Sim City Always Online DRM

This story is interesting. The new version of Sim City has “always online DRM”. Even if you are playing the game in single-player mode, you need to be connected to EA’s server in order to play.

Always-online DRM is offensive. There are a lot of problems with always-online DRM. Some people do not have a reliable Internet connection. In a few years, the corporation that published the game may go bankrupt or shut down their server. When that happens, you won’t be able to play the game at all.

For example, the Rise Of Legends Patch server is down, after the corporation that published the game went bankrupt. If the game had an always-online requirement, I would be unable to play it at all.

The “benefit” of always-online DRM is protection against “piracy”. However, it makes it hard to play a game that you bought. The servers can go down due to overload or incompetence. Someday, the servers may be shut down, making the game unplayable.

There are rumors that the new Xbox and Playstation will include always-online DRM.

There is one solution to always-online DRM. You should refuse to buy any game that includes always-online DRM. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough people who do this. This form of invasive copy prevention may become more and more common. It’s a disturbing trend, that people don’t own software they paid for.

One Response to Sim City Always Online DRM

  1. Anonymous Coward March 12, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    I am a software developer and I self-publish.

    I agree with you about online DRM being offensive.

    Large companies purchase my software. My software uses a copy protection system, but the online aspect of it is once-only. Once software is verified by an Internet connection, the software will always work on that hardware.

    I also have several different types of protection mechanism. The user can choose. My intention is that for most cases, once the user has purchased the software, he/she can use it whether my company goes bust or not. It isn’t foolproof. But I hope for most cases, little users can use my software whether my company stays up or not.

    Having said that as my running costs are low, I hope to be able to continue for a long time.

    I’ve also seen some large companies abuse my licenses. I’ve seen some companies purchase 10 licenses, but use it on 30 machines.

    I’ve seen some companies purchase 1 license and then quiz me why they can’t use it for many different users! This was actually rather dumb of them. Ironically they are one of the most famous companies in the country they operate in. In fact everyone in the whole country (almost) uses their services.

    Having said the above, my copy protection system is flexible, but it is only flexible because I sell thousands of copies of my software and not hundreds of thousands to millions. If I sold that many copies my license system may need to be made less flexible.

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