SimCity and EA
Ahem. So, SimCity. We finally got a major installment to the series after waiting ten years after SimCity 4. Loved SimCity 4, I need to get my disks back from my cousin sometime so I can play it again. Alas, I remember reading about SimCity in an issue of Game Informer and instantly going "well this sucks." Why? Because EA touted their always online feature. You're always online. Always. Can't play offline from my understanding, though I may be wrong. From all that I've read I've been given the impression that the game is effectively a small-scale MMO.
Now, don't get me wrong. MMOs are cool. But I know what EA's thinking was; it wasn't "hey, people can be social and link their cities together and it'd be so cool!" No, it was "Those darn dirty pirates can't use our game now!"
So why did I say it was going suck? Because of history. This is less of an MMO type implementation and more like an always-online DRM. Allow us to take a brief glance at the history of this. Ubisoft, and their numerous games that experimented with it, Assassin's Creed being infamous for its various DRMs. Blizzard with Diablo 3, who's servers were utterly crushed. They also suffered similar outages with Starcraft 2, but significantly less rage followed that due to a slightly different implementation. If one wishes to do a google search, you can find plenty larger lists of games that tried this and failed terribly. Why, EA itself is no stranger to this; it's Origin service has been known to... have issues from time to time.
And they still decided to do this with SimCity.
And guess what.
They're having problems.
Many people are having connection issues and their game experience is being basically crushed. EA assured us that they were prepared for this, just as Ubisoft and Blizzard assured us they were as well. Fool me once shame on me, fool me twice shame on you, fool me thrice and that's just being absurd. So now there's a major backlash going on and EA is trying to do damage control, attempting to take as much load off their servers as possible.
How many times is it going take before the gaming community wakes up and says, "gee, I've heard this before, and it ended terribly. Why should I put up with this?"
I understand the concerns at hand; piracy is becoming a serious problem. But always-online DRM, or always-online "features" that just happen to be mandatory, is not the solution. Fact of the matter is that any sysadmin will tell you, you can never be prepared for all stages of traffic, especially with something as big as SimCity. Hundreds of thousands of people bought it and started playing it on the opening day; that's a lot of traffic, a lot of computational power, and ultimately it crashed the unprepared servers.
So until the day comes that the major gaming companies can get their act together, the gaming community needs to do something about it.
Editors Note: Ubisoft prefers the "log in" method of DRM; not technically always online, rather, you simply log into their servers when you boot the game and then after that, your game will run splendid. Their servers still crashed.