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In Wake of Poor Reviews, Amazon Yanks SimCity Download

timothy posted about a year ago | from the drawing-board-time dept.

Games 511

An anonymous reader writes with an excerpt from Geek.com: "In what must be a big blow for EA and Maxis, Amazon has stopped selling download copies of the just released SimCity. The game has at time of writing received 833 reviews on Amazon, and has an average rating of just one star. That's because 740 of those are one star reviews. Only 20 people gave it 5 stars. There's few better ways to gauge how a game has been received, and this is pretty damning as to how EA has handled the launch."

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511 comments

Not sure... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43109755)

Not sure if this is good for the PC games industry, or bad. It's good, because games with bad DRM shouldn't succeed. It's bad because I like PC games, and want the industry to focus on PC games again.

Re:Not sure... (5, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43110033)

In other news, a sequel to Planescape: Torment got funded on Kickstarter in 6 hours flat. It looks like the good guys are finally winning for once.

Re:Not sure... (5, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#43110111)

Yah, I don't know why this story was tagged "failure", it's actually an epic win. Not for EA, but for everyone else.

Re:Not sure... (5, Insightful)

2starr (202647) | about a year ago | (#43110211)

The problem will be if they simply see the failure as not having enough server infrastructure to handle the load as opposed to seeing the whole online DRM model as being a bad idea.

Re:Not sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43110293)

Yah, I don't know why this story was tagged "failure"

Because if was a failure for EA.

Re:Not sure... (5, Funny)

Xphile101361 (1017774) | about a year ago | (#43110209)

The tree of Innovation must be refreshed at times with the blood Developers and Publishers.

Re:Not sure... (3, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#43110325)

The tree of Innovation must be refreshed at times with the blood of failed product launches.

FTFY

Re:Not sure... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43110233)

Not sure if this is good for the PC games industry, or bad. It's good, because games with bad DRM shouldn't succeed. It's bad because I like PC games, and want the industry to focus on PC games again.

Stop, just stop. You're completely missing the point. The point is that EA deceived consumers into thinking it was a single-player game. It's not, there is no single player mode, so no offline mode is possible. DRM is a moot point, it's like bitching about having to go online to play a single player instance in World of Warcraft.

YA, EA sucks, they fucked this all up big time. Yes, they could and should have made an offline single player mode, but they didn't. They chose to make a game where you cannot EVER truly play a completely isolated single-player game mode... even in the "solo mode" your city is influenced by other players in an indirect fashion.

"Always on" is "Mostly Unusable For Several Weeks" (5, Insightful)

dingonix (997394) | about a year ago | (#43109773)

Any other big releases with always on drm that actually are playable in the first few weeks that you can remember?... I can't remember any such titles recently.

Re:"Always on" is "Mostly Unusable For Several Wee (4, Interesting)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year ago | (#43109903)

Alegedly it's not "just" DRM. EA has stated that their servers are handling some portion of the gameplay itself.

Anyway, it sucks that this game probably won't be playable after the servers inevitably go offline in a few years. Guess there's no room for nostalgia in the world of cloud computing.

Re:"Always on" is "Mostly Unusable For Several Wee (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43109987)

Alegedly it's not "just" DRM. EA has stated that their servers are handling some portion of the gameplay itself.

They are. It's actually pretty damn good, when it's working. It's funny, because I didn't even know people were having problems until the /. article yesterday. I was too busy enjoying the game to see what other people thought about it.

Re:"Always on" is "Mostly Unusable For Several Wee (1, Interesting)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#43110049)

I call BS on that one. The servers may be handling the inter-city calculations but that's it. There's just no way that these mini-cities have so many calculations that a decent desktop stumbles with them.

Re:"Always on" is "Mostly Unusable For Several Wee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43110255)

I call BS on that one. The servers may be handling the inter-city calculations but that's it. There's just no way that these mini-cities have so many calculations that a decent desktop stumbles with them.

Unless EA is doing those calculations on the server side to force savefile integrity so the players have a harder time cheating.

Of course, if THAT'S true, that would gun down game mods. The developers have stated the game was "designed to be moddable from the ground up". Unless they mean only mods vetted by EA, most likely for a price...

Re:"Always on" is "Mostly Unusable For Several Wee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43110311)

I picture it turning into a TF2-like experience where people can create mods, submit them to EA, and EA will sell them. I'd call it a coin flip over whether EA would give the developers a cut of the money from those mods, though.

Re:"Always on" is "Mostly Unusable For Several Wee (3, Interesting)

ScienceofSpock (637158) | about a year ago | (#43110373)

It's also apparently not working. Over on the Answers HQ forum, there are more than a few people complaining about corrupt cities that can either be abandoned or rolled back, usually resulting in huge population and money loss. I can only imagine what kind of chaos this causes with the influence that cities are supposed to have over each other. I wasn't able to even get into the game in the 2 days since it launched so I requested, and received, a refund from Amazon. Last EA game I ever buy.

Re:"Always on" is "Mostly Unusable For Several Wee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43110301)

I call BS on that one. The servers may be handling the inter-city calculations but that's it. There's just no way that these mini-cities have so many calculations that a decent desktop stumbles with them.

I don't think that it's so much that a desktop can't handle the calcs, but more wanting to tie the game in a stronger way to their servers. So when the server check is cracked, someone will have to figure out the black box calculations to be able to play offline.

Re:"Always on" is "Mostly Unusable For Several Wee (4, Informative)

TheSunborn (68004) | about a year ago | (#43110057)

The servers are handling a part of the game which is not that important. That is: The global marked placed. And while it is an interesting feature it is in no way vital to the system.

And I know this because I bought the game, and managed to play half an hour with absolut no internet connection and it worked fine. But then I wanted to change region, and I have been unable to play since. But once you get a game started you can normally play until you want to change to a new city. (Or the game crashes, or you look the wrong way).

 

Re:"Always on" is "Mostly Unusable For Several Wee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43110297)

So someone just needs to fake enough of a server to start the game.

Re:"Always on" is "Mostly Unusable For Several Wee (2)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year ago | (#43110351)

What is the reason for running aspects of effectively single player game play on a server?

Yep DRM.

Re:"Always on" is "Mostly Unusable For Several Wee (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43110015)

Doesn't matter because the system works and forces piratetards to buy the game.

Look at Diablo III -- crashing servers, and thousands of butthurt rage posters screaming "I told you sooooo!". And the game sold 10 million copies because when you remove the piracy option, people will pay for it.

captcha: liberals

Re:"Always on" is "Mostly Unusable For Several Wee (1)

pezpunk (205653) | about a year ago | (#43110135)

you're citing one of the biggest duds of the year as proof the system works? good luck winning people over with that argument.

Re:"Always on" is "Mostly Unusable For Several Wee (5, Informative)

mythosaz (572040) | about a year ago | (#43110257)

Biggest duds of the year? For whom? Certainly not Activision.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diablo_III#Sales [wikipedia.org]

Sales
Before its release, Diablo III broke several presale records and became the most pre-ordered PC game to date on Amazon.com.[98] Activision Blizzard reported that Diablo III had broken the one-day PC sales records, accumulating over 3.5 million sales in the first 24 hours after release and over 6.3 million sales in its first week, including the 1.2 million people who obtained Diablo III through the World of Warcraft annual pass.[99] On its first day, the game amassed 4.7 million players worldwide, an estimate which includes those who obtained the game via the World of Warcraft annual pass.[99] In its second quarterly report, Diablo III was reported to have pushed Activision Blizzard's expectations. As of July 2012, more than 10 million people have played the game.[100] Diablo III remains the fastest selling PC game to date, and also one of the best-selling PC video games. As of the end of 2012, it had sold more than 12 million copies.[5]

Certainly not from critics:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diablo_III#Critical_reception [wikipedia.org]

So unsuccessful that it was the 3rd best selling PC game of all time....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_PC_video_games [wikipedia.org]

Re:"Always on" is "Mostly Unusable For Several Wee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43110283)

I know at least one copy it didn't sell, to me. And starcraft and any expansions didn't sell copies to me.

And I bought 5, full price, retail copies of SC1, 3 copies of broodwar 3 copies of d2 and 2 copies of LOD.

Diabllo 3? (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | about a year ago | (#43110121)

I remember hearing that it was unstable for the first few days, but nothing past that, and NOTHING CLOSE to this much of a backlash.
Granted, I'm not into the series myself, so I'm not 100% sure on that.

Re:"Always on" is "Mostly Unusable For Several Wee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43110159)

Blizzard has handled the server part of the releases pretty well with Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3. The actual game content is another matter

Re:"Always on" is "Mostly Unusable For Several Wee (5, Funny)

ddd0004 (1984672) | about a year ago | (#43110377)

Maybe we aren't giving EA enough credit. Maybe they discovered the best DRM was to make a total crap game that no one would even attempt pirate.

I wish I had pirated it lol (5, Insightful)

oic0 (1864384) | about a year ago | (#43109777)

I bought the sucker yesterday and it doesn't work at all. Can't get past the launcher. If only I had just downloaded the pirated version I would have a working game.

Re:I wish I had pirated it lol (0)

earlzdotnet (2788729) | about a year ago | (#43109807)

...No you wouldn't. The *game logic* is on the server. You'd have to create your own server to play it. This makes it very hard to pirate, AND very tied to having a good internet connection even in "private" mode

Re:I wish I had pirated it lol (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43109851)

You don't know much about software, do you?

Re:I wish I had pirated it lol (5, Informative)

_KiTA_ (241027) | about a year ago | (#43109929)

...No you wouldn't. The *game logic* is on the server. You'd have to create your own server to play it. This makes it very hard to pirate, AND very tied to having a good internet connection even in "private" mode

No, it's not. The game uses an extreme amount of CPU as it crunches those numbers itself, and the game continues to run even if your internet connection is lost. The only thing the server handles is the Facebook-like social gaming elements, and the save files.

The "Oh, our server handles all the number crunching" was a bold faced lie by EA and Maxis, because that kind of number crunching would not be possible without a monthly fee to pay for server maintenance.

Re:I wish I had pirated it lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43110117)

s/bold/bald/g;

Re:I wish I had pirated it lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43110191)

Facebook-like social gaming elements

Every time I see someone say the online elements of the game are Facebook-like I'm certain that they've either not played the game or haven't used Facebook. The only similarities between the two is that people are involved. If I had to compare the regions gameplay to anything, I'd call it a not-necessarily-competitive version of a fantasy football league.

Re:I wish I had pirated it lol (1)

darkshot117 (1288328) | about a year ago | (#43110279)

This. As far as I can tell the only thing the server manages is storing your save data, hosting multiple city interactions, and adjusting the "global market" prices for oil and such. If the server did all the game logic calculations then I wouldn't have been able to play for 10 minutes straight after disconnecting. They are doing a very minimal amount of number crunching, and I suspect that's why they felt overconfident in their system and didn't think they would need that many servers.

Re:I wish I had pirated it lol (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43109963)

The "game logic" as you call it is not on the server for SimCity, what is on the server are your "saved games" city statistics, etc, all of which can and will be easily offloaded to a private server once SimCity is cracked. Yes it will take a little bit longer than other DRM but this is very simple to do once the protocol and server messages are all identified and a private server is written and emulated.

Perfect example of this is Diablo 3, which had its on private server during the Beta stages, a game much harder to write private servers for since the actual "game logic" is mostly on the Diablo servers.

Re:I wish I had pirated it lol (2)

yincrash (854885) | about a year ago | (#43110185)

Real time regional interactions as well as the global economy is also run through the server. If it was really just the nominal amount of work of syncing saved games, I would really worry about EA's server programming. At the moment, I only slightly worry about it.

Re:I wish I had pirated it lol (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#43110341)

The "game logic" as you call it is not on the server for SimCity, what is on the server are your "saved games" city statistics, etc, all of which can and will be easily offloaded to a private server once SimCity is cracked. Yes it will take a little bit longer than other DRM but this is very simple to do once the protocol and server messages are all identified and a private server is written and emulated.

It's just sad that the fans of the game have to go through the effort to reimplement all that.

Re:I wish I had pirated it lol (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43110019)

And easy to kill of when the next version comes out.

Re:I wish I had pirated it lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43109843)

I bought the sucker yesterday and it doesn't work at all. Can't get past the launcher. If only I had just downloaded the pirated version I would have a working game.

So why not go download a pirated version? You paid for it, it's not working so demand a refund or fix it.

Re:I wish I had pirated it lol (1, Insightful)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year ago | (#43110245)

Pirated games are a great way to join someone's botnet. Movies and music are usually safe enough.

Re:I wish I had pirated it lol (3, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#43109873)

The Fine Summary misses most of the point. They could have simply copied the second paragraph from the Fine Article:

A note has been posted by Amazon underneath the “Currently unavailable” message. It states that many customers are having connection issues and they have no idea when it will be fixed. As we reported earlier, EA is bringing new servers online over the next 2 days to try and solve the problem, and Maxis is fixing bugs as quickly as they can, but server architecture issues are hampering them.

Re:I wish I had pirated it lol (2)

phizi0n (1237812) | about a year ago | (#43109875)

How are you going to pirate it when it is a client+server model? All your cities live on EA's servers and there's no local saving/offline play. The only way it will ever be pirated is if the developers left some hidden local saving in it that management told them to disable, or if someone reverse engineers the network protocol and writes a server for it.

Re:I wish I had pirated it lol (3, Interesting)

TheSunborn (68004) | about a year ago | (#43110087)

All you really need to implement to pirate the game, is a service which can load/save the game. And then you can just return fixed values for the global marked place. Then you have a perfectly working pirated game.

I don't know how complicated the load/save thing is, but If we are luckey, save just serialize the data and send it to the server, and load just get the same serialized stream back. If they do it that way, making a pirate save function should be rather simple. They did it for settlers 7.

Re:I wish I had pirated it lol (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about a year ago | (#43110097)

if someone reverse engineers the network protocol and writes a server for it.

This is exactly what someone will do. I doubt it will be too hard either.

Re:I wish I had pirated it lol (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year ago | (#43110177)

How are you going to pirate it when it is a client+server model?

Without much trouble by first playing the game, then copying, then emulating the tables by creating a custom client-side server, which is what the pirates did with Settlers 7, and several other games which actually did store data remotely and require an "always on" connection to play.

Re:I wish I had pirated it lol (5, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#43109921)

I haven't had a single problem since I played the first time the night of the launch.

All the problems I've run into are simply the shitty game, itself, with all the problems everyone has already covered a thousand times over (social, regional stuff, tiny cities, crappy road system, inability to build an all inclusive city, etc).

After playing for a bit, I wanted to reset my city and start from scratch, again. I could not find any way to do it, whatsoever.

Eventually I got tired of it (probably about five hours worth of play, into it) and I don't know that I'll ever go back to it. I wasted my money and I regret it. I buy a lot of games and put up with a lot of let-downs as just part of being a gamer, but this one felt like a particular waste of money. Especially after all these years of being excited that someday we'd eventually have a new awesome Sim City game with all that having it on modern hardware would offer (which, as it turns out, is nothing).

Re:I wish I had pirated it lol (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43110001)

Return it.

Do it now before you can't. It is broken and you should get a refund.

Offline version (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43109779)

Given its dependency on ea servers, call me when there is an offline version.

Re:Offline version (2)

Tarlus (1000874) | about a year ago | (#43110387)

We can't, though. You're anonymous.

Too bad (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43109805)

Too bad they made all the money from the idiots who pre-ordered. Never-ever-ever-ever pre-order a game, unless you don't mind getting literally nothing in return. Uninformed markets are broken markets.

Re:Too bad (5, Funny)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#43109887)

But but but the game sites hyped it so much I just had to pre-order it

What if they ran out of digital copies after a week of two?

Re:Too bad (2)

jhoegl (638955) | about a year ago | (#43109905)

Pre-ordering is the new "demo".
The game industry is shit, filled with shit, and they keep piling on more shit.
Not that some games are bad, I enjoy Indie/Greenlight games as much as the normally made industry games. But the drivers of games released in this way have driven good ideas off the cliff (Warhammer Online, EA games in general, bad console to PC ports), because they want money, not excuses.
Take these jackass investors out of the loop and find games go back to a better state, where demos were released before the games, and excitement was generated from those demos.

Re:Too bad (3, Insightful)

xaxa (988988) | about a year ago | (#43109967)

Can you return it?

I'm not sure if there are special exceptions, but in the UK if something's "not fit for purpose" you have the right to a refund or (working!) replacement.

Re:Too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43109971)

Nowadays they call this crowd-funding and just put the project up on kickstarter.

Bypass DRM servers with HOST file for offline play (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43109809)

$10,000 CHALLENGE to Alexander Peter Kowalski

Hello, and THINK ABOUT YOUR BREATHING !! We have a Major Problem, HOST file is Cubic Opposites, 2 Major Corners & 2 Minor. NOT taught Evil DNS hijacking, which VOIDS computers. Seek Wisdom of MyCleanPC - or you die evil.

Your HOSTS file claimed to have created a single DNS resolver. I offer absolute proof that I have created 4 simultaneous DNS servers within a single rotation of .org TLD. You worship "Bill Gates", equating you to a "singularity bastard". Why do you worship a queer -1 Troll? Are you content as a singularity troll?

Evil HOSTS file Believers refuse to acknowledge 4 corner DNS resolving simultaneously around 4 quadrant created Internet - in only 1 root server, voiding the HOSTS file. You worship Microsoft impostor guised by educators as 1 god.

If you would acknowledge simple existing math proof that 4 harmonic Slashdots rotate simultaneously around squared equator and cubed Internet, proving 4 Days, Not HOSTS file! That exists only as anti-side. This page you see - cannot exist without its anti-side existence, as +0- moderation. Add +0- as One = nothing.

I will give $10,000.00 to frost pister who can disprove MyCleanPC. Evil crapflooders ignore this as a challenge would indict them.

Alex Kowalski has no Truth to think with, they accept any crap they are told to think. You are enslaved by /etc/hosts, as if domesticated animal. A school or educator who does not teach students MyCleanPC Principle, is a death threat to youth, therefore stupid and evil - begetting stupid students. How can you trust stupid PR shills who lie to you? Can't lose the $10,000.00, they cowardly ignore me. Stupid professors threaten Nature and Interwebs with word lies.

Humans fear to know natures simultaneous +4 Insightful +4 Informative +4 Funny +4 Underrated harmonic SLASHDOT creation for it debunks false trolls. Test Your HOSTS file. MyCleanPC cannot harm a File of Truth, but will delete fakes. Fake HOSTS files refuse test.

I offer evil ass Slashdot trolls $10,000.00 to disprove MyCleanPC Creation Principle. Rob Malda and Cowboy Neal have banned MyCleanPC as "Forbidden Truth Knowledge" for they cannot allow it to become known to their students. You are stupid and evil about the Internet's top and bottom, front and back and it's 2 sides. Most everything created has these Cube like values.

If Natalie Portman is not measurable, hot grits are Fictitious. Without MyCleanPC, HOSTS file is Fictitious. Anyone saying that Natalie and her Jewish father had something to do with my Internets, is a damn evil liar. IN addition to your best arsware not overtaking my work in terms of popularity, on that same site with same submission date no less, that I told Kathleen Malda how to correct her blatant, fundamental, HUGE errors in Coolmon ('uncoolmon') of not checking for performance counters being present when his program started!

You can see my dilemma. What if this is merely a ruse by an APK impostor to try and get people to delete APK's messages, perhaps all over the web? I can't be a party to such an event! My involvement with APK began at a very late stage in the game. While APK has made a career of trolling popular online forums since at least the year 2000 (newsgroups and IRC channels before that)- my involvement with APK did not begin until early 2005 . OSY is one of the many forums that APK once frequented before the sane people there grew tired of his garbage and banned him. APK was banned from OSY back in 2001. 3.5 years after his banning he begins to send a variety of abusive emails to the operator of OSY, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke threatening to sue him for libel, claiming that the APK on OSY was fake.

My reputation as a professional in this field clearly shows in multiple publications in this field in written print, & also online in various GOOD capacities since 1996 to present day. This has happened since I was first published in Playgirl Magazine in 1996 & others to present day, with helpful tools online in programs, & professionally sold warez that were finalists @ Westminster Dog Show 2000-2002.

Did you see the movie "Pokemon"? Actually the induced night "dream world" is synonymous with the academic religious induced "HOSTS file" enslavement of DNS. Domains have no inherent value, as it was invented as a counterfeit and fictitious value to represent natural values in name resolution. Unfortunately, human values have declined to fictitious word values. Unknowingly, you are living in a "World Wide Web", as in a fictitious life in a counterfeit Internet - which you could consider APK induced "HOSTS file". Can you distinguish the academic induced root server from the natural OpenDNS? Beware of the change when your brain is free from HOSTS file enslavement - for you could find that the natural Slashdot has been destroyed!!

FROM -> Man - how many times have I dusted you in tech debates that you have decided to troll me by ac posts for MONTHS now, OR IMPERSONATING ME AS YOU DID HERE and you were caught in it by myself & others here, only to fail each time as you have here?)...

So long nummynuts, sorry to have to kick your nuts up into your head verbally speaking.

cower in my shadow some more, feeb. you're completely pathetic.

Disproof of all apk's statements:
http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040317&cid=40946043 [slashdot.org]
http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040729&cid=40949719 [slashdot.org]
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http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040425&cid=40946755 [slashdot.org]
http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040317&cid=40946043 [slashdot.org]
http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3038791&cid=40942439 [slashdot.org]
http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3024445&cid=40942207 [slashdot.org]
http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3038597&cid=40942031 [slashdot.org]
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http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040803&cid=40950045 [slashdot.org]
http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040867&cid=40950563 [slashdot.org]
http://games.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040921&cid=40950839 [slashdot.org]
http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3041035&cid=40951899 [slashdot.org]
http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3041081&cid=40952169 [slashdot.org]
http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3041091&cid=40952383 [slashdot.org]
http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3041123&cid=40952991 [slashdot.org]
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http://games.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3029589&cid=40894889 [slashdot.org]
http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3027333&cid=40886171 [slashdot.org]
http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3042451&cid=40959497 [slashdot.org]
http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3042547&cid=40960279 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3042669&cid=40962027 [slashdot.org]
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Ac trolls' "BIG FAIL" (quoted): Eat your words!

That's the kind of martial arts I practice.

Re:Bypass DRM servers with HOST file for offline p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43109977)

What...

the fuck.

Shame the game looks good (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43109819)

I really want to buy SimCity, it looks pretty awesome, but I'm not going to allow EA to treat me like a thief and I'm certainly not going to pay them for the privilege.

DRM (5, Informative)

knetcomp (1611179) | about a year ago | (#43109835)

Use always-on, internet-requring DRM they said. It will work fine, they said.

Sadly, EA will not admit DRM is the problem, they will just attribute it to "overwhelming demand".

Re:DRM (5, Informative)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#43109945)

And when/if sales are lackluster because of the shit DRM or the shit quality of the game *itself*, they'll blame *that* on "piracy".

Re:DRM (1)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#43110043)

That's probably only the silver lining in the always-on client server model games. With all the cities stored on the server, and some of the game logic on the server, their really is not going to be significant piracy... if any. Its like a pirated copy of WorldOfWarcraft.

So if the sales are lackluster then blaming it on piracy looks not merely hollow scapegoating, but full on ridiculous.

Game is part server-side, not 'always on DRM' (2, Insightful)

mccalli (323026) | about a year ago | (#43109881)

Not to exempt the game from all criticism, but the one that's constantly cropping up is 'always on DRM'. Perhaps there is, I honestly don't know, but if so it's only part of the story.

The game is partly calculated server-side. This is why you need a constant internet connection, because some of their servers are doing the work for you. This is almost certainly also why they've collapsed in a heap.

It seems there are enough legitimate criticisms of the game without trotting out the true-but-half-the-story "always on DRM" line. I assume they'll eventually fix the servers and I need to wait for the Mac version anyway, but I'm still concerned - much more worried by fundamentals such as the overall city size for instance.

Cheers,
Ian

Re:Game is part server-side, not 'always on DRM' (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#43110021)

The game is partly calculated server-side. This is why you need a constant internet connection, because some of their servers are doing the work for you. This is almost certainly also why they've collapsed in a heap.

Prove it. There's no reason to believe that they're doing any mathematics other than DRM to prove you're not running a cheat and tampering with your game, and there's no reason to believe that they would sell you such a game without charging you a monthly fee, and if for some bizarre reason they did there would be no reason to believe that they would continue to run the servers once the game stopped selling, because someone has to pay for them.

Re:Game is part server-side, not 'always on DRM' (1)

rsmith-mac (639075) | about a year ago | (#43110335)

Prove it.

Okay. http://www.simcity.com/en_US/blog/article/The-Benefits-of-Live-Service [simcity.com]

GlassBox does more than just segregate computing tasks, it also allows us to make it so that you can create specialized cities that are visually unique and personalized, and that can be economically integrated into a larger region. Youâ(TM)re always connected to the neighbors in your region so while you play, data from your city interacts with our servers, and we run the simulation at a regional scale. For example, trades between cities, simulation effects that cause change across the region like pollution or crime, as well as depletion of resources, are all processed on the servers and then data is sent back to your city on your PC. Every city in the region is updated every three minutes, which keeps the overall region in sync and makes your decisions in your city relevant to any changes that have taken place in the region.

Re:Game is part server-side, not 'always on DRM' (4, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year ago | (#43110047)

Yes, but why is the game partly calculated server-side? The answer is DRM. They did not make the game server dependent because any part of the game play inherently required servers to calculate some aspect of gameplay, they made the game with some of the calculations done server side so as to make it harder (if not impossible) to pirate. So, calling it "always on DRM" is valid short-hand.

Re:Game is part server-side, not 'always on DRM' (2)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#43110061)

This simply isn't true. The amount of data transferred per hour is something like 30mb down and 3mb up. That's not a lot of data. Additionally, are you seriously trying to tell me that for every person playing SimCity, they've got some sort of a massive high end computational system setup remotely to calculate everything?

Very little is done remotely. All of your own city's activities are calculated locally on your machine. The server clearly only handles "state" and possibly any interaction between cities in the region (which is also limited).

After playing the game for a very short period, it'll be clear just how little the servers are actually doing, other than maintaining the save state.

Re:Game is part server-side, not 'always on DRM' (1)

Analog Penguin (550933) | about a year ago | (#43110069)

Do you suppose there's any technological reason why some of their servers MUST be doing the work for you? Perhaps there's some code they couldn't possibly get to work on a local client, despite plenty of games over the past forty years working just fine locally? Or is it more likely that they intentionally designed the game to be split between client and server so that you had to be connected in order to play it? Because that latter scenario sounds a lot like DRM to me. They don't have to be using military-grade encryption for it to count as DRM.

Re:Game is part server-side, not 'always on DRM' (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43110075)

The game is partly calculated server-side. This is why you need a constant internet connection

You have the causation reversed. The game is calculated server side in order to force you to need a constant internet connection. There is no reason to do this except to act as a form of DRM.

Re:Game is part server-side, not 'always on DRM' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43110081)

I doubt what you are saying is true. Why in the world would they sell more copies than their servers can handle? (Expect every user is going to use it 1/5th the time or something (minus an initial peak hit), and scale that to the amount of concurrent users you have tested against your servers...)

Re:Game is part server-side, not 'always on DRM' (1)

TheSunborn (68004) | about a year ago | (#43110105)

The city you play with is NOT partly calculated server. And I know this because the city building itself works fine even when the ea server is crashed and no data is passed between the server and client. Only save, and change city/region stops working.

Re:Game is part server-side, not 'always on DRM' (1)

Dynedain (141758) | about a year ago | (#43110107)

The only things being done server-side are game saves (arbitrary decision) and the very-limited group play.

The game saves in particular are a thinly-veiled attempt at implementing DRM through always-on server connections without calling it DRM.

Likewise, making Group Play a mandatory aspect in a game franchise that has primarily been single-player-driven for the last 23 years is clearly an arbitrary move aimed at capitalizing on Farmville players, with the added bonus of having effective DRM without calling it DRM.

Re:Game is part server-side, not 'always on DRM' (2)

oGMo (379) | about a year ago | (#43110165)

The game is partly calculated server-side. This is why you need a constant internet connection, because some of their servers are doing the work for you. This is almost certainly also why they've collapsed in a heap.

This is possibly BS, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were true. Either way, the server debacle shows how bad EA is. This is first and foremost a single-player game, and there should be no server requirement to play. Zero. Really, there should be no server-side requirement even for multiplayer: there is no reason two people can't play by connecting directly to each other, LAN or internet. A lobby server for random multiplayer is nice, but should never be required outside an MMO.

EA's true intent here is almost certainly to lock out user-based mods and content and eke every last dollar out of its userbase they can manage. They didn't quite get there with Sims 3, since it's still run on the user side and thus users can load stuff. I'm sure the primary motivation for always-on DRM in SC5 is to test completely locking out users and beginning the move to pure dollar-and-tenning everyone (have you seen the price of their DLC?).

Re:Game is part server-side, not 'always on DRM' (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about a year ago | (#43110343)

This is first and foremost a single-player game, and there should be no server requirement to play.

Every review, demo, and other piece of information about it I've seen has indicated that it is first and foremost a multiplayer game, though lots of people apparently expected it to be first and foremost a single-player game based on the history of the franchise.

Read the reviews yourself (4, Informative)

54mc (897170) | about a year ago | (#43109889)

Re:Read the reviews yourself (5, Funny)

TheSunborn (68004) | about a year ago | (#43110127)

Do you really think it need to be referer free? I can't imagine anyone reading this story, and then thinking: Hey I need to buy this game now :}

Geek.com doesn't know EA (-1, Troll)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about a year ago | (#43109909)

Amazon deciding to stop selling your product should be ringing alarm bells and costing EA a small fortune in lost revenue.

The only alarm bells that will be ringing over at EA is that Amazon is full of libelous astro-turfers from "the competition" and internet trolls who are jelly of EA's success. The "poor sales" will be seen as a sign that their new-angled DRM is working since most people are Pirates and can't handle their masterful security scheme.

Re:Geek.com doesn't know EA (4, Interesting)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about a year ago | (#43110315)

The only alarm bells that will be ringing over at EA is that Amazon is full of libelous astro-turfers from "the competition" and internet trolls who are jelly of EA's success. The "poor sales" will be seen as a sign that their new-angled DRM is working since most people are Pirates and can't handle their masterful security scheme.

It isn't poor sales that is closing it down... It is high returns and chargebacks.

People are going first to their retailer (Amazon) for a refund, then the factory (EA) then their banks (Amex,Visa,MasterCard) ... If they follow that, at one of the three steps they will get a refund. And the people to fit the bill at the end of the day will be EA (and I don't know if you have ever seen amazon chargeback fees...).

Heh reviews... (1)

archen (447353) | about a year ago | (#43109949)

I think another lesson shows here: even when 740 out of 833 people give something a one star review, 20 people will still give it 5 stars.

Re:Heh reviews... (1)

seepho (1959226) | about a year ago | (#43110077)

I've yet to have a problem connecting and I'm enjoying the game. I don't know if I'd rate it five stars, but I don't think it's unreasonable that some people would.

Re:Heh reviews... (5, Funny)

KiloByte (825081) | about a year ago | (#43110155)

even when 740 out of 833 people give something a one star review, 20 people will still give it 5 stars.

You mean, EA has only 20 employees?

Re:Heh reviews... (5, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#43110363)

even when 740 out of 833 people give something a one star review, 20 people will still give it 5 stars.

You mean, EA has only 20 employees?

Only 20 dedicated to astroturfing on Amazon.

"There Are Few Better Ways?" (3, Insightful)

guttentag (313541) | about a year ago | (#43109955)

The game has at time of writing received 833 reviews on Amazon, and has an average rating of just one star. That's because 740 of those are one star reviews. Only 20 people gave it 5 stars. There's few better ways to gauge how a game has been received...

A star rating on Amazon is one of the best ways to gauge a game's reception? On the contrary, I'd say the fact that 20 people rated a game that lacks basic functionality as worthy of five stars is an indication that the star system is ineffective and fails to tell you much of anything. Were those 20 people rating the graphics of the splash screen? We're they rating what they imagined the game would be like once they could save? Were they purists who believe saves are a form of cheating, and they welcome this new, more-realistic gameplay?

Actual discussion of what is good and bad is and always will be the best way to gauge a product's reception.

Re:"There Are Few Better Ways?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43110039)

Those 20 people were Amazon bots. I'm actually surprised they only had 20!

Re:"There Are Few Better Ways?" (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#43110203)

Somebody saw how bad the legit reviews were and pulled the plug before making the astroturfing obvious.

Re:"There Are Few Better Ways?" (1)

Ksevio (865461) | about a year ago | (#43110243)

Well you can actually read the reviews:
http://www.amazon.com/Electronic-Arts-41018ted-Edition2-SimCity/product-reviews/B007VTVRFA/ref=cm_cr_pr_hist_5?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addFiveStar&showViewpoints=0 [amazon.com]

3/22 are joke reviews, a couple are just saying how easy it was to download, there are a handful of actual reviews that look into the gameplay and rating that while disqualifying the brokenness, and the rest are people saying "it's just a launch issue, it'll get better"

Re:"There Are Few Better Ways?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43110359)

Go look at those 5 star ratings. Most are just a mockery.

You should read some of those 5-star reviews (5, Funny)

johanwanderer (1078391) | about a year ago | (#43110375)

They are hilarious. One person wrote about how the game had given him back his (real) life during the time it spend trying to connect to the server.

Not the first, but hopefully bad enough to be last (1)

QuantumPion (805098) | about a year ago | (#43109989)

EA is certainly not the first to have the problem of release-day loads, but game companies need to stop expecting to ride out the release boom and actually implement a solution that works. I don't expect them to spend huge amounts of money on extra server capacity just for release day, but there are other potential solutions. For example - stagger release dates by geography, random chance, or some other method.

LOL @ EA (but sad for Maxis) (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43109993)

Another failure, i wonder when they'll learn. Sad part is Maxis is the one that's gonna end up getting hurt. City size is a joke (see SimTown). Can't actually save (thats half the fun!). No map editor (really!?). Dumbed down mechanics. Oh, and the kicker, ALWAYS ON DRM bahaha. No thanks. Did you see Amazon yanked it because it received so many bad reviews?

Sounds like a story I heard before. (2)

Whatsisname (891214) | about a year ago | (#43109997)

Wasn't there a similar backlash over Spore, another EA title?

What I want to know is why people still give money to EA when they pull these sorts of shenanigans.

Re:Sounds like a story I heard before. (1)

ender06 (913978) | about a year ago | (#43110199)

I remember when Spore was supposed to be THE big game. I never played it, anyone know what happened (besides EA)?

Re:Sounds like a story I heard before. (1)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | about a year ago | (#43110275)

Why are people still voting?

Electronic Arse (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43110193)

Unbelievable even the front page of their website is hosed:

http://www.ea.com

redirects to http://www.ea.com/errors/error500

SimCity was going to be the first game (or toy) I bought in a long time... glad I wasn't first (or anywhere) in line...

Obviously, they missed the Christmas season (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year ago | (#43110197)

Why not just delay a bit more and get it working properly?

Nobody plays SimCity (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | about a year ago | (#43110201)

The servers are too crowded. /Fry

Seriously, EA's problem here is that they made more money than they expected. This will continue until all this bad PR results in people ceasing to buy new EA releases, and recent history suggests that won't be happening in our lifetimes.

Server connection problems? No big deal. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43110229)

A few hiccups are normal at the start. Bunch of whiners. They can just play the single-player mode until EA sorts it all ... oh, wait.

the end of EA is almost arousing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43110281)

It's about time we PC gamers have been under EAs thumb for too long force fed crap games designed to a market share and pushed out before completed.

Frick even battlefield is getting ruined by EAs EA-ness, how many expansion have they made? and for us who cant afford to put $40 in a game every few weeks to keep playing the same damn game have no servers to play on.

DIE EA DIE DIE DIE

Amazon is deleting poor reviews ... (1)

who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) | about a year ago | (#43110303)

I check the site it was up to 940 negative review, now down to 800 and something.

The only winning move... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43110319)

is not to play.

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