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At a Glance: The SimCity Server Shitstorm (Updated)


UPDATE: Polygon has changed their score again. It has now gone from 9.5 = Win to 8.0 = Win to 4.0, which remarkably, is still "Win". Also, Amazon earlier pulled the digital version from its store, citing its unplayable nature.

What do you do if you buy a game and can't play it? The highly anticipated SimCity released a couple of days ago to excellent critic reviews... but to terrible backlash from people who actually paid for it. This is because the game requires an always-online connection, and EA's servers couldn't handle the onrush of eager mayors, effectively locking people out of their game.

Pictured: The SimCity launch, as depicted by its predecessor that has no such DRM.

This isn't a new thing. Last year's Diablo III is guilty of it too, making you connect to the internet even though you were playing single-player, for reasons known only to Activision-Blizzard. The Assassin's Creed games on PC used to have this DRM, before Ubisoft wised up.

The issues keep coming. After fellating SimCity with a 9.5, the avant-garde, groundbreaking, cutting-edge Polygon retroactively changed their review score to an 8 after realizing that the world did not revolve around them (although the 9.5 remains on Metacritic, the only site where review scores matter). Other sites-- like Destructoid-- haven't reviewed the game yet, opting to represent the real play experience. Meanwhile, EA refuses to provide refunds for providing what is effectively a defective game.

Pictured: The issues.

Of course, EA could have been copying its nemesis Activision, who published Diablo III, a game that also added always-online DRM to a franchise that was previously unburdened by it. And they got away with it too-- the game sold over 12 million copies in 2012. Let's not let that happen again.


The games industry, everyone. Games journalism, everyone. Always-online DRM has no place in single-player games. Always-online DRM does not work if the people providing it cannot provide the infrastructure to handle it. As long as this DRM remains, stay away from SimCity. If this is the future of gaming, we'd do better to stay in its golden past:

Originally published by Kambyero, a Philippine blog for videogame discourse.
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About The Goddamnone of us since 6:11 PM on 06.25.2009

After years of reading and commenting on Dtoid, I finally decided to start a videogame blog what I've done with a few friends. We just can't help it-- we just want to talk to people (and women) about videogames!