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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Towns Without Pity: Modder proves EA is LYING about SIMCITY always-online!

So... that whole thing about Electronic Arts' new SimCity requiring a constant Internet connection to play?  EA told us that it was needed because most of the game's processing takes place on EA's own servers.  In other words: the official company line is that it is not possible at all to play SimCity locally on your PC or laptop.  And despite the horde of connection problems that players were made to endure throughout the past week, EA has insisted that they can't remove the always-online obligation and that doing so would require coding up a whole new game.

Lies!  Lies!  All damnable lies!!

Electronic Arts, you got some 'splainin' to do.

The video gaming realm is reeling tonight after word surfaced that a hacker/modder calling himself "UKAzzer" has made SimCity completely playable in the total absence of Internet, for however long you want!

UKAzzer was able to enter the game's demo mode and from there he turned off the disconnection timer.  A few tiny changes of code and the game kept going, and going, and going... and going.  Not only that but he's also discovered that cities can be made much larger than the limits "officially" imposed by the game.

And he's proven it too.  Look!  YouTube clip!

So it looks like the "always-online" component was only slapped-on for digital rights management.  One anonymous developer at Maxis (now owned by EA and the studio that created the first SimCity game nearly 25 years ago) has come out and said as much, adding that it was very easy to make the new SimCity a single-player experience without needing to be online at all.

This situation is really quite unprecedented so far as the video/computer game industry goes. EA practically made it a litany about always-online being needed and how SimCity absolutely, positively could not be made to function without it.  That assertion is now, without any uncertainty, a false one.

I'll wager an RC Cola and a Moon Pie that the next few days at Electronic Arts are going to be a PR nightmare.  But since they've been caught, they should go ahead and do the right thing and rip out the always-online DRM from SimCity.  Doing so would go a LONG way toward re-establishing good relations with its customers and player-base.  Ever since word (and those horrid reviews on Amazon.com) hit the street about how crap-tacular SimCity is because of the DRM, would-be players have been avoiding this game like the plague.  EA needs to come clean and fix this, STAT!

(And if Blizzard is wise, that company will do the same with Diablo III.  If the upcoming PlayStation 3 port of that game won't need always-online, there is no reason whatsoever why the original PC version would require it either.)


Jake st said...

It's even worse!! Always-online SimCity can be hacked to let anyone else DESTROY YOUR CITY.


EA learned nothing from C & C. Now they've destroyed SimCity. F--- them.