Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 11th Mar 2013 14:46 UTC
Games "To see anyone defending EA and Maxis for the state of SimCity, even were it in perfect working order on launch, depresses me to my core. This self-flagellation-as-skincare notion, where gamers loudly and proudly defend the destruction of their own rights as consumers, is an Orwellian perversity. That it might be considered in any way controversial to call them out on their crap, to point out that no, always-on DRM is not an advantage to anyone, is bewildering. It's a sign of just how far the gaming world has fallen into the rabbit hole of the publisher's burrowing." As usual, RPS hits the nail on the head so hard it shoots through the board.
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Sing of the Times
by sparkyERTW on Mon 11th Mar 2013 15:18 UTC
sparkyERTW
Member since:
2010-06-09

This and things like this are the sad trend we're seeing in the marketplace. You see big companies like Sony, EA, Microsoft, etc. take actions against their customers and half the time the customers shrug or even applaud them for it.

Sony removes Other OS support, backwards compatibility, etc.: "Oh well, I never used it anyway". Not the f**king point. They took something away from you AFTER you purchased it. How is that not viewed as wrong? If a Frigidaire rep breaks into my house and removes the ice dispenser on my fridge that I never use, is it excusable?

EA breaks games with DRM, removes features til it's working again: "Oh well, they're just trying to keep people from stealing their stuff". That's their f**king problem, not yours; you as a loyal paying customer shouldn't be suffering for it. If someone elbows me in the face while trying to throw a hay-maker at a guy next to me, I'm still justified to be pissed as hell. And if they then turn around and say, "I appear to have broken your nose... here, have this fake nose to wear over it so you look normal again", I should not accept that as adequate.

Amazon DRM-ing public works, the walled gardens of the smartphone market - now creeping into the PC market, long-term service contracts that are entirely one-sided, etc. How long will it be before Toyota says, "if you take your car anywhere but the dealership for regular maintenance - which is mandatory - your car will lock up and you can't drive it anymore"... and we shrug our shoulders?

Edited 2013-03-11 15:22 UTC

Reply Score: 21

RE: Sing of the Times
by WorknMan on Mon 11th Mar 2013 16:08 UTC in reply to "Sing of the Times"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

EA breaks games with DRM, removes features til it's working again: "Oh well, they're just trying to keep people from stealing their stuff"


Yep, that's pretty much it, and I think it's a justifiable reason on their part. Don't get me wrong... I would never support this model for games, but I don't blame them for doing it. I'm sure they're getting tired of people pirating their stuff, while at the same time you have a bunch of f--ktards screaming about how piracy helps the industry. I'm sorry guys, but piracy does NOT help the industry ;) You get hundreds of thousands of people torrenting games, and then you wonder why publishers resort to the online-only DRM. Hello? WTF did you think was going to happen? They're not just going to sit back and watch while you play $60 games for free.

The main argument against this kind of DRM is that you can never make something that can't be cracked, but as more and more of the code goes server-side, I'm sure they will eventually make something that's uncrackable, assuming they haven't already. So I understand the business reasons why they're doing it, and I understand this is the future.

Do I AGREE with it? No. Assuming their PC games are being pirated to the point where they would have to go out of business if they didn't resort to this model, then I'd rather see them go out of business. If I can't really own the games, I'm just not interested, unless maybe they're having a fire sale for like $10. Then it's sort of like a rental ;) Since games are only entertainment, I can easily live without them.

And I also think it's a bit hypocritical for people to shun this kind of DRM on one hand, and embrace Steam on the other. I'm not sure if Steam requires the 'always on' connection, but you're still 'buying' games that you don't really own, and that can be 'switched off' at somebody else's discretion.

Edited 2013-03-11 16:11 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Sing of the Times
by BushLin on Mon 11th Mar 2013 20:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Sing of the Times"
BushLin Member since:
2011-01-26

If it were just anti piracy measures you could make that argument but in the case of Sim City they've moved part of the single player onto their servers; not for any real benefit to the game... no, just so they can add it to the following list of shut down servers in a couple of years and charge you again if you still feel like playing.

http://www.ea.com/1/service-updates

No chance they ever get another penny from me.

Edited 2013-03-11 21:00 UTC

Reply Score: 7

RE[3]: Sing of the Times
by WorknMan on Tue 12th Mar 2013 23:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Sing of the Times"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

If it were just anti piracy measures you could make that argument but in the case of Sim City they've moved part of the single player onto their servers; not for any real benefit to the game... no, just so they can add it to the following list of shut down servers in a couple of years and charge you again if you still feel like playing.

http://www.ea.com/1/service-updates


In that list you posted, do they disable the WHOLE game, or just the multiplayer? I'm pretty sure that even now, I could stick those old games in and play the single player mode.

And they're not going to disable the single player on Sim City in 2 years. Why would they? The last Sim City game was released in 2007, so it's not like this is a yearly franchise like their sports games are, so they won't have a newer Sim City game to sell you in a year or two. And even if they did, it's highly doubtful that even EA would be stupid enough to shut the old one down entirely that soon.

It's awfully tempting to come up with some sort of conspiracy theory here, but this is an anti-piracy measure... simple as that.

Edited 2013-03-12 23:50 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Sing of the Times
by BushLin on Wed 13th Mar 2013 00:30 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Sing of the Times"
BushLin Member since:
2011-01-26

It's not a conspiracy theory that EA de-commission their servers for online play at an increasingly alarming rate.
Games from 2 years ago are on that list.

It's also not a conspiracy theory that they (amongst other companies it should be said) are increasing the amount of core game content that relies on the aforementioned servers.
Sim City is in fact not playable in single player mode without being online, this is worse than losing some characters/levels/missions/weapons/etc (obviously online play also) and not because they're offering us anything useful by making it that way.


It's a real step up in bullshit from the practice of releasing a game alongside costly DLC which really should have been included in the cover price. Quite a leap from the idea of extending the life of a classic title by means of an expansion pack, you're denied the proper experience without their servers which disappear far too quickly.

And now we find ourselves further down the line, it's only really because of the problems with the servers that the whole practice is being discussed but it's way beyond anti-piracy and more about milking fans of a game franchise.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Sing of the Times
by WorknMan on Wed 13th Mar 2013 06:32 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Sing of the Times"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

t's not a conspiracy theory that EA de-commission their servers for online play at an increasingly alarming rate.
Games from 2 years ago are on that list.


So you're saying EA will have a new Sim City game out in 2015 (even though they don't release them nearly that often), and will COMPLETELY disable the current game at that time?

I'm not saying it isn't possible, but highly unlikely. Turning off online play is one thing (esp if there's nobody playing anymore), but disabling a game altogether is an entirely different matter.

But even if they do, it's not likely that 'core gamers' will care if there's a new one to play, since core gamers have demonstrated time-after-time that they don't mind buying the same f**king game over and over again, as long as it looks better. Case in point, look at how many times that Doom has been resold, in one form or another, since 1993. Better graphics for sure, same damn game.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Sing of the Times
by BushLin on Wed 13th Mar 2013 07:22 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Sing of the Times"
BushLin Member since:
2011-01-26

OK, now you're just arguing the toss on the precise timing of when EA pull the trigger. Whether it's in 2 years or 5 years is a moot point, the problem is that they have the power in the first place.

If I want to play Sim City 2000, I can, it works fine without a server to cover menial functions and is still fun.

It's ok though, I released you have no real understanding or interest in this and only accidentally being a troll when you said it doesn't matter because 'core gamers' (I never used that phrase btw) will lap it up; essentially saying they deserve it because they keep buying FPS games.

EA's train of thought isn't too dissimilar funnily enough and it's because of that, I won't be buying any of their products.

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Sing of the Times
by WorknMan on Wed 13th Mar 2013 16:38 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Sing of the Times"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

OK, now you're just arguing the toss on the precise timing of when EA pull the trigger. Whether it's in 2 years or 5 years is a moot point, the problem is that they have the power in the first place.


No, I understand it's a bad thing for consumers. I'm just saying that from their point of view, it's most likely an anti-piracy measure, rather than a, 'we can turn this off at some point and prevent people from playing their own game.'

By the time a new Sim City game comes out, it's likely that hardly anyone will be playing this one still. And the ones who are fanatical enough to still be playing it after all that time are probably the ones most likely to buy the new one anyway. So why would they go through the trouble of maintaining servers for all that time (which surely must cost a lot), just to pull the kill switch and piss off the people who love their game the most? Again, I HIGHLY doubt that even EA is that stupid.

Don't get me wrong... I'm sure they will pull the plug at some point, like when there's hardly anyone playing anymore. But I doubt it's gonna be as soon as the new one comes out.

Edited 2013-03-13 16:41 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Sing of the Times
by sparkyERTW on Tue 12th Mar 2013 13:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Sing of the Times"
sparkyERTW Member since:
2010-06-09

I think it's a justifiable reason on their part. Don't get me wrong... I would never support this model for games, but I don't blame them for doing it.


I do... because in doing so they're harming their honest, paying customers. Returning to the car metaphor, what we're seeing is not "needing a key to start your car". What we're seeing is "your car must communicate with us or it won't start, and since we've just discovered the AC, stereo, and ABS brakes create problems with that, we're going to disable those. Also, your car might occasionally fail to start or lock-up randomly."

I'm sure they're getting tired of people pirating their stuff, while at the same time you have a bunch of f--ktards screaming about how piracy helps the industry. I'm sorry guys, but piracy does NOT help the industry ;) You get hundreds of thousands of people torrenting games, and then you wonder why publishers resort to the online-only DRM. Hello? WTF did you think was going to happen? They're not just going to sit back and watch while you play $60 games for free.


Yeah, I get that, and I agree the "piracy helps" argument is a lame one. But your paying customers should not be complacent about you breaking their stuff to fight that.

The main argument against this kind of DRM is that you can never make something that can't be cracked, but as more and more of the code goes server-side, I'm sure they will eventually make something that's uncrackable


No they won't. Ever. There's always going to be someone who figures out how to get around it. So rather than fight that and piss off all your existing customers as you sell them broken products, maybe your time is better spent proving your product is worth paying for.

Do I AGREE with it? No. Assuming their PC games are being pirated to the point where they would have to go out of business if they didn't resort to this model, then I'd rather see them go out of business. If I can't really own the games, I'm just not interested, unless maybe they're having a fire sale for like $10. Then it's sort of like a rental ;) Since games are only entertainment, I can easily live without them.


Agreed.

And I also think it's a bit hypocritical for people to shun this kind of DRM on one hand, and embrace Steam on the other. I'm not sure if Steam requires the 'always on' connection, but you're still 'buying' games that you don't really own, and that can be 'switched off' at somebody else's discretion.


You have a point there. You can put Steam in an 'offline' mode where it stores a local copy of your credentials, but you're right, it could be revoked when run online. But while I agree that DRM is vile in general, what makes this case extra heinous though is that given the option between loosening the DRM and harming their loyal, paying customers, they harmed their customers. And that to me is indefensible.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Sing of the Times
by WorknMan on Tue 12th Mar 2013 19:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Sing of the Times"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Except that you can't 'copy' a car for $0, which makes this analogy a bad one. If you could, you would probably see these same types of restrictions.

As far as uncrackable DRM, how are you going to crack something that runs mostly (or entirely) on a server? Have you ever seen anyone who can play OnLive games for free?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Sing of the Times
by rcsteiner on Fri 15th Mar 2013 04:29 UTC in reply to "RE: Sing of the Times"
rcsteiner Member since:
2005-07-12

How, precisely, is this action of theirs going to lessen piracy?

Edited 2013-03-15 04:31 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Sing of the Times
by tidux on Mon 11th Mar 2013 18:29 UTC in reply to "Sing of the Times"
tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

That example about Toyota is illegal in my state - we have a law on the books that mandates free choice of repair shops.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Sing of the Times
by Soulbender on Tue 12th Mar 2013 01:41 UTC in reply to "Sing of the Times"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

How long will it be before Toyota says, "if you take your car anywhere but the dealership for regular maintenance - which is mandatory - your car will lock up and you can't drive it anymore"... and we shrug our shoulders?


No, that won't happen because people will not accept it. The IT industry though, is a different ballgame. A lot of big players has spent a lot of money convincing people that the IT industry is special and need special rules and permissions. Unfortunately, the only way these companies are making the industry special is in making it more like the short bus.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Sing of the Times
by sparkyERTW on Tue 12th Mar 2013 13:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Sing of the Times"
sparkyERTW Member since:
2010-06-09

No, that won't happen because people will not accept it.


I hope you're right about that, I really do, because while we all have the impression right now is we're only seeing this pushover (bend-over?) attitude in the IT/entertainment industry, I'm not 100% sure it'll stay that way. Yeah, I get that my Toyota example was a little extreme, but if this trend continues it might not seem that far-fetched.

Reply Score: 1

There is no game...
by umccullough on Mon 11th Mar 2013 15:47 UTC
umccullough
Member since:
2006-01-26

Games like this don't exist for me.

Being a purveyor of "used games", especially those I can purchase at garage sales, it's safe to assume I'll probably never have an opportunity to play this game. By the time I get around to "owning" and playing it, EA will have probably turned off the servers and the game will cease to be playable in the used game market.

What's sad is - these game publishers are indirectly killing their own franchises by preventing real fans from going back and play the older version(s) of the games that are currently being published. When the original versions are dead and unplayable, there will be a gap where people will lose this ability in the coming decades.

Bonus: And my 3 kids are not likely to ever play it either. Considering they have inherited my frugal "get it used" strategy.

Edited 2013-03-11 15:53 UTC

Reply Score: 13

RE: There is no game...
by Fergy on Mon 11th Mar 2013 18:22 UTC in reply to "There is no game..."
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

Games like this don't exist for me.

Being a purveyor of "used games", especially those I can purchase at garage sales, it's safe to assume I'll probably never have an opportunity to play this game. By the time I get around to "owning" and playing it, EA will have probably turned off the servers and the game will cease to be playable in the used game market.

What's sad is - these game publishers are indirectly killing their own franchises by preventing real fans from going back and play the older version(s) of the games that are currently being published. When the original versions are dead and unplayable, there will be a gap where people will lose this ability in the coming decades.

Bonus: And my 3 kids are not likely to ever play it either. Considering they have inherited my frugal "get it used" strategy.

I get my 'used' games on GOG. You get the full version with all extra's patched up to make it work on new computers.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: There is no game...
by umccullough on Mon 11th Mar 2013 19:12 UTC in reply to "RE: There is no game..."
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

I get my 'used' games on GOG. You get the full version with all extra's patched up to make it work on new computers.


Exactly... but a game that requires an always-on connection will probably never show up on GoG.

Furthermore, from what I read, EA claims that their servers perform some of the "computation tasks" required for the game - meaning that the installed software that resides on the end-user's computer does not contain all the code necessary for the game to be playable, and that some portion of the game code runs on EA's servers.

This means that even if someone later comes along and hacks the original game to run single-player - unless they have access to the server-side code bits as well, and know can figure out how to incorporate them into the standalone version, this game will never see the light of day again.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: There is no game...
by Fergy on Mon 11th Mar 2013 19:18 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: There is no game..."
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

Exactly... but a game that requires an always-on connection will probably never show up on GoG.

That is good reason to go GOG. If you buy your game there you are safe. If it is not there there is a reason and it might be because the publisher is evil.

Reply Score: 5

Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Mon 11th Mar 2013 15:48 UTC
shmerl
Member since:
2010-06-08

Any kind of DRM is not acceptable, not just the most draconian "always on-line" type.

Reply Score: 7

EA
by Casey99 on Mon 11th Mar 2013 16:04 UTC
Casey99
Member since:
2011-07-14

EA essentially turned SimCity in a subscription service. You pay $60 for X number of years of service or whenever they decide to shutdown the servers. When the new SimCity (or expansion pack) comes out they can shutdown these servers, forcing you to pay another $60 for the new SimCity (or by then, $70).

I'll never subscribe to this game even if they fixed the small city size. But let's face it. A lot of people subscribed to this game. EA has already won.

Edited 2013-03-11 16:05 UTC

Reply Score: 11

Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Mon 11th Mar 2013 16:15 UTC
MOS6510
Member since:
2011-05-12

I never liked SimCity anyway as I always seemed to run out of money.

But a costly mistake from EA.

Maybe they'll cheer up knowing I still play Archon 1 and 2 once in a while.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by Fergy on Mon 11th Mar 2013 18:23 UTC in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

I never liked SimCity anyway as I always seemed to run out of money.

But a costly mistake from EA.

Maybe they'll cheer up knowing I still play Archon 1 and 2 once in a while.

I don't care about your comment and haven't even read it.

Maybe I'll get a cup of hot chocolate.

Reply Score: 7

sgtrock
Member since:
2011-05-13

I've never understood why EA gets away with this crap. Seriously, this isn't rocket science. This isn't even critical stuff where we're forced to rely upon a single vendor or go without. This is just our entertainment dollars we're spending here.

There are plenty of other companies producing great games with all kinds of different business models. I personally haven't bought an EA game in 5 years.

Instead, all of my downloadable games have been bought through Steam, Stardock, or Good Old Games for the past 8 or 10 years. All three of them have no DRM at all or at least, DRM that I can tolerate. All of them have allowed me to install games multiple times as I've migrated from PC to PC. I have had zero issues with any of them.

So, why should I spend my hard earned money at EA? Why should I let EA's greed give me heartburn when all I want to do is have some fun? Why would any gamer do it unless they've fallen into Stockholm Syndrome?

Want to see an alternative, gamer friendly approach? Take a look at what Bohemia Interactive has done by letting people buy Arma 3's alpha release. Contrary to what you might expect, this alpha is more stable and with more content than what many AAA games come with at first release. The beta release this summer and the final release later this year will add far more content than you usually get through DLCs. A wide open, easy to use mission editor is already allowing hundreds of servers to run all kinds of player created content and the alpha has only been out a week! (And that doesn't even take into consideration that the editor lets you do anything you want offline as well.)

On top of all that, BI has set up their bug reporting site to be open to anyone who wants to create a log in. That means that it'll be easy for people to keep track of issues that they personally care about. Does that sound like anything EA would ever do?

BI is a company that I'm willing to spend dollars on because (a) they make games I like to play, (b) I know that for any of their games there are going to be lots and Lots and LOTS of player created content for a long time to come, and (c) they have a long term track record of continually patching games for several years. That is the kind of company I'm willing to support.

Edited 2013-03-11 16:41 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Not just DRM
by telns on Mon 11th Mar 2013 16:59 UTC
telns
Member since:
2009-06-18

There seems to be a lot more going on here than just DRM.

As much as I dislike DRM and wish it were gone, I suspect if they ripped it out SimCity entirely, the game would still be unplayable.

They've done something--what, exactly, is difficult to piece together from the news--about the way they store each user's game state which is quite broken at load.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Not just DRM
by Delgarde on Tue 12th Mar 2013 20:11 UTC in reply to "Not just DRM"
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

There seems to be a lot more going on here than just DRM.

As much as I dislike DRM and wish it were gone, I suspect if they ripped it out SimCity entirely, the game would still be unplayable.

They've done something--what, exactly, is difficult to piece together from the news--about the way they store each user's game state which is quite broken at load.


Well yeah, the problem isn't DRM as such, it's that the game itself is little more than a thin client running on EA's servers. The online requirement isn't simply to check license keys - it's that they've deliberately built the game in such a way that it cannot be played without a server. Not something that can just be patched out.

Reply Score: 2

v Oxymoron
by bowkota on Mon 11th Mar 2013 17:21 UTC
RE: Oxymoron
by Fergy on Mon 11th Mar 2013 18:38 UTC in reply to "Oxymoron"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

Definition of Oxymoron : avid supporter of anything Google talking about Orwellian perversity

Follow that logic to its conclusion: if you live in a country with a government you can't be a privacy advocate because you already have given your information away to one organization.

Reply Score: 2

How it was supposed to work
by robojerk on Mon 11th Mar 2013 18:07 UTC
robojerk
Member since:
2006-01-10

How I see it, the online requirement is a form of DRM, however it added a slew of new features that were supposed to make it worthwhile.

The regional aspect is quite interesting, you try to make your cities attractive as possible and sim people from other player's cities come to visit with their cash to spend in your city. It really is an interesting idea to think of the game as more of an economic tool.

TO BE FAIR TO CUSTOMERS
However this still doesn't mean it should require an always on connection. They should have 2 modes of the game, online and offline, allowing you to pick which mode that city game will be played in.

The online mode should only download the economic data at game launch, and save your city to the server periodically while playing and when you quit.

The offline mode means your city never gets uploaded to the EA servers, the game generates sims randomly to visit your city. More of a classic version.

I would actually prefer a 3rd mode of play, which would allow me and my friends to have our own private region and focus on trade and commerce. The private mode would be a private server one of the players could have running, and it saves to that, (with a local backup). Maybe Civitas can do it one day.
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1584821767/civitas-plan-develop...

Edited 2013-03-11 18:11 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE: How it was supposed to work
by Fergy on Mon 11th Mar 2013 18:55 UTC in reply to "How it was supposed to work"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10


Thanks for the heads up. I just backed it.

Reply Score: 3

RE: How it was supposed to work
by marcus0263 on Mon 11th Mar 2013 20:40 UTC in reply to "How it was supposed to work"
marcus0263 Member since:
2007-06-02

Thanks for the heads up with Civitas, I've pledged!

Yep EA buy's up successful game studios then destroy's the game. I was once an avid gamer, spent tons of money on games but the last 10 years I no longer buy. The draconian DRM and the complete lack of quality, it's not worth it.

I did though just recently buy a game on Steam, that was only to support them porting to Linux. But EA games, I refuse to buy anything from them and wish they would just die for being the leeches they are.

Reply Score: 2

RE: How it was supposed to work
by robojerk on Mon 11th Mar 2013 20:54 UTC in reply to "How it was supposed to work"
robojerk Member since:
2006-01-10

No problem. Yeah I pledged too.

I think the best campaign against SimCity's latest release (and other upcoming games that are making it so us as consumers never truly own the game and can play it at our leisure) would be supporting Civitas and making sure they meet their goal. Someone needs to start that campaign.

Reply Score: 2

EA and acquisitions
by malxau on Mon 11th Mar 2013 19:19 UTC
malxau
Member since:
2005-12-04

While normally "don't buy EA" would be sufficient, EA seem particularly aggressive in acquiring smaller companies and over time turning them into EA-like entities. These companies were producing great, successful games, and at some point consumers need to stop buying a previously solid franchise after EA has ruined it. This point is not clear in advance to the purchaser. Consumers buying into a franchise before it has been completely discredited are fueling the EA machine to acquire yet another company/franchise and repeat.

The good part about scandals like this is prospective customers will now know what they're getting, which is often a huge part of the problem. The more I think about it though, even buying good products from EA before they have been destroyed is also a problem, since that money is just fueling the acquire+destroy process.

Reply Score: 7

iOS?
by tomz on Mon 11th Mar 2013 19:36 UTC
tomz
Member since:
2010-05-06

There is less bad DRM - the best is transparent.

On a product I'm working on is a subscription model, so I suggested using a public/private key signed timed token, so you would only have to be online every two weeks (or longer). Few would bother copying the token, yet it would allow offline access.

Most people don't complain about Apple, but they tend to be flexible with their fair-play, and buy once, run on all devices.

Google can be (easily) gamed if you really want privacy.

Reply Score: 1

The solution is not simple
by ze_jerkface on Tue 12th Mar 2013 06:04 UTC
ze_jerkface
Member since:
2012-06-22

I agree that EA screwed up but demanding DRM-free single player games is not a solution. PC piracy rates are obscenely high and companies don't like to spend years on a game only to see the majority pirate it.

If EA decides that it was a mistake to try and shoehorn multiplayer onto a single player game then they will work to make it truly multiplayer. $50 single player pc games are going the way of the dodo because the majority won't pay for them. There are plenty of MMOs that have zero piracy because part of the code is locked away on the server. Even for MMOs that have pirated servers there is still the incentive to play on legit servers that have larger populations. So it's understandable they want to further adopt this model.

The whole situation is a mess but I don't think EA should deserve all the blame. PC gaming has a culture of piracy that is tolerated and defended. It shouldn't be a surprise that companies like EA are going to try and convert some of those pirates when "good will" attempts by other companies have completely failed.

Reply Score: 2

RE: The solution is not simple
by Jezza on Tue 12th Mar 2013 09:54 UTC in reply to "The solution is not simple"
Jezza Member since:
2005-10-13

I agree that EA screwed up but demanding DRM-free single player games is not a solution. PC piracy rates are obscenely high and companies don't like to spend years on a game only to see the majority pirate it.


You forget that many of these pirates are people who have bought the games and then use a torrent to bypass the DRM. I know many people who have done this, so using the inflation of piracy as a justification of ever-more draconian DRM is misleading. There are three types of pirate and only one of them counts as a 'lost sale'.

The first are [mostly] children and teenagers who don't have £50 a time for games and would never have bought the game to begin with.

The second are people who have already bought the game, but dislike the DRM, so they've torrented a cracked version.

The third, and as far as the [objective] published research shows, much in the minority, are those who could and would have bought it, but can get it for free, so they do.


There has been research published (albeit specifically about the music industry) showing that the second group are much greater in number than the third and actually contribute extra sales, rather than the company losing sales.

Reply Score: 1

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

The first are [mostly] children and teenagers who don't have £50 a time for games and would never have bought the game to begin with.


A lot of modern PC games need pretty decent hardware to run. If you can afford to get a laptop to run the game you or their parents can probably afford the game.

When I was a kid, if I couldn't afford something ... I went without.

The second are people who have already bought the game, but dislike the DRM, so they've torrented a cracked version.


That is bullshit and you know it.

Reply Score: 3

sparkyERTW Member since:
2010-06-09

"The first are [mostly] children and teenagers who don't have £50 a time for games and would never have bought the game to begin with.


A lot of modern PC games need pretty decent hardware to run. If you can afford to get a laptop to run the game you or their parents can probably afford the game.

When I was a kid, if I couldn't afford something ... I went without.
"

Well said. Half the reason I got back into console gaming (yes, I realize the irony there, and I am already regretting that decision) was the need to spend ~$300-400 a year on upgrades to play the latest and greatest. And yes, if you can't afford the chocolate bar at the corner store, that doesn't excuse you for swiping it.

"The second are people who have already bought the game, but dislike the DRM, so they've torrented a cracked version.


That is bullshit and you know it.
"

Well, I'm not sure it's entirely bullshit... but it should be. I've known a couple people who have mentioned doing this, but to me their response should have been either a) don't buy it because you object to the DRM, or b) if it was bought not knowing about the DRM issues, return and demand - strongly and loudly - your money back for what is a defective product (yes, I realize most companies have a no-return policy on computer games, but that's a whole other problem that needs to be addressed right there).

Reply Score: 1

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

was the need to spend ~$300-400 a year on upgrades to play the latest and greatest.


Every once in a while someone pops up with the claim that you need to constantly keep upgrading a PC. But well, why? There is no real reason to constantly upgrade a PC unless you believe that you must be able to play games at max details at max resolution at all times.

How about this: set games to similar detail settings as used on the PS3 or Xbox360 and keep the resolution to 720p and grab a PC from 5 years ago -- games will run just fine. The point is, people who buy PCs tend to push everything to max and then use that as a justification for complaining about needing to upgrade all the time, and that's just silly. It's like stabbing yourself and then complaining that you're hurting.

Reply Score: 2

ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

How about this: set games to similar detail settings as used on the PS3 or Xbox360 and keep the resolution to 720p and grab a PC from 5 years ago -- games will run just fine.


That's not true anymore. DayZ will not run on a PC from 5 years ago.

Reply Score: 2

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

5 years ago the best priced gaming card was a 8800GT alpha dog by XFX. Not 1 single big name titled game released on Steam will run outside of Windowed 1280x800 on my machine which is from late 2007 until I upgraded to a 660GTX.

You are lucky to get 4 years out of a GPU unless you buy the very top end.

Reply Score: 2

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

5 years ago the best priced gaming card was a 8800GT alpha dog by XFX. Not 1 single big name titled game released on Steam will run outside of Windowed 1280x800 on my machine which is from late 2007 until I upgraded to a 660GTX.


Sounds like a mis-configured system. Or an incompetent user.

You are lucky to get 4 years out of a GPU unless you buy the very top end.


Well, my GeForce GTX 460 has never been top-of-the-line and it's now 3 years old. I see no reason why it wouldn't last a few more years just fine as all the games I throw at it continue to run perfectly-well.

Reply Score: 2

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Sounds like a mis-configured system. Or an incompetent user.


Read the minimum requirements on say Skyrim. Anything less than minimum requirements on a PC and I would say it not really worth playing the game.

The card is simply too old to play a 2011 title like Skyrim, not enough video memory. Crysis 2 and Crysis 3 barely ran at all.

My 9800pro from my AMD 3200+ system latest to about 2007 and it was bought in 2003/2004.

I have a 3.06 GHZ Core 2 Duo OC'd to 4ghz, 8GBs of ram and 2 SSD disks all running latest WHQL Nvidia drivers.

Well, my GeForce GTX 460 has never been top-of-the-line and it's now 3 years old. I see no reason why it wouldn't last a few more years just fine as all the games I throw at it continue to run perfectly-well.


Also there is no word on the resolution, detail or framerate. What others have called okay, I have called horrid, mainly because a lot of people are okay at playing at less than 30FPS.

It ultimately depends what you expect. I don't think dropping £180 every 4 years is that much of an expense tbh.

Edited 2013-03-12 18:40 UTC

Reply Score: 2

ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

Well, I'm not sure it's entirely bullshit... but it should be.


It is entirely bullshit because DRM-free games get pirated just as heavily
http://www.ign.com/articles/2011/11/30/the-witcher-2-was-pirated-ov...

(yes, I realize most companies have a no-return policy on computer games, but that's a whole other problem that needs to be addressed right there).


That exists because so many people would take home a pc game, clone it and then return it. PC gamers have made their bed and now they have to sleep in it. That's just the harsh reality.

Reply Score: 3

ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22


The third, and as far as the [objective] published research shows, much in the minority, are those who could and would have bought it, but can get it for free, so they do.


Which objective research? What is your excuse for $50 PC games that have majority piracy rates and yet require a $1000+ PC? Are those teens able to afford the gaming PC but not the games?

There has been research published (albeit specifically about the music industry) showing that the second group are much greater in number than the third and actually contribute extra sales, rather than the company losing sales.


I really don't care about dubious piracy studies that depend on asking pirates how much they buy. It should be obvious that any such study is flawed since it depends on people breaking the law to be honest, especially when it is in their best interest to depict themselves favorably. It's just as silly as trying to determine if racism is a problem by polling a group of white people and asking if they are racist.

But thanks for proving my point about the PC having a culture of piracy that is defended. I've never seen an Xbox forum thread where pirates are rationalized as teenagers, the poor, etc. When Microsoft ban-hammers pirates the response is supportive.

Do you deny that PC games regularly have pirates rates of over 50%?
http://www.tweakguides.com/Piracy_4.html

Reply Score: 4

Technical Stuff!
by Brendan on Tue 12th Mar 2013 06:48 UTC
Brendan
Member since:
2005-11-16

Hi,

Imagine you're writing a multi-player online game. You're going to get "shared state" (this can't be avoided). The end result is that a lot of things that effect the shared state (things like AI, weather, etc) are going to be done at the server. The client is just there for user input and output.

Now imagine that you want to add a single-player capability to the multi-player online game. Do you:

a) duplicate all of the game's logic in the client (creating a lot more work and bloat)

b) give the end user a copy of the server, where "single-player" means running a local server (increasing work and documentation/support/updates and code portability hassles)

c) make "single-player mode" re-use the existing servers

In my opinion, the first option is a mistake. The second option is the best option for small games developers (where the cost of running their own servers is costly). The third option makes the most sense for someone like EA, even if you don't take into account any of the DRM/piracy issues at all.

- Brendan

Reply Score: 2

RE: Technical Stuff!
by WereCatf on Tue 12th Mar 2013 07:20 UTC in reply to "Technical Stuff!"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

a) duplicate all of the game's logic in the client (creating a lot more work and bloat)


If we're talking about SimCity, well, the game actually does continue to run fine even if you disconnect the Internet, ie. all the game logic needed for single-player is already there. It's the social stuff and what effect other players' cities in the same region have on your city that are done server-side -- ie. stuff that you wouldn't need for single-player anyways.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Technical Stuff!
by static666 on Tue 12th Mar 2013 09:42 UTC in reply to "Technical Stuff!"
static666 Member since:
2006-06-09

Imagine you're writing a multi-player online game. You're going to get "shared state" (this can't be avoided). The end result is that a lot of things that effect the shared state (things like AI, weather, etc) are going to be done at the server. The client is just there for user input and output.

Really can't think of that much "shared state" in a city-building simulation game that would require centralized processing and justify always-online requirement. This is no MMORPG with tons of actors, buffs/debuffs/area effects, 3D terrain, complex boss encounters; nor it is a competitive online game where server-side processing is required to prevent cheating.

a) duplicate all of the game's logic in the client (creating a lot more work and bloat)
b) give the end user a copy of the server, where "single-player" means running a local server (increasing work and documentation/support/updates and code portability hassles)
c) make "single-player mode" re-use the existing servers

Heh, "duplicate". Sure, why include any game's logic into the purchase at all (after all it's more work and bloat) or letting the user run a local server (again more work, who ever reads documentation, plus users's stupid anyway). Let's sell just a bunch of textures packed in proprietary format with a dumb client app and PROFIT! :-)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Technical Stuff!
by peejay on Tue 12th Mar 2013 15:39 UTC in reply to "Technical Stuff!"
peejay Member since:
2005-06-29

b) give the end user a copy of the server, where "single-player" means running a local server (increasing work and documentation/support/updates and code portability hassles)

The second option is the best option for small games developers (where the cost of running their own servers is costly).

I think this is what happened with Minecraft. Originally the single player and multiplayer versions were separate, so you'd get bugs/updates in one that weren't in the other. Finally they did set it up (I think) so that the single player does just essentially run a local server that you connect to, so that the single and multi versions are the same (thus actually decreasing rather than increasing the support/updates problems).

That said, my problem with games isn't DRM, it's TRM. All of my games are essentially unplayable because I can't manage my time. ;)

(So many Steam games and Humble Bundle games I haven't even downloaded months after buying them, much less played...so sad.)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Technical Stuff!
by Delgarde on Tue 12th Mar 2013 20:20 UTC in reply to "Technical Stuff!"
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

a) duplicate all of the game's logic in the client (creating a lot more work and bloat)


We call this a library... a standard feature for code reuse for many, many years now. No duplication required - just run the same code on both client and server.

Reply Score: 2

Whole industry that is inherently broken
by static666 on Tue 12th Mar 2013 10:01 UTC
static666
Member since:
2006-06-09

Edit: http://sc2013thedeception.blogspot.com/2012/08/tile-size-2-km-x-2-k... + no subways. Pretty much loses the case for me.

Imagine you're writing a game in 1993. Where it is to be distributed on floppies by mail with hardly any chance of most of your users ever getting any patch. You'd absolutely make sure to test everything extensively, iron out any bugs and do your best to produce a great game from the start.

Imagine you're writing a game in 2003. Internet is a household name, speeds are still low, but patching becomes an option. Now it's OK to release a game with some bugs, but doing so on release is still bad rep. Multi-player is booming, LAN is in every decent game.

Imagine you're writing a game in 2013. High-speed Internet is abundant. There's Steam and company. Release cycles are faster than you can say 'I think I farted.' Every game is released with tons of bugs, sometimes game-breaking. There are games so bad, they even release multi-gig texture patches. Useless social features are shoehorned everywhere, everything is DRM ridden, those pathetic micro transactions.

And now a new fad. Always-online requirement and even removing single-player game's logic to a server, so the game can be released asap with missing features (hello, Diablo 3) or simple implementations at release to be (possibly) rewritten later (and even sold as DLCs.)

Is it only me or has the game industry just stopped innovating altogether? Looks like a vicious circle of producing shitty games, losing revenue and pushing even harder to release more and more crap.

I miss the good old games. Absolutely love all the high-quality texture packs and user-made patches for classic games that have been made over the years.

Edited 2013-03-12 10:12 UTC

Reply Score: 2

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Me too.

That is one of the reasons the PS2 was my last console and I don't plan to buy a new one.

All my gaming habits are now mostly Indie games on the PC and Android handsets I own.

I always check if a game requires DRM or some form of always online before buying.

Reply Score: 2

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Me too.

So, you're still nostalgic after "good old times" even after revising your earlier views of old computer systems? ;P (but http://www.osnews.com/permalink?555569 )

Reply Score: 2

ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

Game companies would release naked executables for single player games if piracy wasn't such a problem. It takes more work on their part to create always-on DRM for a game that is basically single player.

I too miss the old days but that was a different age before broadband and torrents. The situation is a damn shame but pirates are the underlying cause of it all. When I was in college I knew there was a serious problem when no one was buying pc games but everyone was playing them. These same poor students could somehow manage to eat out at least twice a week and drop a few twenties at the bar.

Edited 2013-03-12 15:58 UTC

Reply Score: 3

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Imagine you're writing a game in 1993. Where it is to be distributed on floppies by mail with hardly any chance of most of your users ever getting any patch. You'd absolutely make sure to test everything extensively, iron out any bugs and do your best to produce a great game from the start.
[...]
Is it only me or has the game industry just stopped innovating altogether? Looks like a vicious circle of producing shitty games, losing revenue and pushing even harder to release more and more crap.
I miss the good old games. Absolutely love all the high-quality texture packs and user-made patches for classic games that have been made over the years.

It is mostly you. There was a lot of shitty games in the past; most of them not innovative - just clones of few successful ones; buggy as hell. Remember video game crash of 1983?

We simply remember the shitty ones less, that's one of the typical biases of our memory.

Edited 2013-03-15 18:12 UTC

Reply Score: 2

DRM is an assault on customers
by TechGeek on Tue 12th Mar 2013 15:25 UTC
TechGeek
Member since:
2006-01-14

Companies shouldn't get to use piracy as an excuse for DRM. We all know that DRM doesn't stop piracy. It never has and it never will. It doesn't even slow it down. DRM makes games broken. Period.

Lets suppose my apartment gets broken into. Does that give me the right to take a baseball bat and hit everyone that walks down my street? Sure, I may eventually hit the thief, but I am going to hit a lot of innocent people in the process. The fact that my stuff was stolen doesn't justify my actions to everyone else.

Reply Score: 0

ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

Server-side DRM has been shown to be effective. You can't pirate what only exists on a server locked away somewhere.

But I agree that failed DRM should be removed from games. If a torrent of the game is available then the digital download for paying customers should be transferable.

Reply Score: 3

bhtooefr
Member since:
2009-02-19

Someone suggested buying SimCity 2000 from GoG... nope.

EA still gets licensing fees from that.

If you want to play SimCity, play Micropolis. Legal, free, and also a quite good game with its own complex exploi^Wstrategies. (It's an open sourced version of the Tcl/Tk Unix port of the Mac version of SimCity, back when it was just SimCity.)

Reply Score: 3