There has been a rumor floating around a ton lately. According to rumors the next generation machines will block used games entirely. One of the ways to do that? Well having always on console of course. Luckily Sony already somewhat denied the rumors being true at all, but Microsoft still has to announce their console and also has patents to do so.
Well lucky for every gamer out there, EA seems to have ruined the idea entirely with one simple release of a game. The game being Sim City, and tons of us were extremely excited for this game to release. If you are not a Sim City fan you probably let it slide by, but for us this was huge. Sadly the game is entirely broken.
Normally if a game is broken is due to some glitch that you can get over until they release a patch. In this case it isn’t that. Instead it would have been entirely avoidable (100 percent) if EA didn’t want to include always on DRM to milk the game of money. Pirates can be a problem, but having this always on connection worried many people. Yet there were those that defended it by stating “well every gamer has their PC online anyways” and even EA stated “don’t worry about it.” Yet a small group of us was entirely right, it broke the game.
Nearly 3 days into the launch of the game and people are still literally unable to play the game due to “server issues” with the DRM inserted in the game. Sure DRM at times may possibly (possibly) stop a few pirates, but at the end of the day look who is getting punished. The consumers, the fans, the people that waited years for a game to release then threw down over 50 to 60 dollars for the game. The same consumers you are going to milk with DLC releases that they will gladly buy. The same customers that will go around telling other people to buy your game.
This seems to almost always happen. The DRM ruins a game for the fans, meanwhile pirates hack away finding any loophole possible. 9 times out of 10 they find the hole and the issues that came from DRM were entirely useless. There will always be an issue until a new solution is brought about. When required always on DRM and cross checking, you have a long list of hoops the consumer that paid for the game has to jump through. If it isn’t the server being over loaded by millions of players, it’s a user traveling, switching an OS, or building a new PC. If you find a solution to that, then other issues will (and do) arise. At the end of the day the customer is the one being punished. Will that same customer be able to play his single player Sim City game years from now when EA no longer feels like keeping the DRM servers online or wants to release Sim City 2? What happens if EA is forced to close their doors? Do our copies of the game go down with them?
At the end of the day the publishers need to ask a simple question. Will stopping a few pirates from stealing a game they never intend to buy be worth screwing over millions of die hard fans? Look at what EA, and last year Blizzard/Activision, have gone through because of this. Yet they keep doing it, so what gives? It does nothing but make your fans angry and people look at a game in a negative light. So far SimCity has had a 2/10 rating Metacritic simply due to the corrupted DRM issues. I bet if that was gone the story would be entirely different.
The overall question is does Sony and Microsoft seriously want totake this risk and shove it into the core of a machine, let alone the games themselves? There are many times PSN goes down for maintance, will we not be allowed to play during those hours? Will we be forced to pay for Xbox Live to simply play a game, let alone play it online? There is a line that shouldn’t be crossed, it divides your paying fans from those that won’t buy you game anyways.
Dustin has been a journalist for the past 6 years. Writing for gaming based websites and attending film school, he has brought his interest to The Movie Pool, PushStartSelect, and now Cinelinx.