When the developer team of the upcoming SimCity game hosted an AMA (Ask Me Anything) question-and-answer session on Reddit earlier this week, they probably weren't expecting the angry backlash that resulted.
What they clearly hoped would be a light and fun forum to discuss the game, due out for PC on March 5, turned into anger at the prospect of having the game be online-only, as a way to protect against copyright infringement.
As Tech Dirt reports, the game will be accessible only through Electronic Arts' Origin service, whether in single-player or multi-player mode, and will only save players' games online, meaning players can only play SimCity if they have an Internet connection. Even in single player mode.
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Tech Dirt puts it bluntly, and best: "…so if you lose the connection, not only will you be prevented from playing your purchased game, but you'll be back at whatever point you were at when your service died."
While there were other topics discussed with the Maxis team, like the available public transit options in the game, or how they come up with the silly headlines for the fake newspapers, the DRM complaints dominated the discussion. Days later, the lead comment on the post is a compilation of all the commenters who said they would not purchase the game because of the new always-online DRM policy.
When asked what would happen if the game were to go offline due to a spotty Internet connection, Senior Producer Kip Katsarelis gave an answer that didn't appease many commenters:
"I actually just ran over to our online engineering team to get the latest info. We do handle "short" internet outages gracefully. Meaning, if your internet goes out while you're logged in and playing the game, we can recover gracefully. You shouldn't notice a thing. "Short" is still being defined."
For those who aren't familiar with DRM, or Digital Rights Management, it refers to technology used to control who is accessing digital content, and how. Most people are familiar with DRM from the iTunes store, which limits the number of times you can share a song between devices. The DRM on SimCity ensures that only the purchaser is playing the game by linking access to the game and games saves to the EA Origin store.
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If the always-online requirement isn't going to stop you from picking up the long-awaited SimCity, check out this trailer released last week, featuring SimCity multi-city play:
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