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Published on March 28th, 2012 | by Dan

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EA Planning to Ruin SimCity with Always-On DRM

Talk about putting a damper on my excitement. EA has taken a page out of Ubisoft’s book and announced that SimCity will require Origin and a persistent internet connection to play.

This method of “protection” is a travesty to a large amount of would-be customers and simply makes no sense for a game like SimCity. Sure, the game will have multiplayer aspects and online leaderboards, but at its core, SimCity is a single-player simulation game. You should be able to play it on the road, on a plane, at your grandmother’s house, anywhere.

Joystiq spoke with lead designer Stone Librande and were given this excuse for the persistent online connection:

Lead designer Stone Librande confirmed that SimCity would be an internet-dependent experience. Players will need to be online on Origin while playing, even if that wasn’t the point of purchase. The always-on connection becomes necessary with the game’s emphasis on multiplayer and regional impact, and the use of a global economy that all players can influence.

Even if the focus on a global economy is the reasoning, EA shouldn’t lock out an entire section of players in the process. And as we’ve seen with Ubisoft and its numerous debacles, DRM schemes like this almost never work as intended. RockPaperShotgun summarized it quite nicely:

When my internet is down, when EA’s servers are playing up/being maintained, when I’m on a train or plane, when I’m at my parents’ house with their almost useless wifi, when I’m a soldier stationed in a desert, when I am unable to afford a broadband internet connection, when I live in a region where internet coverage is spotty or non-existent, when I am on my laptop outdoors… on those occasions, and for those people, it’s a mindlessly exclusionary and game-breaking choice that services no one.

Luckily, there’s still time for EA to revisit their decision to implement this “feature,” and RockPaperShotgun wants to make EA change its course (much like they did with CD Projekt RED’s anti-piracy lawsuits). With a year or more before the game’s release, I certainly hope EA comes to realize what a consumer-hostile move this is and changes their mind. The last thing we need is another Ubisoft.

 

UPDATE: EA has clarified via Gamespy UK that a persistent internet connection will not be required to play the game, but will simply be required each time the game launches. This explanation shoots the “required for global economy” line in the foot and places such a requirement squarely in DRM territory. It’s sad to see it happen, considering that EA has no problem shutting down game servers as quickly as 18 months after the launch of a game. As further changes develop, we’ll keep you updated.

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17 Responses to EA Planning to Ruin SimCity with Always-On DRM

  1. MrLukeHolder says:

    Well, shit.

  2. slfan68 says:

    To paraphrase the immortal Robert Bowling…

    “FUCK YOU EA!!!!!”

  3. boston_rob says:

    I will always play this game on my main rig at home which has “constant” Internet connection. I assume it will be the case for most people. In saying this, it is clear that sim city is predominately a single player game and so is therefore vulnerable to high levels of privacy. I know this, you know this and ea knows this. This is the reason why there will be a drm, not because of the bs reasons they have stated. I honestly don’t see why they won’t admit this. The only reason that I can think of is that they know it is a bad way to stop piracy but they will still use it because it’s cheap and will be overlooked by most gamers untill after they actually purchase the title. At the end of the day though, someone is going to release a pirated drm free version that honest gamers will use because they dont want to live with these useless restrictions

  4. Noobermensch says:

    Hate to admit it, but I will still buy it. I need to recreate Rack City

  5. Whyaim says:

    It’s a shame, if they implement this I’ll just pirate it like Assassin’s Creed.

  6. Game with draconian DRM….looks like I’ll be turning to piracy.

  7. MrMrAwesom says:

    Good. One less thing to worry about.

  8. Hansenightly says:

    Origin + DRM you say? Well, now i can spend $60 on something else

  9. Teh_Hicks says:

    kbyeyoucouldhavegottenmymoneybutnope.flv

  10. Thompaam says:

    EA… In the words of EatMyDiction “Go eat a bag of baby dicks”

  11. Y2Ken says:

    Oh, EA.
    I guess this shouldn’t really come as a surprise but nonetheless it’s a disappointment. Also, is “The always-on connection becomes necessary with the game’s emphasis on multiplayer and regional impact” them implying that you can’t build your own world which is completely solo and affected only by your decisions? Because in that case I might be out anyway.
    Haven’t used Origin yet but when my new PC comes there’ll probably be something that gets me on there (such as perhaps BF3) but everything I’ve heard from people just makes me want to steer well clear of the service.
    I don’t necessarily hate EA (and I’m actually a pretty generous guy most of the time towards game companies and their outlandish business strategies), but this kind of move can’t help their public perception. There needs to at the very least be some kind of offline workaround, internet is nowhere near good enough (or indeed widespread enough) currently to support this sort of feature.

  12. brainraker says:

    why are u doing this ea ….why

  13. killerkin103 says:

    was kind of looking forward to this game with the new glassbox engine and all but i dont like drm…

  14. DamnedNiggar says:

    guess what im not buying

  15. 44Patriots44 says:

    Well I was going to buy this game based on the trailers and not a prior interest in SimCity. Now they can go fuck themselves. no way I put up with this as a non hardcore fan. You just lost 90% of general public purchases.

  16. matik23 says:

    people still buy EA games? jesus

  17. darbyothrill says:

    If they marketed it as a MMO, people wouldn’t be so upset. I am suspicious of EA’s motives, but I am definitely interested in a Sim City online game.

nipnops

DanDan

I put the OO in Swagoo.

One of the founders of KBMOD. I stream on Twitch as well as writing and editing for the website.


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