I’ll try to keep this as short as possible.
This week was very interesting indeed. If you follow video games, like I do, you’ve seen the train-wreck that is SimCity cause gamers to flood the internet with outrage. The last time I can remember a similar event take place was when Diablo 3 was released and had the infamous Error:37 plague its launch for too long. Now, not only have there been posts flooding websites like Reddit from customers trying to get refunds, forming petitions to remove the online DRM and pleas to have a formal digital return policy for defective software, but there is a collective hate brewing for EA that hasn’t been as rampant before.
Not only is EA at fault, but Maxis, the creators of SimCity, are at fault too. I’ll probably never understand why a company that forces online DRM in their products does not have the servers or infrastructure up and running smoothly to support the load. With all the money that the corporate fat cats are sitting on, I’m sure they could find some way to get more servers in time for people to start playing. I feel sorry for the people who have no control over this or think that online DRM is a bad idea but have to put up with it to keep a job because it’s rough out there for everyone.
Speaking of money, the people that I feel really sorry for are those who pre-ordered the game or bought it on launch day without knowing these issues would be present. Just days before release, game critics, or journalists if you prefer, even had their opinions about waiting to publish a final review score until they saw what the launch would be like. It could have went one of three ways, 1. Works great out of the gate, 2. Goes down for a little maintenance and then back up, or 3. Goes down and completely cuts off everyone from playing for a really long time. For those who were looking for refunds of an unplayable game during this time were either turned down and offered credit for a free game or finally got one but had to fight for it right after release.
That paragraph looks like two different thoughts clashing, but whatever.
When I look back on it, I was furious at what was going on and it was easy to hop on board with the people and start yelling and waving my fists at EA, but then I began to think. This needed to happen again for the sole reason of showing that always online DRM is going to have stupid issues during the launch of a game. What this also shows is that DRM is really dumb, but necessary if companies want to combat piracy, but causes the consumers to turn to piracy in order to even play the damn game they bought. It’s going to be a neverending battle and piracy will always win against these situations and the reason being that companies are just not making digital games and the platform more convenient and fun than piracy.
Not saying that piracy is fun, but Steam is pretty close to nailing the convenience of a digital library that has incredible sales, communication, compatibility with TV’s now and exists and thrives on an open platform that competes with free.
Which brings me to my last topic that has to do with pre-ordering in general. I understand that people are excited for a game and willing to buy it before it comes out either to get bonuses or install it early, but what I do not understand is why anyone would pre-order an always online DRM game after Diablo 3 had issues? There isn’t even a way to play the game offline and that will cause people to turn to pirates to crack it and allow them to do so. Vote with your wallets and show these companies that you are not going to ever put up with DRM bullshit again and maybe they’ll listen.
ALWAYS have a mode to play offline that only exists offline. Don’t allow anything to carry over into the online mode. Give people a reason to believe that playing online is better after they play offline and maybe you won’t get so much of a backlash from people not being able to play your game at all. I think that’s the major problem and if you want change, no one is pointing a gun at your head and making you give money to these companies, so just stop.
I do hear that SimCity is a good game, too bad it’s wrapped up in all this other stupid shit to shine.
So that’s my two cents that EA won’t be getting.