Cloud Computing Is Why The New SimCity Needs An Always-On Connection, Studio Says

A couple weeks ago, the SimCity gang at Maxis held an AMA at Reddit. That may not have been such a smart idea. They don't like DRM over there, for any reason, and SimCity's gonna require an always-on Internet connection to play it, in any mode. It's no surprise that this comment, a compendium of anti-DRM remarks, was the most upvoted question of the entire AMA. Or that it went completely unaddressed.

Well, Maxis' Lucy Bradshaw has responded to this DRM food fight, sort of. Earlier comments on the always-on connection attributed it to the fact Maxis is building what it considers to be a multiplayer game. To this, Bradshaw adds the always-on connection is necessary because there's an enormous amount of cloud computing required to power this game, billed as the most advanced in SimCity's history. It's not something your individual PC will be able to handle on its own, not when the cloud servers are handling up to 100,000 Sims inside each city.

Right. Gotcha. That's great. It's still an always-on connection, which exposes the game to a range of apocalyptic scenarios, such as ones faced by an MMO that no longer is profitable, and scheduled for termination. And it still makes Reddit throw a fit.

It may be that this is a city-building MMO -- and server downtime notwithstanding, you don't hear people complaining about an always-on connection in that genre, right? Right. But SimCity isn't really an MMO, because games in that genre can only be played in a world populated by other connected players. Maxis makes a point of saying you may play SimCity solo in a private game, like Diablo III. Which had an always-on connection. Which everyone hated.

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.

The Benefits of Live Service [SimCity Official Site]


    As an owner of Battlefield 3 forgive me for not having faith in their ability to keep their end of the always online bargain.

      Sim City 4 Deluxe for $5 on Steam the other day. Better than this new one will ever be.

    How many excuses are they up to now? There's been a few.

    The simple fact of the matter is that next year I'm moving away for Uni and internet there is $300 for 100gb and there's no way I can afford to play a game constantly sending data back and forth, so I'm not buying it no matter how much I'd like to.

    What's really concerning is everybody knows that EA shut servers down regularly, and if all this cloud computing stuff is true then these servers are going to be hideously expensive to maintain and run, so what happens in a few years time?

      By then CPUs will be powerful enough to play SimCity 4 with respectable performance, we can just go back to that.

      Where the hell are you getting your internet from!?

        I'm staying at a residential college next year and the only option we have is Big Air. It's a colossal rip off and everyone says it goes down at least once a day. I don't know why anyone currently there hasn't contacted the TIO or ACCC for taking advantage of their position.

          I was gonna say, even Telstra don't rip you off that bad.

    Yep I predict sim city 2014, 2015, 2016... With servers being shut down for the older game yearly... Sux

    Sorry no dice....

    Always Online for any games other than an MMO is DRM nothing more and nothing less. To try and give us "reasons" why its good for us w/o even owning up is just rubbish.

    Come on Maxis, just make a Singleplayer mode, you know you're pissing off fans

    smells of EA crap, god do we have to use orion or whatever its called too?

    One little glitch in the cloud and everyone's city gets corrupted.

    But anyways, there will be no more Sim City games from now on, since they would not go back to the old, correct way- why would they when they have declared this the best and most superior Sim City game yet possible. If they do go back to the old, proper way, I want to see them apologize for this screw up and fully acknowledge that what they did here was wrong.

    This game just got taken off my list of anticipated titles. I don't mind always on for WoW, the entire game is other people. MMOs are about massive online games, Things like Planetside 2 again the game needs other people it's multiplayer only.

    But for a game that allows me to build my wondrous shiny super city and foodville next door to keep them fed, heck I can even have Garbage-topia for all they waste to end up at, but why do they insist on me being always connected? And what happens if my Router is accidently turned off for a few minutes, all that stuff that just happened doesn't count.

    If it's a game I can play Solo I want to play it offline, because it could be my turn to game for when internet goes down.

    To be honest, I'm sick of people raging about DRM. It's here. It's unlikely to go anywhere. If you like gaming then you will put up with it. So many high horses. It's the 21st century, do not expect games to be made like they were 20 years ago

      You know why it is unlikely to go anywhere? Because of jackasses who say we should just accept it and not complain.

      Your standards may be low enough to to accept whatever shit sandwich the companies give you but the rest of us refuse to eat it.

        The problem with that attitude is that if you don't buy the product that they want to sell to you, they won't make it the old way. They just won't make it, and instead make shitty iOs games.

        It must be profitable for them if nearly EVERY MAJOR PUBLISHOR uses DRM.

        I guess 200k lost sales through DRM is better than 2m stolen through piracy in their eyes.

        I get not wanting to support DRM- I'm certainly not an advocate of it. I just doubt that it will ever disappear. If I was a business, I would implement it as well.

        I guess I'm a realist that doesn't belong on the Internet though. I should just flame everything

          Yeah luckily since all these DRM schemes have come about Piracy has ceased to exist.

      Why not? Most games made 10-15-20 years ago were a hell of a lot better and lasted a ton longer. I still have my Warcraft 1 & 2 manuals sitting on my desk - relics from back when developers gave enough of a damn to put lore pieces in the manual.

      Nevermind bandwidth issues stemming from having 'cloud servers handling up to 100,000 Sims inside each city'.

      It will go away if enough people don't buy games with stupid anti-consumer DRM and buy ones that have reasonable DRM. It's the 21st century. Do not expect people with the power of the internet to not shop around for something that is actually enjoyable as a customer.

      Because of attitudes like this, pal.

      Oh it's moving with the times, nothing more, why do things have to be as they were (and similar bollockery). There's the old saying, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

      I just bought DK 2 off GOG, and playing it again, the campaign mode gave me plenty of game time, next to no bugs, no drm.... nothing except dated graphics, which you should expect from a game more than 10 years old.

      There's no good justification for DRM, it's like putting up a sign saying don't touch, people will touch it just to spite the sign. That and you get the Ubisoft version of DRM that seriously punishes the legitimate customer, the EA DRM that snoops in your computer, the mildly annoying Steam DRM (which is probably how it should be done, if at all, but that's just me) or the GOG DRM, which is let them damn well play the game they bought with no strings attached.

    I had some sort of rant to go on, but I guess Mr Good has it nailed at the end, it's EA (has the reputation of the Grinch mixed with Scrooge and your choice of person who poops all over everyone else) and an always-on connection. Just because Blizzard managed to pull it (just about) off doesn't mean EA will, because it's EA, and they will find some way to screw it up.

    get with the times haters

    Ok so I'm happy to play a gimped version where the map is larger but not connected to other towns and I'm fine with not knowing every single Sims name along with what they ate for breakfast. Deal?

    I have no problem with Always-Online for SOME modes of games, not just this one, but when you just want to play the darn game and either don't have a connection or, surprise-surprise, their servers are offline for whatever reason.. it really sucks that they force EVERY game mode to require you to be online.. that IS DRM, no matter which way you slice the pie..

    So not only are they forcing you online with all it's pitfalls and error37's, this cloud gaming concept now steals bandwidth and processor time just to compute somebody else's game?

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