SimCity To Be Crippled By Always-On

By John Walker on March 28th, 2012 at 2:34 pm.

Scenes in my head as I read the news.

Some good news and some bad news about the forthcoming SimCity reboot. Good news: you won’t have to buy it through Origin, meaning there can be pricing competition. Bad news: you will have to play it through Origin, with a permanent online connection all the time. That’s some fairly bloody enormous bad news. But there is time to convince EA that while there are many merits to having your game online, there are also some vastly more dreadful downsides, and failing to recognise that would be a terrible shame.

“Always on”, whether it’s sold as DRM, or as a feature, is a disaster for PC gaming. It renders the game unusable for a significant number of gamers, and ensures inconvenience for everyone. And while we’re obviously fully behind online features improving one’s experience with a game, and delighted to play a game that’s boosted by being connected, having it be unplayable without the internet is madly and maddeningly stupid.

Joystiq reports that lead designer Stone Librande has said the always-on is necessary for the game’s “emphasis on multiplayer and regional impact, and the use of a global economy that all players can influence.” Those features sound brilliant, and when I’m in the situation to be able to use an internet connection, I’ll be delighted that they’re there. 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.

The game is a way off from release, and there is still plenty of time for EA to reverse this terrible decision, and instead offer an offline mode where players miss out on some of the game’s cooler features. There’s time for you to contact EA to tell them why always-on will ruin the game experience for you. There is no need for a game with such enormously broad appeal as SimCity, far more likely to be played by less hardcore gamers who do not do so much to preserve their connectivity, to be needlessly crippled. EA – don’t do it.

You can read our preview of SimCity, to find out why it’s something we think is worth fighting for.

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291 Comments »

  1. c-Row says:

    Anybody have some contact information handy as to where we should make our concerns heard?

    • 4026 says:

      You should definitely start a critical thread in the EA Forums. I hear that usually turns out well for all involved.

      • roryok says:

        This Sarcast was brought to you by the numbers 4026

      • zontax says:

        You shouldn’t do this with the account that has all your games on it.
        If you get banned from the forums you lose access to all your games.

        • ChiefOfBeef says:

          This anti-joke brought to you by the letters Z-O-N-T-A and X.

        • JaminBob says:

          That can’t be true… seriously?

          • TechnicalBen says:

            It’s a possibility. Posting ANYTHING can get you banned, as it’s open to human error. Why is this bad and other forums not? Well, we can post on RPS with the relative understanding we will not get banned from the entire internet. As long as we do nothing illegal.

            On the EA forums though, a ban translates to all your EA accounts, game or elsewhere.

          • Amun says:

            Read this and weep.
            http://i.imgur.com/PmH0m.png

            EA is not a company that I want to do business with, ever. Which is sad because I was a huge fan of Maxis in the sim city/tower/copter/ant days.

    • rocketman71 says:

      Contacting EA to complain works like this:

      http://www.vgcats.com/comics/?strip_id=312

      • GallonOfAlan says:

        Funny, but -10 for use of non-existent word ‘irregardless’.

        • lasikbear says:

          It exists! It means “regardless” and has been used by many fine men and women for generations.

        • Harlander says:

          Well, that character is meant to be an imbecile.

        • Shin says:

          You might want to check up on that actually…

          http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/irregardless

          • McCool says:

            Even webster admit it is non-standard american slang. Essentially “irregardless” is a bushism that has the advantage of being almost 100 years old. There is a difference between genuine new words and meanings, and nonsense words that share the exact meaning with an existing word only with another similar word spliced into the spelling. Irregardless is ugly because it does not serve any grammatical purpose; you are just repeating a mistake that someone made many years ago, and has since been copied.

          • Chris D says:

            @McCool

            “…you are just repeating a mistake that someone made many years ago, and has since been copied.”

            Sure but that’s pretty much what language is. Once you start pulling that thread irregardless is the least of your worries.

          • Apolloin says:

            I believe the phrase that applies here is “Common Usage”. Many words that are americanisms have entered the common lexicon and irregardless is hardly the most egregious.

          • Klydefrog says:

            Irregardless of whether or not is is a word (and I don’t think it is), it’s still being used out of context here. You can’t just shout “Irregardless!” in response to a statement when you mean to say that something isn’t important. If the word exists then it means the same thing as regardless (making it a pointless word anyway) and so doesn’t work in that context at all.

        • Malcolm says:

          Almost as annoying as the logically challenged who say “I could care less” when, in fact, they couldn’t.

          • Chris D says:

            Irony doesn’t just mean “Sort of like iron”

          • Mehbah says:

            @Chris D:

            http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/care.html

            “Could care less” is horribly stupid even if you pretend that most people use it ironically. it doesn’t even make any sense. Saying “gee, that’s so interesting” works as irony because you mean the exact opposite. “Could care less” tells you absolutely nothing; it could include caring barely at all or caring a lot. It doesn’t work as irony.

            Anyway, wasn’t it already confirmed that this game will have DLC all over it, even long before release? You would have to be out of your mind to even consider buying their stripped-down half-game. That is, of course, assuming the DLC claims were true. But considering it’s EA, I don’t doubt it for a second.

          • bwion says:

            I had an epiphany about this recently. Anyone, particularly on the internet, who claims not to care about something almost certainly cares a great deal.

            Therefore, “I could care less” is, (ir)regardless of the speaker’s intentions, usually pretty accurate.

          • Chris D says:

            @Mehbah

            I can’t go along with that argument, I’m afraid. I think the mistake is that he assumes irony must always imply the oppositeof the statement, but I think simply implying “not” is sufficient.

            For the statements. “Gee that’s so interesting”, “That’s quite interesting” and “I could care less” the assumed response is the same in each case, ie: “Really?” “No.”

            Therefore I’m going to call that a perfectly valid example of irony.

          • Consumatopia says:

            Anyone, particularly on the internet, who claims not to care about something almost certainly cares a great deal.

            This is a false, yet strangely common fallacy.

            For example, a person might not care about a particular thing, but be annoyed that other people are spending time and attention on it, or otherwise generating noise with regards to thing they don’t care about. There is nothing incoherent about this–complaining that your inbox is suddenly filled with male enhancement spam doesn’t mean that you “care a great deal” about male enhancement.

            Diagonal example: if a person finds it annoying when other people post “I don’t care about X” in threads about X, and that person posts “I don’t care that you don’t care about X”, that doesn’t imply that this person almost certainly cares about the fact that they don’t care about X a great deal.

        • jalf says:

          You don’t think it might be intentional? You know, humour and that. Intended as a joke.

        • jon_hill987 says:

          I don’t know why; it’s a perfectly cromulent word.

        • driftwoodsound says:

          I’m sure the artist is anispeptic, frasmotic, even compunctuous to have caused you such pericombobulations.

    • c-Row says:

      Yeah, those sound like good ideas.

    • mentor07825 says:

      Honestly, I’m too scared to even open up a seperate account for their forums to complain about this. I like to keep all of my games on Origin, thank you.

  2. Flukie says:

    Bleh.. I don’t mind Internet Authentication then setting it into offline mode like steam but this shit is just plain annoying.

  3. Fenixius says:

    Well, I shall simply abstain from purchase. Easy enough; there is no shortage of quality games. Sorry to hear Maxis have been crippled by their publisher, though.

    • jplayer01 says:

      Agreed. Disappointed by this and won’t buy it.

    • simoroth says:

      Another lost sale here. The real reason is likely to be so they can add in 1-click micro-transactions into the core game.

      Also while they are fixing it, EA still need to change the EULA of Origin. The terms in it means that I wont install it on my machine as it would potentially leak confidential information about other installed products on my rig. That’s not acceptable, even if I didn’t use my machine for work I wouldn’t agree to installing what amounts to spyware.

    • MiniMatt says:

      Another lost sale here. Individually, not much impact. But that’s four people in the space of a couple of minutes – guessing £30 launch price – that’s £120 they’ve lost.

      £120 is not to be sniffed at. I could get monumentally sloshed on £120 for starters.

      • Jimbo says:

        £60 for the complete version on Origin, £45 for the incomplete version.

    • sephiroth says:

      yes this has gone from a 100% chance of purchase to a 0% chance.

      HEY EA you see that your anti piracy stuff just cost you a sale! AGAIN!

      still if the game is good im sure my friendly local eye patch wearing sailor type will be able to get a copy without this crap in it and wont even ask me for money.
      odd bussiness model he has cause the DRM stuffed one is worthless so I wont buy it but the non drm version cannot be paid for even tho thats thw one that I am willing to pay for.

      EDIT: Oh lads looks like this comment box brings us to £150 of lost sales. still small change for a big budget game but the internetz is huge

    • dwpenney says:

      Yeah that’s a lost sale here too. I was looking forward to this too.

    • Patrick says:

      I was planning on buying this. I guess I can take it off my list unless this decision is changed.

    • Icyicy9999 says:

      I bought Anno 2070 thinking the DRM wouldn’t be so bad, but it is.

      I will not buy another Ubisoft game again after that, and I will certainly not buy SimCity now.

      I hope the lost sales were worth “fighting piracy” when pirates will be the ones playing hassle-free.

    • xephyris says:

      Yup, same here. I always enjoyed Simcity, but this is too much for a game I don’t play in multiplayer.

    • Tuskin38 says:

      I’m still buying it, I’m rarely NOT online. If I am, I’ll just play Sim Sity 4

      • Lemming says:

        I’m rarely not online either, but the point is that’s my business, not a game publisher’s.

      • Enikuo says:

        I’m online all the time too, but I try to look out for my future self who might be in different circumstances, like living on a boat. That would be neat.

        • Apolloin says:

          The best way you could be looking out for your future self would be to hire someone to slap you across the back of the head everytime you think about moving somewhere that DOESN’T have high speed internet access.

          Seriously. It’d be like the nineties again and nobody wants that!

        • His Dudeness says:

          I hope you’ll be wearing an eye-patch then…

        • Bork Titflopsen says:

          Depending on how expensive your boat is, I’m pretty sure they can recieve internet pretty anywhere on the planet.

      • Patrick says:

        Whether you are online might not matter. What happens when EA shuts down the severs like they did recently for a bunch of games. Some of which were less than 2 years old and one which required users to pay extra for online content.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Yeah, EA, this is far worse than even the Spore situation now.

      With Spore, you could play offline (or at least it was patched in by the time I got it or whatever), but it was genuinely enhanced in single-player by being online because you swapped data with all the other Spore players and got to see their creations automagically (and/or categorically if you looked stuff up in the database).

      This, on the other hand, is EA telling me “Screw all of you, Ubisoft says this works!” In return I say “No, EA. I was mad at Ubisoft about always-online. The fact of the matter is: screw you, I’m not buying it.”

      You know what? Screw The Old Republic as well, on principle. I was considering getting it, but not now EA. I’m not doing a full boycott (because I’ll still get stuff on GoG), but screw new EA games until Origin dies.

      • frenchy2k1 says:

        I would hope so!
        Old Republic forces you to be online to play too! Unacceptable!

    • Nameless1 says:

      Same for me.

    • sPOONz says:

      I agree, its now a NO SALE for me also. Gutted as I just read the preview and the whole ‘simulate everything’ sounded great.

    • roethle says:

      Same reason i don’t own Anno 2070.

      • Chmilz says:

        Anno 2070 was crap anyway. It was the exact same game as 1701, but with different names for things and slightly altered graphics. Exact. Same. Game.

        • Gaytard Fondue says:

          How was 2070 exactly the same as 1701? Yes, 2070 is based on 1404, but 1701? No way.

          • Chmilz says:

            Sorry, my bad, always get the numbers mixed up. 1404/2070 are the same game.

    • LintMan says:

      Yep, another lost sale here. I had resigned myself to accept the inevitable stream of DLC landmarks, buildings, etc they will be selling, but making single player games always online is unacceptable – not for Sim City and not for Diablo 3.

      Sadly, I gotta say I saw this coming as soon as they announced the online features, but was really hoping I was wrong.

      • Chmilz says:

        Yup. I want to build a city, not spend all fucking day Liking buildings and closing “yay-I-pressed-X!!!” achievement popups. If my real game integrates with Facebook to tell my friends I has police station, it’s not a real game.

    • Lemming says:

      QFE, sadly.

    • Reapy says:

      +1

      • sephiroth says:

        think that makes 15 people here. so @£30 thats £450 nice one EA thats a great business plan you have there

        • Oof says:

          16 people at 60 pounds. 960 pounds and counting. :D

          • deke913 says:

            You people across the pond have very heavy cardboard. 40-60 pounds whew! Ours generally go no more than 2 pounds and that’s with a manual. ( jk ..heh..I sneer at my own ignorance) But yeah, count me out EA I want no part of your attempt at stealth DRM. ( you too ActiBlizzard)

    • bladedsmoke says:

      Never played a Sim City game before. Now it looks like I never will!

      (Unless I pirate it)

    • Skabooga says:

      I was admittedly on the fence about getting the latest SimCity, but the prospect of having to go through Origin and always-on DRM has pushed me firmly into the ‘save my money’ side.

    • Nosgoroth says:

      Oh well, my wallet will be happy about this.

    • macks says:

      I was really looking forward to buying and playing this game. Requiring Origin is awful enough, requiring always-online is a deal-breaker.

      I’m really disappointed in this decision.

    • MarcusCardiff says:

      Always online DRM (because that’s what it is, be honest) = No sale.
      Shame as I was also a definite buyer until I heard this.

    • beekay says:

      Yeah… I was looking forward to this quite a lot, there’s something ludicrously satisfying about these all-encompassing simulations, but really there are plenty of games about and I’m not going to concede to using Origin. It’s bad enough to have launchers popping up for every second game I own, I don’t need a whole new platform.

    • His Dudeness says:

      You can add me to the list of non-purchasing folks. My money ain’t paying no bonuses for EA twat waffles…pardon me, executives.

    • Bob_Bobson says:

      I’m also another lost sale. Same with Anno 2070, looks right up my street, but I’m not going to get it because of the activation nonsense. Luckily there are a lot of very fine games out there so I’m not ending up bored as a result of boycotts.

      For those totalling the value of lost sales, I’m a cheapskate, put me down as £15 cause that’s the sale price that would have grabbed me (probably early next year).

    • KillahMate says:

      Yup. I’ve already got a job, and it’s not ‘making SimCity desirable’. That’s EA’s job.

    • Belsameth says:

      I read the preview and started throwing money at the screen but after reading this…

      Add me to the “No sale” list. I still haven’t bought ME3 either due to the fact it’s an Origin exclusive and I trust EA as far as I can throw them.

      I might sail the high seas a bit looking for it, but with always on DRM/feature crap, I won’t be spending money on it.

      • oldfart says:

        Needs to be online to start == required internet connection. Irrelevant; you cannot play while flying, for example. Hey EA, bump that “lost sales” counter again for me!

  4. DK says:

    Too bad you don’t seem to remember how monumentally stupid always-on is when it’s Blizzard doing it.

    • Kdansky says:

      Blizzard has a reason for it despite DRM:

      http://blown-to-bits.blogspot.com/2011/11/why-diablo-3-cannot-be-played-offline_03.html

      For EA, it’s DRM.
      For Blizzard, it’s a trade-off for a game mechanic: The RMAH.

      It is perfectly fine to dislike a mechanic. I dislike iron sights, and I don’t buy most games that have it. D3 is an MMO in all but name, so it requires internet. I didn’t buy Anno2070 because their “online features” would work just as well offline.

      • John Walker says:

        I am very strongly against Diablo’s doing this. EDIT: Oh yeah! I wrote a bloody great essay about how bad it was. Sorry to spoil your conspiracy, you silly man.

        • Meneth says:

          Haven’t you actually written about it already, quite a while back? http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/09/22/how-diablo-iiis-drm-will-affect-you/

          • John Walker says:

            I knew I had! But I tagged it incorrectly, so couldn’t find it before, and thought I was going mad.

            So yeah, take THAT DK!

          • Dozer says:

            Did you fire the sub-editor who incorrectly tagged it?

          • Schmitzkater says:

            Can you PLEASE try to tag you posts more coherently?

            It is such a pain to look for your thoughts on a certain game or subject and simply not find it because every single time you all use different tags between each other and sometimes even simply between posts.

        • Kdansky says:

          You can be against this as much as you like. But then you are willing to sacrifice the RMAH for it, whereas Blizzard isn’t. That’s a valid (if unpopular) design choice.

          Conspiracy? I am just pointing out the obvious facts. People always get stuck on D3 requiring a connection, and nobody bothers writing about what will be the first Real Money Auction House in gaming. It will probably have the same impact like F2P games on how to make a profit. I also find it really cheap to label my post a conspiracy theory when you haven’t even read it (due to only one minute between the two posts, but about three full pages of text to read, because I was a bit verbose.)

          Your rant back there also completely missed the point, because the solution you suggest won’t work without crippling the RMAH.

          It’s incredibly shortsighted to only see the DRM, and forget about that one unique feature.

          • Fede says:

            @Kdansky: we have yet to see how long the real money auction house will last. It has already been removed in Korea because it has problems with local regulations regarding gambling, and the same might happen in some European countries.

            Anyway, I hope that both Maxis and Blizzard will allow players to play offline.

          • neofit says:

            Please do not act as if you are not seeing that Blizzard went even further DRM-wise: they have completely removed the SP game (or are claiming to). And no, I have never played D1 nor D2 online, and wasn’t even planning on doing that with D3, so screw them, I’ll play a real mmorpg instead.

          • Kdansky says:

            Gambling laws are quite an issue, that is absolutely true, but it’s hard to imagine Blizzard removing that part of the game at a later date. If they remove it, I promise I will join the complain-about-pointless-drm bandwagon.

          • rocketman71 says:

            You can be against this as much as you like. But then you are willing to sacrifice the RMAH for it, whereas Blizzard isn’t. That’s a valid (if unpopular) design choice.

            I see Mr. Fallacy is back.

            Blizzard doesn’t have to choose between sacrificing the RMAH or sacrificing offline play. They could implement both TODAY, restricting the RMAH to online characters. They just choose not to, because by forcing all players to play online and have the RMAH available, they think they could make some more sales via impulse sales. And they’re probably right.

            It’s still proof of how low Blizzard has fallen and how little they care about gamers by now.

          • RavenGlenn says:

            @Kdansky: I wish people would stop saying this. Diablo3 is not going to be the first real money auction house in gaming. Secondlife did this years and years and years ago.

          • Nalum says:

            @RavenGlenn
            I second your statement and also throw Entropia Universe into the fray as an MMO with an “RMAH”(much more of a game than Second Life is) which also did this years ago, around the same time as Second Life I believe.

          • Milky1985 says:

            If it was any other company we would be safe from the real money auction house, simply becauise the push for it to work is ruining the rest of the game.

            I Think that the auction house is the reason you get loads of equipment for characters that are not your own, the reason that WHITE ITEMS sell for jack all (limit the ammount of cash you can earn, so you have to pay real money for things) and it coudln’t surprise me if the loot drops are to the point where you won’t get many good items so often compared to similar games of its type (to push you towards the auction house)

            With any other developer people would turn round and tell em to stuff it.

            But blizz will get away with it because of the “faithful”, and another nail will be driven into the gaming world when everyone else follows suit :/

          • Vandelay says:

            I’m pretty certain that John actually meant to reply to DK, who accused RPS of not damning Blizzard for requiring an always-on Internet connection for D3. He wasn’t accusing you of having conspiracy theories.

            Now he is just too ashamed to come back and admit he messed up using their lovely new reply system.

        • Bluerps says:

          This is completely off-topic, but your Avatar always makes me think that you’re a dinosaur speaking for the RIAA, Mr. Walker…

      • eleclipse says:

        Blizzard don’t have a reason for it, the only difference is that they are better at pr and have a vast fanboy base that will buy diablo3 even if it was designed to give you elettroshock every 30m.

      • Khemm says:

        That’s bullshit. You can have a perfectly functional SP offline mode and a multiplayer always-online mode without one affecting the other.

      • bglamb says:

        Much as piracy-induced loss figures are hard to come by, I reckon that Blizzard stand to make a fair bit on the back of this decision though, so you can hardly blame them. This isn’t a case of DRM only harming the legitimate users either. This is a case of DRM completely obliterating the pirates (and hurting the legitimate users a ltitle too.)

        But when the real cost to Blizzard of D3 piracy would have been so very, very high, this kind of (essentially uncrackable) DRM seems the only sensible option.

        • eleclipse says:

          “The cost of piracy” itself is a totally wrong idea for many reason, one of all the fact the most pirates won’t buy your game in the first place (or can’t afford to, in case of little children).

          Also i don’t think that forcing a player to be always online is a “little” damange, i think is a huge damage and a strong example for other company (like ea) that player would buy their game even if their right are abused.

      • DK says:

        Hey guess what – the guys who made Diablo 2 already solved the whole online problem, by simply making a separate pool for offline characters. Who made that game again? Oh, yeah, it was BLIZZARD.

        Don’t try to kid yourself and claim that the always-online requirement is anything other than a straight up cash grab at the expense of the consumer.

      • Brun says:

        The reason Blizzard won’t just make a separate pool for online characters (like so many people are suggesting) is because doing so would dramatically reduce the value of the RMAH as a microtransaction exchange. It’s also the reason that much of the single player content is hosted server-side. In order for the RMAH economy to be stable, the drop rate of items has to be controlled, both in single and multiplayer. Why single player, you ask? Blizzard knows that a significant portion of players aren’t interested in multiplayer, which led them to ask themselves how they can create RMAH value for these players. Controlled drop rates is the answer – the RMAH becomes a more attractive option if items can’t be hacked into existence and used in singleplayer games, or farmed up solo.

        It’s playing off the same psychological weaknesses that are exploited by the likes of Zynga in Facebook games (there was a great article posted in a Sunday Papers here on RPS a while back that describes just how socially engineered these kinds of games are). Microtransactions are a forced option – that is, there is no way to play the game without the OPTION of microtransactions. That means that people – even those who are only interested in single player, and have no interest in buying things off the RMAH – will always have that option looming over their heads. Eventually, some of those people will crack.

        That’s the point of always-online in Diablo 3. The DRM functionality is at most a beneficial side-effect. It’s disappointing to see the rest of the gaming industry hailing Diablo 3 as the harbinger of always-online as an acceptable DRM policy. Other publishers are under the impression that if Diablo 3 does well, it will mean that always-online DRM is acceptable to users. Not only do they fail to understand that people won’t be buying Diablo 3 because they like or accept always-online (they’re buying it because it’s Diablo 3, and won’t put up with similar crap for less popular titles), they also fail to grasp the true reason behind Diablo 3′s always-online – it isn’t DRM!

        • Kdansky says:

          Thank you. New we’re a full two people who understood this. You are making the identical points as my blog post linked further up. Oh, and Extra Credits, plus the designers at Blizzard. What an elite club…

          • Brun says:

            No problem. Here’s the article I mentioned earlier: http://insertcredit.com/2011/09/22/who-killed-videogames-a-ghost-story/

            IMO that should be required reading for all game developers and posters on RPS.

          • Nick says:

            Implying that people who disagree with your viewpoint merely don’t understand it is pretty fucking arrogant.

          • El_Emmental says:

            At least three people now, I read that blog post about the micro-transaction.

            The thing is even worst than “just” forcing singleplayers to look at their damn RMAH store all the time, it’s showing us they designing the entire game around that business model : all items, the loot, the wealth-acquiring curve, the learning-curve, the difficulty-curve, etc – everything is designed to fit in the RMHA. Playing the game like a singleplayer game, without ever participating in the RMAH system, will be designed as a lesser experience. And the RMHA includes real-money transactions and fees.

            People will pay $50 for the “Diablo 3″ name on the box, then will end up in a F2P MMO. Maybe it’s a good thing so many great games from the 90s never got sequels…

    • MarcusCardiff says:

      Nevermind

  5. g00seberry says:

    In these cases, the system should be that you’re given a choice when you start a new game: “Online or Offline”. An Online game will never be able to go Offline and vice-versa. I believe Diablo 3 is going this route?

    While still not great if you were looking forward to playing your online game and find you can’t connect, at least you’re not left with an unplayable game. This means they don’t need to worry about balancing the game to work switching from online to offline, and naughty gamers can’t hack an offline game and bring it into the online world.

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

      Diablo III SHOULD be doing that, but I have never heard of it actually being the plan. Also, being able to turn an online savefile into an offline savefile, without the option for the reverse, seems reasonable.

    • Unaco says:

      “In these cases, the system should be that you’re given a choice when you start a new game: “Online or Offline”. An Online game will never be able to go Offline and vice-versa. I believe Diablo 3 is going this route?”

      This is pretty much my feeling on the situation as well. I am not against having online components, features or tie-ins for a single player game, as long as they’re components/features that I like, and (most importantly) as long as it is optional. Not being online should not lock you out of the whole thing, just the features provided by the connection. If, for ‘security’ or ‘game integrity’ reasons they have to keep all Offline games/profiles from online play (and vice versa), that’s cool… but still give us the option for the Offline play.

      I always use SpaceChem as an example of this, although the features are nothing huge or that, it still gets the idea right. If you’re online (on Steam) when playing SpaceChem, you can have your solutions compared against the global leaderboards or the leaderboards with your Steam friends, you can upload your solutions and get new challenges from the ResearchNet. If you’re NOT connected or online, you can still play the game… you just lose those features you get with the connectivity. Being online is incentivised, with the leaderboards and other features, but it is not required.

      As for Diablo 3 though, unless something has changed, I don’t think this is the approach they are taking. Last I heard there is NO offline profile/game option. There can only be the Online games. For D3 being online isn’t just incetivised, it’s required.

    • Reynoldio says:

      This. I find myself in the position of no internets at home and that is absolutely fine for most of the time, but were I to buy myself a game only to find that I simply could not play it when I got home I would be outraged.

      My internet will be back and then I’d be fine, but that isn’t true for everyone and hence I’m more than happy to stand alongside my offline brethren. Plus, it’s blummin stupid.

    • DK says:

      “I believe Diablo 3 is going this route?”
      They’re not. Diablo 2 did exactly what you describe however, solving the problem they’ve invented to justify the system Diablo 3 uses.

    • g00seberry says:

      Ah, apologies for being misinformed about Diablo 3. I must have got the wrong end of the stick when the details were first circulating. Sorry!

  6. Kucd says:

    No mod support either according to this article, at launch anyway:

    http://www.vg247.com/2012/03/28/simcity-to-require-always-on-internet-connection-to-origin/

  7. backlash says:

    This trend might be indication of a larger problem: companies no longer think that fully single player games are a viable option.

    • Bork Titflopsen says:

      I don’t think that companies think off-line games aren’t commercially viable, but rather that always-online games will probably need a launcher, providing ample oppertunity for product placement and advertising. Or, in the case of EA, install spyware on your pc.

      P.s. Did I use ‘ample’ in that sentence correctly?? Cincerely, a non-native English speaker.

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      I find that hard to believe. Oblivion, Skyrim, the Witcher 2, Mass Effect 1 & 2, Arkham Asylum, Arkham City, Torchlight and plenty of other titles have been enormous successes with no real online features. It’s easier to monetize online games, it’s easier to create a long-term fanbase with a muliplayer title, and it theoretically discourages trade-ins. But they can and do succeed, so long as they are good, and multiplayer and online games can and do fail, if they are bad.

      The connection between quality and success is the only thing that companies can’t seem to grasp.

  8. MiniMatt says:

    Sim City is one of those games that people play for years – for decades – after they come out.

    This longevity is precisely the reason it’s seen as a profitable IP to launch another installment from.

    Longevity is decidedly threatened when access to a game is governed by the whims and winds of business (and the games industry business, not known for it’s stability – least of all in the midst of global recession) and the availability of internet log in servers.

    • subedii says:

      Indeed. How many online servers does EA shut down every year as it is?

      At current, SimCity 2000, SimCity 3000, SimCity 4, they’re ALL still played by people even today, even though the earlier versions have technically been deprecated. Crikey I’m almost certain there’s a few people around playing the original SimCity somewhere.

      • MiniMatt says:

        http://www.ea.com/1/service-updates

        An absolutely feckin devastating list of game servers getting shut down routinely – some only 18 months old.

        Now without going through with a fine tooth comb which of those are totally broken by online server removal and which *just* have multiplayer and trophy functions broken is unknown to me.

        But it neatly demonstrates how quickly and savagely they’ll just dump to the kerb anything that’s no longer making new sales.

        EDIT: That list really does devastate me. Undoubtedly this is the future. Sim Cities is not a beloved franchise it’s a cash cow tethered down to a table and slit open with a rusty knife; when blood soaked dollar bills stop flowing from it’s entrails the rotting carcass will be dumped in the desert and two fingers to the suckers who bought it.

        • subedii says:

          18 months to 2 years is about standard for their annual sports games these days IIRC. Not the most subtle thing they do really.

        • Kadayi says:

          Games servers for dead games.

          • subedii says:

            And eventually this latest SimCity will be “dead” enough for EA to pull the plug as well.

            Doesn’t mean I want my copy to become unplayable on that day.

    • Cinek says:

      GOG.com – you hear me? I wan THIS in your fixed version, withouth any crap spyware installed.
      I’ll buy 5 copies.

      • MadTinkerer says:

        I’m pretty sure they already have SC2k on GoG.com. Or do you mean that when Sim City not-5 comes to GoG in a decade or so, they should fix the DRM issue?

        • potat0man says:

          I’ll wait 5-10 years until they release a patch so it’s playable offline. Yeah, I’m THAT patient.

    • Vinraith says:

      This is why I tend to interpret the inclusion of always-on DRM as a statement from the publisher that they don’t expect anyone to be wanting to play the game in a couple of years. With a vote of confidence like that, it’s easy to pass on said games, especially if they’re long-term games like strategy titles and city builders.

      • Colthor says:

        Or that they don’t want anybody to be able to play the old game when next year’s trivially updated version is out…

      • Vinraith says:

        Yup. Either way it’s disposable design, and disposable design is almost always an easy pass for me.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      I just remembered. The horror. The inhumanity! I forgot. EA publish Sim City!?
      Because it’s Sim City, I was reading “EA” but thinking “Maxis”. I was thinking they were still nice.
      Now I remember… C&C… A franchise right? Like Sim City. But now what is left of it? C&C4?! Tiberium Alliances?

      Wow. They will actually screw this up won’t they? :(

  9. The Sombrero Kid says:

    OMG I thought this was settled!, it looked quite promising as well, now I wont play it.

  10. neofit says:

    I have fond memories of the original SimCity (yes, I am that old). I was interested in the reboot up to this announcement. It’s not like I don’t have a large backlog of games to play instead.

    • mike2R says:

      I thought we were all that old on RPS. Just look at the punctuation and capitalisation in the comments :)

  11. InternetBatman says:

    The granularity aspect of the game seems pretty cool, but they need to be asking themselves if they’re competitive with indie devs. Indie devs can probably do the exact same mechanics, just lower fi, cheaper, and with better support.

    • Oof says:

      And those indie devs would have my money.
      ARE YOU READING THIS, INDIE DEVS?

      • cliffski says:

        yes we are.

        • MadTinkerer says:

          Good. Now make Gratuitous Cities, please.

          (I’m serious.)

          EDIT: P.S. incidentally, thanks for making your always-online DRM an optional expansion that fans have to pay for separately. That’s the proper way to do it.

          (That was less serious.)

          • MiniMatt says:

            Gratuitous City Battles!

            When I unleash Godzilla upon Slumsville I want my meticulously crafted transport infrastructure to transform into a giant city robot (Optimus Grime) with an SC2000 arcology for a hat. That shoots metro trains from it’s metallic paws.

          • LionsPhil says:

            I approve of this notion.

          • TechnicalBen says:

            Did he do that? Wow. 1000+ Person points to cliffski for that!
            He did have a legitimate reason to do it either way. But adding the option is extra work, and deserves extra credit. It adds value, and I hope it’s recognised by other developers and gamers.

            PS, I got GSB. :D

        • Oof says:

          Excellent. It’s implicit in the context, but I’ll make it explicit just in case: my purchase is contingent on there being no always-online DRM.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Indie devs would do it the way past SC games have been: top-down. Making an engine like GlassBox is a SERIOUS amount of work, and making it run efficiently is even more work.

      If you want to see what making a complex engine does to an indie dev, look at Achron. It’s an RTS game with time travel embedded in the very engine, which took them I believe 5 years to create. The gameplay engine is extremely well optimized and works wonderfully. Yet, because of how much time and work it required, just about every other area of the game (basic RTS mechanics, graphics, sound design) is subpar. It’s a crying shame, because the engine has a ton of potential, but it’s just extremely hard for an indie dev to build a complex engine AND a good game to take advantage of it.

      • Oof says:

        KICKSTARTER.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Archon could have had its fancypants time-wave mechanics without also trying to do 3D, which they did really, really badly. There’s no reason for those things to be tightly-coupled. It could have looked like DUNE 2 and still played the same, except then you might be able to make out the units and they might have had time to work on the gameplay rather than the polygon-pushing.

  12. RedViv says:

    Constant online connection is really not necessary for this kind of simulation, or is it? I mean, could we not get our very own planet, or region or whatever the game uses, to play on, in singleplayer? Do they have to focus on multiplayer in a series that only very few people ever wished to have that option in?
    Well, have to refrain from purchasing if they let this happen as described.

    The only game where always-on does not keep me away is Diablo III, as I would concentrate on Closed Battle.Net anyway. Not saying that I would not be happy about possibly playing on my actual machine instead of Blizzard servers, but in that case it does not bother me.

  13. laijka says:

    Too bad this will only hinder the paying customer to play their game.

    • RedViv says:

      That depends entirely on how the multiplayer is implemented. As in, being the only game mode.

  14. Visualante says:

    The obvious target for getting the message through to them is their Facebook wall: https://www.facebook.com/SimCity?sk=wall or the Amazon page.

    Individual mail, tweets and petitions will be ignored by the PR cronies.

  15. Colthor says:

    That is a shame, as the simulation engine looked really interesting.

    But never mind; there are many other games. This can go in the box, alongside Diablo 3 and much of Ubisoft’s output, of games I’m unwilling to purchase because of their onerous, unnecessary requirements.

  16. NathanH says:

    Grrrrr.

    It’s even more annoying when you’re an antisocial bastard who wants nothing to do with multiplayer at the best of times.

    • Nalum says:

      I agree!!

    • Prime says:

      I also agree. Getawayfromme!

    • Consumatopia says:

      Exactly. Even put aside the technical issues with always online, just from a gameplay perspective I don’t want my city connected to some global economy of other cities. I want to build my economic model under “ceteris paribus” assumptions–if I build a city today and it does much better than my city yesterday, I want to know that it was because of MY decisions as mayor, not just because the internet was having a bull market today and bear market yesterday.

      Admittedly, SimCity 4 was kind of broken on this front with it’s stupid “region” meta-game.

      SimCity is an inherently asynchronous game–you can start at whatever year you want and run time as fast or as slow as you choose (surely if they remove that feature the game is pointless). It doesn’t make sense for other people’s actions to affect my city because we aren’t playing at the same in-game time. Otherwise, you end up with this bizarre two-dimensional notion of time–in 2013 real-year there was a depression in 1940 game-year but in 2014 it’s become a boom.

      I was really excited about this new SC. Honestly, if they just tell me “you have to be always connected so that our DRM works”, I’ll put it up with it. But if they screw with the game play just to suit their business model, then there’s no incentive for me to put up with anything.

      • NathanH says:

        Haha, yes, strangely I prefer “You must always be online simply because we are spiteful bastards” to “you must always be online because we have integrated all these snazzy multiplayer features into the core of the game.”

  17. talon03 says:

    Maybe you should get EA to look at Ubisoft, who despite saying their “always on” DRM has been an “enormous success”, are seemingly ever more reluctant to put it in games as they’re realising it drastically hurts sales.
    You want people to buy your game as opposed to pirating it? The answer is simple: provide a service better than piracy and people will willingly part with their cash. What you’re doing here is the complete opposite, making piracy seem like the better option, because its
    A) free
    B) guaranteed to work when your net connection plays up. Or the EA servers are down for maintenance. Or 10 years down the line and the game servers are (inevitably) closed.

    • fugo says:

      well said. i think i’m going for ‘pirate it and send maxis a check’. wonder if this is EA asserting control? their sports games have been forcing people to update every couple of years when they take the servers offline, i’m suspicious they might be trying the same kind of crap here…

    • Milky1985 says:

      “Or 10 years down the line and the game servers are (inevitably) closed.”

      You mean 18 months down the line if you go by there current form, its mostly just the sports games that get this treatment but i wouldn’t put it past them to do that when the new sim city comes out.

  18. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    I don’t get why they would do this, when Origin itself has a (surprisingly well-implemented) offline mode. EA, that is one of your few advantages over Steam! You should be wielding it like a sword and shield to do battle with your foe!

    • subedii says:

      Meh, at this stage, I’m pinning my future hopes on the newly relaunched GOG.com.

      • Chmilz says:

        Here here. GOG’s success will help fix the industry. I enjoy watching the money move from big publishers to small gaming devs that cater to the audience that has money. All we need now is for stupid soccer moms to stop buying shit games from shit companies for their kids.

  19. hombregato says:

    What a tease. I got really excited for this but I’m a single player guy, so my gaming computer is never hooked up to the internet (nor is my PS3). I could get myself a wireless adapter, but I’m not going to be forced to, not for one little game when there are hundreds of alternatives. And little or no mod support? That’s precisely why I didn’t buy The Sims 3.

    • pilouuuu says:

      What do you mean? The Sims 3 has plenty of mods and doesn’t require an internet connection to play.

  20. mr.ioes says:

    “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…”

    Or when my parents decide to use all bandwidth with uploading their photos (which they have been doing the past year) or my modem goes nuts like it does once a week. My connection is regularly screwed …

    Too bad. I bought sim city 4 couple of months ago, enjoyed it alot, especially with user created mods. But with my internet situation, I don’t even want to know how infuriating online-only games would run (HOMM VI or Anno 2070).

    It looks like a new era of DRM has arrived. Make really cool features only work when always online. What’s next?

    • RedViv says:

      The biggest problem is that this era has arrived way too early. Ten or twenty years in the future, stable and highly performing internet access might be as normal as electricity.
      I’ve always wondered, for that matter, how people reacted when their local stores stopped stocking candles and kerosene, favouring light bulbs.

      Anyway, as it is, they can’t go much further now, at least.

    • Khemm says:

      HOMM VI and Anno 2070 aren’t online-only ffs.

      • Oof says:

        The problem I have with online-means-bonuses DRM is that it’s basically rewarding people for being rich, living in a very connected area, or being lucky. It reeks of elitism.

        • Khemm says:

          My internet connection is pretty crappy, enough to download patches or buy some smaller games digitally, so I play completely offline and don’t feel punished in any way.
          That’s how it is. If they want to encourage people to go online by adding some bonuses, that’s fine. It’s the equivalent of adding some hardware-intensive graphics options for those with good rigs.I certainly like that apporach a lot more than always-online DRM games like Settlers 7 used to have.

          • Oof says:

            Your analogy isn’t completely accurate, though, is it?
            Catering graphically for the section of your demographic that has better rigs doesn’t fundamentally alter the gameplay. The online-means-bonuses DRM is doing exactly that: people who have a good connection get goodies, and a better gameplay experience; and those that don’t, don’t.

  21. scorcher24 says:

    Always on = no buy

  22. deadfolk says:

    …and another one to go on the avoid list.

    Shame – I was very interested in this one.

  23. ratbum says:

    I won’t buy this if it has always-on DRM. That makes it totally useless for me.

  24. Lukasz says:

    i won’t buy it then. i don’t care about any multiplayer component, i don’t want some random people affecting my game (to be more precise. i can like it but i want to decide when and how. if i like it i will turn it on. if not or it can be done offline [simulation] then i must be able to play offline)

    so no sale. i didn’t buy ubi games either and won’t even tough anno sounds so nice.

  25. Calculon says:

    I’m already sold.

    “Always On-line” issues are part of a larger societal problem of the ever spiraling conflict between large corporations and the citizens that have to put up with their increasing profit levels and greed.
    SimCity isnt likely to break that loggerhead any time soon.

    Besides, without being on-line, you cant take part in screwing over your neighbor. Yes, it would be nice if I could play it without having to be on-line, but its not a realistic option, and thus, Ill likely buy it.

  26. jezcentral says:

    This was why I didn’t buy Anno 2070.

    • Khemm says:

      Except Anno 2070 is fully playable offline, so you’re hopelessly misinformed.

      • RedViv says:

        I would not use “fully” in this case.

        • Khemm says:

          I understand your point of view, but Anno features an optional (key word-optional) enhanced online mode, which revolves around your Ark. It’s your avatar in the online realm, it’s almost MMO-like, it wouldn’t work in single player mode.
          My point is, the game can be finished entirely offline from start to finish. They had to give players some incentive to go online and some people bitch about as if it was always-online. It isn’t.

          • Khemm says:

            @jezcentral
            I was able to play HoMMVI and Anno offline during the server migration. Online modes and profiles weren’t available for obvious reasons, but those who chose offline mode from the start were 100% unaffected.
            Those links prove nothing and actually misinform people.

          • Milky1985 says:

            From the details I have heard, the offline mode was patched in , and the issue comes from an online profile having issues when the servers were down, you could have offline profiles and online profiles but online had to be online.

            Kinda like EA’s cerburus network stuff, if your save had DLC and you went offline you could not play that save (cause it coudln’t validate the DLC)

          • jezcentral says:

            In that case, Khemm, I’ll take your word for it. The sad thing is that reports like those ones I linked to are how a lot of people saw the DRM for the game, as that was what was being said about it. And unfortunately, the fact it is a Ubisoft game is enough to make people believve anything about the DRM. However, I’ll concede I was wrong to think there was always-on DRM.

            EDIT: That chimes with how I remember it, Milky1985. I just don’t have enough interest in the game to go back and check now. :(

  27. bglamb says:

    If you’re gonna do always-on DRM you gotta do it like Diablo and have the game be essentially uncrackable due to running on a server their end. Then it makes sense as it completely nullifies piracy.

    Anything else just seems like a waste of time.

    • rocketman71 says:

      Then it makes sense as it completely nullifies piracy.

      No, it doesn’t. Look at the D3 server emu.

      If anything, it nullifies sales. Mine, to begin with.

    • LionsPhil says:

      At that stage, you may as well just make it an OnLive exclusive.

  28. bbl says:

    Why such a fury? It’s basically an online game with a client on your hard drive. If the very same game had been named it “SimCity Online” nobody would have called for an offline mode.

    At least in my memory, there was no time when World of Warcraft players complained that they cannot play the game in the desert or on their grandparent’s laptop.

    • Kucd says:

      Only it isn’t called SC online, it’s called SC.

    • bglamb says:

      Except that this is obviously not an online game. It’s a SP game with small, tacked on multi-player features which will most likely be able to be disabled anyway.

  29. Phinor says:

    News like this usually saves me money. So I guess it’s good news.

  30. briktal says:

    It’s a bold creative move, though I can see how the Entitled Gamer would throw a fit. If you think about SimCity, “connectivity” is always present. You connect utilities to zones, zones to other zones and even cities to other cities. Connecting your game to other games is the logical conclusion of this theme.

    • Kucd says:

      Because SimCity has always been known as a multiplayer game!

      Wait, what?

      It’s sad to see people still throwing around the gamer entitlement card as if it means anything. They remind me of this picture:

      http://i.imgur.com/1SbnQ.png

      If anything publishers are feeling too entitled to our money without giving us any reasons to do so.

      • derbefrier says:

        so what if the previous titles were not multiplayer. This one is, that is all there is too it. i dont get what point your trying to make with a statement like that. we all know the previous games were not multiplayer but those games are old. this game is new. its called innovation. do you have a problem with innovation in the industry? I can understand not liking always online but saying a game cant go online simply because the older games didnt is stupid, especially if the online components give a meaningful experience.

    • RedViv says:

      It is a bold way to go, but they need not include always-on DRM. The potential customers are only throwing a fit because the game might do the same when there is any kind of problem with the connection, from whatever source.

    • bladedsmoke says:

      I dislike it when people misuse the word “entitled.”

      • Pointless Puppies says:

        I like it. It lets me know who to put on my ignore list, since the words “entitled gamer” being seriously used generally translates to “I don’t have an actual argument, so I’ll just use meaningless buzzwords”.

  31. Khemm says:

    Everything I’m reading here directly contradicts what has been said merely two weeks ago:
    http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=466433

    Are we sure someone hasn’t twisted Librande’s words to attract more hits?
    Please get in touch with Maxis/EA, we need a clarification on this issue.

    • RedViv says:

      That’s the only thing I remembered about the matter at hand. Quite taken aback by the drastic change myself, if it is one, and would be happy if they could clear this up.

    • Milky1985 says:

      Did you read the neogaf post?

      I’m just copying from the sutff that has been quoted there – “Games like SimCity are “data-driven,” meaning it will only require “small upload bandwidth” to have a continuous gaming experience.”

      This says to me “its online but don’t worry its not much bandwidth.”

      Also

      “And while online is a key feature for SimCity, Maxis has implemented an asynchronous server model, so that there’s “no reliance on a dedicated live server” in order to continue playing the game. That’s a philosophy that Ubisoft would best learn from.”

      This to me sounds VERY different to doesn’t have to be online. If anything it kinda confirms the online required. This basically means that if the one main big central central server goes down you can still play as its connected to the other servers it needs still. I suspect it will be ok if they power off certain servers for a while but still play.

      Basically reading that makes me more inclinded to think that always online is going to happen :(

  32. wccrawford says:

    Well, if I wait long enough after launch, not only will the price drop, but this ridiculous requirement will go away, too. Oh, and it’ll have mod support.

    Seriously, WTF are they thinking? Maybe they could pile on a few more reasons not to buy it at launch.

    • Yammo says:

      -”Well, if I wait long enough after launch, not only will the price drop, but this ridiculous requirement will go away, too. Oh, and it’ll have mod support.”

      No…
      When that happens, EA will just stop supporting the game, thus preventing anyone from playing the game, period.

    • Apples says:

      If you wait about five minutes after launch (or possibly before launch), pirates will probably have removed it. Not much chance of it being officially removed no matter how long you wait though.

  33. Yammo says:

    While I play 99.9% online, sim-city isn’t an online game, period. I’m betting any online functionality they force on this IP, will end up feeling awkward, lame and useless.

    Speculation aside, here is a fact:
    Origin will never touch my system…
    +1 Lost sale

  34. rocketman71 says:

    Always on DRM + Origin = Guaranteed no buy from me.

    Bravo, EA. Keep shooting yourselves in the foot, idiots.

  35. Roarster says:

    So what happens to my game when EA inevitably turn off the servers? No more game, I assume?

    • MiniMatt says:

      Exactly – Sim City 4 is nine years old and people still play it. In fact the passion people have for still playing it is precisely the reason Sim City 5 looks – or rather looked – like a sure fire hit to fund.

      Business in the middle of a recession is unstable.

      The gaming industry in particular is renowned for it’s instability.

      Will EA still exist in 9 years time? Probably but by no means certainly.
      Will EA still exist as EA and not EA-Acti-Blizz-Soft Conglomerate PLC? Perhaps less likely.
      Will EA still care to pay the server infrastructure to maintain Sim City 5 when it’s gathering no new sales and Sim City 7,8,9 are due to launch? Personally, I’m skeptical.

      • RedViv says:

        The latter is the biggest problem I have with EA and online games.

  36. Zaxwerks says:

    A shame, but no biggy, I just won’t buy it. I still have Sim City4 + Rush Hour and Cities XL 2011 to scratch my city building itch.

    I haven’t bought a single Ubisoft game since they introduced their “always on insanity” and I’m never short of games to play, in fact I’ve still got over 30 games sitting on my “to be played” pile at the moment, and I’m an avid gamer who spends hundreds if not thousands of pounds on games each year.

    What is sad is that these companies are just damaging their relationship with their customers by doing this, and once you do that it is very hard to win them back again, at this point Ubisoft could give away a pink unicorn with every game and adopt an orphan each time they sold one and I’d still think the company was the scum of the earth who were just doing it for a marketing stunt. They are going to have to work a lot harder before they win my trust back.

    If EA want to join them in feeling my wrath then so be it! Mwah-ha-ha!!!!

  37. Maldomel says:

    This would be fine if we had access to internet all the time. Meanwhile, it is a fairly impairing feature, for customers and also for EA.

  38. Fitzmogwai says:

    I’ve said it before and I have no doubt that I’ll say it again. What the fuck is wrong with these people?

  39. CKScientist says:

    >when I’m a soldier stationed in a desert

    You would be a terrible soldier.

    • Dozer says:

      Why would you say that? John’s only known as being a terrible healer (in the situations when his patient won’t stay on the operating table).

      • Milky1985 says:

        I heard that Johns a very good healer, but the people he heals are not very good at BEING healed.

        Basically its the tanks fault.

  40. thegooseking says:

    It’s a matter of trust.

    I’m not taken in by the “product vs. service” argument, because I think it’s on the whole rather meaningless. A game is an experience long before it’s either a product or a service. The one part of it that does have meaning is that ‘products’ offer a higher guarantee of access to the experience one has paid for. This doesn’t mean we have to think of it as a ‘product’ in other ways, but we do want this guarantee.

    EA has not given us sufficient reason to trust that we’ll have that guarantee. Just saying “trust us” isn’t really enough, especially in the light of recent high-profile ban-happiness resulting in people losing access to their games. A business like EA must surely understand that consumer confidence plays a big role in sales, and they are simply not doing enough to foster that confidence.

  41. Blackcompany says:

    Avoided Anno for this reason. Badly wanted to play it – as did my girl – but the DRM made it a no-go. Now perhaps the DRM scheme has changed for Anno, I don’t know….but we have moved on to better games that do not require always-online DRM to play.
    .
    Same for Sim City. Was planning on purchasing the game. 100% guaranteed I would have, in fact.
    .
    But not now. Not with always-online DRM mandated. And especially not with always-on Origin mandated.
    .
    It is my fondest wish, however, that EA continue all three of their “popular” practices: Mandatory Origin; Always online DRM; Samey, generic games every year. This way, they will only continue to plague gaming for a little longer and then will simply go away from lack of sales.

    • Khemm says:

      What scared you away from Anno? Always-online mode which is totally optional?
      First world problems…

    • Enikuo says:

      I didn’t buy Anno 2070 of Settlers 7 b/c of they locked away single-player content (ark buffs) in online mode and requiring always-online connections for Settlers. It is a first-world problem, and it’s my money.

      @Khemm – You sound like a paid marketer. I don’t know that you are, but your rabid defense of Anno 2070 makes me not trust what you have to say about it at all.

      • Edlennion says:

        Actually, I agree with Khemm, I think Anno actually had pretty decent DRM (aside from an activation being used when the graphics card is changed, which they fixed, and having to install the Ubisoft launcher, which I don’t mind).

        As I see it, Anno 2070 had exactly what people are clamouring for: bonuses to incentivise being online (like the daily quests, voting in the Senate and the Ark persistence) while still allowing the game to be played offline.

        It’s not perfect (for me it has to try to log in twice before realising it’s offline), but it seems like a step in the right direction, especially given Ubisoft’s track record.

  42. Cigol says:

    EA like to do this so they can turn off the servers in two or more years forcing you to buy the newest iteration.

  43. Stupoider says:

    Origin? Always online? No mods? Inevitable DLC packs?

    Well. You raised my hopes and dashed them, EA.

    Trying to negotiate with EA has proven time and time again to be a futile effort. At least I can go back to Sim City 4.

  44. Bluerps says:

    Yeah, this lowers the appeal of the game quite a bit, for me. My Internet connection is pretty good, but it’s still down occasionally. Also, SimCity will probably be a game which I’d love to play on a laptop, and in that case there often is no Internet available at all.

    I think I would still buy the game (if it is as good as it currently looks like), but not at release and not at full price.

  45. TooNu says:

    I was REALLY Looking forward to this, honestly. And now it’s play through Origin and piss about DRM shite. Fuck EA, I’ve really had it with their 2nd rate service and their business.

  46. Tuskin38 says:

    I’m still buying it, I’m rarely NOT online. If I am, I’ll just play Sim Sity 4

  47. scudly says:

    Something about his comments don’t seem right. I can understand wanting to always be connected to send out data, just like you would in any MP game. But I have a feeling his words were misunderstood or something because there’s no way they’d make a game like SimCity and absolutely require it to be connected to the internet to function.

    I have a feeling if this story gets some traction we may get a clarification though.

  48. derbefrier says:

    Don’t care still buying it. I love sim city way to much to get angry over something that won’t bother me anyway . Also for those that aren’t buying it be sure to let EA know why simply not buying it doesn’t really get the message to them since they can’t read your minds….yet.

  49. pilouuuu says:

    This is really sad. I’m already skipping Diablo III. It’ll be a shame if this turn out to be true.

  50. mmalove says:

    This sort of thing puts a game journal in a hard spot: I’d say the best thing RPS could do from here on out if they want to protest this decision is to pledge NOT to offer further coverage (reviews, previews, WOTs, Judgeds ) for SimCity 5. But, I understand not all RPS readers feel this way, and they have an obligation (and financial incentive) to cater to all readers.