SimCity to use always-on DRM, no mod tools at launch

SimCity will use always-online DRM, even for private, single-player matches, and won't support mod tools at launch.

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SimCity looks to finally scratch that itch after a long absence -- with some new features to boot -- but the times they are a-changing in some less favorable ways as well. The game will use the contentious always-online DRM method, even during private, single-player games.

Our own in-depth preview noted the decision to include the DRM restrictions. This keeps players connected to the game's global economy and leaderboards, whether they're playing with others or not. Including always-on DRM has caused backlash at other publishers, most notably Ubisoft for promising not to include the measure and then taking a half-step back in its direction.

The preview also noted that the game won't support mod tools at launch, but Maxis acknowledges the value of adding that functionality. "The data set in Glassbox is modable," said artistic director/creative director Ocean Quigley. "The mod community re-created [SimCity]. We recognize it. We're not idiots."

For more on SimCity, check out our interview with lead producer Kip Katsarelis.

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  • reply
    March 28, 2012 1:30 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, SimCity to use always-on DRM, no mod tools at launch.

    SimCity will use always-online DRM, even for private, single-player matches, and won't support mod tools at launch.

    • reply
      March 28, 2012 1:40 PM

      Always on and no mod tools? Pass now.

      • reply
        March 28, 2012 3:56 PM

        Buy it, crack it. Never mess with that bullshit DRM.

        Treat your paying customers like criminals, your customers will become criminals for convenience.

        • reply
          March 28, 2012 8:38 PM

          Or just pirate it... as I posted elsewhere below: "I was going to buy Sim City V, but if it has always-online DRM then I'm just going to pirate it. I don't want to be connected to the global economy or leader boards. I don't want to see or know what other people are doing in the game. I want my game to be my own secluded and personal space."

          So it looks like pirating will give me what I want, where a legit purchase won't.

    • reply
      March 28, 2012 1:49 PM

      "We're not idiots."

      "The game will use the contentious always-online DRM method, even during private, single-player games."

      I beg to differ

    • reply
      March 28, 2012 1:50 PM

      is there an example of a pc game with this sort of DRM that wasn't pirated like everything else? does it ever work?

      only thing i can think of is subscription-based stuff like wow. otherwise i just assume it can always be pirated and DRM like this only serves to piss off nerds.

      • reply
        March 28, 2012 1:56 PM

        WoW can be pirated...private servers, that type of thing.

        I don't think DRM has ever worked in the history of anything.

      • reply
        March 28, 2012 1:59 PM

        Nope.

        I think these, they crack in record time because the groups see it more as a challenge, while the companies that pay respect to their consumers rather than treating them as enemies, they don't even bother or recommend them.

        I know I respect companies that encourage sharing the game, like blizzard with starcraft. I remember you could pass the cd around and install shell games on every bodies computer.

        And even further the good will generated from companies that spend more on the development rather than trying to deter potential game copiers.

        I call them copiers, because they aren't stealing. They are fans that want to play the game. They could be turned into future sales. I think companies should maximize on that.

        • reply
          March 28, 2012 4:08 PM

          "while the companies that pay respect to their consumers rather than treating them as enemies, they don't even bother" aha, no.

      • reply
        March 28, 2012 2:01 PM

        Pretty much all DRM gets broken eventually. At this point, it seems like the point of DRM is just loss prevention for the first few days of sales before a crack is available. Sometimes these groups have people who work for distributors that can get them a copy before the street date and release a crack the day of release.

        • reply
          March 28, 2012 2:18 PM

          I think that's a pretty good conclusion since a lot of devs even release patches that remove DRM after some time.

      • reply
        March 28, 2012 2:02 PM

        The only thing that DRM does is make customers turn into pirates. It won't turn pirates into customers.

        It is single handedly the most retarded thing I've ever heard of.

        • reply
          March 28, 2012 3:01 PM

          Well said. +1

        • reply
          March 28, 2012 3:26 PM

          If you buy the game and then crack it so you can play offline does that still make you a pirate?

          • reply
            March 28, 2012 3:59 PM

            No.

            I also believe if you download a game without paying for it, just for yourself to play, does not make you a pirate. Someone who cracks and distributes (or just distributes) copied games is a pirate... no matter their reasons for doing so.

            • reply
              March 28, 2012 4:02 PM

              Uh. Pretty sure you're dead wrong about your assertion that if you download a game without paying for it, you're not a pirate.

              • reply
                March 28, 2012 4:06 PM

                How can an opinion be wrong?

                • Ebu
                  reply
                  March 28, 2012 4:43 PM

                  Very easily?

                  When did this thing start where people think that opinions can't be wrong? What is that?

                • reply
                  March 28, 2012 4:46 PM

                  pretty easily, especially when it contradicts known facts. It should be easy enough for you to think of other examples of opinions that do this.

                  • reply
                    March 28, 2012 7:58 PM

                    LOL, nice replies guys (not sarcasm).

                    Well I do not think your opinions are wrong.

                    Anyway, I'll elaborate my Pirate theory and include a comparison.

                    OK, I look at this way, the person downloading a pirated game is a consumer of what the pirates are distributing. For a comparison, I look at it like the relationship of a drug pusher (supplier) and a drug user. You would not call a drug user a supplier, because all he (the user) is doing is consuming the product, not distributing it. Or even in comparison to someone who steals physical products, and then people buy the stolen goods. Yes, you are encouraging (and condoning) the crime of theft, but you are not he one actually doing it, in the eyes of the law, the authorities will come down on much harder to the people at the top of the chain.

                    So, a pirate is a distributor, a user (downloader only) is the consumer.

                    (btw, I'm not saying what is right or wrong, there is no right or wrong (it's a perception) , just what is illegal and not illegal)

                    /rant

                    • reply
                      March 28, 2012 8:30 PM

                      I should have also said, even though I kinda touched on it in the last bracketed bit, is that I am not saying downloading a pirate game is legal, because it clearly is illegal... I am just saying that there ware different levels of crime, and illegally downloading a game does not make you pirate.

                      Yeah, I'm bored, (and have plenty of spare time) but I kinda like debates, so long as all sides actually listen to each other and not just come out and say "you are wrong" and that's it. Agree or disagree with my theory, it doesn't matter.... but your and my theory (opinion) does.

                      I like to think outside the square.

                      /rant (again.. lol)

                      • reply
                        April 2, 2012 4:30 AM

                        Wow, are you serious? Opinions can't be wrong? So if I think it's okay to take someones life, that's fine because it's my opinion? You must be very young and naive!

          • reply
            March 28, 2012 4:21 PM

            You bought the game, so you're not pirating that bit.

            One can argue that distributing a modified executable that works around the built-in DRM is copyright infringement because it contains material that the developer/publisher owns exclusive rights to (although I'm not sure if simply downloading it is). You also might be breaking some terms of the EULA and the company might retain the right to invalidate your license to the software.

            • reply
              March 28, 2012 4:33 PM

              Well by that rationale "modding" would be copyright infringement.

              • reply
                March 28, 2012 4:54 PM

                no, because that would be covered in the EULA if it was sanctioned by the developer or publisher. Steam's EULA has a clause for the Source SDK, which can be used to make mods. Otherwise, yeah that actually would be copyright infringement according to laws as that would be a derivative work.

                http://store.steampowered.com/subscriber_agreement/

                C. Source SDK. Your Subscription(s) may contain access to the Valve software development kit (the "SDK") for the computer game engine used in Half-Life 2 and other compatible Valve products (the "Source Engine"). You may use, reproduce and modify the SDK on a non-commercial basis solely to develop a modified game (a "Mod") for Half-Life 2 or other Valve products compatible with and using the Source Engine. You may reproduce and distribute the Mod in object code form, solely to licensed end users of Half-Life 2 or other compatible Valve products, provided that the Mod is made publicly available and distributed without charge on a non-commercial basis If you would like to use the Source SDK or a Mod for a commercial purpose or activity, please contact Valve at sourceengine@valvesoftware.com.


                and later


                E. Restrictions. Except as otherwise permitted under Section 2(C) with regard to the SDK, you may not, in whole or in part, copy, photocopy, reproduce, translate, reverse engineer, derive source code, modify, disassemble, decompile, create derivative works based on, or remove any proprietary notices or labels from the Software or any software accessed via Steam without the prior consent, in writing, of Valve.

                • reply
                  March 28, 2012 5:48 PM

                  I wonder if EA has something in the EULA for Crysis mods. (Like the Mechwarrior mod)

                  It doesn't surprise me that Valve embraces it. Interesting nonetheless

          • Ebu
            reply
            March 28, 2012 4:42 PM

            I'm sure the DMCA has something about modifying the game code or something.

            • reply
              March 29, 2012 2:36 AM

              DMCA makes it illegal to break the 'locks' on digital stuff.

          • reply
            March 28, 2012 8:13 PM

            You'll be violating the ToS or EULA somewhere though.

          • reply
            March 29, 2012 10:16 AM

            I had to crack my legal copy of Assassin's Creed 2 just to be able to play it. The authentication servers would always shit the bed on me.

        • reply
          March 28, 2012 8:37 PM

          Oh, I was going to buy Sim City V, but if it has always-online DRM then I'm just going to pirate it. I don't want to be connected to the global economy or leader boards. I don't want to see or know what other people are doing in the game. I want my game to be my own secluded and personal space.

    • reply
      March 28, 2012 1:50 PM

      Looks like I wont be picking this up until the mod tools come out, and the price comes down. Or the DRM is cracked. Which will probably happen before it actually comes out.

    • reply
      March 28, 2012 1:51 PM

      where's my new simcopter game with double the trannies?

    • reply
      March 28, 2012 1:54 PM

      Welp, there went all my interest for this game.

    • reply
      March 28, 2012 1:59 PM

      Moar like SimPiracy, amirite?

    • reply
      March 28, 2012 2:00 PM

      So what about this comment from the interview posted earlier? http://www.shacknews.com/article/73061/one-on-one-with-simcitys-mayor

      KK: I don't want to go too much into offline, but since we're asynchronous, you pull your plug out, it's not catastrophic.

    • reply
      March 28, 2012 2:02 PM

      it will be cracked in 2 days and this will only impact people who actually paid for it. they just don't get it

    • reply
      March 28, 2012 2:34 PM

      I am overjoyed that I am no longer in the Navy because of shit like this. My copy of Daemon Tools' authorization expired randomly (which I didn't know about when I bought the fucking thing) and I couldn't use it for 7 fucking months.

    • reply
      March 28, 2012 2:51 PM

      ffffffffffffffffffffffffff

    • reply
      March 28, 2012 2:52 PM

      Can we just erase EA and Ubisoft from existing at this point?

      • reply
        March 28, 2012 3:02 PM

        Lets put a kickstarter up to buy EA hahahahahahahaha

      • reply
        March 28, 2012 3:18 PM

        No because they make tons of awesome games

      • reply
        March 28, 2012 3:20 PM

        Can this story have 3 endings?

    • reply
      March 28, 2012 3:19 PM

      Not surprised. EA screws up everything. Pass.

    • reply
      March 28, 2012 3:22 PM

      I would be ok with always on DRM for a new SimGolf

    • reply
      March 28, 2012 4:05 PM

      I assumed this game would use Origin anyway, yes? So I have pretty much already made up my mind to not buy it, even though I really want it... but I'll get it anyway.

      Besides Origin, it's EA, and I don't like giving them money.

    • reply
      March 28, 2012 4:09 PM

      No thank you.

    • reply
      March 28, 2012 4:54 PM

      We all saw this coming. Sorry, boys and girls, EA & Origin has fucked it up.

      • reply
        March 28, 2012 5:03 PM

        goddamn that second panel is saddening. i haven't played a pandemic game aside from battlefront a few times, though.

        • reply
          March 28, 2012 5:11 PM

          The Saboteur, Mercenaries, Destroy all Humans, Battlefront, Full Spectrum Warrior. In order from most to least sad they are gone :(

      • reply
        March 29, 2012 12:38 AM

        Shouldn't Looking Glass, and really, Origin Systems, be in that ditch as well?

        • reply
          March 29, 2012 11:14 AM

          Why Looking Glass? They were more of a suicide (and were never owned by EA).

    • reply
      March 28, 2012 4:59 PM

      If it's going to run through Origin, I fail to see why this is necessary at all...

    • reply
      March 28, 2012 5:16 PM

      You know what? I want them to do it. I want them to take their flagship moneymaker brand and slap this ridiculous impractical limitation on it so that millions of moms, uncles, grandpas, and every non-nerd in-between who wants to play "that new SIMS game" flood their support lines and make them spend millions more in damage control.

      In short, I want them to learn their lesson, and the only way it's going to sink in is when it hits their bottom line.

      • reply
        March 28, 2012 5:23 PM

        I think that most people don't really care or aren't aware of it (or the problems it could cause) until it does actually affect them.

      • reply
        March 28, 2012 5:25 PM

        They won't "learn their lesson"; they'll just become another Zynga.

      • reply
        March 28, 2012 5:50 PM

        that casuals are used to playing shit on facebook which requires online an online connection. they won't care.

      • reply
        March 29, 2012 2:44 AM

        Nah they'll just resort by not making those kind of games and push in a different direction.

    • reply
      March 28, 2012 6:25 PM

      Why not also have the DRM periodically log the customer out forcing the customer to have to relog in. You need to make sure the person playing the game knows the password to the account. Seems reasonable, right?

    • reply
      March 28, 2012 8:36 PM

      I was going to buy Sim City V, but if it has always-online DRM then I'm just going to pirate it. I don't want to be connected to the global economy or leader boards. I don't want to see or know what other people are doing in the game. I want my game to be my own secluded and personal space.

      • reply
        March 28, 2012 8:37 PM

        but pretty much ALL games are evolving to be online. is your piracy going to go up accordingly?

        why do people want to opt out all of the sudden and are so adamant they want offline mode, when they are online 99.99999999999999% of the time on their gaming devices?

        • reply
          March 28, 2012 8:50 PM

          People want the freedom to do what they want with the product they bought.

        • reply
          March 29, 2012 12:14 AM

          I think I have over 200 games bought on Steam. Online initial activation is no prob. Needing to be online all the time is a pass for a SP game. Even mp games with a sp campaign don't require me to be online to play the sp portion.

    • reply
      March 28, 2012 8:53 PM

      They could eliminate 90% of the complaints and problems by switching to a daily check instead of needing a constant connection.

      For something like Diablo 3 I understand it's more of a client server situation but for a single player game it seems like overkill.

      Lets compromise and authenticate at x interval instead of constant 100% connection.

      Down the road they could extend the grace period to a week or even 30 days.

      This would also provide some breathing room if the auth servers fail or need to go down for maintenance.

      Crazy talk sorry

      • reply
        March 28, 2012 9:12 PM

        The Diablo 3 situation is a lame excuse to protect Blizzards $ inflow on their new D3AH cash cow.

        • reply
          March 28, 2012 11:48 PM

          Interesting to note that requiring you to be online all the time means that all your chars are forced-legit and therefore viable for AH purchases.

    • reply
      March 29, 2012 12:00 AM

      will there be limited installs too?

    • reply
      March 29, 2012 2:17 AM

      That's my purchase they've lost, same as with Diablo 3. I hope many others do the same, because treating gamers like thieves is the wrong way to deal with this.

    • reply
      March 29, 2012 2:50 AM

      Videogames are going in a shitty direction! That's it! I'm out.

    • reply
      March 29, 2012 2:58 AM

      It doesn't bode well for other EA franchises.

    • reply
      March 29, 2012 8:45 AM

      Origin? Check. Always-on DRM? Check. Ok guys time to get working on some shitty DLC. Wait we don't have time before release? Ok just cut out that part of the game there and we'll sell it for $10 at launch.

    • reply
      March 29, 2012 10:12 AM

      No mod tools? Are these guys insane? The greatest thing about SimCity 4 is the intensive modding community. It's what keeps people playing the game still to this day. This is going to be such a clusterfuck.

      • reply
        March 29, 2012 11:46 AM

        Okay, read the other article that stated SC5 will not not support modding initially much like SC4. So this gives me hope that the modding community will be vibrant.

        Still, the always on DRM is a huge misstep.