Maxis Explains why SimCity Needs Always-On Connection

simcity

Last week, SimCity developer Maxis held a pretty disastrous Q&A session on Reddit, in which users grilled the company relentlessly about the game’s planned always-on internet connection. Gamers hate that, and see it as little more than a sneaky way to try and avoid piracy.

Days later, though, Lucy Bradshaw from Maxis has explained what the always-on connectivity is for: the community. Because the new SimCity is the most advanced iteration of the franchise yet, Maxis is looking to find a way for one player’s city to have some impact on others’. To do that, it needs the always-on connection:

“You’re always connected to the neighbors in your region so while you play, data from your city interacts with our servers, and we run the simulation at a regional scale. For example, trades between cities, simulation effects that cause change across the region like pollution or crime, as well as depletion of resources, are all processed on the servers and then data is sent back to your city on your PC. Every city in the region is updated every three minutes, which keeps the overall region in sync and makes your decisions in your city relevant to any changes that have taken place in the region.”

That’s…actually a pretty awesome response. Even still, the folks at Kotaku point out enough reasons why the always-on connectivity is still a bad idea:

“Maxis makes a point of saying you may play SimCity solo in a private game, like Diablo III. Which had an always-on connection. […] Bottom line, we’re talking about Electronic Arts, an always-on connection, and a game utterly dependent on servers that the publisher could one day shut down. That’s enough to kick up a stink no matter what the game is, even one as loved and anticipated as SimCity.”

That’s a solid fact, too. Even though it’s a very cool idea to interconnect the different players’ cities, what gamers want are options, and they want to be able to play a video game that they pay for. If in five years SimCity tanks and EA shuts down the servers, that will punishe those gamers who did pay for a copy and want to play, regardless of whether the rest of the world has moved on. Always-on requirements are pretty much always more trouble than they’re worth, no matter how good the features they’re meant to power sound.

Maxis Blog via Kotaku

  1. I don’t care how cool the idea is, it’s failure in itself, Origin exclusive, EA managed, there is no way that works, so why even bother paying for it.

  2. To be completely honest, I don’t mind the fact that the game has a DRM or requires a constant internet connection. My PC is always connected and I don’t see how such a requirement will affect the way I play in any way, shape or form.
    I do have to admit that Origin is a pain in the ass because I literally use it for only 2 games (BF3 and soon to come SimCity 5) but you can’t deny the fact that the game looks amazing and is worthy of a purchase. And if you don’t feel like paying it full price, just wait for a website to start selling CD Keys. (Example: dlcompare.com)

    • Until the servers are down for maintenance, (precisely the only hour you have to play the game) or the servers are overloaded and it keeps kicking you out of the game, or when eventually, inevitably, EA decides to shut down the servers because, well, fuck the players.

      Constantly require internet for single player games is an unbelievable stupid move, one that made Blizzard stocks plummet after Diablo 3, enough for the parent company to want to get rid of it.

  3. I’ve been a fan of Sim City since the first one released long ago and have played just about every major Sim City computer release since then. This is the first one that I plan on not getting as I won’t but a game that forces me to be online. I’ve avoided all of Ubisoft’s games that did this and I didn’t get Diablo 3 either so I sure ain’t getting this. I used to like EA a lot, but they’ve really turned me away from their products the last five years with their awful choices of DRM and intrusive store front clients. Fourtianatly there are more than enough other companies these days stepping in to fill the void with decent alternatives.

  4. How about this, you have an option to make a city an “online” citythat has those functionalities or make it an “offline” city that doesn’t. You know, like tons of other games like Dungeon Defenders do. What a joke, if you’re going to do online only, that’s one thing, but don’t lie and say it’s for the consumer or that it’s the only way the game could work when clearly it isn’t.

  5. It’s not only Origin, Steam needs a working connection to count achievements and to let you play your games. Shutdown of Steam would make such a big group of players lose their games, especially Valve’s ones.

  6. Simple to fix. Take out “internet requirement” and make it a special feature for when you’re online. Internet should never be a requirement, only an option.

  7. Always online is a mistake, because you have hiccup and lose your internet and bam your stuck with nothing to do and 60 dollars poorer. Its a mistake. I cannot get behind a company that intends on doing this regardless of what the community says. Whatever happened to treating your customers with respect and honor, oh right respect and honor died in the 2000′s pitiful. At least companies like steam give you an option to play your games offline, granted its limited but at least its there. Keep pulling stuff like this and your consumers will stop buying, and then you can blame piracy and then create systems like the 6-step system(SOPA alternative), look it up it exists, and is about to go live soon, though hurrican sandy delayed its activation, back on topic, I had no reason to play the new sim city because of EA but now I have one more reason to say No I will not spend my money with them. Same goes to blizzard, whas a die hard fan until d3, now they and activision can go under for all I care.

  8. somecompanyiusedtoknow

    All I an say is I feel I will have the right to sue the holy crap out of the company if they shut down their server in a ‘fuck’ the customers move for making it a requirement. I personally feel that FORCING people to be online should be against the law….. especially given the fact that there’s a LOT of people who do nothing but play games on computers because they can’t even GET the internet…. Believe it or not, there’s still a shit ton of ruralites out there that can’t even get internet (oh come now, dialup doesn’t count worth shit…… )

    EA is losing yet another customer because of this…… Screw the players huh? Screw you EA…..

  9. Lol the funny thing is the people who pirate shit will not buy a game unless they really want it and will just pirate something else instead. So they will not be gaining much (if any) money from them, but in the process slap the paying customers in the face who will be now taking their money elsewhere. Smart..

    • So true. Those who illegally download games and movies will not buy this game anyways, some due to personal reasons and most of them due to financial.

      But requiring a constant internet connection stops people from playing this game on their laptop when there not in contact of internet and mostly those who do not have a solid internet connection.

      I seriously want to slap EA’s CEO.

  10. Damn. I was going to buy the game. Not anymore.

  11. I WILL NOT BUY THIS GAME BECAUSE OF THE INTERNET CONNECTION REQUIREMENT.

    YOU HAVE TAKEN CREATIVE GAMERS WISHFUL DREAM OF MAKING MODEL HOUSES AND TURNED IT INTO A GREEDY NIGHTMARE OF EA CORPORATES.

  12. I have bought the game and it is pretty awesome. The DRM was an issue only once when the servers went down. Other than that one time I have played for 7 hours without any issues.

    I find that most people that have a “real” issue with DRM are pirates or are worried about potential problems that “might” occur but haven’t experienced themselves. I’ve been playing games with DRM for a very long time with “Anno series” games and Blizzard’s Diablo 3 and many others and I havn’t had any serious issues with any of them a week after launch.

    ALL games with DRM have issues a launch. ALL. But once everything settles down or they add servers things wrap up nicely.

    • So I worry about THIS DRM solution not because I would pirate the game, but because it limits me from really owning the game. I worked for EA for a couple of years and I can GUARANTEE to you that they WILL eventually shutdown those servers.

      Also, I travel a lot and SimCity to me has always been a type of game that is good to play at those down times, like in the plane. Well, they just limited us on really being able to do that, which limits the value of the ga,e.

      I agree with most here, an always on-for a game that has no need at all for it is ridiculous and I won’t buy the game just because of the limitations it created…

    • You are fooling yourself if you think pirates fear DRM, people don’t want DRM because they don’t want to be shackled to the whim of a company, specially one like EA that has a massive long history of shutting down servers 2, 3 years after the game’s launch.

      Most people don’t care for DRM because they know companies like Ubisoft, even tho they use aggressive DRM, they remove it from the game after a few years, so you can always count on being able to play the game whenever you want.

  13. Fuck simcity i want my mony back i cant even play like 2 days nou so gone ask my mony back fuckers rrrrr i am raly pist and no forom/ ore suport WTF

  14. Iam very disapointed in the Game of sim City. There was so much hipe about this game, now that I have bought it, have I nothing but problems with this servers, for two days do I try to play this game but allways do I get that there is no server free. That pisses me of.

  15. Iam very disapointed in the Game of sim City. There was so much hipe about this game, now that I have bought it, have I nothing but problems with this servers, for two days do I try to play this game but allways do I get that there is no server free. That pisses me of.

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