Wednesday, 6 March 2013

SimCity Hit By Error 37 Style DRM Issues

It might have a different name but we all know it's the same damn thing.

As is the usual problem with including such a thing in a title, the recently released SimCity has suffered all the problems you would expect it to with always-on DRM. Much like the infamous Diablo 3 problem, the game has suffered under requiring all players to be connected to the internet at all times, even in single player, and linked into a server.

Shortly following its release yesterday, Origin's servers buckled under the stress of trying to manage so many players at launch and players are now facing a multitude of problems. Along with sudden disconnects, lag in single player and the worst aspects of playing online, the game now has a waiting list limiting people's access to the title. Screenshots and videos taken yesterday seemed to indicate these were going to take anything up to half an hour before you could access a single player title.
If there was ever a game which displayed the problems of always-on DRM better than Diablo, it's SimCity. The protection it offers from piracy simply cannot compare with major performance issues and the game being unable to keep up with the demands of those wanting to play it.

Responding to these criticisms, Origin's Twitter account stated that "We're making changes to prevent further issues, and are confident that Origin will be stable in time for launches later this week."

The question remains however, if this is what we can expect to see every time an always-on DRM title is launched by a major publisher. With Bungie's upcoming FPS title Destiny requiring constant online connectivity and other publishers considering taking the same route, this does not bode well for future releases.

The only good bit of news to come out of this is that some sites have begun rightfully marking games down for using always-on DRM due to their inherent problems. The most notable example of this has, surprisingly, been Polygon. In announcement on their Twitter account, the reviewing website stated that they lowered their previous score of the game due to its issues. Perhaps this is a sign that issues within these games will not simply get a free pass and will be regarded with scrutiny like everything else.
Some have claimed that this is an action which is unfair due to EA's claims that the game will be fixed within a few days, but speaking personally it seems entirely justified. Despite launching in May Diablo 3 suffered continued connectivity issues in France well into July, a considerable amount of time for something which was supposed to be quickly dealt with.

Whether or not SimCity's international release will similarly feature the same delays in fixing its issues remains to be seen.

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