SimCity Requires Constant Internet Connection

EA's 2013 revival of SimCity will sport one of the more controversial features of modern PC gaming: an always-online requirement, even in singleplayer.

Developers of the game confirmed this during a recent demo of the new title for Kotaku.

"This is a mutiplayer game," producer Kip Katserelis at EA development studio Maxis said, explaining the requirement. Yes, they even consider singleplayer to be multiplayer. "We're constantly tracking what you do… and then feeding that back to players." They're tracking who is polluting the most or who is playing better. They're spawning challenges for players. They're keeping everyone connected.

They're basically, like Blizzard, saying the latest game in a series that used to not require an online connection now will, and like Blizzard it's saying that it's fundamental to the way they want this new game played. If games play offline, they would become out of sync with the game's perpetual tracking of the cities that together comprise the sense of this new SimCity as one grand interconnected world.

Sorry if you were hoping to play this on an aeroplane without internet.

Asked an open-ended question about why they'd require online, the developers of the new game won't say the reason that's most commonly suspected for this kind of requirement: piracy. They will, however, provide some solace to those of us who fear that strict online-only requirements will cause our games to blink out if we're trying to play while connected to an internet signal then tends to drop once in a while. The developers say they are programming this new Sim City to tolerate some undefined amount of "minutes" of offline play in the case of dropped connections-presumably an amount of minutes closer in length to a commercial break than a TV show, though they didn't want to say.

But what of the debacle of the Diablo III launch and the fury of players who couldn't play a game they wanted to play solo because Blizzard had trouble keeping its servers up and error-free?

"We've got experience from Spore and Darkspore," Katserelis said, citing other recent Maxis games. "EA is an on online company. We're definitely watching what's going on at Blizzard, and we're putting in backstops and checks to try to prevent those kind of things from happening."


Comments

    FFS...

    None of this is news. I'm pretty sure you already reported that it would have a required internet connection and tried to make a big deal out of that too. As for 'the latest game in a series that used to not require an online connection,' you're talking about a 20+ year old series. We barely had internet connections then. Sure;y the fact that there's an environmental impact to your friends is more newsworthy and interesting than this faff.

      Actually this is major. I now won't be buying it because of this. I was so exited too. I hope everyone boycotts it.

    Any chance it won't require origin? Sigh...

    The difference between EA and Blizzard though... Blizzard will support there game for at least a decade... EA will probably shut these servers down in 3-4 years.

      Don't like the reliability of EA servers either, the amount of times I couldn't play BF3 or Dragon Age because I "Couldn't connect to EA servers"

    As much as i was tempted by this game in honesty the online requirement has lowered that interest some (not 100% but it is going in the 'con' list)

    Old news, I read this in PCPowerPlay a month or two back.
    While always-online still irks me, I can see what they're doing with it, and I like the connectivity with other cities.
    An offline, independent city mode would be nice and convenient, though.

    That sounds great, I'm all for it. Who'd have ever guess it was the 'gamers' that would be whinging about being connected to the internet in the year 2012.

      They're not complaining about being connected to the internet, they're complaining about HAVING to be connected to the internet to play a game where an internet connect SHOULD NOT be required.

      It's a pathetic attempt at stopping piracy, especially since there will be a pirated version that won't require an active internet connection. I know it has multiplayer, and I'm aware that there is more to it than just preventing piracy, however it is still a idiotic move on the companies behalf.

      Q: What if my internet connection drops out for some reason
      A: Play another game
      R: ....I want to play Sim City, which I purchased with my own money..

      Oh wait, that's right, it's a license to play it that I purchased. Silly me. So just keep in mind when you go out to buy a game that requires a constant internet connection: Just wait till they start adding fees onto the process. Give them a year or so, we just might see the users paying for single player servers, ontop of 2mb dlc that just adds an extra ten minutes of gameplay and whatnot.

      Sounds like great fun! I can't wait for absolutely nothing to go wrong with this genius system!

        you running dial up bro?? problem???

        yes we need aussie servers if there going to do this - its not the internet its the ping

          and you don't own the game.... you are paying for the privilege of playing it!

          yes this leads to more content as people are actually PAYING for it

            You know what..

            I never did agree w/ that "buying a license" schtick.. somewhere along the line Gamers got fed that rubbish and we all ate it hook line and sinker. I buy a car its MY car, I buy a Book its MY book, I buy a CD it's MY CD and once upon a time when i bought a Cartridge/PC CD it was MY game.

            Yet we are all so willng to lap up that "license to play" BS on most games these days its not funny =/ I PAID for the product so that it would became MY PROPERTY. Nope these days it's a lil hook on a worm that we're paying for.. and its not even for the worm but for the chance to touch the worm.

              When you buy a movie you buy the license to play that movie at home, always have. The fact it happens to be on a piece of plastic or tape or magnetic storage or whatever other medium is quite separate. I LIKE the idea of owning a license to content in a world where the delivery not longer needs to be 'physical'. If I break my disc of Toy Story I have to pay for a new one. If I had bought it digitally, I can get it again free if I've already bought it.

          I know it's utterly crazy, but the internet isn't a 24/7 service, it has gone out in large sections of towns and cities before. That can easily happen again, it can also go out for individual users quite easily for a multitude of reasons.

          As an example, let's say due to an error made by your ISP, your contract is cancelled and you no longer have an internet connection. If you're lucky, it'll be up within the week.

          I'm quite happy with my internet connection, I never mentioned any problems of lag either, it's an issue of the internet connection not being available for one reason or another. Of course there could easily be issues on their end as well.

          There is no real positive for gamers with a game that requires you to be only to play single player, unless you intend to merge the single player content with the multiplayer content, but even then, there are much better options available.

          This also gives the company the ability to shut the game off whenever they'd like, they don't even need to put out a statement, they can just shut off the servers for the hell of it.

          I also wouldn't call it a privilege with most games these days, though that just has more to do with my personal tastes and preferences. You're not paying for a privilege, you're paying for a license to play the game, the same with a windows operating system. A license that can be revoked at any time the company sees fit. It doesn't matter that you paid $100 for that new game, if the company wants, they can revoke that license, and if you continue to play, you'll be treated to a lovely court case.

          I'm fine with not "Owning" the IP or copyright of the games I play, hell, I wouldn't want to, I just like knowing that I've bought a game that I can play when I want to. Though it's a lot easier to just say that I own the game, then to say "I own the license that allows me to play the game, i paid $100 for it!".

          Though your comment with "yes this leads to more content as people are actually PAYING for it" leaves me a little confused, unless you're stating the blatantly obvious, which I'll assume not?

          I do apologize for repeating myself.

            yes maybe if they gave out Slimline free DRM offline demos.... and then if you want the whole experience you pay 15$ a month

            I do get what your saying tho.. internet couplings are easily laggy and dropout...

            you never own the game and only pay for a licence like the movies and dont hold the property rights at all

            this is the transition between piracy and the people that want to make/earn a living off making games... its a giant industry and they have taken there propery back and said "well you can have access to this" "for this much money" like betas and kickstarter... its a whole way of taking their property back off the pirates that tried to take it from its rightful owners...

            People are now giving $50 $25 or $10 to play these games that are released these days and its only GOOD for the industry... because that money "hopefully" goes back into game making

            Games offer the "whole experience" which is much more immersing than say a movie... we have whole communities based around specific titles and you can get involved in these..

            yes maybe if they gave out Slimline free DRM offline demos.... and then if you want the whole experience you pay 15$ a month

            I do get what your saying tho.. internet couplings are easily laggy and dropout...

            you never own the game and only pay for a licence like the movies and dont hold the property rights at all

            this is the transition between piracy and the people that want to make/earn a living off making games... its a giant industry and they have taken there propery back and said "well you can have access to this" "for this much money" like betas and kickstarter... its a whole way of taking their property back off the pirates that tried to take it from its rightful owners...

            People are now giving $50 $25 or $10 to play these games that are released these days and its only GOOD for the industry... because that money "hopefully" goes back into game making

            Games offer the "whole experience" which is much more immersing than say a movie... we have whole communities based around specific titles and you can get involved in these.
            This then leeds to futher development!

            Online development of games is a great way of enhancing and expanding the universe of the game and thats why its ONLINE OR NOTHING...

            the more money to make the better games....... the better!... FOR THE FUTURE GAIMEZ NOT BUST

        If it truly IS required because of the design of the game, then its no problem at all. IF its to stop piracy, its dumb. Either way, if you're the kind of person thats going to play simcity, I suspect you probably have the internet.

          Well, it may not mean a thing to you, but I do applaud you for defending your views on the matter. I could continue to argue, but I believe we have reached a point where we have both gotten our main thoughts and views across on the matter.

          While we may disagree on this matter, our views exist due to our desire to see the gaming world live on and grow ever stronger. It was a pleasure discussing this with you.

    Well, I wish Blizzard could have had the decency to implement their always online policy this way. Don't stream the game to us, let it run on our computers so that we can cope with bad connections to the master server. Still, could you publishers give me back my single player games now?

    I don't really understand the whole "must always be online even for singleplayer!" thing. Someone please inform me why it's done.

      Holy wowzers, these comments weren't here 7 seconds ago!

    This is about the third time Kotaku's posted this as new, I sure hope you're not trying to plant the seeds of indignant outrage. :P (Cause it's totally working.)

    Origin alone will be a deal breaker for me. Definately not buying if its an always online title as well.

    I was cautiously tolerant of always-online until Diablo 3.

    Just like the holocaust: NEVER AGAIN.

    Man- of all the games I loved to just sit down with on a laptop (anywhere) and play casually on my own, Simcity and Civilisation are the best two!

    This is annoying.

    I take back my earlier statement
    "Looks like Ecco the AWESOME!"
    Looks like sucktown

    the success of games these days requires online activation
    did you think you could pirate forever?

    get over it its 2012 half life 2 was a lifetime ago

      Its funny cause these days pretty much the only games I pirate are the ones that want me to be online to play them. Luckily a crack takes this issue away pretty quickly.

        good coz i dont wanna play with cheats like you :)

    What a piece of crap

    The worst thing about this isn't the always online its the "We want you to play thing the way we want you to, and no ifs and buts, get in the pen and be the good sheep you are". This is the worst, gamers should enjoy the product how ever they want, take Skyrim, it might of been the developers intention for the players to embark on this epic quest, but if a player wants to go hunting in the woods and sell his supplies at the local market and not care about any of the questing, so be it. This goes hand in hand with the excessive amount of hand holding that plagues so called "AAA" games.

    Nooooo. Was looking forward to the game, but after Diablo, don't think I can do it all over again :/

    It looks like that a lot of people are going to veto that many games due to always on online that within 6 months they will only be able to play a handful of new release games. This is happening people. Stop whining and accept it. Unless you don't like games, of course

      Or just support the companies that dont apply arbitrary limitations on the product they sell you because it pleases them to do so.
      Gamers don't have to accept bullshit just because they like to game, you wanna be a passive sheep go right ahead, enjoy your iSlavery.

    Again, another Maxis classic destroyed by EA.
    I tried D3 just to see if it was acceptable, and I honestly wanted to give them a chance to make "always online" work for the gamers, but after constant connection issues on their end and server down time which prevents me from playing a single player game I paid for I won't do it again.

    It wont kill me to spend my gaming dollars on developers that provide products the way I want them, There are plenty of indie developers out there that will gladly take my money for a decent product without stupid limitations, and for the price of these so called "AAA" games, I can get a bunch of indie games.

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