In a recent Reddit AMA, Maxis; long running studio behind The Sims franchise were subject to questions on the upcoming re-boot of SimCity. Although most of the details showed promising new ideas for the series, a fact arose that the game will be tied down with always-online DRM.
As most of you have heard expressed, gamers aren't exactly pleased with the idea of this anti-piracy scheme, making it almost impossible for them to play their fully paid for game offline. Maxis responded stating that keeping data running to the EA servers is an integral part of the game. The idea of playing Multiplayer was also heavily promoted by the dev team, maybe as a way to make the online component seem a little more necessary.
Needless to say the response on Reddit and various other gaming publications has been a big negative, with many users revoking pre-orders and claiming not to purchase any EA product ever again.
Is this the way to combat piracy? To lose potential customers who are now more likely to go and pirate the publisher's games. Enter, the indie game market. Indie games are growing year on year and their public profile has reached an all time high in 2012. They prove with a unique idea and an open mind on distribution, a small game can be a great success.
The best example of this is the Humble Indie Bundles. A pay what you please affair for a generally fantastic line-up of games. All DRM free, Available on all computer hardware and more often than not a free soundtrack. These bundles generate millions every time and showcase the great indie talent out there.
Edmund Mcmillen's The Binding of Isaac has seen huge sales with no major publisher and appeared in a few indie bundles itself. This game is a huge hit and a star in indie gaming. Due to it's success, Isaac is set to appear on as many consoles as possible in 2012, including hand-helds, with a new visual style and no doubt filled with new content.
So, can big publishers learn from independent games? THQ recently had a shock moment when they teamed with the Humble Indie bundle guys for their own special collection of games. This is the first time a big publisher has done this kind of deal before and seems very strange for such a huge name to seek help like that. Granted THQ are in big financial trouble right now but this could happen to other big brands soon. Across the world there seems to be a growing sense of annoyance against big publishers and their actions, be it DRM, On-disc DLC or a number of other questionable issues.
Will 2012 be the year of the indies? Is there a more effective way against piracy? Or is it just all down to pricing? let me know what you think Dtoid.