-only.

Personally, I’m not a “gamer”. I don’t read gamer forums. Nor do I follow gaming news or visit gaming sites. I don’t buy games I’ve never played before without doing research. Every previous version of SimCity I’ve owned was thoroughly enjoyable and each new version was better than the last.

So in that respect, there’s no justification for calling someone like me an idiot. I had, until this week, considered myself reasonably aware enough of the SimCity franchise.

Now however, because EA has chosen the maximalist route, and failed to properly disclose this issue in their marketing spin, I have learned.

Yes, I’ve learned after spending the money.

No, I’m not completely unhappy, because what I have played when I’ve so far, in the horrific launch cycle, has been as good as all the other previous versions in many ways.

And even if I’m forever relegated to playing this online, I’m more than confident I’ll get countless hours of enjoyment out of it. Hundreds if not several hundred. So what, that works out to pennies per play.

And yes, from now on, I’ll be more aware and cynical of other situations that might lead to this.

But an idiot? please. Take the thoughtless inconsiderate teenage troll attitude and shove it.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Succession wars

“Only an idiot “buys” something that requires begging for permission from the manufacturer to use it. Only the heir to the throne of the kingdom of idiots buys something that can only be used under constant supervision of the manufacturer.”

The new Sim City box carries no warning of the totally online only saving mechanism. Average consumers will be duped and this is the biggest dick move since Spore initially being allowed to install only 3 times on a license key with an expiration date of 3 months.

*”Only an idiot developer creates something that requires begging for permission from the manufacturer to use their own product in a reasonable manner.”

Fixed that for you.

FM Hilton (profile) says:

It's all about money, of course

EA got nailed with servers going down during the debut of one of the most highly anticipated games in the last 10 years, and they’re surprised by the turnout?

What company does not anticipate the future? Anyone with a degree in common sense could have told EA that just the mention of anything remotely “Sim City” related would be a hit.

Except for the fact that they’re trying to make more money than they deserve. The franchise is dust now, and perhaps that was the point: EA didn’t really want to make this game, so they screwed it to the wall and called it good.

So in a few years time, they take the servers off line and recall ‘the good old days’ of taking the public for a cleaning, and making great money while doing it.

$60-$80 a person logging in, and how many tried, or succeeded? That’s pure profit, because they got their money before the disaster. Anything after is icing on the cake.
Of course they’re not going to refund money! They made sure of it in their ‘agreement’ when you signed up for Origin, and it was in the fine print.

A few servers is cheap insurance except for goodwill that’s forever lost. Ah, well, that’s the price of business these days.

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