EA Exec Claims DRM Is a "Failed Dead-End Strategy"

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EA has a long history of talking the talk, and failing to walk the walk. Almost like it's some kind of ploy to make them look less villianus.

as shocked as Maxis seems to be by all this, I'm actually going to give them the benefit of the doubt. their game is still massively flawed due to actual design choices though, even giving them the "we didn't mean to make DRM, we only wanted to have an online experience" argument.

Flat-out DRM does not work, true. Anything company execs in gaming say, I pretty much -always- take with a truckload of salt, but still nice to read I suppose. People complaining that always-online is DRM - in a way, yes it is. But on the other hand it is the developer's choice to create a game they want. Unless I'm mistaken, I'm pretty sure Maxis never said SimCity would have a playable offline mode prerelease. Pretty confident Blizzard never said that for Diablo 3 either (offline or LAN, in the case of D3).

We can argue day and night about all this, and it would all be 99% semantics. The basic fact remains that such games as Diablo 3 and the new SimCity were made with online play in mind. As such, the new SimCity requires you to be online. Boohoo waah. Vote with your wallet, and don't buy it. Unless a developer outright lies pre-release (see also, Aliens: Colonial Marines demo) I don't see what the massive goddamn hissyfits are about. Just DO NOT BUY PRODUCTS FROM PEOPLE YOU DON'T WANT TO SUPPORT. That's what I do.

Personally I don't care if the always-online stuff is because they honestly wanted the game to a more online experience, or if they just wanted to use that as DRM. Both things achieve the exact same thing; the only difference is the reason they give you. (In before: BUT THEY LIED AND THAT'S NAUGHTY D:)

At first I thought he was legitimate, and I still believe he somewhat is (that SimCity was designed to be an MMO, though the ended up making it pretty light on the MM aspects). It seemed oddly familiar to me... then I remembered something I saw on youtube the other day:

Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus
and the response:
I Hate Religion, And Jesus Too

It's always risky going off on a religious tangent so please try to resist hijacking the thread if you disagree (you're more than welcome to PM me), but this is the same marketing campaign as modern Christianity. No one likes religion - not even the Christians. The word "religion" is tarnished, so what do you do? Just replace it with a word that sounds better but ultimately refers to the exact same thing!

"It's not a religion, it's a 'relationship'".

"It's not DRM, it's an 'online service'".

(Note: Didn't mean to hate on Christianity there, just noting the similar PR strategy)

"See guys, we're on your side! Granted, before the other side was us, but now that we're fighting against the big...something that isn't us together, you can totally trust us! Simcity being online only wasn't even about DRM and the whole thing was their decision with no influence on our part, even if some silly old modder got it to work offline...hey, what are you doing? Stop trying to look back there, we're not crossing our fingers or anything like that!..."

Frankly, if we were to hurl all of the EA bullshit artists into the sun right now, not a single person would care. The fact that they have to hire people specifically to polish their turds is the sign of a broken company.

(on the other hand, they must have some interesting business cards)

Nah guys you got it all wrong it was creative people wo wouldn't let players choose a easily implementable single player. We started making it and then the creative guys ninja kicked us in the face. We were like dudes what's up and they were like players can't choose lol. And that's why art players no drm not evil what?

The really sad thing about all this is in the two scenarios I can think of, one of them involves actually being aware that what they're doing is bad and they're just trying to appear good by saying the thing they should actually be doing, and then trying to slip a roofie under it, and the other being that they have absolutely no idea what they're talking about or doing at all, and they're just saying things that were recommended to them by script writers.

fix-the-spade:
Well that nicely demonstrates how out of touch (or desperate, delusional) EA's head honchos are.

Our DRM isn't DRM, it's a service!

No Frank, Origin and Simcity's 'vital' online connection are not services, they are DRM, arbitrary walls between customer and product. This is why I'm don't buy your games you idiot.

Sadly, it sounds like a lot of people will take away the notion that this represents some sort of sea change for EA, rather than just trying to advertise why their DRM is good DRM by a non-DRM name.

EA: DRM only fails when others do it, when we do it, it's not DRM!

What on Earth? April Fools is three/four days away. Calling it.

I never thought I'd say this, but I actually respect this guy's opinion. He's forthright and hasn't tried to hide anything or skirt any issues. I agree with his opinion on DRM, and the need to innovate. The fact it royally failed with SimCity doesn't mean people shouldn't try.

But if the games industry execs actually cared and wanted to make titles that weren't controversial or reviled, some simple tips:

- No Day 1 or On-Disc DLC, unless they're free (patches are fine)
- No Online Passes/"Project $10"
- No always-on internet requirements
- No ancilliary software requirements
- No microtransactions
- Stop cramming multiplayer into everything. We don't want it.
- Stop spending time trying to wreck second hand sales, nickel-and-dime customers
- Don't rush a game. Seriously, you will ALWAYS be better off waiting till it's ready, than shipping early. ALWAYS. Fans would rather wait for a better product than get something half-arsed that leaves a sour taste.

There are many other ways to innovate. The above should not be among them.

And if you're EA specifically:
- Stop diluting all your games. If I want to play a shooter, I'll play a shooter. If I want to play an RPG, I want to play an RPG, not a shooter.
- Games are not worth full-price after 18months. Anyone who was willing to buy it at full price bought it 18 months ago.

karma9308:
I can't remember, have we always been at war with Eastasia? Or was it Eurasia?

I love you so much for referencing this. Doublethink moment

Falterfire:
You may not use Steam, and you may consider it a distraction, but surely you're not so clueless as to realize you're in the minority? The adoption rate of Steam among PC gamers is incredibly high, and the percentage that actively complain is fairly small. There are plenty of reasons to complain about Steam (Steam-Exclusive games topping that list) but saying it didn't work for Valve is blatantly false.

Thanks a lot, but no. I wasn't talking about "working" in the sense of "people buying from them anyways". It's a response to this:
"it's arguable that EA could claim to have abandoned DRM simply by making Origin a requirement of using its games. It's semantics, of course, but it worked for Valve".
It didn't work, it didn't undo that fact. Steam is still DRM, even if people buy... I'm sorry, subscribe to the games on it despite of that.

*Notices title*

!

*Commences reading intently*

DRM is a failed dead-end strategy; it's not a viable strategy for the gaming business,

...

*Continues reading*

What we tried to do creatively is build an online service in the SimCity universe and that's what we sought to achieve. For the folks who have conspiracy theories about evil suits at EA forcing DRM down the throats of Maxis, that's not the case at all

...

President of Labels indeed. 'An MMO that isn't an MMO' are weasel words for always online DRM, ya twit.

Skeleon:
*snip*

I believe your grievance is rendered moot by the fact that the sentence you are referencing uses the phrase "could claim", implying that it is not necessarily true.

Personally, this whole SimCity debacle doesn't really effect me much, but I will say that the image used for the article is absolutely priceless.

Hind-sight is 20/20 huh?

TheDrunkNinja:
Personally, this whole SimCity debacle doesn't really effect me much, but I will say that the image used for the article is absolutely priceless.

They've been using a burning city pic each time on this, because basically they're like a fire marshall going "Nope, we can't respond here because you're not connected. We're a service!". EA hasn't done thing one to put out the fires they started, and...they're getting uber-flamed for it.

Andy Chalk:

"At no point in time did anybody say 'you must make this online'. It was the creative people on the team that thought it was best to create a multiplayer collaborative experience and when you're building entertainment... you don't always know what the customer is going to want. You have to innovate and try new things and surprise people and in this particular case that's what we sought to achieve," he continued. "If you play an MMO, you don't demand an offline mode, you just don't. And in fact, SimCity started out and felt like an MMO more than anything else and it plays like an MMO."

I thought we vowed never to mention Societies again?

y'know i've played every Sim City since they first (didn't buy this one tho...) and i also play a lot MMOs...a lot...and have done for years and years and years. literally.

in fact its pretty safe to say that, apart from the very select RPGs, "God Games" and MMOs are my two favourite and most played genres of video games.

and i've been playing video games for 35 years -.-

...but i'm really not getting the "And in fact, SimCity started out and felt like an MMO more than anything else and it plays like an MMO" line...

is this one of these instances where a bloke in a suit just thinks he can just say stuff and we'll all nod like the nodding dogs that work for him no matter how much bullshit it is ?

i mean seriously that's like the most inane head scratching thing i've read on this site in at least the last year...and that's saying quite a bit...

also

"What we tried to do creatively is build an online service in the SimCity universe and that's what we sought to achieve. For the folks who have conspiracy theories about evil suits at EA forcing DRM down the throats of Maxis, that's not the case at all," Gibeau said.

"At no point in time did anybody say 'you must make this online'. It was the creative people on the team that thought it was best to create a multiplayer collaborative experience..

Keith Ramsdale, EA's Northern European boss, has declared that the company wants all of its brands to become "online universes".

"Today, all of our games include online applications and digital services that make them live 24/7/365.

"FIFA is a perfect example - available across 12 different platforms, FIFA fans can check their standings on their mobile device or tablet, manipulate their teams on Facebook or play an immersive game of FIFA on their PC or console. Everything is connected so the user can pick up just where they left off from anywhere."

This connectivity is just the beginning, Gibeau added, with other major EA franchises soon to get similar treatment.

"We're deploying similar experiences in our other popular brands over the next year including Madden, Battlefield and SimCity and you'll continue to see more and more of this from EA."

\(_o)/

you really think we're fucking stooooooopid right ?

honestly i don't care any more.

you just speak shit and you churn out shit too.

i have plenty of non-shit games to play.

hell, i'll be spending oh maybe a good 50 on PS2 games today.

any idea how much "class in a glass" i can get for that ? quite a bit actually...

and you won't get a dime of it mister.

you got too big, you got too arrogant, you thought you could prescribe and you forgot the basic rule that the market rules.

or to put it another way "give the people what they want".

but you aren't giving the people what they want.

you're giving the people what you want them to have.

very transparently

ie "online universes" -.-

you could have simple given us a nice shiny new Sim City game with shiny new graphics update and as many options and bells and whistles from the accumulated previous games as you could squeeze in...and you would have made a bundle...but you didn't.

so now you make less of a bundle.

that's how it works moron.

you are very obviously trying to screw us for as much cash as possible while at the same time treating us like we're fucking stupid and/or criminals.

in the middle of a depression !

and you wonder why your share price is collapsing ?

in a market that used to be thought of as near recession proof !

the customer may not always be right but you've gotten way to comfortable treating us like we're all fucking stupid reprobates.

now you get punished.

Diablo III Vs Torchlight II ? i know which one I want to buy.

Sim City ? after "loyally" buying 4 games in the series now...i'm looking for an alternative.

and someone WILL eventually make one because i'm not alone AND THAT'S HOW THE MARKET WORKS.

I was ready to come in here and hug this dude with open arms. Then I saw this.

"Lots of folks viewed the situation as yet another example of DRM gone wrong, but Gibeau said DRM never entered into the conversation - SimCity's connectivity requirement was simply an unavoidable consequence of "building a massively multiplayer experience.""

Get the hell away from me you evil, twisted bastards. Making SimCity single player would take away nothing, and that modder proved how easy it was to make SimCity run offline. Fu** you people, seriously. And yes, what you have running over there over SimCity IS DRM. Quit twisting words.

Sleekit:
snip

Yeah its pretty funny that this guy would believe that we would buy "No one forced them to make it always online!" When he himself said a few months ago that he had not greenlit any games that were singleplayer focused...

Also Tropico is a pretty good alternative to SimCity, it is a LOT more fun..

wgar:

DVS BSTrD:
*Reads Title*
Bit Early for April Fool's isn't it Andy?

Lots of folks viewed the situation as yet another example of DRM gone wrong, but Gibeau said DRM never entered into the conversation - SimCity's connectivity requirement was simply an unavoidable consequence of "building a massively multiplayer experience."

Ah there we go, still EA

Uhhh what? They built an MMO; can't make that offline mate. If you knew the first thing about video game design you'd realise that.

And here I thought Thrikeen was the only paid EA spokesperson around here!

"If you play an MMO, you don't demand an offline mode, you just don't.

Oh yes, yes we do. and we DO GET IT. its called private server. you can play it offline emulating your own server. In fact studies show there are more people playing on private servers (still online though) than on the main ones. The main reason is that the private servers dont cost and arm and a leg every expansion like WOW.

Gibeau is a marketing guy. Before this he worked for Cooliris. It's very possible he's never played a game in his life.

238U

Does EA have some kind of contract with Ikea or something? EA produces news that have quite a lot of people smash theirs heads to the Desk so hard that it breaks (the desk, not the head. If the latter breaks, you wont hear anymore moronic news from EA...) and People have to go and buy new desks.

"Joke" aside, this is just the latest in the loooong Line of "odd" viewpoints that People working for EA seem to have.

EA is constantly trying to recreate what their competitors are doing and most of the time their doing it in a way that isn't very good.
You could play "Sim City", the mere fact is actually somewhat 'News' right now since being able to play a Game is apparently no longer considered to be a normal thing.
Anyways, you could play that or you could play Sim City 4 on this other online Platform that will ask you if you want to participate in a survey instead of just scanning your machine. And if you're done playing this Game with more Functionality and less connectivity Issues and a larger Map on which you can, if you want to, create a completely isolated city you can shut the game and the platform off with no process running in the Background.

As of now, EA could salvage their Reputation, which is probably costing them quite a bit of money now, by sacrificing their golden goose. Make a Sports game, don't call it "NFL 13", just call it "NFL" and sell yearly roster updates.

One might think that this will be costing money since there are quite a lot of people who buy "roster update: the game", but i think that the cost will be managable since more people will be buying the DLCs. Aslo you could sell more DLCs with modifications for other stuff. Have a "History" mode in whch you can play the sport with the rules of times long past. An "Allstar" mode in which you can make up teams with stars from history.

EA could still sell now Games when something really new comes up. But everyone of those games needs to be EA's definitive Game for that sport for at least three years.

All that needs to be part of a campaign to change the image of EA. No more marketing Games to kids who aren't allowed to play that game. No more aping other companies, or at least stop putting things on top of that that you should know People won't like.

Make "bigger" Games. One may or may not like Valve's or Bethesda's games but will have to admit that they are either finely honed or hulking behemoths of a game. "Team Fortress 2" is still relevant today and i very much doubt that the first "modern" Medal of Honor game would be even if it had been a financial success.

Bethesda games thrive on being rather big and People can easily mod them. There are still mods coming out for "Morrowind".
If you have some gripes with any Bethesda game, there is probably a mod to "fix" that and it's fairly easy to make such a mod by yourself. There are many Quest mods, some of which are fully voiced that will lengthen the already long playtime even further.

If i buy a bethesda or valve game i can be virtually certain that i will have months of fun with them.
These are the only games i buy at day 1 because i know they'll be worth it.

EA should be making something like that and then i might decide that i might buy something from them again.

Andy Chalk:

EA Labels President Frank Gibeau claims that DRM is "not a viable strategy for the gaming business."

hahahahahahahahaha

Seriously though I can't stop laughing, if the Ex-head of what is becoming the most hated thing in gaming (EA) admits that its practices are wrong you'd think the industry would take notice.... but I doubt it!

No shit Sherlock. We've been saying that for years.

As for the people that are calling Steam DRM, I don't think of Steam as DRM because Steam provides me with an actual beneficial service that I WANT. It serves an actual purpose and it's consumer friendly. DRM by it's very nature isn't consumer friendly.

Mimsofthedawg:
Some people will never be satisfied. If they screwed up, apologized, and offered you free games to make up for it, you'd claim they were just trying to get people to buy DLC for their games. >.>

I won't be satisfied until they stop repeating their mistakes over and over. I'd like them to stop treating their customers and share holders like illiterate morons too, but I'll settle for them learning.

The apology and free game means nothing when one of the guys responsible comes out and says it was totally not what you think, not our fault and we didn't do anything wrong, whilst repeating a corporate line that we already know to be completely false. It just means they're dreaming up a way to do it again but with a different name across the front.

Desert Punk:
And here I thought Thrikeen was the only paid EA spokesperson around here!

I wish I was being paid, I could fix the broken muffler on my 17yo Saturn.

Granted, there's a difference between merely astroturfing and pointing out incorrect facts and logical deficiencies from a different, larger perspective of the industry - people need to comprehend that.

Siege_TF:
EA has a long history of talking the talk, and failing to walk the walk. Almost like it's some kind of ploy to make them look less villianus.

That is true, but they have also been following a trend recently of refusing to admit when they made a bad call. They have frequently defended their mistakes rather than admitting that's what they are. But now they've at least finally admitted DRM does not work, which contradicts what they've been saying about it for the last several years. Admitting you have a problem is the hardest step, or so they say.

Again, we'll see if they walk the walk and change the way they do DRM in the future, but we've got to wait for a new EA game to see the results of that.

OT: As for the other thing that was said about SimCity's always-online component coming from the creative vison of Maxis--I think I do buy it, however that doesn't mean it was a good idea or that it was well-implemented. I think the reason people keep insisting the always-online thing was EA's doing is because it stinks so much of EA's mentality of telling the customer what they want whether or not they like it. An MMO format should have opened the experience up, not closed it off. Rather than feeling like they were liberated to do all sorts of new things with their cities, players felt confined by the small space given for cities, were hampered by bad traffic algorithms and AI, and don't experience much interaction or cooperation with other players. Not to mention not being able to play the game for several days after it launched and after people had played for its service. It offered players less, and at a greater cost.

If they're going to go for this whole "service" schtick then they need to commit themselves to providing better service. If I had to wait an hour longer than expected to get my food at a restaurant, I would have gotten my meal free and then had my pick of desserts or drinks. EA's "compensation" for their lost service was equal to the restaurant hastily offering a couple of free entrees to be eaten right there at the table--and if I didn't want these entrees or I already had them with my meal, they would have said "Oops, well sorry then, that's all we can offer you." Bullshit. You don't claim to be a purveyor of services, fail to deliver, and then offer me a little tray of cold, unappetizing h'orderves in consolation.

saintdane05:
I know this is completely off topic, but the dude in the news thumbnail (From the main page) is cute . Really, really cute.
image
Look at taht.

My God. He looks like a Hobbit! That is so adorable. Send this guy to New Zealand. Get him some ears and Hobbit feet, now!

Maybe I misunderstand things completely, maybe things got lost in translation on the long dark road between management > marketing > journalists > consumers. I'll gladly give Frank Gibeau Gibbons the benefit of doubt here.

See, I got ECA (that's Electronic Arts) games that come on 5.25" floppy disks, I got some on 3.5" floppy disks, I got some on CD and I even got some on DVD and Bluray. ECA was a splendid, inspiring, great little something. If EA manages to come clean, despite being the equivalent of a multinational yakuza syndicate or an earthbound starfleet destroyer, it would totally make my day. Right now, though, I'm still dodging Origin, still staying the melonfarm away from Sim always-on Shitty, still channeling Sacher-Masoch when I boot up BattleForge. EA (that's Electronic Arts), right now, is a wicked devil pooping runny dog turds on my gaming party, and I just can't see the beauty in that.

I'm assuming that either the word "former" was left out of the headline inadvertently, or else it's going to need to be added in an update fairly shortly.

Adam Jensen:
No shit Sherlock. We've been saying that for years.

As for the people that are calling Steam DRM, I don't think of Steam as DRM because Steam provides me with an actual beneficial service that I WANT. It serves an actual purpose and it's consumer friendly. DRM by it's very nature isn't consumer friendly.

DRM is what it is and does what it does regardless of whether you like it or whether it bothers you. Steam includes DRM. It uses reasonably well-implemented DRM that is not too invasive, and it is bundled together with storefront and other features that people use and like. EA's DRM, at least for SimCity, is onerous, breaks the game, and it appears as if the need to implement it had a negative impact on the design of the game itself.

Calling everything bad 'DRM' is part of what makes arguments against these sort of schemes ineffective. Personally I think it'd be great if everything were donationware with no DRM whatsoever, but I doubt all industry players would agree. It's better to get behind reasonable DRM schemes that serve the publishers' interests without too severely inconveniencing the end user-- like Steam's approach-- rather than push the idea that everything EA does is DRM and therefore bad, and that the same sorts of things, done better by Valve, are therefore not DRM.

ThriKreen:

Desert Punk:
And here I thought Thrikeen was the only paid EA spokesperson around here!

I wish I was being paid, I could fix the broken muffler on my 17yo Saturn.

Granted, there's a difference between merely astroturfing and pointing out incorrect facts and logical deficiencies from a different, larger perspective of the industry - people need to comprehend that.

I am not sure I understand the use of astroturging in this context

Narcogen:
I'm assuming that either the word "former" was left out of the headline inadvertently, or else it's going to need to be added in an update fairly shortly.

Actually its the CEO that is stepping down, not the president, this idiot is keeping his job unfortunately. So, the headline is correct and wont need an updating, atleast until the EA board gets smart 'retires' this guy too.

What is this, opposite world?

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