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DRM Games

New SimCity To Require Constant Internet Connection 418

Posted by Soulskill
from the unnatural-disasters-turned-on dept.
eldavojohn writes "According to Lead designer Stone Librande, it has been confirmed that the next installment of SimCity will require a constant internet connection. Perhaps as a form of DRM, the 2013 edition looks like it will be the first to include online play but will also require you to constantly be connected to Origin to play — even if that wasn't your point of purchase. Add SimCity to the growing list." Update: 03/29 02:09 GMT by S : An online connection will be needed to start the game, but you won't be kicked out if your connection dies.
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New SimCity To Require Constant Internet Connection

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  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @04:12PM (#39500283)

    Publishers have already managed to kill the used market for PC games with stuff like this. Console games are next. A lot of new console games are already requiring online activation for certain features (like Mass Effect 3). It's only a matter of time before they require online activation to work at all, and then ultimately require an online verification check each time the game is started.

    A requiem for the days when consumers actually owned videogames, and could still play them just fine, even ten years later, using just the original game discs/cartridges.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @04:15PM (#39500325)

      They're killing the new market for PC games too.

      • by mhajicek (1582795) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @04:23PM (#39500421)
        Agreed. I will not buy games which require connection like this. No Starcraft 2, no Diablo 3, no SimCity 2013. The only way to keep this stuff from continuing is to show the game companies that they won't make money with it.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @04:26PM (#39500455)

          Concern is that the mass public aren't even aware of this and won't be UNTIL they go to try it in few years and realise they cannot play.

          Then, eventually there will just by simply acceptance that this is normal.

          Boils my p1$$.

          • by SuperTechnoNerd (964528) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:43PM (#39502265)
            Or their servers get hacked and forced off line for days or weeks.. :)
          • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @06:05AM (#39506829)

            Concern is that the mass public aren't even aware of this and won't be UNTIL they go to try it in few years and realise they cannot play.

            Then, eventually there will just by simply acceptance that this is normal.

            Oh they're aware. Steam gamers are very aware.

            Currently, the only way to access Steam games offline is to go into "Offline Mode" while you're online, which caches your auth token or something. If you don't do this, your games are inaccessible when offline.

            This is the third time I've posted this, but it's important. If your connection goes down, Steam servers are on the fritz, your network card / router / modem dies etc. your Steam games are inaccessible. This applies to any and all online authentication DRM (some Games for Windows, Origin, many EA titles, to name some of them). After being burned by this issue for 3 days when BT "upgraded" my home connection, I don't buy any games on Steam, not even on sale, and I've told Valve as much. I'm also creating an archive of downloaded installation images and cracks for the games I've bought through Steam. I thoroughly encourage anyone else who values the products they've bought to do the same.

            • by Bengie (1121981)

              Steam is a convenience for control trade-off. For most people it is not an issue, but at least your point makes sense, unlike most other people just going "ZOMG DRM, Steam is horrible"

              As much as you hate Steam's DRM, I hate purchasing physical media. To each their own.

        • by spire3661 (1038968) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @04:37PM (#39500665) Journal
          The war is over. either accept or go without. constant on DRM is here to stay. Jsut look at the shit Sony pulled yesterday with removing PSP games from PSN because they could be used to sploit the PS Vita. This means that people that bought and own the game can't redownload it. Its jsut gone.
          • by Darinbob (1142669) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @05:02PM (#39501059)

            I am going without. It helps that there are so few decent games anymore anyway and that the used classics I have are more fun. My purchase of new games has significantly declined in the last 5 years, I'm probably getting less than 10% of the games I used to. I just won't buy this stuff, and I absolutely resent the ridiculous attitude that I'll buy the stuff anyway no matter what they do.

            I also resent the idea that I should just accept this like a sheep! The war is NOT over! I will continue to tell people to boycott this sort of stuff.

        • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @04:47PM (#39500819)

          There are tons and tons of games out there with new ones coming out all the time. So long as you are willing to be pragmatic and meet publishers half way and accept DRM that doesn't interfere, you can find a shitload of games. None of my games do always-connected DRM except for maybe the multiplayer ones in which case I'd never know since I have to be connected to play them (actually they don't bother, just saying) and I have a bunch of them. Many do have DRM, but it is DRM that isn't a big deal.

          Steam would be an example. I do have to be online to get the game, of course, since it is a download. However I can run it offline just fine. So my net goes down, no problem I can play my game. Another would be some of the activation based systems. I install game, it activates, and then never checks again.

          Companies are testing the waters with this and the easy way to put a stop to it is to not buy. If they sell Title X with always on DRM and they do 20,000 sales and sell Title Y with regular DRM and do 2,000,000 sales they'll learn quick enough.

          Even Ubisoft who has talked shit like this up and was the first big on to do it is highly schizophrenic about it. They have done releases without it, even from the same series (AC2 has always on DRM, AC Brotherhood does not).

          Just don't buy, or pirate, shit that has it, stick to the many, many other titles and there you go.

          • by Darinbob (1142669)

            Steam is DRM. If you accept Steam then you are implicitly encouraging DRM and encouraging companies to put even more outrageous limitations on your rights. Even if you get flowers and chocolates when it's over you're still being screwed.

            • by nedlohs (1335013) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @05:14PM (#39501207)

              And unsurprisingly a lot of people are fine with that. They don't have a fundamentalist attitude of "all DRM is evil". As long as it doesn't actually inconveniance them they're fine with it.

              It's just a theshold there's no encouragement for even more outrageous limitations. My threshold is somewhere before "can't play when offline", yours might be "has any DRM at all", other people's might be "doesn't come with source code", some people might use "doesn't come with copylefted source code". Your line is magically the universal truth.

              • by Darinbob (1142669) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @05:38PM (#39501459)

                True, there are different thresholds. It's not really a fundamentalist opposition to DRM per se, just a fundamentalist opposition to voluntarily giving up my rights granted to me by law. The threshold for me is in not being able to give a game away for free by handing over the box to someone else (Steam disallows) and in the game becoming absolutely useless if Steam goes out of business or being bought out. Give up some rights and you've opened the door to losing more rights.

                I can replay Arena today, or Morrowind, or Oblivion. If I buy Skyrim what guarantee do I have that I can play it in ten years or more from today? My threshold now is that a steam game must be under $10 before I buy it, which is what I'm willing to RENT a game instead of owning it.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by nurb432 (527695)

            Just don't buy, or pirate, shit that has it, stick to the many, many other titles and there you go.

            I sort of disagree. I say pirate it like crazy, and be sure they know that they are losing sales because of it.

          • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @06:12AM (#39506853)

            Steam would be an example. I do have to be online to get the game, of course, since it is a download. However I can run it offline just fine. So my net goes down, no problem I can play my game.

            Utter bullshit.

            I'm not having a go at you; It's a statement of fact. Simulate a connection loss while Steam is online i.e. pull out your network cable (real world scenario here; consumer grade connections drop all the time) and reboot your PC. That's a common fix for connection loss, right? Now try and play your Steam games.

            Oh look! You try and launch Steam in Offline Mode, but you get an error and Steam exits! What's that? Your games are inaccessible now? This is exactly what would happen if Steam folded tomorrow, or the servers were DDoS'd, or your connection went down for real?

            Offline Mode is for when you plan to be offline, e.g. You take your laptop on holiday. You set Offline Mode, you reboot Steam, you can use it as normal. Unexpected loss of connectivity, though, results in total lockout. It's utterly, utterly abhorrent, and I have no further part in it. Current Steam games I play, but I won't buy any more of them. I encourage you to do the same, and let Valve know about it.

        • by Applekid (993327)

          Well, if no one buys SimCity 2013 because of this, the EA suits won't put two and two together. They'll just conclude that people don't like SimCity anymore.

          And then it'll just be a components of the cease-and-desists weapon to anyone who actually has a clue and dares resurrect the city planning simulation game.

          • by nschubach (922175)

            No, they'll blame piracy, like they always do. "We must have better DRM and laws protecting our IP!"

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          Don't just NOT buy those games but please DO buy similar games that don't screw you on the DRM, hell there are plenty on Steam and GOG that don't require any extra BS. Sadly if all you do is don't buy they will use PPT math to say the lost sales were all pirates which will justify their getting even more SOPA/PIPA style laws passed, whereas if we can say "Look at the games which didn't have the extra crap and look at their sales" then it will be much harder to blame it on piracy.

          And please tell everyone y

        • by MDillenbeck (1739920) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @10:36PM (#39504431)

          After leaving the tabletop gaming market for the electronics game market, I find myself slowly returning to the tabletop gaming. Sure, there aren't as many good solo games (Lord of the Rings "living card game", Arkham Horror, etc). Sure, the cost is about the same - $50 to $100 plus $25 to $60 per expansion - and many of them are designed to only work in multiplayer mode. However, I don't have to activate over the internet each time I start the game, I never have to worry about a service going down for a month and preventing me from even opening my game, and I never have to worry about servers shutting down and causing my game to become non-functional. True, sometimes when I buy a used game there are components that are missing that can render it non-functional, so I have to be careful and check that the game is complete. Still, the best part is being able to play my game when my power is out. (Wish I had gotten back into the tabletop gaming before Heroscape got cancelled - that one looked fun, but its pricey to buy it used.)

          Seriously, I was looking forward to a real sequel to SimCity, but this DRM scheme is something I want to avoid. At this point I think I'd rather head down to my local game shop during game night and have several hours of fun that way. With game companies also churning out the boardgames with great visuals (plastic figures, sometimes painted figures, colorful map tiles, tons of chipboard markers, higher quality art work, etc), the lack of DRM in tabletop games is a welcome relief from the electronic game lockdown. Heck, as fun as video games are, nothing beats a nice tense game of Pandemic + Over the Brink with my wife - best coop play I've ever seen in tabletop or electronic gaming!

      • by Barbara, not Barbie (721478) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <nosduh.arabrab>> on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @04:40PM (#39500715) Journal
        Considering that I bought Simcity 2000, Simcity 3000 Unlimited (for both the PC and the Nintendo Wii), and Simcity 4 + Rush Hour pack, they've just lost a loyal customer.
      • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @04:53PM (#39500913)
        Not really, the pirated versions of all these games work just fine without an internet connection. The only people suffering are the paying customers, and who really cares about them?
    • by MrEricSir (398214) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @04:16PM (#39500337) Homepage

      The other day I re-installed the original C&C Red Alert and had a fun time playing it.

      Somehow, I doubt we'll be able to do the same with the new Sim City -- and many other new games -- seventeen years after their release. It's a sad future for old games.

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        Yes we will.

        What DRM has there been that hasn't been cracked?

        Moreover (and hilariously enough), a lot of the same people who crack games are the ones keeping old ones alive. At least, people with the same mindset... you need to be a bit of a nutter to come up with stuff like WINE and DOSbox.

        We will always have our old games whether the publishers like it or not.

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      It's hard enough as it is to get many older games to work properly.

      What if this were books? "My favorite book as a child was $book. But, sorry kids. It doesn't exist anymore." Many games have stories which are as highly involving as a book and are, quite arguably, cultural art and highly influential (something like Modern Warfare or Max Payne comes to mind).

      • by mhajicek (1582795) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @04:42PM (#39500761)
        Amazon Kindle anyone? They did "unsell" certain books retroactively, and actively erased them from people's Kindle's remotely.
        • by Desler (1608317)

          Yes, books that they had no right to sell in the first place due to legal issues..

        • by afidel (530433)
          Amazon reversed those actions under public pressure and AFAIR released a statement that they would not take a similar action going forward except for certain limited circumstances (like when someone ripped off an entire book that normally sold for like $9.99 and sold it as their own work for $.99).
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Publishers have already managed to kill the used market for PC games with stuff like this. Console games are next. A lot of new console games are already requiring online activation for certain features (like Mass Effect 3). It's only a matter of time before they require online activation to work at all, and then ultimately require an online verification check each time the game is started.

      A requiem for the days when consumers actually owned videogames, and could still play them just fine, even ten years la

    • by Colin Smith (2679) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @04:49PM (#39500851)

      This is what "the cloud" is all about. Why let people pay you once to own something when they can pay you forever to rent it?

    • by Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @05:28PM (#39501349)

      We'll see how well the 'killing of the used game market' runs. I think its going to show a lot of signs of unintended consequences.

      For example, I can buy a new release game for $35-50 when it comes out. I know I can play that (or my son will) for a month or two off and on and when I'm done, I can get $20-25 for it used. Now if the game is missing content for a used buyer or requires buying a $5-10 code to make everything work, then the used game is worth $10-20, which means I'm not particularly interested in spending $50 on it.

      I also bought MANY used games, liked a franchise and bought the 2nd, 3rd or 4th game new.

      At this point, I've been jabbed by 4-5 used games I bought in the last quarter of 2011, which required a code to fully operate. As a result of my disappointment, I wont be buying any games produced by those manufacturers. While I would have bought several games a month in Jan, Feb and Mar, I havent bought any. Likely to continue since this 'strategy' is being widely deployed.

      So I wish the game manufacturers luck, they may find that they're going to need it. Because right now my plan is to buy 2 or 3 year old games new when they drop under $25 and never buy a release game again unless its free of codes and anti-resale tactics. The good news is there are dozens of awesome games for all of the platforms that are old, cheap and we havent played yet.

      These shenanigans will also do a number on the game rental places, since none of those games will be fully operational without the code.

  • Limited use (Score:5, Insightful)

    by guspasho (941623) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @04:14PM (#39500307)

    Can I get my money back when the service is inevitably cancelled?

    • by gcnaddict (841664)
      Worthy case for small claims, actually.
      • Worthy case for small claims, actually.

        Unless of course you've given up your rights for legal action in exchange for arbitration...

      • by Stele (9443)

        Not really. He'll sign away all of his rights by agreeing to the mandatory license agreement before installing the game. The not-so-fine print will be that they can shut off access to the game at any time for any reason, and he can't do anything about it (except download the inevitable crack).

  • But it's simple: I vote with my wallet, just like Assassins Creed 2, no sale.
  • is that the game will be multiplayer in the sense that your city will actually be located close to your friends' cities and possibly interact. That would explain the online component. Think World of Warcraft. It's not necessarily a piracy thing, but heck if it is, can you blame them? Besides, used game markets do just fine, you just can't continue to play it once you sell it. That doesn't mean ownership can't be passed along though.
    • by Culture20 (968837)

      not necessarily a piracy thing, but heck if it is, can you blame them?

      Yes. Group punishment is a civil wrong.

      Besides, used game markets do just fine, you just can't continue to play it once you sell it. That doesn't mean ownership can't be passed along though.

      I see you haven't been victim of some of the used games that require online activation. The games become useless for resale once installed on the original machine.

  • by NIN1385 (760712)
    Another game that I wont be purchasing. Glad I still own all my old games.
    • Yep. I was interested, until this article came up. Now? I'll buy something else from some publisher that's not horrible. And I'll recommend against a purchase to everyone I know. I'm a frequent game buyer, but not for crap like this.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @04:27PM (#39500485) Journal

    "Add SimCity to the growing list..."

    of games I won't buy.

  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @04:28PM (#39500503)

    I hear this SimCity has an actual ending. Vishnu shows up in the form of Justin Beiber, and kicks your city into the sea. But you get to choose which sea.

  • by Immostlyharmless (1311531) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @04:28PM (#39500505)
    I had heard this was going to be coming out soon and was thinking about picking it up for her. Looks like we can scratch that. Cityville already requires a constant connection and makes you reload and lose all your shit when it drops for a few seconds. Why on earth do they think I want to pay 60 bucks for that same privilege? I assume they think we're made of money AND stupid?
  • by need4mospd (1146215) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @04:29PM (#39500509)
    No it won't.

    -pirates

  • Huh. For some reason, I just lost 100% of my interest in SimCity 5. Good thing there are lots of other games that don't require the worthless Origin service and can be played offline--such as most of my games on Steam, for instance.

  • by DJ Jones (997846) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @04:31PM (#39500549) Homepage
    Sim City destroyed their brand with Sim City 3000. Like many simulation games, they focused too much on graphics and 3D imagery and compromised usability and basic game play. Sim City 2000 is still their best version and it was built in 1993. IMO they should return to a basic tile-based game engine and start over.
  • Seriously; we will not see real change in the media marketplace unless we hit the content controllers where it hurts: their bottom line.

    I propose a boycott of any company or industry who attempts to impose draconian measures to disable consumers from owning what they paid for.

    RIAA suing grandma into oblivion? Boycott the music industry.

    MPAA trying to coerce the government into passing unconstitutional, anti-privacy laws? Boycott Hollywood.

    In this rare case, collateral damage is a good thing; Those who w
    • We tried to boycott EA, but RIAA sued my grandma into Oblivion. I agree with boycotting EA, they make the game production scene worse by eliminating competition, not better.
  • Works For Me (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rie Beam (632299) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @04:40PM (#39500721) Journal

    Fine by me -- interacting with other people's cities has been something I've been looking forward to in the series for a long time. I imagine a world where one country's low industrial taxes suck away all of the factory jobs from your online neighbors, but everyone lives in another region and takes that neighbor's super-fast rail to world, while yet another neighbor develops a coastal resort for this population of transit workers to relax at on their days off, all the while a struggling farm community sits on its hands with a "World's Largest Llama" display...

    Count me baited. DRM or not, I'm on board, assuming this enhancement is at least somewhat more than a simple statistical one.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @04:40PM (#39500725)

    I am not a zealot, I'll meet publishers half way on DRM. I'm ok so long as it doesn't mess with my gameplay experience. Steam is fine, activation on install is fine. I prefer no DRM but I'm not going to be an absolutist dick.

    However I will not accept always connected DRM for single player games. Part of the reason I have single player games is for when I don't have net access like when I'm on a plane, or when my Internet dies (and please let's not pretend like that never happens) and so on. That means they'd better work without it.

    As such I've not bought Settlers 7, Assassin's Creed 2, or Heroes of Might and Magic 6. All games I wanted, all which I was willing to pay for, none that I have because of the always on DRM.

    Thing is, it really isn't a big deal. There are SO MANY good games these days. Not just big studio titles, but indy as well, and digital distribution lets me get them easy. I have a backlog of games that I've bought, and haven't even installed. Time is my limiting factor, not games to play.

    As such I can give some titles a miss, and will. I encourage others to do the same. Don't pirate, just don't buy. If they want always on DRM, just give it a miss and get something else. There's tons and tons out there. You can't be a zealot about it and demand NO DRM EVAR! If you do that you'll find your selection fairly limited, however if you meet them half way and say "Only DRM that doesn't mess with my ability to play," you find a whole lot of games.

    • by firefrei (2569069)

      You can't be a zealot about it and demand NO DRM EVAR! If you do that you'll find your selection fairly limited, however if you meet them half way and say "Only DRM that doesn't mess with my ability to play," you find a whole lot of games.

      Please don't label those who are wary of companies who employ any form of DRM as zealots. It's not helpful and disregards any legitimate concerns they might have for not wanting DRM at all. For example, I no longer use Steam because although the DRM is generally reasonably

  • Lead designer Stone Librande, and SimCity, and Maxis and Origin, are welcome to a constant connection between their lips and my ass.

    You know, I'm starting to enjoy putting these companies on a permanent pay-no-mind list. It means I have more money to buy things from companies that are not hostile to me.

    If enough of these companies get onto my pay-no-mind list, I may be able to get that little house in Santa Lucia that I've always wanted. And I will relish it all the more, knowing that I bought it thanks t

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