The SimCity PR nightmare continues.
The utterly disastrous launch for EA’s SimCity has caused incredible backlash against the already much-maligned company. Now, a new interesting bit of information has surfaced – there is actually a line in the game’s code that can be turned off, allowing for continuous offline play. While the game still requires an online connection to save, it’s only a matter of time before someone mods that as well. The code in question is as follows:
kNoRepeatNetworkAlertSeconds : 15,
kNetDownForceQuitAfterMinutes : 20,
If the game detects that you are offline, it starts a 20 minute countdown. If you’re online before the count hits zero, you’ll be forced to quit. Removing the line allows constant offline gameplay. Maxis’ Lucy Bradshow has defended this always-on DRM, stating that EA did not force it upon them, and offline did not fit with their ‘vision’. While it’s understandable to a degree that EA would want to protect their investment, they’ve painted themselves in a bad light recently with news that EA outsourced viral marketers to combat negative press for SimCity on gaming forums and other websites.
SimCity’s always-on DRM has caused massive problems for honest customers, essentially breaking a game they just shelled out $60 for. Interestingly, before the game’s launch, the developers hosted an AMA on Reddit, and the most upvoted question was regarding always-online DRM, with many players saying outright that they would not purchase SimCity because of it. Lucy Bradshaw had the following to say about the always-online DRM:
“Always-Connected is a big change from SimCities of the past. It didn’t come down as an order from corporate and it isn’t a clandestine strategy to control players. It’s fundamental to the vision we had for this SimCity. From the ground up, we designed this game with multiplayer in mind – using new technology to realize a vision of players connected in regions to create a SimCity that captured the dynamism of the world we live in; a global, ever-changing, social world.”
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