EA Removes Forum Posts for SimCity Offline Mod

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EA Removes Forum Posts for SimCity Offline Mod

Want to talk about how to play SimCity offline? You'll have to do it somewhere other than EA's official forums.

SimCity players preferring to play the game offline would certainly be very interested in the recently announced mod that allows them to play without an internet connection. EA, on the other hand, believes the mod violates its Terms of Service, and has promptly removed any related threads, discussions and guides on the subject from its official forums.

Erik Reynolds, senior director of worldwide communications for EA Maxis, explained the situation on Twitter after the threads were removed:

Reynolds confirms that the Terms of Service are dictated by the legal department, but enforced by the whole company.

He also says that Maxis has supported the modding community in the past and will continue to do so in the future, adding that "hacks are not mods". Whether or not the change is a game modification or a straight-up hack is up for debate, but Reynolds says that he welcomes any discussion on the matter. "I love debate too and can't wait to see what fans create for the franchise. [SimCity 4] mods proved that there is greatness ahead".

SimCity modder "UKAzzer" was able to overcome the game's always-online requirement by enabling the game's debug mode and removing prompts for the user to connect to the internet. Without the mod, anyone who attempts to play offline for more than 20 minutes is kicked from their game and redirected to the main menu.

Earlier in the week, Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw said that an offline mode for the game was "just not possible" as the entire region is simulated on the server. A Maxis developer debunked the claims, saying that the servers do not handle any computation in regards to simulating the city.

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Meh.

I am sure lot's of people will see this as a chance to jump on the EA hate bandwagon, but people agree to the TOS when they join these forums. If EA feel that it's breaking those TOS then there isn't any reason to complain. It's not like they tried stopping people from being able to do it. They just don't want it on their forums.

I was thinking that this whole "offline mod" would cause a much bigger uproar. Don't know if this is better or worse >_>

sigh the only emotion I find myself able to feel toward EA right now is dissapointment, I am straight up out of anger and even if I wasn't I don't think this would get to me that much.

Seems fairly straightforward, really. If EA want to define mods as hacks (imho, the terms are fairly interchangable) and block discussion about them on their own forums, it's their prerogative. It changes nothing and doesn't really put EA in any worse light than they already are.

I'm honestly surprised this didn't happen earlier.

So basically they're going, "OH SHIT! We're made! DELETE EVERYTHING AND HOPE THEY FORGET IT!"

I think the only thing that can save them from the shitstorm is if Bioshock Infinite crashes and burns. Which is unlikely.

What are EA getting out it, I wonder, that they would rather see people play an incomplete game?

News Flash: The official forums for AAA games tend to be the worst place to discuss said games for this very reason. Even mod friendly forums (e.g. Elder Scrolls) run into this problem because content creators don't always play by the publisher's rules and get themselves banned from the forums.

Nothing really controversial to discuss here. The Tweets pretty much tell it plain.

Not too surprised. The mod goes against the way they'd like us to play the game, which is online. No persistent connection = no DRM.

In any case, the damage has already been done and the benefits already been reaped, depending on where you stand. UKAzzer's mod might make work on some sort of crack more probable in a short time frame. Pirates cheer, Corporate weeps.

What is the difference between a Mod and a Hack? Why, if EA likes it or not of course!

I am more entertained at all the threads they are locking and deleting about the EA viral PR forum posters that got outed over at Neogaf who were posting fake praise, attacking EA detractors, and such.

I am sure we have a few of them around here too but ah well.

I wonder how many people lost their Origin account due to those posts... completely accidentally of course.

"You can't stop the signal, Mal."

Silly EA. You'll never learn...

Meh, not surprised. Any other company would have removed those posts.

I just hope this doesn't end in zealous retribution from EA... though that could really finish their trust with gamers off.

God, this whole debacle is quality entertainment, and here I am almost out of popcorn.

Legion:
Meh.

I am sure lot's of people will see this as a chance to jump on the EA hate bandwagon, but people agree to the TOS when they join these forums. If EA feel that it's breaking those TOS then there isn't any reason to complain. It's not like they tried stopping people from being able to do it. They just don't want it on their forums.

Yeah, EA hate has been going a bit far lately.

The key problem here is basically a missing shared understanding of what a game actually is. EA sees it as a service which is provided continually until they sunset the servers, some people see it as a product to be bought once and then used at one's leisure.

At some point, the industry needs to find an answer to this, because this is really going to hurt as long as publishers and at least some customers speak a different language.

Technically if I'm modding to play offline, it's no longer using your service. So there's no breach here.

Not surprising at all.

The mod discussions will simply have to go on in one of the other 999.999 places that they already are.

It's not like the people who run that forum have an incentive to keep that discussion going.

They don't.

"Hack our game to expose our somewhat clumsy PR." Not going to express that in any way.

A shame people were not given the choice from the get-go AND the architecture was setup in a better way.

"Today I want to play a region with my friends. Let's connect to the SimCity game service. It'll check my game for cheats and we can get going."

Why didn't they do that.

Soo mods are like requesting free labor from the consumer slaves, and hacks are banned as theives and evil...

So.... companies are just allowed to lie into our collective faces and get caught red handed and face little to no legal consequences? Cool. Cool cool cool.

image

I'm so glad I resisted buying SimCity.

Well of course EA is all going to be for a modding community that are essentially unpaid content designers for their game, but will nuke anything that threatens their bottom line of controlling customers through their iron-fist always-on DRM.

To be expected. Reviled, but expected.

Maybe they think the discussion of the offline mod can't run without their servers either :P

SomeLameStuff:
So basically they're going, "OH SHIT! We're made! DELETE EVERYTHING AND HOPE THEY FORGET IT!"

Yes.

Unless, of course, they've applied this policy to other such items, as would appear to be the case. In that case, they are likely following the same policy with nothing sinister.

But it won't stop the conspiracy theorists.

Well can't blame EA for that. Now we just need some mods/hacks for improved ai pathfinding and larger cities and the game might be worth buying.

Welp... I guess EA Maxis was right when stating that it is not possible to play it offline - because they consider it hacking and breaking ToS!

Of course it is not that black and white if I have to play the devil's advocate - they are legally in the right here.

At any rate, at least EA must be having a field day in their legal and PR departments, this past year or two have probably given all of them more experience than most get in a lifetime in that field. Maybe also a headache or two.

Davroth:
So.... companies are just allowed to lie into our collective faces and get caught red handed and face little to no legal consequences? Cool. Cool cool cool.

If you think EA's bad take a look at some of the things that companies that control things that are actually important to society as a whole - banks, credit cards, oil & gas companies ... EA's just a bunch of incompetent clowns who don't actually understand the market they're trying to serve.

That's hilarious, this is clearly a mod, it isn't hacking anything. They aren't changing anything other than their own software and it does nothing to harm other players or the server. Someone get those people a dictionary with the two terms highlighted.

http://www.thetechgame.com/Archives/p=834584.html

"Modding/Mod - Modding is a slang expression that is derived from the verb "modify". Modding refers to the act of modifying a piece of hardware or software or anything else for that matter, to perform a function not originally conceived or intended by the designer. The term modding is often used within the computer game community, particularly in regard to creating new or altered content and sharing that via the web.

Hacking/Hack - In common usage, a hacker is a person who breaks into computers, usually by gaining access to administrative controls. The subculture that has evolved around hackers is often referred to as the computer underground. Proponents claim to be motivated by artistic and political ends, and are often unconcerned about the use of illegal means to achieve them."

Even though it may sidestep their always on DRM it does not make it a hack. The intention can be neutral (used to play legitimately purchased games offline).

Davroth:
So.... companies are just allowed to lie into our collective faces and get caught red handed and face little to no legal consequences? Cool. Cool cool cool.

I'm so glad I resisted buying SimCity.

My suggestion is that we take all the money we save NOT buying EA's games and buy a few Congressmen to pass laws against this.

I mean, if game publishers can have high priced lawyers and lobbyists, and they get their money from us, why don't we get a few of those too?

I wonder what their definitions of mod and hack are, and how much those definitions change when convenient.

Mister Six:
God, this whole debacle is quality entertainment, and here I am almost out of popcorn.

Agreed. I'm having more fun reading about SimCity than if I had bought the game :P

I guess it's because anything EA related is fun to be angry with (I hate them too) or maybe because people only read the title, but I am surprised that everyone is being disappointed/up in arms about this whole thing. I was rather pleased with the twitter response of Mr. Reynolds, he explained why they HAD to remove the forum posts and then quite clearly told everyone NOT to stop using the offline mod but to instead just talk about it somewhere else. It's very nearly official approval of the mod.

Or am I just reading this whole thing wrong?

cynicalsaint1:

If you think EA's bad take a look at some of the things that companies that control things that are actually important to society as a whole - banks, credit cards, oil & gas companies ... EA's just a bunch of incompetent clowns who don't actually understand the market they're trying to serve.

The part that bothers me is that they quite clearly got caught lying here, for no good reason at all. That should have repercussions of some sort, right? Right?

BaronIveagh:

My suggestion is that we take all the money we save NOT buying EA's games and buy a few Congressmen to pass laws against this.

I mean, if game publishers can have high priced lawyers and lobbyists, and they get their money from us, why don't we get a few of those too?

So wait, there aren't already laws in place to protect the public from snakeoil salesmen? What strange times we live in...

Well this is circumvention of copy protection so them deleting it is no surprise, really.
Funny how they're straight up lying without even trying to cover it up in order to justify the DRM.

Davroth:

cynicalsaint1:

If you think EA's bad take a look at some of the things that companies that control things that are actually important to society as a whole - banks, credit cards, oil & gas companies ... EA's just a bunch of incompetent clowns who don't actually understand the market they're trying to serve.

The part that bothers me is that they quite clearly got caught lying here, for no good reason at all. That should have repercussions of some sort, right? Right?

Under what laws?
Lying in and of itself isn't illegal.

There really isn't an angle for false advertising here seeing as saying they can't add an offline mode isn't really advertising and even if it was "significant engineering" is a phrase thats vague enough that you'd have a hard time disproving the truth behind it.

Claiming that the "Always Online" totally isn't mostly about DRM when it clearly is? Again - how are you going to prove anything? Its all subjective - you can sit there and go on and on about how important the region BS is to the game's experience all day. Even though its clear to us how much BS this is - its still your word against theirs and they made the game.

cynicalsaint1:

Under what laws?
Lying in and of itself isn't illegal.

There really isn't an angle for false advertising here seeing as saying they can't add an offline mode isn't really advertising and even if it was "significant engineering" is a phrase thats vague enough that you'd have a hard time disproving the truth behind it.

Claiming that the "Always Online" totally isn't mostly about DRM when it clearly is? Again - how are you going to prove anything? Its all subjective - you can sit there and go on and on about how important the region BS is to the game's experience all day. Even though its clear to us how much BS this is - its still your word against theirs and they made the game.

You literally just have to remove a line of code that kicks you out of the game after 20 mins of lost internet connection. That is all. In what world is that "significant engineering"?

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