Maxis Developer Denies Need For Single-Player SimCity Servers

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Desert Punk:

Holy god man, paragraphs! :P

sorry, train of thought, interrupted by a boss twice, so yeah :(

yeah this sniffing does seem to indicate that. which makes it quote odd, as that would mean that high profile crackers are taking a moral stand by not making a version of it available yet. That is not to be expected of them though. Unless it really is some strange machinarium thing that they finally managed to make just enough online service to make it hard to crack. then again the servers may be crashing due to some crackers trying to find some algorithm overloading it, we never know. not like EA would tell us you know.

Andy Chalk:
I have a hard time imagining a major game publisher - yes, even Electronic Arts - flat-out lying about this sort of thing.

Are you serious? Have you ever actually been in the real world? It's standard business practice to take advantage of the "black box" nature of software in this way. Source: more than a decade in software development for blue chip companies.

RicoADF:

Credossuck:
Countdown to crisis.....

Seriously... people will make it their mission to produce a hack thats lets you play off line.

That's what I find funny about this ordeal, EA did the whole online DRM to stop piracy, but its just encouraged people to crack it so they can actually play the game they payed for.

And the worst part is: They refuse to learn from the recent successes and failures of PC gaming.

geizr:
Well, then, I guess we can expect to hear about the cracked, single-player pirate version within the week.

ADDENDUM: Don't buy it, and don't pirate it.

Agreed, Jim would not approve.

If your players want it, there's a need for it.

End of discussion.

J Tyran:
I hope people do not pirate it, it does not discourage EA. In fact it does the opposite, instead of wringing their hands asking "how have we failed, what did we do wrong?" the suits at EA will think "look see there is demand for our game after all, now all we need to do is find a way to make sure people pay for the game instead of pirating it!"

Piracy shows demand for the products, publishers then get desperate to make people pay instead of fixing the shit that caused the piracy.

Well, it's a lose-lose situation. If the game sells well AND isn't pirated that much EA will see its route confirmed. If it sells and is pirated a lot it will see its route confirmed but aim to make the DRM more draconian to better prevent piracy. If it doesn't sell and isn't all that much pirated EA instead of blaming its DRM it will just claim that there is no demand for SimCity and will kill off the franchise. Or blame pirates anyway. And if it doesn't sell but is pirated a lot EA will blame the pirates for the lost sales and crank up the DRM. Or kill the franchise. Or both.

I don't even think EA would consider itself at fault here if people would stand on their doorstep and cry that they would buy the game if they could play it offline.

Sometimes I think that removing you higher brain functions with a spoon is a requirement to get to a high profile executive job in this buisness. Or any buisness in our wonderfull economy for that matter. But that is a rant for another day.

OT:
Yeah, I'm not really surprised. Reddit covered this days ago. It's a sad testament to the current state of the industry that publishers flat-out lying (or at least misinforming) their costumers is to be expected these days. Respect for the consumer seems to be an alien concept to some in this buisness.
The sad thing is that I would actually love to try SimCity at some point. I used to play the Hell out of 2000 and 3000 and would love to get into the franchise again. But not under these circumstences. I want to chose wether I build a city from scratch or use cheats to build a megapolis just to check how it runs. I want to chose wether I play multiplayer or not. And most importantly: I want to chose when I play the game. Especially if I want to play it for myself.
Great, now my mood hit a new low it will presumly keep for the day. And it isn't even lunchtime here. Thanks for that ANDY (jk).

Edit: Jeez, I should proofread before hitting post. So many small errors. Any errors remaining may be kept or send via FedEx to
EA Corporate Office Headquarters
Electronic Arts Inc.
209 Redwood Shores Parkway
Redwood City, CA 94065 USA

The idea of playing this online multiplayer is fine. But it also needs an offline single player so you can make your own city without being dependent on other people. Especially if that friend decides to trash there own city for fun which impacts on yours. The fun of the previous simcity games were to create your own city.

I never will believe this crap from EA, and even then it's a patheitc excuse because if they wanted to add in single player, then they could do it no problem before adding in this cloud thing. Make games that everyone can get into with no hassle you bloody idiots!

Also, don't they store back ups of the game or anything like that? You know, before making so it works with multiplayer only.

to state the obvious here: did anyone's game FREEZE when it says in the top left "simcity servers are down, attempting to reconnect"? Mine didn't. kept playing smoothly, updated my roads, added buildings, etc, etc... Things that you might expect to require 'recalculation' for the purposes of the simulation such as new traffic flows or whatever. but no, my game carried on fine.

All that's really being sent in my opinion is a constant stream of data for the sake of regional play and cloud saves. i have to admit i'm impressed by how infrequent i have to sync my city before i quit, implying constant update of my cloud saves.

I think this is evidence against the rubbish of "you need our servers to play the game" Everyone go google "PANDA CERN" - that's the sort of thing you would need to handle what they're talking about. (ok, not AS big as PANDA, but you get the idea, a MASSIVE server farm).

And, this would imply the speed of your game is linked to the speed of your internet, heading towards bigger cities. The lag that i can get when playing, say, Call of Duty whilst at the same time downloading a steam game doesn't seem to happen with simcity when i update my steam library.

And finally, as others have said, 10 years down the line when they turn off the servers, that would make the game unplayable and would warrant refunds? a product you have paid for stops working, if its not addressed in any terms and conditions, that's false sales of a product, yes? This hints to me their is a hotfix for offline play otherwise it breaks the law somewhere down the line, right? Which implies to me that EA and Maxis are sticking to their guns as to not appear weak and lose the one thing game companies currently have as a true challenge to piracy. They want to make always online DRM work because they haven't got anything else to take its place.

Wait, they said that?

That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. The servers can't handle logins and data transfers from users, let alone *a major portion of the game's calculations*.
Anybody who's ever learned to press the power button on a PC should know that sending, receiving and processing *a significant amount of calculations* from hundreds of thousands of users at any given time requires unbelievable amounts of processing power.
If they actually engineered the game like this it wouldn't even be able to start. Matter of fact is that doing that requires breaking the laws of physics, or getting technology from the next millennium. And since EA doesn't even seem competent of launching a game properly, I seriously doubt that to be the case.

Bottom line is, such a thing is not physically possible (or even feasible) to do and won't be for a very very long time. Also, EA's pants aren't on fire. They exploded.

EDIT: Just to drive this point home, let me do a bit of very rudimentary and primitive math. The minimum system requirements for the game are stated as (taken from Wikipedia):
-Dual core 2.0 GHz
-2 Gigs of RAM

Say you have 100 000 users logged into the server and each of them is sending 50% of the game's calculations over the net. That means you'd need 100 000 GB of RAM and 200 000 GHz total processing speed. It might not all be used for calculation, but it would still turn out as ridiculously high numbers.
In other words, completely impossible.

No matter what anyone says on here or how badly they claim this will ruin EA, all I have to do is look at amazon top sellers for pc games and SimCity is #1 and has been since release. Despite the 2,000 1 star reviews, the amazon warning, and even them taking the game off amazon for a while, the game is still a top seller.

What does this mean exactly? Get ready for more Always on DRM. Kick and scream all you want about how horrible these practices are, but as long as the majority support getting fucked over that is exactly what will happen.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Video-Games-PC-Game-Downloads/zgbs/videogames/2445220011/ref=pd_ts_zgc_vg_2445220011_morl?pf_rd_p=1350266442&pf_rd_s=right-4&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_i=979455011&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=05XEYHZDNJ17F04G3G0B

This is the first time I have EVER seen a 1.5 star game get in the top sellers list. Why is it a top seller despite all those one star reviews and bad press?

No one knows 100% for sure but I would bet my money that it is because people lack the will to stop their need for instant gratification for one day. Buy on impulse (or blindly), get screwed because you didn't wait and do research, go to review section and tear this game a new one. Yet if everyone does this EA still gets the money to support this practice.

Oh and lets not forget that the people that got screwed the hardest were the ones that Pre-ordered the game. On that note I will just leave this here. It is a nice little video on why you should never pre-order.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mf5Uj4XIT1Y&list=UUy1Ms_5qBTawC-k7PVjHXKQ&index=48

"That's why EA recently disabled Cheetah mode, he added: To reduce the number of updates coming into the server queue."
So it really was programmed like that... why would you program it like that? Just update with bigger values instead of doing it more often.

kebab4you:
"That's why EA recently disabled Cheetah mode, he added: To reduce the number of updates coming into the server queue."
So it really was programmed like that... why would you program it like that? Just update with bigger values instead of doing it more often.

So glad I didn't buy this game.

EA actually cares about the way people view them. Yes, they're scum and will lie to our face, but they know they have a huge PR problem with the way they're perceived and they've been trying (hugely unsuccessfully) to change that. They're unsuccessful because they would sacrifice kittens and make us all delightfully soft kitten-fur socks if we'd only trust them like we do Valve. Unfortunately, that generates a catch 22 scenario because they're willing to be evil to not be seen as evil. They also don't seem to actually understand their client base which means that things that they think are a good idea are actually awful.

That being said, because they do care about how they're seen and because they've been so caught in a lie they may actually fold here and give us an offline mode. I mean, man, I'd actually buy the game then. Anything to reward even EA for getting rid of the greater enemy of "always online" solo play. We just need to keep hammering them like people did for the ending of MA 3. They devoted actual development resources for that. Significant resources, mind you. This would be a lot simpler and would mean people could still be playing their SimCity 5 metropolis decades after Origin caves/no longer supports the game.

If anyone wonders why they insist on doing this. It isn't just DRM. They have studies that show that people invested in an online community will be more involved in the game. What can be more involved than having actual neighbors? They decided to force it on individuals because they want them to always be aware that they're only a click away from people. It's smart, but some of us do NOT want that online component regardless of how easy it is.

Ed130:

Ix Rebound:

Stormtyrant:

Sounds a lot like designing a game feature. Shocking.

bear in mind this is coming from the pretty much same people that said that implementing coop in Dead Space 3 was "hard work", while borderlands 2 laughed at them from the corner

That said Borderlands 2 could have had a better loot sharing system other than 'first one to grab it, gets it.'

One could also beg the question of why Dead Space 3 needed co-op in the first place.

It is sad that more and more games nowadays are having to question whether to include a single player game in a game at all.

Adam Jensen:
The sad thing is, they could have avoided all the controversy and launch day failure if they only allowed the people who PAYED FOR THE GAME to actually play it offline.

Well, here's where their use of it as DRM presents one of their motivations for claiming it was necessary. Had it allowed offline mode then the game would have been widely pirated. As is, the game has to be viewed as a legitimate copy on Origin and so it ensures that only people who paid for it may play it.

It would have been easier to swallow if they'd just said that instead of lying to us altogether like making it offline was out of their hands.

Right now I don't care, I'm playing, the game works fine for me and I could not possibly claim it is broken after over 40 hours of gameplay...

In the other software world (non-game software) the new thing is SASS (software as a service) and I think that always online games and such are just following the same thread but users are just not seeing it the same way. I am still waiting for someone to say office 365 is always on DRM from Microsoft on Word and Excel :)

Aleas:
Right now I don't care, I'm playing, the game works fine for me and I could not possibly claim it is broken after over 40 hours of gameplay...

The problem is that, whether it's working or not, you are unnecessarily reliant on a third party to be able to enjoy a license you've purchased from them. You have no real promise that they won't just shut down their servers next month. What recourse would you even have in that scenario?

In the other software world (non-game software) the new thing is SASS (software as a service) and I think that always online games and such are just following the same thread but users are just not seeing it the same way. I am still waiting for someone to say office 365 is always on DRM from Microsoft on Word and Excel :)

As a person who works in the non-gaming software industry, I can agree that SAAS (not SASS) is becoming increasingly more common but is not replacing software. It is simply more efficient in some scenarios, it can broaden the market share for people that don't want in-house clients installed and is also safer for us (regarding DRM) in other areas.

It only makes sense in gaming if server-side communication is necessary (such as MMOs, of course, but also in scenarios where significant processing actually happens on the server-side and not the client side) or in the case of DRM. Like it or not, always online can present a significant problem for software piracy.

For solo playing experiences, the first option should almost never be the case. The DRM option then becomes the only viable reason for the solo parts of the game. The problem is invasiveness and the market response to these kinds of things needs to be particularly negative to outweigh developer's fears of piracy. I'd be more ok with occasional software checks (once every ten days, for example) but always on is nonsense.

Office 365 isn't an always on resource. It's a cloud based service that allows you to access your information remotely from anywhere. You do have to have a connection to download or upload information, but you can take it offline to work at any time. This is not comparable to playing single player mode games whose codes are located entirely on your machine but only function if a server says you can. You still have to have Office installed to use 365 so you in no way HAVE to use the online storage solution for most things. So switch the internet off and you can still type and manage whatever files are located on your machine. This would be the equivalent of single player mode.

Fix the Region Sharing for singleplayers!

I have multiple cities in a private region that does nothing for eachother >.<

Guy Jackson:

Andy Chalk:
I have a hard time imagining a major game publisher - yes, even Electronic Arts - flat-out lying about this sort of thing.

Are you serious? Have you ever actually been in the real world? It's standard business practice to take advantage of the "black box" nature of software in this way. Source: more than a decade in software development for blue chip companies.

Yup. Make every promise nebulous or interpretative to prey upon unrealistic expectations.
This is not a new trick; it's marketing sleaze as old as the business.

I imagine Mr Chalk's candy-coating here is a professional measure. If the subject is technically still open to interpretation (no matter how flimsy), just leave it nebulous and let the outrage speak for itself. To cover your own arse if nothing else.

Desert Punk:

Chaos Marine:
EA are the one of the biggest cancers in gaming after Ubisoft and Activision.

I would say thats not quite fair, atleast Ubisoft listened to their customers and apologized to them after trying the always online thing.

Or are you referring to Ubi and Acti's penchant for putting out increasingly high numbered games? Because if thats the case I think EA is still worse, as those two just keep going with the same franchises instead of trying to shoehorn other properties into a particular mold... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syndicate_(2012_video_game) *Cough* :P

I'm putting Ubisoft into the worse category because there is no other company I am aware of that has spat on the PC gaming community as much as Ubisoft with. And when you go into their DRM problems, sure EA has some questionable DRM practises, no other company goes all out DRM zealous you have to wonder about their sanity. Activision, yeah, they killed the CoD series by making it a console centric shooter that has negatively affected almost every other FPS game. Fuck, even that can be contributed to the sucky PMC in the newest Aliens game.

dragongit:
Here are two reasons it could use a Single player function.
1) Internet isn't always reliable, and if their service is interrupted or your own, you are unable to play the game.
2) 10 years or even 20 years down the line, will the servers on this game still be up? Will your copy now officially be dead? I'm sure there would be newer, better versions of the game out by then, but the one here would render the game obsolete. People can still play the original Sim City to this day. This one will only live so long as the servers are up.

He's not saying that, he's saying putting the single player function online in the stupid way they have done is not necessary, calling bull on EA's claim that it is.

So, if they said the reason for the always-online feature is for server-side processing, but turns out it really isn't, are they liable for fraud?

Every new piece of news that comes out about SimCity is making me both glad I didn't buy it and depressed that one of the series that got me into PC gaming has fallen so far (Something I should be used to by now given Ultima is one of the other series that got me into PC gaming.) I was thrilled when I heard there was a new SimCity coming out. But wisely, didn't buy it on release day (I don't pre-order games any more and haven't for at least a year.) I'm actually a bit sad that my caution has been rewarded. The game, from everything I've seen, looks like fun. But between the bugs, the login problems, the alway-on DRM, the lack of an offline single-player mode, the dirt-stupid AI and the tiny map size, I can't see myself shelling out $60 for it. Maybe down the road if the price gets drastically slashed and some of my issues with the game get resolved, but not any time soon.

In the mean time, I'll go play SimCity 4 if I need to get my SimCity fix. I had completely forgotten I'd bought it for a couple bucks during a Steam sale a few years back until recently. Or maybe I'll dig out my old copy of SimCity 2000 from when I was a kid and try to play that again.

Nghtgnt:
So, if they said the reason for the always-online feature is for server-side processing, but turns out it really isn't, are they liable for fraud?

Only if they advertised it as a feature that may have encouraged people to buy it.

Also, to give you an idea of how cleverly they thought their statements through, processing user actions to verify that their software is valid and that they aren't cheating technically is processing data. *sigh* I hope they get their asses handed to them though.

Further evidence of EA/Maxis lying about the whole affair:

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/03/14/modder-runs-simcity-offline-maxis-remains-silent/

This just gets better and better.

Don Incognito:
Further evidence of EA/Maxis lying about the whole affair:

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/03/14/modder-runs-simcity-offline-maxis-remains-silent/

This just gets better and better.

Hmm, there's some wackiness just outside the border but that's great. Looks like modders will be a major resource in fighting against these kinds of corrupt and invasive practices. What's funny though is that for people like me (who buy the game instead of pirating) is it'll just be me editing my own license to work the way I want.

http://www.incgamers.com/2013/03/simcity-modder-busts-out-of-city-boundaries-and-plays-offline/

Hey Andy, still think they wouldn't flat-out lie or has your cherry been popped?

Deshin:
I think this is less to do with DRM and more to do with them wanting to test out how well they can integrate the social aspect into a typically single player game. That's been a thing they've wanted to do for a while now right? If this worked out well they'd have probably had the next Dragon Age with "keeps and holds controlled by your friends" or a Mass Effect spinoff with "every spacecraft in the fleet is captained by people you know!" Basically turning all future games into facebook-esque forced social aspects...

depending on who you ask, a Mass Effect MMO might be a good idea.

players shall fear my all salarian guild, TREMBLE BEFORE ME!

OT: I hate repeating myself, but it seems as acceptable as compared to EA's constant stream of bullshit.

Everyone's angry over SC2013, and here I am, playing SimCity 4.

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