So we’re about into week 2 of SimCity, a game I haven’t played but feel like I have. The stories coming out are pointing more and more towards Accident-Lawyer on the truthiness scale.
Recently we learned that “offline mode” is more than feasible from the same guy that was able to mod away regional boundaries (make the map bigger essentially). The servers apparently are only used for resource relay from nearby regions and to save your game. Given that resources in regions only update if there’s an ACTIVE player in those regions, when you’re playing private region, it never updates. This means that the “cloud” does one thing and one thing only for single-player online games, it saves. And does a poor job at it too, since you can’t access your saves from a different server. Not too cloud-like to me!
Today we find out that the game has a line of code to disconnect you after 20 minutes of no-interweb. Code it out, and you can play offline as much as you want, you just can’t save. Seems rather DRM-ish to me.
All this while, the Maxis boss has been claiming the cloud off-loads computation. Mind you, they’ve now opened the can of worms by alluding to the game as an MMO. You know, an MMO where you actively play with other people and don’t have any single player options?
It just seems unfortunate that a series with as much history as SimCity would want to go down this path. Are there still pirates? Yes, and I would bet dollars to donuts there are more pirates that don’t want to play your game than do. I also bet that online stores without DRM would have sold you more copies. There are simply too many DRM alternatives out there to go down this ridiculous route. It’s 2013, we can do better.