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37. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 12:40 NewMaxx
 
It's clear from the way the Internet is evolving (IPv6, more mobile devices, cloud computing, geolocation load balancing, etc.) that things like Nvidia's Grid and online games like this and Diablo 3 will rapidly become the norm. Even the way Gabe Newell talks about an online ecosystem and his Big Picture/SteamBox seem to orient in this direction, with an emphasis on streaming. You can quite clearly see that SimCity is partway to that end, as is Diablo 3, etc.

Server farms have become efficient enough that it's profitable to do much of the workload on that side rather than client, regardless of DRM considerations. This is why it's important that Valve is pushing Linux and the open nature of their platform. They dissed Windows 8 specifically because it's yet another closed ecosystem (much like Apple's), but in those two cases the servers are in the hands of the content providers. The same is true of Google's Play, but that is more open. The rise of such ecosystems is inevitable in the modern market model.

The content creators, on the other hand, have control in this example (EA and SimCity). That's a big problem and why everybody points to it being a DRM ploy: how would you be able to tell if it wasn't? Having separation between the server and content producer is the key to some level of transparency; accountability via "wallet" just isn't sufficient anymore. While the argument is made that they do this intentionally, the reality is that it doesn't matter: even if they're being honest, eventually they will drift that way.

When trying to discuss situations such as this, I prefer to take the approach of treating a company not as an individual (as they often are legally) but as a state or government. Letting them have partial control of the valuation of their exports is tantamount to price-fixing, and without transparency it can be difficult to assess. So it's important to see that regardless if SimCity is easy to take offline, was designed to be difficult to do so, etc., the real issue is that we need transparent servers with an agnostic view of the content creator.
 
 
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