Extra Punctuation

Extra Punctuation
SimCity Was Never Meant To Be Online

Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw | 2 Apr 2013 12:00
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You know, as much as I hate the practice of naming a new game after the original in the series with no change to the title, I suppose it makes sense in SimCity's case. Since, you know, they've reduced the actual gameplay features all the way back to the very first title. Oh wait, there's no Godzilla anymore. Perhaps that was what the space between "Sim" and "City" represented.

For all the points I hammered on about in the SimCity review I always think it's a little illogical to criticize EA like actual human beings are behind its decisions. It's the corporation thing, responsibility for its decisions is so divided that its actions and motivations just sort of float down from on high with no apparent source or justification. It's just a whole load of people all hoping their next paycheck will arrive and thinking every single other person in the company is the problem. Consequently, the only thing you can trust the nebulous corporation to do is take the option that means they get more money.

I do wonder, though, if EA's movements of late are still just reflections of the "Let's make tons of money" driving motivation, or if things are shifting to the "Let's see how much we can get away with" attitude shown by an entity that can smell its own death in the air. See also: micropayments for Dead Space 3, a game that costs 60 bucks before you even get to that stage.

Certainly I'm of the opinion that the triple-A industry is not sustainable in its current form, where technologically elitist consoles fight for exclusivity rights to boring overdesigned triple-A games while all the actually engaging titles quietly come out on Steam. So perhaps it's from the wild thrashing of a dying beast that we see such illogical decisions as trying to make SimCity multiplayer focused. There is no doubt in my mind that the game was the result of starting with the desire for an online focus and then coming up with the design around that. I seem to remember a while back EA even made a sort of veiled threat that they would never again make a game without an online component.

I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say that EA wanted SimCity, first and foremost, to have DRM, even before they'd considered the actual design... although it wouldn't surprise me. EA is the kind of company that will refuse to accept the notion that the best way to prevent piracy is to make your product reasonably priced and convenient to get. The music industry put all that effort into squashing Napster, and every other music sharing program that took its place, but nothing could do the job quite as efficiently as 1-dollar songs available for convenient, officially sanctioned digital download.

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