Jimquisition: SimShitty

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poiumty:
Heh. Piracy is sadfortunately not an option as it'll at least take a good long while until there's Sim City server emulation.

See that's the thing about online DRM: with all its colossal failures, EA still has something to be happy about - the nullifying of piracy within the first few weeks.

Yea but thing is, I wonder how many gamers will eventually figure "well, I can't play it for the first few weeks anyway" may as well wait until I can play it without the DRM.

I did kind of want to play SimCity but I knew this stuff was going to happen, so I didn't buy it.

I haven't really had the hotts for a game that has DRM but I remember struggling when Skyrim came out: knowing that it wasn't going to work properly until they patch it a few times. So, as much as I wanted to play it, I waited. I ended up waiting a while because I had other things to play but by the time I got around to it, it was working and I got it for around $20; don't remember exactly.

What really pisses me off is that Maxis really only went this route because of the Sims 3 pirating debacle.

Remember, Spore was their last foray into this DRM madness and it went -very- poorly for them, culminating in a concession of not adding DRM to S3... Only for it to be pirated at a much faster rate than Spore.

Really though, their assessment of going the opposite route and putting even -more- invasive DRM smacks of a lack of perspective; people didn't pirate Sims 3 for its lack of DRM, they pirated it because the Sims franchise is a blatant money grab.

I'm sorry, I bought the original Sims, I bought every expansion; as a kid, I would dump what little allowance I could get on the series, only for all that investment to be rendered moot come Sims 2. I just stopped at that point, but that doesn't mean they didn't do the same thing for S2 as they did for the original--pump out expansion after expansion.

By Sims 3, people were just fed up, they were ostensibly wasting their money on the franchise, so why even bother buying it anymore? Of course, Maxis interpreted this as a fault on their -fanbase- and not themselves, so instead opted to beleaguer the people still paying them than call themselves on their own fault, it's actually quite sickening when you think about it.

Every programmer worth their salary knows, that whatever you code up, you must not rely on any kind of network connection whatsoever, for obvious reasons. You have to actively build in safety measures to minimize the risk of any data loss.

It doesn't surprise me that marketing / upper management doesn't get that though. So an always-on requirement makes perfectly sense, right?

But yeah, the best thing you can do is to delay your purchase until the first dust has settled. The major bugs will have been fixed within a couple of weeks, and being a PC game, you may even be able to get it a little bit cheaper than at release.

I don't see how waiting two weeks would be important. The first two weeks is what matters to the publisher NOW but if a large portion of people reliably hold off on always-online games than they'll start caring about the rest of the month for those games.

Honestly, at this point if you don't have anything interesting to say on the subject, why even say anything at all? I knew the contents of this video before even loading it. I don't need Jim Sterling to tell me this is fucked up and bad, I can see that.

Is there anyone who's surprised by what's in this video?

I knew long before it launched that this would happen, and that it's not going to be worth the money as a result. I didn't need to buy it first to find that out.

Did anyone not know that? For real? And if you knew it and bought the game anyway, why? And why bitch about it? You got exactly what you expected to get. Don't act ripped off. You can complain about how retarded EA is for throwing away their business like this, but you can't legitimately complain that you feel ripped off.

Airon:
A decent tech discussion here:

http://www.reddit.com/r/SimCity/comments/19yoxk/simcity5_does_not_have_to_be_online/

and here

http://www.reddit.com/r/SimCity/comments/19xx7d/trying_some_technical_analysis_of_the_server/

Jim delivered a good treatment of the complete fiasco, which will not be the last splash in the fecis pool of bad DRM. Quite temperate compared to some, and to a very good point I shall keep in mind.

Man, could I go for a Humble Bundle now. I'm certainly not getting a SimBurger.

Wow... so it does work offline and they aren't going to let people play offline? I was under the impression the design of the game itself made it dependent on server side software, but not like some kind of timed bomb going off that forces people off the game if they aren't connected. At least the popcorn festival continues unabated.

It's not just that the DRM fuck with you being able to play the game. It also utterly destroyed the mechanics of the game. Now because of this server side DRM there is a huge lag between your cities and cities are completely unable to cooperate.

So basically the entire justification of having this DRM, the MP, is fucked up the ass because the DRM makes the MP unplayable. It will take up to 10-20 minutes for one change to register, if it registers at all, and cities are completely incapable of communicating beyond basic things like power, water and sewage.

Good job EA AND Maxis. Screwed the pooch on that one.

I should have posted this earlier.

Sim City 2000 was on top of the list for several days after the release of SimCity.

I knew this was going to be a good video. Nice work Jim.

Honestly, I feel I've been ignorant about judging what so many people like. I didn't know so many people were interested in Sim City. I hope the game (or rather its infrastructure) improves over the next few weeks so people can enjoy it.

But I have to agree with Jim, if we really want to stick it to these publishers we should just wait a few weeks before getting our hands on the new titles. Maybe revisit the old steam library while we wait? Two weeks really isn't that long anyway.

There is no 'free market' as long as copyright continues to exist.

DVS BSTrD:
The customer should not be afraid of their publishers
The publishers should be a afraid of the customer.

J for Justice
coming soon to a theater near you

I'd watch that movie. Got a poster for it?
Back to the video, I'll join the choir and sing along to "THAT"S BULLSHIT!" There's the fatal flaw in the always online model: THEIR servers aren't always providing service! Ding ding ding ding! Huzzah! If EA and the publishers copying them aren't lying weasels, they're incompetent boobs (the bad kind of boobs).

I agree with what you say Jim, it's just I don't think we'll quite see the revolution we are all hoping for. :(

Another stellar episode, Jim.

Great suggestion at the end - it's true that the first two weeks of a game's launch are it's most vital, so waiting is a wonderful option that I have utilized a few times before; particularly for Diablo 3.

I hate to say this, because as much as I love video games and would never want to see developer's tossed out because of it, the market probably needs to crash again so that publishers will go back to valuing the customer instead of making us jump through hoops to prove we didn't steal from them. A company should exist to cater to it's consumers, not the reverse. This generation, with DLC now in full swing, has probably been the worst about this. Always setting rules, stipulations, online passes, and trying to eradicate anyway other way for you to play the game other than giving them $60 for a product that may or may not be broken. I understand that piracy is a huge problem, but this has gone far beyond piracy counter-measures.

Of course, at the end of the day, the best solution is the simplest; just don't buy games with always online DRM.

Well I am going to go ahead and kick starting a shit storm but it has to be said. This kind of business practice that attempts to enforce control leaving the companies as the only legitimate authority is a direct Analogy to the way the catholic church runs its business.

Where fun and enjoyment of life is not the objective and in fact it is frowned upon, but if you absolutely must go out and enjoy sex, drugs, and rock and roll you need to come to the church(the sanctioned authority) and pay them and beg for forgiveness.

When I say Analogy I am speaking in a taxonomic literal sense. You do not need to bow to an authority to have your fun and enjoy games just as Jim suggested. Yarh but why don't you scallywags buy ye ol'games on steam when they go on sell? Then you can wait to hear reviews and don't have to be waiting in line at ye ol'gamestop. Not that there be any other options out thar.

iba4 someone says I do not understand how organized religion works: O I do I really do. The perfect prison is the one you are put in charge of.

One of the best.

Jimquisition has reached a peak of vision and presentation. Keep it up Mr Stirling.

Jimothy Sterling:
SimShitty

DRM is back again, and it's here to stay! Games are a service, so we're told, but who do they really serve?

Watch Video

3:28 Agreed. "A man chooses. A slave obeys." Which are you,SimCity players? 4:12 They WILLINGLY chose to do this anyway! 5:06 Mmhmm. They all know their players will come back. It sickens me. 6:22 It'll be a joyous occassion. They fear us,huh? Good.

dbenoy:
There is no 'free market' as long as copyright continues to exist.

Second that notion. In the age where ideas are shared ubiquitously across the world copyrights seem arcane at best. Not exclusively owning an idea will not cause an artist to starve. In fact it will protect them and allow them to always be able to use their idea without fear of a company telling them they do not own their own creations. Creative people do not have trouble finding work because they are valued for their creativity and not their intellectual property.

Damnit Jim!

I wanted to make a "couldn't possibly comment" comment about the video (after seeing the House Of Cards image), and then you went and said it at the end.

And on that note, if you haven't watched it, I do recommend the American version too. It's quite good too.

Finally, on the actual topic of the episode, I agree.

Loved the video up until the end.

Ballsy intonation regarding piracy.... very ballsy.

Theft is never an answer though.

Minus the spat at the start, a lot more eloquent and charismatic, Jim.
Keep this up!

Ashoten:

dbenoy:
There is no 'free market' as long as copyright continues to exist.

Second that notion. In the age where ideas are shared ubiquitously across the world copyrights seem arcane at best. Not exclusively owning an idea will not cause an artist to starve. In fact it will protect them and allow them to always be able to use their idea without fear of a company telling them they do not own their own creations. Creative people do not have trouble finding work because they are valued for their creativity and not their intellectual property.

Sure they will be valued and praised and given great jobs, but unfortunately they wont get paid.
Please describe me how an artist is going to get paid if his creations are available for everyone for free. Where is the money to pay them will be coming from? Do you expect them to live on donations?
And why restrict this only to copyrights? Being an artist is a job like any other. Everyone should be doing their jobs for free and relying on the praise and social value they get from a job well done.

I have mixed feelings on the piracy issue. On one hand, there's every indication that Maxis has created a great game, and simply pirating a great game and not supporting the developers that made it is not sitting well with me. On the other hand, the game is not what we have a problem with. It's the service that's the issue, and that's EA's turf.

It would be nice if there was a way to support the developers who make the game without supporting the service that's latched on and crippling it like a cancerous tumor.

jehk:
Jim, do you think always online games just shouldn't exist?

I don't know about him (I have a feeling that he says yes), but I'll pitch in.

There are two massive barriers to online play; servers and other human beings.

I'm not a misanthrope like Yahtzee, I mean that online games are reliant on the presence of other human beings, which in turn relies on the servers being reliant and active at all times and the interest of the players. If either one of these is not present, it is useless and you have wasted your money on the product. Given the fact that EA simply doesn't care and even seems to have an active hatred of its userbase, the servers won't be operating for long and they don't care about servicing the servers.

I'm not certain largely because I am not familiar with MMORPGs, but I will say that being offline should always be an option. Even with WOW, (I don't know if they have it or not) I think that there should be an option of to have AI enemies.

Even without mandatory connection, poor design can also decimate an online audience. Such was the case for Aliens Versus Predator. The lobbies are controlled by one person and are not on a timer, meaning that you are at their mercy. Because the game wasn't popular enough, the leaders would sit there waiting for a full lobby ignorant of the fact that it simply wasn't possible. You can't do anything but hope that they would clue in, which was never the case. I swear that there were people who set up lobbies for laughs to make people waste their time. The fact that you can't join a game in-session certainly did not help.

In other words, online gaming already has 2 very difficult barriers and adding a third one for no good reason is not going to help it. Sim City is one game where online is nice to have, but far from necessary. Sim City 4 is my example.

Costia:

Ashoten:

dbenoy:
There is no 'free market' as long as copyright continues to exist.

Second that notion. In the age where ideas are shared ubiquitously across the world copyrights seem arcane at best. Not exclusively owning an idea will not cause an artist to starve. In fact it will protect them and allow them to always be able to use their idea without fear of a company telling them they do not own their own creations. Creative people do not have trouble finding work because they are valued for their creativity and not their intellectual property.

Sure they will be valued and praised and given great jobs, but unfortunately they wont get paid.
Please describe me how an artist is going to get paid if his creations are available for everyone for free. Where is the money to pay them will be coming from? Do you expect them to live on donations?
And why restrict this only to copyrights? Being an artist is a job like any other. Everyone should be doing their jobs for free and relying on the praise and social value they get from a job well done.

Yes they should rely on donations......what did you expect me to back down? People can broker resources when they realize the value of their product. There are plenty of people on crowd funding, you-tube, blip, and the internet in general that make a decent living off of donations. Because the reward motivation system for human creativity is at its peek when a person is working for the sake of being creative. Rewards actually diminish the overall product when profit becomes the objective. Capitalism works up to a point but it also needs to be reigned in or only the wealthy will have creative freedom.

MailOrderClone:
I have mixed feelings on the piracy issue. On one hand, there's every indication that Maxis has created a great game, and simply pirating a great game and not supporting the developers that made it is not sitting well with me. On the other hand, the game is not what we have a problem with. It's the service that's the issue, and that's EA's turf.

It would be nice if there was a way to support the developers who make the game without supporting the service that's latched on and crippling it like a cancerous tumor.

nice theory but:
https://twitter.com/simcity/statuses/310490053803646976

this is on Maxis. EA does not force design upon us. We own it, we are working 24/7 to fix it, and we are making progress

I hate all online DRM because NOT EVERYONE HAS THE INTERNET nor should they. I remember when Half Life 2 came out and not being able to play because I couldn't get the net. I could afford the PC but not the net at the time. Also if my modem or connection goes the last thing that I want to go with is my games.

Don't get my wrong I love my internet and can't imagine life without it, but at times it's not always there, and having a PC without internet is like having a burger without meat, but at least I can still play games on it right.

I feel that once I buy something it's mines to use without the publishers permission.

I guess the peeps who made the latest Aliens game are breathing a sigh of PR relief. This all comes down to accounting with EA/Maxis: It will cost us X to deliver a quality product at launch but it will only cost us Y plus the cost of PR Z to deliver a broken product that people will buy anyway. If I was a corporate accountant I would play it out exactly like EA.

Sorry, EA I don't have any more disposable income to buy your 60$ game after I donated to the wasteland 2, planescape, civitas and doublefine kickstarters... not to mention all the good indie games from greenlight and humblebundles. My plate is full.

Costia:

Ashoten:

dbenoy:
There is no 'free market' as long as copyright continues to exist.

Second that notion. In the age where ideas are shared ubiquitously across the world copyrights seem arcane at best. Not exclusively owning an idea will not cause an artist to starve. In fact it will protect them and allow them to always be able to use their idea without fear of a company telling them they do not own their own creations. Creative people do not have trouble finding work because they are valued for their creativity and not their intellectual property.

Sure they will be valued and praised and given great jobs, but unfortunately they wont get paid.
Please describe me how an artist is going to get paid if his creations are available for everyone for free. Where is the money to pay them will be coming from? Do you expect them to live on donations?
And why restrict this only to copyrights? Being an artist is a job like any other. Everyone should be doing their jobs for free and relying on the praise and social value they get from a job well done.

1. Jobs of any kind are not actually connected to survival. That we humans have a fetish for this kind of thing, is our own problem a purely mental one at that.

2. The artist is in possession of a skill, the skill is valuable because not everyone has it. The productions requiring said skill were never the thing of value as far as the artist was concerned, his or her skill was.
An artist who thinks that his or her productions are the thing to monetize is simply doing it wrong. It is not the job of consumers of his or her productions (Commodities that are subject to mass production.) to shield him or her from this by kneecapping themselves.

And this, boys and girls, is why the AAA industry is dead to me.

poiumty:
See that's the thing about online DRM: with all its colossal failures, EA still has something to be happy about - the nullifying of piracy within the first few weeks.

But then there is no reason at all to not patch out the DRM as soon as rips appear on torrent sites.

DRM cannot serve any other anti-piracy purpose and the problem with piracy isn't in the first few weeks, it's from the long tail. The initial marketing splurge tends to draw people into stores and onto official websites. But as the weeks turn into months and years they find them on torrent sites more often.

If the publishers had more sense than pride, they'd put demos on torrent sites and artificially boost them to have highest seeds. It's still a demo but it's a compact file that downloads quickly, and the demo teases them by promising a chance to get the game legit with perks like transferable saves and maybe special achievements or in game treats like a personal thank-you from the devs for supporting the industry.

A thing just happened that I will henceforth call JIMCEPTION.
BWOOOOOONG
The idea of piracy has been planted. Now the idea could grow, spread to other, likeminded individuals.
I'm not saying that piracy is a good thing, but that just happened. I, as a gamer, would never resort to piracy, but as a gamer of limited means, have not contributed to EA's coffers in some time. No. My money will be going to 2k in about 2 weeks.

PainInTheAssInternet:
I will say that being offline should always be an option.

Why? Why can't there be games for people who can overcome these barriers? Why can't we have offline single player only games, online multiplayer only games, or games that do both?

Zachary Amaranth:
The biggest problem in this argument is that the free market generally continues to favour bullshit practices.

Best of the 3:
I was not around back then so I can't really say.

Sure you can. It's called history. There's enough data out there that you can reasonably draw a conclusion.

The thing is, people have been calling for a crash for over a decade, ever since someone drew some specious correlation between gaming in the pre-crash market and now, and they'll predict it for another 200 years if that's what it takes. Why? the same reason people predicted the end of the world in 2012. People love to be prognosticators.

Really liked this post, thought I would chime in and comment... having of watched the same video earlier this morning and coming away with the same conclusions.

Now, I haven't watched the whole video you embedded, but it already sort of comes off like Zeitgeist or Loose Change.

You didn't miss much.

While the creator is correct that ET didn't cause the crash alone, he's incorrect on multiple levels. The game itself was part of a handful of titles that did more damage through overspeculation than any consumer backlash could ever hope to do: Simply, the companies behind them thought they would sell better than they had any indicator of previously and gambled on what was then a much more expensive production process.

Very true, the notion comes back to inflationary business models. Borrowing money at X rate, and growing that invest at X+return, outpacing the debt. One of the biggest differences (having of been around during the bubble popping) was that like any market, there were competitive markets in place in which "video games" where emerging into. Specifically the toys and table top gaming. The PC market during this time frame was demonstrably not affected by the console issues suffered by Atari, Coleco, and some others. Coleco - COnnecticut LEather COmpany was clearly diversified. (Amiga) Commodore 64 was the place to be anyways if one was serious about the hobby. The PC remaining relatively stable or negligible during the 2-3 year dry patch. (Which as I recall... was about all it was).

Right off the top of my head there was a Dry Patch after Doom 3... probably think of some more.

Contrast this with the current gaming market. SimCity alone should tell you that they tend to plan for a minimalist sort of deal, underinvesting rather than overinsvesting. He brings up Pac-Man, granted to bitch about the programming. What he ignores is that the game actually sold quite well, and there was no consumer backlash. People ate the game up like people ate games up before. However, the game sold poorly in relation to number of copies manufactured, a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THING that negates his thesis entirely.

It was this certainly. Played the beta/demo and having of seen it in action SimCity, is Sim's in a City neighborhood. It is it's own product that pulls at nostalgia more than it satisfies as a competent city builder. Reinstalling Sim City 4, for a cursory comparison (with the NAM) mod, reveals just how "feature lite" SimCity is. Reminds me a lot of this:

image VS. image

It's not a bad game, but as a comparison there really isn't one... they are not even close, totally different design focus and philosophy. The kinds of problems which SimCity has are very similar to those of Railroads... shortcut design which lead to systems colliding.

He then dishonestly treats the quality of gaming as though it plunged suddenly, when the truth is that was never the case.

Nope, that was never the case at all. 1984 had Gauntlet released for Atari 8 bit, which ostensibly IS the model in which all loot grinders follow. If anything what we see here is one of the examples of streamlining a more sophisticated product into the home market. For the video's argument to really stick the landing the major publishers would have to be releasing "Proteus" in the line up. Which they are clearly not.

Enough about that, though. I don't know when I'll finish the video. What I do know is that video games are big business now, and a big business that plays conservatively. Bad games tend to get put out because they will sell, as did SimCity. Even AVPCM was brought out in no small part due to the risk to the license if it didn't come out, and it was crap mostly because of issues of fraud from the looks of things. Hell, we see the same thing in movie franchises all the time, and nobody's serious about a film crash.

Looking at the Japanese system "to the rescue", again there really wasn't much in the way (and to this day not much in the way) of a PC market in Japan. Japan didn't really have an Atari bubble, simply by starting in an 8-bit era and having most of the leg work (that is the developer's copied US PC) out of the way.

The PS4 makes sense... in Japan, but Japan has little to no PC marketplace.

If the video wanted to make a case it is that their is an industry wide recession which is coupled to the double and triple dip recessions of world markets. We are in the crash... we are looking at it. I think he "realizes" that about mid way, and then attempts a slippery slope to suggest that EA and others will not climb out of the hole under the DLC and shovel-ware model.

Most the major players saw this coming miles away, which is one of the reasons there are "key" IP with DLC and shovel-ware models attached to them. It doubled as both a way to limit on disc content and sell a used copy owner material digitally, but additionally allowed for further investment into products that would of normally been abandoned for a sequel.

That said, it does not surprise me to see John Carmack looking into new peripherals as a direction for escaping the generic and stymied limitations of current systems. The vast majority of titles today are being developed using off the shelf engines and design.

image

The video also try's to make a case for "Valve" doing everything right which is extremely debatable, but ultimately reinforces the original situation... PC never went away coupled with many of Valve products riding on the CS or derivative engine which is a rebuild or re-imagining of the Quake engine, which is taught at the University level.

What "I" suspect is really happening is a sharing of patents/technology between Micro$lop and $ony for the purposes of API to utilize 6-8 core threading on the Sony system as well as the kinect architecture. In exchange Sony lets Microsoft have Blu-Ray. Basically these consoles will be little more than dressed up HTPCs branded by their perspective leash holders and marketed/trimmed in such a way as they will resemble "rental" units, like a cable box, or a leased car.

And why not? Count how many people one knows and then count how many "out of" those people who actually "own" their car... out right.

Video gaming as a hobby on the low end of the economic scale "needs" to be priced accordingly to keep the rising cost affordable and competitive with the middle and upper middle class "PC". It wouldn't surprise me if the newer systems have "rentals" built into them and all sorts of other parasitic "nominal cost" features.

Additionally there is simply no "replacement" for the hobby as it stands today.

There is little to no "toy" market which isn't already tied into games, there is no "car" market without including the vast majority of lien and lease mobiles, there are major pullbacks in most physical mediums and hobbies, most of which are price gated anyways, which is what drove the home consumer electronics in the first place.

If the hand held phones had to be out-n-out purchased, that market would be where tumble weeds gathered.

To wax nostalgic Origin (games) where known for being "upgrade" titles, that is one "upgraded" one's PC to play it... those days are all but gone, gone and forgotten.

It's not just the console manufacturers scratching their heads but Nvidia and AMD are also questioning the future.

There is simply little to no market for 1000 dollar video cards when there are no titles that come close to utilizing 1000 dollar video cards... such as the GTX Titan. (which will SLi, unfortunately SimCity does not support that feature). Nice! =D

I guess I end on the saying "prepare to be bored". It's not just video games, a lot of industries (entertainment proper is no exception) is in a gulf of saturation, and diminishing returns (parasitic infestation of small developers).

Leading to more reserved projects which are financially manageable. The way to move forward is to get into a lend-lease-debt model for the majority of consumer. It would not surprise me in the slightest to see the new consoles to have "direct lease" agreements at launch.

2c anyways... Nice post again BTW.

Seeing this makes me very apprehensive for how Heart of the Swarm and more to the point Command & Conquer (the upcoming F2P version) are going to turn out. We refuse to get our hopes up for either of them given Company track records.

(Fortunately, Play.Com has delayed my copy of HOTS, so I may be able to cancel if things turn into another Diablo III X3)

Also, inb4 real sympathizers show up.

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