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EA Can't Say It Wasn't Warned About SimCity DRM

A few days ago the developers at Maxis subjected themselves to a reddit AMAA session to discuss SimCity, the next installment in EA's urban planning series. In this case, the offer to ask then anything provoked a number of questions about the controversial decision to make being online a requirement to play the game, and Techdirt points to a separate thread compiling comments from the session on this proposed DRM. Thanks Shok.

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72. Re: EA Can't Say It Wasn't Warned About SimCity DRM Dec 22, 2012, 17:24 Flatline
 
EverythingISayIsRight wrote on Dec 18, 2012, 18:23:
Remember when MW2 came out and people 'boycotted' it? This will be no different.

http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/kotaku/2009/11/1258035395841.jpg

People boycotted MechWarrior 2?
 
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71. Re: EA Can't Say It Wasn't Warned About SimCity DRM Dec 19, 2012, 23:27 Dades
 
EA won't shut down servers?! Hah get the fuck out of here with that bullshit. Frank Gibeau would boot his own mother from the servers if it meant he could sell her the next year version with updated decals.

- DADES - This is a signature of my name, enjoy!
 
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70. Re: EA Can't Say It Wasn't Warned About SimCity DRM Dec 19, 2012, 13:07 Dev
 
Beamer wrote on Dec 19, 2012, 08:40:
Also, they will NOT shut down the servers of a game being actively played just because the new version is out. For one, it'd be extremely tricky with this, because they'd be killing single player. No one will buy a next version of a game if the old version magically ceases working. People complain about this regularly, but have we had a single game's single player magically cease working yet, other than ones whose companies have gone out of business (and which are those?) More importantly, EA has only really done the "shut down because a new version is out" with sports games over 2 versions old, not "the next version."
Says who? And yes they do. And yes people still buy. And they do it not just to sports games 3 years old. I've seen stuff appear on EA's close down next month list thats barely over a year old.
http://www.ea.com/1/service-updates

Lets see whats on the list... Sims 2 PC online services shutting down in Jan (thats not 2 versions old, thats the previous version). If they had ever bothered to make the entire sims 2 series in a bundle and put it on a decent sale on steam, I would have bought it, even now. Guess they'd rather shut it down though than "devalue" it with a sale.
A couple months ago, they shut down part of Sims 3 on consoles.
Interestingly, there's no listing for having shut down Sims original... maybe thats because it was single player and didn't have forced online components?
Also they are shutting down madden 11 and fifa 11 and others, both of which are NOT "over" two versions old. They are NOT "3 years old". I think at this moment they are about 2 years old?
 
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69. Re: EA Can't Say It Wasn't Warned About SimCity DRM Dec 19, 2012, 10:15 Bhruic
 
Beamer wrote on Dec 19, 2012, 10:02:
What EA meant is that everything they are doing will have life beyond the box. In many, probably most, cases this simply means it will have DLC. It does not mean Mass Effect 4 will be an MMO.

Don't be purposefully obtuse, no one is suggesting that's what he meant. But what he did mean is that Mass Effect 3 isn't going to ship without a shoe-horned multiplayer component.

Even in his "clarification", he stated:
He added that games are to be thought of as services now, and went on to say that you, "need to have a social experience where you're part of a large community."
 
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68. Re: EA Can't Say It Wasn't Warned About SimCity DRM Dec 19, 2012, 10:10 Bhruic
 
Beamer wrote on Dec 19, 2012, 09:43:
But you can't force people that don't want it to use it.
And they know this. There is a very sizeable chunk of the market that has absolutely no interest in ever playing with anyone else.

No, and they can't force people who don't want to pay for the game to pay for the game either. But that's not the point, the point is to focus on who they can affect. EA sees the future - rightly or wrongly - as being based around socialization. So that's the direction they are going. Personally, I find that annoying, and I suspect a lot of others around here do too. But that doesn't change what they are doing or why they are doing it, it just affects how we view it. The facts don't change.

Verno wrote on Dec 19, 2012, 09:53:
That's fine, they just shouldn't be surprised when many people aren't in the business of buying EA games anymore or resort to piracy. I'm a pretty open minded gamer but forcing this sort of thing is running roughshod over both peoples nostalgia and business common sense. I sincerely hope this game is a sales failure but I suspect it will move units based on the name which is exasperating.

I don't disagree. They are betting they will get more sales this way than they'll lose. I hope they are wrong, although I'm not sure that they'll get that message even if the games aren't successful. When there are lots of factors that go into a game's success, it's hard to pinpoint one area as being a major factor. Hopefully the AMA gave them an idea of how annoyed people really are.
 
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67. Re: EA Can't Say It Wasn't Warned About SimCity DRM Dec 19, 2012, 10:02 Beamer
 
Also, EA never once said they aren't in the business of making single player games. They said they aren't in the business of making single contact games.

There's a big difference there, and it wasn't said properly which made people start bashing themselves in the head in anger.

What EA meant is that everything they are doing will have life beyond the box. In many, probably most, cases this simply means it will have DLC. It does not mean Mass Effect 4 will be an MMO.
 
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http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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66. Re: EA Can't Say It Wasn't Warned About SimCity DRM Dec 19, 2012, 09:53 Verno
 
Bhruic wrote on Dec 19, 2012, 09:04:
But EA has stated - repeatedly - that they are no longer in the business of making single player games.

That's fine, they just shouldn't be surprised when many people aren't in the business of buying EA games anymore or resort to piracy. I'm a pretty open minded gamer but forcing this sort of thing is running roughshod over both peoples nostalgia and business common sense. I sincerely hope this game is a sales failure but I suspect it will move units based on the name which is exasperating.

I often hear the occasional person defending EA as if they haven't earned their reputation as a creative slaughterhouse but the trend continues to this day.
 
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Playing: Everquest Next Alpha, Diablo 3, Bravely Default
Watching: Evidence, Longmire, Chained
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65. Re: EA Can't Say It Wasn't Warned About SimCity DRM Dec 19, 2012, 09:43 Beamer
 
Bhruic wrote on Dec 19, 2012, 09:04:
Beamer wrote on Dec 19, 2012, 08:40:
While they likely believe socialization will increase sales, they know it's not necessary to force. If you put it in there with a "login to Facebook to find friends" then those that want it will use it. Those that don't will not. They're not dumb enough to think that people that don't want it will magically be persuaded to use it. They know a good chunk of people will avoid playing with anyone. They just don't care. They think the pirates they avoid will make up for the sales they lose.

Forcing people to use it is exactly their intention. Making it optional means that lots of people won't use it. There's a reason that most companies prefer to use opt-out rather than opt-in when it comes to things like this. People are lazy.

Now does that mean they aren't happy with the side-benefit of it acting like a DRM? Of course not. I'm sure that factored heavily into their decision making. But EA has stated - repeatedly - that they are no longer in the business of making single player games.

But you can't force people that don't want it to use it.
And they know this. There is a very sizeable chunk of the market that has absolutely no interest in ever playing with anyone else.

This is their way of saying "we don't care about you."
 
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Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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64. Re: EA Can't Say It Wasn't Warned About SimCity DRM Dec 19, 2012, 09:04 Bhruic
 
Beamer wrote on Dec 19, 2012, 08:40:
While they likely believe socialization will increase sales, they know it's not necessary to force. If you put it in there with a "login to Facebook to find friends" then those that want it will use it. Those that don't will not. They're not dumb enough to think that people that don't want it will magically be persuaded to use it. They know a good chunk of people will avoid playing with anyone. They just don't care. They think the pirates they avoid will make up for the sales they lose.

Forcing people to use it is exactly their intention. Making it optional means that lots of people won't use it. There's a reason that most companies prefer to use opt-out rather than opt-in when it comes to things like this. People are lazy.

Now does that mean they aren't happy with the side-benefit of it acting like a DRM? Of course not. I'm sure that factored heavily into their decision making. But EA has stated - repeatedly - that they are no longer in the business of making single player games.
 
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63. Re: EA Can't Say It Wasn't Warned About SimCity DRM Dec 19, 2012, 08:58 Mr. Tact
 
Beamer wrote on Dec 19, 2012, 08:40:
Also, they will NOT shut down the servers of a game being actively played just because the new version is out. For one, it'd be extremely tricky with this, because they'd be killing single player.
First, at least by my definition, there is no single player game. Second, I think you give EA far too much credit. Third, I hope you are right about their largess but I am doubtful.
 
Truth is brutal. Prepare for pain.
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62. Re: EA Can't Say It Wasn't Warned About SimCity DRM Dec 19, 2012, 08:40 Beamer
 
Mr. Tact wrote on Dec 19, 2012, 07:56:
It is both. First, EA believes socialization of the game will increase sales. Second, they want to be able to force sales of the next version by shutting down the servers for the earlier version. In EA's mind, it is a win-win. And no, I'm not saying they are right.

Wrong.
While they likely believe socialization will increase sales, they know it's not necessary to force. If you put it in there with a "login to Facebook to find friends" then those that want it will use it. Those that don't will not. They're not dumb enough to think that people that don't want it will magically be persuaded to use it. They know a good chunk of people will avoid playing with anyone. They just don't care. They think the pirates they avoid will make up for the sales they lose.

Also, they will NOT shut down the servers of a game being actively played just because the new version is out. For one, it'd be extremely tricky with this, because they'd be killing single player. No one will buy a next version of a game if the old version magically ceases working. People complain about this regularly, but have we had a single game's single player magically cease working yet, other than ones whose companies have gone out of business (and which are those?) More importantly, EA has only really done the "shut down because a new version is out" with sports games over 2 versions old, not "the next version." It's still a dumb move, but they do it to games no one is playing.It isn't so much about making them get the new version, and hell, people clinging to sports games with rosters/teams/rules 3 years old are the type that won't buy the new version, they'll go to GameStop and buy last year's for $2.99 used.
 
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http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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61. Re: EA Can't Say It Wasn't Warned About SimCity DRM Dec 19, 2012, 08:20 Prez
 
TheVocalMinority wrote on Dec 19, 2012, 07:50:

What you thought Diablo Three was the end of it?

Strictly speaking EA did it before Blizzard with Command and Conquer 4 which was always-online.
 
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Goodbye my Monte boy. May you rest in the peace you never knew in life.
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60. Re: EA Can't Say It Wasn't Warned About SimCity DRM Dec 19, 2012, 07:56 Mr. Tact
 
It is both. First, EA believes socialization of the game will increase sales. Second, they want to be able to force sales of the next version by shutting down the servers for the earlier version. In EA's mind, it is a win-win. And no, I'm not saying they are right.  
Truth is brutal. Prepare for pain.
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59. Re: EA Can't Say It Wasn't Warned About SimCity DRM Dec 19, 2012, 07:50 TheVocalMinority
 
ASSUME THE POSITION GAMEBITCHES!

What you thought Diablo Three was the end of it?
 
Assley Putz
"Was vocalminority assley putzs most recent handle?"
-nin May 16, 2012, 10:52
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58. Re: EA Can't Say It Wasn't Warned About SimCity DRM Dec 19, 2012, 07:00 Dades
 
Bhruic wrote on Dec 19, 2012, 06:26:
I'm not sure why you are arguing this one, it's pretty clear that their entire design decisions were based around the idea of interactive zones.

I don't buy it, what came first, the chicken or the DRM? I suspect the DRM came first then the design decisions as a result of their limitations.

- DADES - This is a signature of my name, enjoy!
 
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57. Re: EA Can't Say It Wasn't Warned About SimCity DRM Dec 19, 2012, 06:26 Bhruic
 
Creston wrote on Dec 19, 2012, 01:49:
Like what? Seriously, what features have they shown that are so magnificently amazing that it's obviously everything has been built around it? Is it the boring as hell regions, with five pre-destined "city areas", rather than being able to free-form build wherever you like?

I'm not sure why you are arguing this one, it's pretty clear that their entire design decisions were based around the idea of interactive zones. Again, I agree with [b]ViRGE[/b] that it's the wrong decision, but denying that that's what happened doesn't make any sense.

While the ability to shut down the servers is certainly there, anyone claiming this isn't for socialization is vastly underestimating the degree to which EA is banking on it to sell games. I rarely play multiplayer games, but the ones I do tend to be ones where a friend got the game first, liked it, and convinced me to pick it up. Being able to tap into that system of advertisment is significant money (and only one example of how socialization helps sell games).
 
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56. Re: EA Can't Say It Wasn't Warned About SimCity DRM Dec 19, 2012, 03:51 InBlack
 
People keep bringing up Diablo3's DRM scheme, but thats the least of THAT game's problems.

Just as always on DRM is the least of SimCity's problems. The main problem with this game is that its more like SimVille or FarmVille or some casual shit like that where you have to have friends help you out and just clicking randomly on your screen will probably let you finish the game...

Another retarded game for the retarded masses. Behold the de-nerdification of gamers...

 
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I have a nifty blue line!
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55. Re: EA Can't Say It Wasn't Warned About SimCity DRM Dec 19, 2012, 01:49 Creston
 
ViRGE wrote on Dec 18, 2012, 19:29:
Exactly. At this point SimCity V being a server-side game isn't merely DRM, but rather it's a fundamental design decision for how they want to build and deliver the game.

A design decision that got made after EA mandated it was to be always-online, because that way they can

A) nickle and dime everyone to death
B) Shut down the servers and force their customers to buy Simcity 2K14 in a year's time.

It's clearly the wrong decision, but there's a lot more going on here than having a multiplayer component for DRM purposes.

Like what? Seriously, what features have they shown that are so magnificently amazing that it's obviously everything has been built around it? Is it the boring as hell regions, with five pre-destined "city areas", rather than being able to free-form build wherever you like?

Is it the incredible "well, you can have someone else join in that region?"

Because that's about all they've shown. Oh wait, I forgot about the hilarious "The fire department of another city hamlet will get on the highway and come over to battle fires in your town within a minute of them breaking out, even though said town is obviously at least 30 miles away." Maybe that's what's so integral to the game that they just HAVE to build it this way.

Did I mention that you will no longer be able to just reload a city? No more unleashing havoc for a fun ten minutes or so. But then again, who ever did that in Simcity?

Creston

 
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54. Re: EA Can't Say It Wasn't Warned About SimCity DRM Dec 19, 2012, 01:45 Creston
 
ASeven wrote on Dec 18, 2012, 19:21:
Verno wrote on Dec 18, 2012, 14:00:
Man reading more about this game is a huge bummer. No fucking subways? Terraforming ok whatever I think that's dumb as hell too but to not include subways is just inexcusable. Might as well call this SimVille and stop pretending.

I'm sure it'll have subways

It will have Subways. You can place them in your cities hamlets, and then the little people will line up in droves to buy a delicious Veggie Delite, and as they do so, your browser will open up to an ad featuring Jared, offering you a coupon that will get you 50c off when you go buy one in the next five minutes.

This ad WILL, of course, take you out of the game. This is EA, after all.

Creston
 
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53. Re: EA Can't Say It Wasn't Warned About SimCity DRM Dec 18, 2012, 21:56 Sepharo
 
Dades wrote on Dec 18, 2012, 19:39:
EverythingISayIsRight wrote on Dec 18, 2012, 18:23:
Remember when MW2 came out and people 'boycotted' it? This will be no different.

http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/kotaku/2009/11/1258035395841.jpg

That's a really stupid jpeg of a single page of the most popular franchise in the world and indicative of nothing, troll harder moron.

- DADES - This is a signature of my name, enjoy!

Is actually of the boycott page. But your point about it being a single page is correct. Also that picture was taken within the hour of release at a non peak time. So 20 or so people of a group of over 800 played the game at launch... but that didn't stop thousands from throwing that image around, "lol so much for the boycott!!1" I think Kotaku even did an article.
 
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