Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A developer announces always-on DRM will be a requirement for their game, fans lambast them for the decision, and on launch day things go horrible wrong. It happened most recently with Diablo 3, and now SimCity has become the newest victim.
While the level of problems haven’t been nearly as numerous as those that plagued Diablo, many gamers are still reporting plenty of issues. Among them are download problems, games locking up, full save files becoming corrupted, and several other weird goings-on.
Beyond begin a necessity for multiplayer, SimCity also requires an always-on Internet connection to perform the simple act of saving. And that’s there where the real issues lie.
Servers get throttled during the first few days of a game’s release, and it’s common for connectivity issues to arise. But when connectivity and saving are inextricably linked, that is a huge problem. And the fact that SimCity had two major beta tests before launch only makes things worse.
There have also been reports of 30-minute (or longer) wait times in server queues just to play the game. That isn’t to join another player’s city, or to interact with their city, mind you; that is just to build a private region.
To be fair, I have experienced no problems with SimCity thus far. I was able to download the game from Electronic Arts promptly at midnight, and the download took less than an hour.
Since then, I have not encountered any problems constructing a city or saving a game. However, connecting to another player’s region hasn’t been nearly as easy. Mostly the game, which runs on EA’s Origin service, tells me specific players are not available when they clearly are. Not a major annoyance, but still something to point out.
Obviously, there are some problems with SimCity, and the case against always-on DRM continues to build. Sure, it’s a great anti-piracy measure but it comes at the cost of player enjoyment.
At the same time, players that are experiencing these problems have already given EA their $60, which further pushes the issue into a grey area. Hopefully problematic launches like SimCity and Diablo 3‘s will leave publishers and developers thinking twice about DRM.
Have you encountered any problems playing SimCity? Do you think that publishers will ever wise up to the always-on DRM issues?