That’s all I can stands and I can’t stands no more!
This latest debacle involving the ever so popular </sarcasm> practice of always-online DRM (digital rights management) with SimCity is the last straw. When will companies learn to employ an alternative to piracy? Are we, the consumers, going to stand for this total lack of regard for our enjoyment of a paid product?
You know what’s actually funny? I’m not even much of a PC gamer asides from an indie game on Steam now and then. There was a time when I was big into WarCraft II, The Sims, and, yes, SimCity (the one with that cool looking cyclops spider monster). This was all way before companies started to take serious action towards curbing pirated games.
I moved away from PC gaming primarily because of my preference for console games but also because of the rise of practices like what we have seen in recent titles such as the new SimCity and Diablo III. In both cases, the servers used were just unable to handle the amount of players online. If you can’t connect to the server, then you essentially have no game to play. Congratulations, your disc is now an overpriced coaster!
A lot of news outlets like to place the blame on Maxis for developing SimCity to be online only. Others point their finger at Electronic Arts for not properly preparing their servers before launch. I would scrutinize both parties in terms of this specific example as well, however, there is an inherent problem that encompasses more of the big picture here. The United States online infrastructure currently in place is simply not where it needs to be for people to enjoy games that require a constant Internet connection.
Despite how far we’ve come on the technology side of things with smartphones and data plans to support them, a reliable Internet connection in the average American household isn’t as common as you might think. Those of you who live in or close to major metropolitan cities or even use their work place WiFi may not be plagued by the sudden drops or inability to connect to the Internet at all as someone who lives in a rural area experiences. For most of the country, this constant frustration is a reality. Even to this day, dial-up Internet is still prevalent with AOL’s numbers showing that they serve roughly 3 million customers.
With that fact, it’s no wonder the recently announced PlayStation 4 was stated to not require an online connection in order to play games. Sony seems to get it, so why not the PC crowd? Until we reach a point where the States can offer high-speed connections across the board, the way of always-online DRM will only lead to a brick wall.
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