EA Labels President: DRM Is A Failed Strategy, But SimCity Didn't Have Any DRM

from the wait,-what? dept

I must admit that there are times when I become very concerned about whether or not I can actually read. Or, more concerning yet, whether I have the proper capacity to imbibe reality at all. This, friends, is surely one of those times. Barely a week removed from Super Meat Boy developer Tommy Refenes alerting Electronic Arts to the fact that their own DRM hurts their bottom line more than any amount of piracy, still in the midst of what some might call the wind-down curve of the SimCity fiasco, and with examples like Spore and their single-use codes still in my mind, I find a statement made by EA Labels President Frank Gibeau that seeks to unmake all of those thoughts.

At a developers conference, Gibeau revealed his belief that DRM is a completely useless tool for game developers. Then, to make sure that my brain was as confused as possible, he made sure I knew that SimCity didn’t have any DRM component to it.

“DRM is a failed dead-end strategy; it’s not a viable strategy for the gaming business. So what we tried to do creatively is build an online service in the SimCity universe and that’s what we sought to achieve.”

I’ll wait for your own cerebellums to cease attempting to commit suicide before beginning with the obvious rebuttal: wut? EA, notorious purveyor of DRM, now says that DRM is a failure. They also insist that requiring an always online connection for their SimCity game to function out of the box was never about DRM, it was about making the game an MMO.

“I was involved in all the meetings. DRM was never even brought up once,” Gibeau told GI.biz. “You don’t build an MMO because you’re thinking of DRM—you’re building a massively multiplayer experience, that’s what you’re building. If you play an MMO, you don’t demand an offline mode, you just don’t. And in fact, SimCity started out and felt like an MMO more than anything else and it plays like an MMO.”

Except, of course, when it doesn’t. In fact, if the game can be tweaked to play offline and is essentially the same experience, then your game is almost exactly nothing like a massively multiplayer online game. This, particularly from a company that as been caught with its hand in the lying cookie jar already, is an instantly dismissable pile of BS.

But, SimCity aside, I would issue a challenge to Mr. Gibeau. If in fact you and your company believes that DRM is a “failed strategy”, then I am sure we shall never see any form of DRM in your games moving forward. Who wants to take bets on that one?

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Comments on “EA Labels President: DRM Is A Failed Strategy, But SimCity Didn't Have Any DRM”

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114 Comments
Akari Mizunashi (profile) says:

I couldn’t help but laugh.

I mean, if SC is an online game, then why have I not seen comments such as “I just loved playing Godzilla over this noob’s city. Kid spent weeks building his city and I destroyed it in one second!” or “I sent an earthquake to the Mayor of a d-bag I didn’t like. Hope it wrecks his city.”

Oh, wait! There are messages like this! And they come from breaking the DRM, er, Online experience!

Talk about a clear case of what the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing (and probably for good reason).

Akari Mizunashi (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Except, this is true, because anything using apps demands a Live account login.

Let’s be clear here: I’m not talking the original apps, like Adobe’s Web Suite products. I’m talking those ridiculous little piles of crap that are useless to us real computer users.
๐Ÿ˜‰

Without a Live login, most apps won’t launch.

Oh, and the free version of Visual Studio demands app development, no longer catering to the desktop version at all.

While it didn’t come true for the desktop, it’s just a matter of time before it is. Their new version of Office requires a monthly [censored] fee, for its “app OS”.

Yeah. Breathe now, for when the next version of Windows comes out, we don’t even own our own goddamn PCs anymore.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I think Linux/Unix and free software is used vastly more than is acknowledged. About 1 out of 3 people I know are running a *nix system as am I. I switched entirely a little over three years ago when a Microsoft update broke software from a Microsoft competitor. There were complicated instructions on Technet for how to restore the program’s functionality. I did so but was still so bothered I forced myself to learn a new system. Now I’m glad to have free software that won’t be used against me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Sorry but we had a hilarious call from Microsoft the other day. (Well I found it funny anyway)

(Caller) “Hi, My name is XXXX, I would like to know what MS software you run?”

“We don’t run MS software!”

“Don’t be silly everyone runs Microsoft”

“Actually we run a set of Linux based PCs” (we are actually engineers)

“Oh, do you know what advantages you can get from Microsoft office?”

“Yes and thanks we’d rather be productive” (that was my response)

He was taken aback and asked for my manager so I simply placed the phone back where I found it.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Gibeau and the rest of the execs at EA are so hopelessly incompetent that they don’t know what DRM is.

Apparently they don’t know what MMO is either.

Every MMO I’ve played, ever, even back in the days of the pseudo MMO called a Multi-User Dungeon (MUD), you instantly saw the manipulations of other users instantaneously (or as close to it as possible, accounting for lag.)

From what I understand talking with those who have it, you may see some updates to other people’s cities once in a while, and interactions may happen between cities (I say may, because there are a lot of people who have complained about it never happening.)

That isn’t a MMO. That may be an online experience, but unless you can see what is happening in the world to both you and to others in your area, that is not an MMO.

Vic B (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Fighting online only is like fighting automobiles when they first came out..it’s a bit dinausorish.

I discovered the difference a couple years ago when I started playing an online-only game (WoT). Before that I was playing games that I purchased for $60 from a store and played for a couple of years. Before that I was playing game copies that I bought for $2 from street vendors and played for at least 3 years. Maybe I should have started there to make my point… Over the last couple of years I must have spent close to $800 on WoT and something tells me I’m not the only one who followed that path.
This is why WoT (Wargaming.Net) is the most successful game model in the industry and one likely to be followed by all gaming companies, including EA.
Put yourself in the gaming developers’ shoes for just a second and you’ll understand the economic model.
From a player’s perspective it sure is going to be costly to win but free to play (a friend calls them free-to-play, pay-to-win games). Another advantage of the online only model is games that are free from hacks and that’s a big deal to me as a gamer.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

  • There are games where you cannot enjoy the game without playing online.
  • There are many modern games, that doesn’t even need a single player portion.

    Simcity is not one of those. If anything Simcity needs a competitive side for it to feel satisfactory for the customers. Making some limited cooperative mode is not what people want from a single player only game. It is like making Tetris with online only: Pointless and since lag will happen, the player will know what could have been but isn’t.

    Call me a dinosaur (and I probably am), but I need an incentive of something better to give up something. Simcity needs a reason to demand online only and I am just not seeing it!

Vic B (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I think it’s because online-only can’t be hacked (thus no need for DRM) unless the main servers are hacked of course. Also, with online-only, developers can instantaneously offer you (paying) incentives. Finally, online-only isn’t well suited for mods (unless approved by the developers) which are out of reach to the developers.
Ultimately, this is about how to get more money from game production knowing that gaming is still cheaper than most other forms of entertainment.

Machin Shin (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Fighting online only is nothing like fighting automobiles. Cars actually offered advantages. Unlike online only.

I would also like to point out that is a poor analogy anyways on account of the fact there are still a lot of great horses out there for those who don’t like cars.

Point is, Most games do not need to be “online” and so it is stupid to put them there. I love sitting down and playing a good single player game to relax. I do not want any multi-player functions.

TaCktiX says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

As someone who has spent a similar amount of money on League of Legends (a similarly-structured business model), you forgot one important detail: access to WoT and LoL is completely free, and in most cases paying for things is either convenience or cosmetics and not a power advantage.

This is different from SimCity where you have to pay up front. This is different from the typical boxed game that comes with content out of the box in one big package.

While WoT and LoL may be extremely lucrative, they operate on different constraints from typical boxed games and shouldn’t be considered a model to directly imitate as a boxed game.

Note: I use boxed game not necessarily as a physical product, but as something that is generally all-inclusive from the moment of purchase.

Vic B (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I can understand some of the frustration with the online-only model which can become an expensive addictive model. But developers have spent years trying to figure ways to increase revenue from gaming and the fairly recent online-only model is showing to be by far the most lucrative of them all. Yes, EA is charging upfront for online-only SC and I think that’s a big mistake. Like WoT, it should be free to play and then add micro charges for expansive options such as buildings, land, etc.. If the game is addictive, people will eventually send the $60 that they would have charged with a CD distri model.

Darth Cloaked Guy says:

Re: Re: Re: Vic B

“Fighting online only is like fighting automobiles when they first came out..it’s a bit dinosaurish.”

Rebuttal: Automobiles made life better for those who needed to use them (because they moved faster, they didn’t need stables, they didn’t poop everywhere, and they didn’t panic at every loud noise).

Online only makes life MUCH worse. Why? Because you couldn’t play your game in peace without fricking 4chan playing with you. I do not play MMOs, because I cannot immerse myself amid ‘lol’ and chat-speak and leet-speak.

Closest thing to an MMO I play is JRPGs. All the fun, none of the idiots.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“If you play an MMO, you don’t demand an offline mode”
And if I play a SimCity, I don’t demand an online mode.

…and if I play SimCity, I’d never expect an online mode.

FTFY

I’ve been playing SC 3K perpetually since it was first released in 1999. I’ve been sooo looking foward to the next revision (SC 4 – wtf was that? nicer graphics and more disasters sure (I play with disasters off), but no actual improvement in the crappy models of what actually sustains a city or makes citizens happier or helps traffic flow or what decreases crime, etc…

I feel silly thinking that the newest version would finally put a little more reality into the actual modeling… what a complete and utter fuck-up SC 2013 has been. Fuck EA, after a decade playing the fuck out of SC3K, I’m done. EA actually not only convinced me to never buy another game from them, they actually inspired me to never play their old games that I already own, ever again. Nice one EA! Perhaps you can advise the USA president on the economy…

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Taking Up a Collection for Gibeau

After all, the poor guy’s going to need a rhinoplasty, and after this disaster, his executive bonus won’t be big enough to cover it.

I think we may have found the perpetual motion machine that saves mankind from future destruction. The spin EA does puts off enough energy that it rivals most stellar black-holes, and the suck is nearly the same. If we could figure out how to capture and harness this energy, we wouldn’t need fossil fuels ever again.

Anonymous Coward says:

“If you play an MMO, you don’t demand an offline mode…”

Actually… I’ve played a few MMO’s and wished I could just play alone and not have to worry about every other jerk and min-maxer on the server. In fact, I tend to play rather solitary in MMO’s. I’d love an offline mode where I could explore the wide, huge world they built without needing to tag long with people who’ve already done the content enough times to be sick of it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

This is exactly what I do. I play a personal server of WOW offline.

I don’t have to put up with gold beggars.

I don’t have to put up with constant invites while I’m in the middle of quests.

I don’t have to put up with people killing bosses right before I get to them so I have to wait for them to regenerate.

I don’t have to put up with people getting to resources before I get a chance to harvest them.

And with GM commands, you can do things that take away annoying aspects or add interesting new aspects.

You can transport instantaneously instead of having to waste 10 minutes walking from one side of Azeroth to the other.

You can give characters out-of-class talents and even NPC talents.

You can make a priest into a tank with a mail specialization.

You can give a warrior a companion imp.

You can give yourself large-slotted bags at level 1 so you don’t have to constantly go back to a vendor to sell stuff.

You can access the bank with a command in a macro instead of having to go to Stormwind every so often.

The possibilities are endless. And I love the game so much more than when I had to play with real people who just ruined the experience.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I might if they’d quit dumbing down the game with every new iteration. I remember a day when a ‘quest’ was more than ‘follow the arrow on your compass, until it points you somewhere else’. Back when they weren’t mashing every skill together so that using a dagger makes you expertly proficient with a claymore.

Thats my biggest problem. Way too much ‘mass market appeal’ often translates to ‘lets simplify our game so people don’t have to think’.

TimothyAWiseman (profile) says:

Not all MMO's should be

“If you play an MMO, you don’t demand an offline mode, you just don’t.”

Actually, I do. I’ve been playing Star Wars: The Old Republic for a while and I like it, but I would have preferred an entirely single player version and still would buy an entirely single player version of the game if they made an adaptation.

And I would buy the new Sim City, if it were a single player game with no DRM. (As it is, I got Sim City 2000 from GOG and gave it to my son).

Beech says:

The main problem is: How do we trust ANYTHING ANYBODY from EA says? In this debacle we already heard how “offline mode is impossible because our servers do so many of the calculations” which was promptly PROVEN to be a falsehood. If this dude wants me to believe that at no point anyone at his company had even CONSIDERED the online-only aspect of the game as a piracy deterrent, then he better provide some proof. I want a data dump of every intra-company email for starters. I want anonymous interviews with people involved in making the decisions such that, if DRM was a consideration, they could admit it without fear of retribution.

No one at EA has any credibility, and this is just ANOTHER attempt by lying jackasses to try to sweep this disaster under the rug so they can go back to counting their money.

Wally (profile) says:

*”Except, of course, when it doesn’t. In fact, if the game can be tweaked to play offline and is essentially the same experience, then your game is almost exactly nothing like a massively multiplayer online game.”

Reality Check (with respect):
The actual game is an MMO, so obviously it is tied to your Origin account. If your account for this game was tied to one computer and only one IP address on a perminent basis…then it would be a DRM issue. The way SimCity works is that it saves your status online and since this is a global economy based game….all other cities affect the economy of everyone all other cities. You make trade agreements and everything.

The people that are complaining about always online MMO should also complain about World of Warcraft, Morrow Wind, and a few others.

The tweaked version of the game requires no online connection to save your city data. This is called a mod. Modding a game like this to work differently is completely legal. EA has not pursued any legal action against those modding their games to make them work and save offline.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Mistaken assumption. EA was not computing anything server side related to the game, therefore online only was not required, therefore it is not required to have an online only experience.

Solution: Make everything about your game online!

Rebuttle: People will not accept certain components required for a game as being online only WoW does alot of online computing and the end game/leveling game has large amounts of things that require group cooperation as its specifically tuned to be too difficult for a single player. Morrowind doesn’t require you to be online. No group component/adversity component means multiplayer isn’t required, therefore online only is only a restriction and offers no benefits. Sim City is also limited enough that all the things going on in “multiplayer” could easily have been computed and simulated by computer cities built around you to various specifications, not like the computer can’t cheat to do things anyways.

Hacking WoW to make private servers took years of reverse engineering and is still not functional like the main game.

Making Sim City single player required ticking a box.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

SimCity servers at EA calculate changes and store data. Of course all the leveling up on WoW is done on the machines running the game.

I do not know if you are aware of this, but most modern consumer desktop computers can actually handle the mathematics on their own…but only to a degree. EA’s intent with SimCity was MMO meshed with economic simulation. The accounts are handled like a WoW account with the economics handling of EVE: Online.

The point is that you can get a trade deal with other Origin users in SimCity if you choose to. This means stocks and commodities….SimCity (2013) is actually more comparable to EVE: Online than WoW in that respect. The point is the data is collected and shared amongst various saves on the servers, and the servers aren’t meant for just saving the game. If the servers that EA had set up were on their normal actual servers, they wouldn’t have had issues at launch.

Since SimCity is relying on a virtual stock market, that data is also handled server-side, like in real life. Could you imagine the economic mess that would happen if in real life, all your stocks and commodities trades values were calculated at the user side? Each individual would have their own private stock numbers contrary to what the reality is shown in NASDAQ.

SimCity allows you participation in such a virtual stocks system, but only if you choose to participate that way. That is the entire purpose of SimCity….you don’t have to participate in virtual stocks and trades markets with other Origin users, but in case you do, the servers are handling that math.

JP Jones (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

@Wally – What are you talking about? Just because these things are handled server side doesn’t meant they have to be. It would be easy to create a random generator that takes the average economic situation of neighboring cities, puts in a couple profiles of city types, throw in some random values with constraints, and poof single player game. We have plenty of games with bots and AI that are substantially more complex than the level of interaction SimCity requires between players.

The point is players should have the OPTION of both. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the multiplayer. But what if I don’t want to bother with other people’s cities? What if I just want to make my own metropolis and burn it to the ground? The game even has a mode like this…yet you still need to be connected online. Why?

You even say that you don’t have to participate in the online economy. So if you choose not to, why do you still need to be online? At least Starcraft II has an offline mode.

Which incidentally is the key to all of this. Online games are fine. Multiplayer features are fine. It’s only when you take a logically single-player game and force online connectivity that you pss people off. People don’t mind Steam’s DRM because it’s fairly unobtrusive; if you lose internet connectivity you simply press “Restart in Offline Mode” and continue on your merry way. And in return you get a lot of great game enhancing features; automatic updates, sales and stable downloads, *optional cloud saving, and unlimited installation across your account. Origin and SimCity took only the annoying part (DRM) and none of the benefits…then made that DRM worse.

Then they have the gall to act surprised when this bugs people. Just wow.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“@Wally – What are you talking about? “

He looks to be doing his usual tricks – only understanding half the points people are making, addressing them with incomplete or inaccurate understanding of the tech, then pretending he knows everything.

“It’s only when you take a logically single-player game and force online connectivity that you p*ss people off.”

Yep, that’s the key. SimCity has no business being mandatorily online. All the “features” that people actually want are available offline with a simple hack. Multiplayer can be seen as a negative as well as a positive depending on the audience (look at the reaction to Bioshock 2’s multiplayer, which led to Bioshock Infinite being single player again).

The problem with DRM (and yes, SimCity had DRM) is that it forces people to do things they don’t like, and even block access to legally purchased material for things that the customer can’t control (e.g. loss of internet during play). That it surprises people in the industry is incredible.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“He looks to be doing his usual tricks – only understanding half the points people are making, addressing them with incomplete or inaccurate understanding of the tech, then pretending he knows everything.”

Yes because waiting an entire day and a half to try to come in and “correct” me when you think I wouldn’t notice is any better?

“Yep, that’s the key. SimCity has no business being mandatorily online. All the “features” that people actually want are available offline with a simple hack. Multiplayer can be seen as a negative as well as a positive depending on the audience (look at the reaction to Bioshock 2’s multiplayer, which led to Bioshock Infinite being single player again).”

So can you have other people invest in the economics of your city while offline?

“The problem with DRM (and yes, SimCity had DRM) is that it forces people to do things they don’t like, and even block access to legally purchased material for things that the customer can’t control (e.g. loss of internet during play). That it surprises people in the industry is incredible.”

Oh so Hhaving to log into your account is considered DRM? I see no complaints over Team Fortress 2 or games running on Valve’s Steam.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

“Yes because waiting an entire day and a half to try to come in and “correct” me when you think I wouldn’t notice is any better?”

Well sorry for not reading that article on your delicate time schedule. I replied when I read your ignorance. Sorry if that was too late for you.

Ignorance that’s very well displayed with the rest of your comment – such as not having a clue about the fundamental differences between a multiplayer shooter and a single player game with some half-assed unnecessary multiplayer components shoehorned into to justify some bullshit DRM. Stop acting the ignorant fool and actually read the arguments being made.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“The point is players should have the OPTION of both. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the multiplayer. But what if I don’t want to bother with other people’s cities? What if I just want to make my own metropolis and burn it to the ground? The game even has a mode like this…yet you still need to be connected online. Why?”

you actually have my sentiments there. I mean it is a bit of a switch from the original SimCity.

“So if you choose not to, why do you still need to be online? At least Starcraft II has an offline mode.”

You do not have to rely on others to prgress, but at the same time, in case you really want to experiment outside the usual SimCity box, being always online may not be the best way, but it does make that option readily available.

“Then they have the gall to act surprised when this bugs people. Just wow.”

Agreed. I mean EA is pretty spotty about things. Hell for a while there, any website carrying Battlefield 3 screen shots were sent stop and desist notices.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I do complain about World of Warcraft. The irony of having anything try to move forward on the tennents of story when you are forced to group with people who have inevitably done the content to death a year before ever meeting you is futile and frustrating.

Just try taking your time, or playing for fun in World of Warcraft, and watch yourself get flamed and shunned down to non-existance by the ‘veteran’ players who take the ‘game’ waaaaaaaaay to seriously.

Thats why I play SWTOR. Good story, soloable content, and an enjoyable experience whatever pace I choose to play it at. I WISH more MMO’s had solo or offline play options. Screw other people, they just get in the way.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“I do complain about World of Warcraft. The irony of having anything try to move forward on the tennents of story when you are forced to group with people who have inevitably done the content to death a year before ever meeting you is futile and frustrating.”

As it bothered me too at one point. SimCity isn’t entirely like that though. You don’t have to rely on others to move the game forward…I mean it is SimCity after all..not much to it but economic simulation. You can rely on others in SimCity, but only if you choose to.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Not only are you wrong in assuming that SimCity is in any way, shape or form an MMO, you’re also hilariously offbase: “Morrowind” (one word, technically The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind if you want to get fancy) is a single player game from 2003 with no online mode whatsoever.

I’d venture to guess that you’re a huge flaming moron!

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

My stance is that just because it is always online, doesn’t constitute the game is riddled with DRM. It has to be an MMO for that concept to work. Years of playing Maxis’ SimCity like titles will tell you that the MMO statement by EA is code for concept testing much like the slew of 240MHz TV’s came out about two years before 3DTV came in…They would not have had issues at launch if the servers were actually on normal servers. Gamer’s could get online to other EA games that are always online without issue, which means they are on separate machines.

The next step in the process of the MMO claim EA is making is global economy within w game…similar to EVE: Online.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“The people that are complaining about always online MMO should also complain about World of Warcraft, Morrow Wind, and a few others.”

No they shouldn’t. If you understood the actual argument, and the massive difference between those game types, you’d possibly understand before blithering on with your half complete grasp of the situation again.

Hint: the multiplayer aspect of MMORPGs is often the ENTIRE point of those games.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Hint: the multiplayer aspect of MMORPGs is often the ENTIRE point of those games.”

Your human ignorance astounds me to no bounds. You have the tact of a three year old in a tantrum, and you assume that MMORPG’s are the only games the befit the title MMO. MMO games aren’t always RPG’s. I mean Jesus bleeding Christ man.

I was referring to the fact that multiple users can help the economic growth of your city if you chose to be open about it. Maybe EA’s excuse is a tad flimsy but it does sound a bit reasonable when you think about it.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

So, no actual response but your reply to me pointing out your ignorance to to call me names and act even more ignorant? Amazing.

I know that MMORPGs aren’t the only MMOs. But in your ignorant rant you ONLY named MMORPGs. Then you call me ignorant for pointing out this fact. Amazing.

Do you have facts to respond with, or only your ever-changing interpretation of technical information you barely comprehend to avoid admitting fault, as is your usual tactic? Your grasp of the reality of what people are saying is as weak as ever.

BitWise says:

Re: Re:

The purpose of DRM is to restrict the use of a piece of software other media to an authorized user. In extreme examples of DRM, such software can be node-locked to a specific computer, but the general case of requiring a login to an online account to play a game is also a form of DRM.

No one is complaining about an “always online MMO”. An MMO is, by definition, always online. Some people would like single-player versions of their favorite MMOs, but that’s different. Also, Morrowind is a single-player-only game and doesn’t belong in your list.

Whether or not it’s legal to mod a game would be defined in the EULA. I haven’t read the one for SimCity (nor for any game, really), but I’d be shocked if EA gave free reign to modify their property.

BitWise

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Whether or not it’s legal to mod a game would be defined in the EULA.

It shouldn’t be possible for a publisher to make something illegal. With the CFAA maybe it is, but it shouldn’t be.

I haven’t read the one for SimCity (nor for any game, really), but I’d be shocked if EA gave free reign to modify their property.

Their property? Did the customer buy the game, or not?

Anonymous Coward says:

i live quite a distance from Mr Gibeau. if he wants someone to scratch his ‘Pinocchio nose’ for him, it may well be easier if i volunteer to do it for him, seeing as how the end must be a considerable way away from his arm’s reach!! why do these idiots keep lying? dont they realise that people know that what they come out with is total crap? dont they realise they would do themselves more good (maybe less harm?) if they just told the truth for a change? and as for the drm bit, if it isn’t on their next game, something else will be. if there is nothing, i might even be tempted to buy it myself!!

Anonymous Coward says:

EA has a lot to prove on how its changed before I will ever give it so much as one single solitary dime, much less what they want for a game. I have years ago quit buying from EA as well as the other notorious game maker Ubisoft. Now I am told that Ubisoft has seen the light but I’m not ready to give them any money till I see some games come out that others talk about what it doesn’t need. Till that day, neither of these game makers deserve to be paid anything.

EA is one of the worst of the batch on franchises that gives you a couple of hours play time at best which makes the price they ask for the game not worth it, even without the DRM issues. When I buy a game, I am not buying one for a few hours play. I am buying what I wish to play for the next couple of years whenever I feel like returning to it. In this, limited installs only adds to the reasons I now refuse to buy from these makers. There are tons of other reasons but those are the biggest.

Last no matter how well you like one of their franchises, if you pay them money, you deserve all the crap they can dish out. It’s not like they started this stuff yesterday.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: No DRM?

First, SimCity isn’t an MMO, so stop with that stupid distraction.

“Blizzard learned this lesson PDQ after Diablo came out.”

Diablo? The highly successful one that they built one of their franchises upon? Or the stupid Diablo 3 that had many boycotting it entirely because of the idiotic mandatory auction house system that stopped people from legitimately playing a single player game rather than simply allowing them to opt out of the online functions? Neither of which is an MMO, btw (although some basic PvP elements were added to Diablo 3 in a half-assed attempt to retroactively justify their bullshit).

Cowards Anonymous says:

Re: Re: No DRM?

Yeah, and that’s why it’s required to play your physical copy you bought from the retail store, DRM. Origin and Steam are both DRM, only most people hate Origin as inconvenient and intrusive while Steam is mostly liked for being convenient and unobtrusive (for digital download at least).

EA has moved to make all physical copies of their games require Origin when you’re not downloading a digital copy. The only games I’ve bought that do that with Steam are Half-Life and Civilization 5.
(And yes, I was pissed that I was forced to download a digital copy of Civ 5 from Steam when I ran the installer from the physical DVD I bought. What was the point of having a physical disk then?)

RoyalPITA (profile) says:

“As someone who has spent a similar amount of money on League of Legends (a similarly-structured business model), you forgot one important detail: access to WoT and LoL is completely free, and in most cases paying for things is either convenience or cosmetics and not a power advantage.”

Another example are the online offerings by the UPJERS folks. All are free to play, though one may find it to their advantage to buy some of the bonus offerings. Registration required, but it’s painless. (Techdirt’s registration was more involved.) Supposedly over fifty million players so they might be considered an MMO. I don’t think they have a city sim, but if you remember Rollercoaster Tycoon you might want to look at My Fantastic Park.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

first they came for the gamers...

…and i didn’t care, because i wasn’t a lamer, er, gamer…
hee hee hee
then they came for the ‘social networkers’, and i didn’t care, because i have a life…
ho ho ho
then they came for the pirates, and i didn’t care, because, well, they’re steenking pirates, aren’t they…
ha ha ha
then they came for the porn, and *THAT* is when all hell broke loose…
ak ak ak

art guerrilla
aka ann archy
eof

public school teacher says:

DRM is not dead end at all, and is not SimCity's problem

DRM is just fine, Gibeau, take one look at Steam and you will realize SimCity’s problem is not DRM related, but a design problem. Someone at Maxis approved turning classic offline gaming magic chemistry into an online disaster.

Persisting with their “online vision” is salting the wound, adding insult to injury, and showing the world how completely out of touch EA is with what people actually want. Teachers want the same SimCity offline sandbox that fans do and EA management is too shallow to publicly admit it, though they must realize it themselves at this point.

The smartest kid in any classroom will crack SimCity with an offline patch and do what he or she pleases with it.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

What about anti-circumvenvtion?

When something is no longer defined as DRM by its producer / publisher, does that make it no-longer protected by the DMCA Anti-circumvention clause?

If someone were to mod Sim City so that it could be launched without an internet connection (or an Origin account), played offline and saved locally, that would be perfectly legal since the persistent-online requirement wasn’t originally intended as DRM anyway.

Yes?

What kind of legal footing would one have in this regard?

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: What about anti-circumvenvtion?

However much you can pay for. That sounds flippant, but really if EA should for some reason decide to take you to court, it doesn’t matter how right you are if you can’t afford to defend yourself.

Agreed, but in that case the law wouldn’t really matter, now would it? EA can sue anyone they want who looks at them funny (and considering how frequently they cancel Origins accounts they do like to bully) regardless of whether or not they have a legal standing.

So EA will sue someone arbitrarily that gives no incentive to obey the law, because EA don’t care.

In the meantime if they did sue on grounds of a DRM Circumvention it would illustrate what lying sealions they were.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: What about anti-circumvenvtion?

Agreed, but in that case the law wouldn’t really matter, now would it? EA can sue anyone they want who looks at them funny (and considering how frequently they cancel Origins accounts they do like to bully) regardless of whether or not they have a legal standing.

They would probably need to have some shadow of a case to avoid the lawsuit being immediately (and inexpensively) dismissed. But that is pretty much all a wealthy individual or corporation needs to basically bankrupt someone. In the case of someone who crosses them, they can probably find something good enough to drag a case out for a while, so then it’s just a matter of whether it’s worth the money to them to do it. Pretty disgusting really.

In the meantime if they did sue on grounds of a DRM Circumvention it would illustrate what lying sealions they were.

Indeed. Though I think sea lions might object to your characterization.

Rock66 says:

Online to play game

I purchase a lot of games, however i have the issue of not having internet access all the time. I purchased Battlefield 3 and recently C&C4 which has Origin. after trying to play solo games locally without internet i had to uninstall. luckily i had the origonal C&C the first decade that i can still play offline.some people dont have internet 24/7 eg camp grounds. i was thinking about simcity seeing i have bought all the past versions. However if i need to be connected 24/7 to play the game it becomes useless for me.

Gotta say it somewhere says:

Where they went wrong..

This huge company just gobbles up the publishing rights to classic IP we know and love, like the Sim City series.

Since my first anger at them in 2002 when they did a terrible port of a NFS title to the PC, which I paid 70 bucks for, I have generally disliked EA and their massive game-gobbling empire.

So they gobble up the rights to valuable game IPs, that does not mean they really understand these titles at all.

They blindly decided from the start that this Sim City would be some kind of MMO. Fail! You just doomed your project.

If they understood the Sim City series, if it was anything more than a dollar-sign to them, they would have recognized right away that this would fail.

I freakin’ forget what else I was going to add to this so, nevermind!

Anonymous Badass says:

No Surprises

I’m not surprised by this news. I’m more surprised that EA hasn’t said that SimCity can cure cancer if you give it your social security number. Or that you can play offline if you connect it to the Internet.

Try playing SimCity, building a nice city and trying to push yourself onto the streets, to see the life of a sim…
and then a 4chan platoon pops in and activates every disaster, destroy every road, and nuke the city.

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