Jimquisition: SimShitty

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Excellent video as usual.

I've been nearly off of EA, Activision, and Ubisoft games for about a decade now (think I got Lich King and Cataclysm) which was post merger). Sure that means I miss out on "AAA" games but it also means I'm not supporting corporations whose controllers care nothing for the art of games and only for how games impact numbers on their spreadsheets.

My money is limited, and I would rather spend it supporting independent developers or companies who at least pretend to care. I bought several copies of D2 and LOD and 0 copies of D3 due to the always online bullshit. I didn't buy Starcraft either.

If the game is single player "always on" can go screw itself. If a developer takes a single player genre and turns it into a "service" to try to justify their DRM then they don't get my money.

Well, what can I say. This week he actually sounds truly, genuinely pissed off, not just the usual snarky tone.

And yeah, he wrapped it up pretty well too, especially the parts about "Just wait a few weeks." That's all.

I agree with everything except for the part where he say that one day we'll get angry enough to take revenge on EA.

Let's face it: While there are many adult (or mature) gamers, who have the experience and sense to not support this sort of customer abuse, but there are also far more younger (or childish) gamers who get hyped and defensive about their favorite franchises and will take whatever abuse will be inflicted on them. Once they'll start seeing sense, plenty more will come to take their place.

Fortunately, we have an alternative: Indie games.

That last line... Oh, Jim you crafty devil:-P

I really hope that this game has horrible sales numbers. We need to stand up against this shit like we did for ME3, A:CM and All The Bravest.

Heh. Piracy is sadfortunately not an option as it'll at least take a good long while until there's Sim City server emulation.

See that's the thing about online DRM: with all its colossal failures, EA still has something to be happy about - the nullifying of piracy within the first few weeks.

You should have seen the shit storm that started to brew at Finnish Customer Rights Bureau - friend and ex-coworker works there as a regional manager. They were one hairsplit away from having to sue EA-Finland and demand global "no excuses" refund from banks. Sadly EA-Finland couldn't be reached for a response over these accusation because the regional branch only has a communications email under EA's contact information tab.

Also I think my friend has turned alcoholic has perfectly monochrome white hair and at least 40+ years on hes age. The global legal adviser must be at least taking next 20 years worth of paid vacations at once or dead...

Good thing that SimCity -Origin edition- (not original...) is on Origin. A system which ToS is still literally illegal and whole client is considered spyware (legally) in Finland. So I ain't touching it. And by sounds of it, I ain't missing anything.

I do love it when you create videos such as this Jim, you sum up the problems perfectly. It's not criticising the games, it's not criticising the people working on them, it is pointing out that the people giving them to us do not have our best interests at heart.

Not that they should release games just to please us, but if they are going to use practices that are there solely for their benefit, at the very least they should not be detrimental to ours.

aegix drakan:
You know what's the worst thing? When this game sells poorly or is pirated to hell and back, EA will blame Maxis and say it's because simcity isn't a viable property any more and stick it in the vault forever.

And then EA will wash it's hands of the whole thing, and not learn a damn thing until the industry blows up, and then whines that it was all the consumer's fault.

Sadly this seems to be EA's modus operandi. They never blame a games problems on their decisions, but rather punish the developer or claim it's down to it not being a game people want.

Ahh that last line Jim, priceless, more than made up for last week!

I too wish Consumers would be smarter and not buy this crap, but...well there is no helping some people.

and in b4 EAs rep to the forum, Thrikeen comes to EAs defense.

You brought up diablo 3, it's a good example.
After a few days of server troubles it became stable and sold 12 million copies (source: http://diablo.somepage.com/news/1489-activision-blizzard-q4-2012-earnings-report)
I expect the same to happen here. After the rage-storm is over, people will buy it and enjoy it.

And saying that maxis\EA did this on purpose sounds ridiculous to me. Not only they are loosing money, but they are also hurting their brand, which is in trouble as it is. It's Maxis's first "MMO" title, and i don't think that blizzard was willing to share their secrets.
They screwed up. Badly. But saying that they don't care is an exaggeration.
I don't like always online DRM either, but I am not going to make stuff up to justify my opinion.

I absolutely despise corporate apologists. We have a few here, on The Escapist. People who actually bought into the whole rhetoric that video games are services. How the fuck do these apologists justify that level of naivety? How much more shortsighted can they get before we can say that they are completely blind?

It's true,
This sort of behaviour would be unacceptable in any other industry.
Fully backing up your rant here Jim.

Although one thing bothers me, the idea that yeah everyone IS connected all the time.
This very well may be in very urbanized areas and acommodated cities of particular zones of the world, but even now there are spots in first world countries, where internet is not the "highway of information", and It's probably not going to be anytime soon.

I love going away for the weekend up to an apartment that I've got on the beach, and internet connection there even with 3g, is almost unattainable. Why am I being forced to change this in order to enjoy a product I have purchased?

It's actually pretty common on places outside the US, Japan or Europe, that the local internet is great, but international connections are quite slow and not very reliable, causing gameplay to be rather inadecuate (Even now, I can't really play diablo 3 without constant lag-spikes even when playing solo).
So yeah, this measures might make sense commercially, but socially we are being labelled as outcasts. It's likely that someone in Argentina or Brazil will never actually get to play the game properly, and the company doesn't care and will never do anything about it.. And -this- attitude doesn't really encourage people to respecting copyright agreements.

As I've always said, I wish they'd stop preemptively fucking customers up the ass, and release good games that are worth getting, and you will see how people respond.

It's such a shame that simcity has always on drm since I was really looking forward to the game.

also jim is slowly starting to become the karl marx of videogames.

Sometimes half the enjoyment of the Jimquisition is listening to Sterling say things that would get one warned or suspended if you said them yourself in the comments section.

Two things that Jim touched on, though, that should be explicit:

One: What we're buying are games; whether you call them a product or a service, software or a contract, some kind of pleasure is what you're intending to purchase. It isn't a side effect or byproduct, but the point of the thing. Failure to provide that is failure on a very fundamental level.

Two: EA probably thought it could get away with adjusting the server capacity they made available post-release as they went along. That was a terrible decision, and it seems from where I stand pretty clear that they could have projected what they need based on pre-orders and actually had something closer to the server capacity they needed from day one. I wonder who made the decision that that much customer unhappiness was worth a little bit of short-term savings...?

They've even managed to piss off the Prince of all Saiyans. You really, really don't want to piss off the Prince of all Saiyans.

I'm pretty sure the only way we could get EA to even care is to land a massive class action lawsuit on them, and their EULA has probably done everything in its power to preemptively neuter our ability to do so.

Well, then how about a boycott? Oh, right, all but the vocal minority that cares will trundle along without participating, rendering our attempts at a boycott useless as well.

The sad thing is, it's not like we're blameless here. Not with piracy numbers like this. Me, I don't pirate, but apparently this makes me a weirdo. EA probably looks at the PC gaming platform like we simply can't be trusted, for every one "loyal customer getting the shaft," there's four non-customers who are picking their pocket.

Thus, despite always-on DLC failing nearly every time it has been implemented in a AAA game, regardless of company that makes it, don't expect it's going anywhere soon.

In the end, I think EA's main fault is overcharging for the game. Why are they having us pay $60 for a game that they didn't expect 4/5 of us to buy the box price of if it's supported by an online store and requires an always on connection? They weren't selling us a stand-alone single player game, they sold us a facebook game, and this stand-alone single player game price is unabashed greed.

Well, I can tell you that I did not buy SimCity at release, because I knew as they knew as Jim knows that AAA games with always-on DRM virtually never work at release. If, as Jim says, the first week of sales is important enough for a company to sit up and take notice, then here lay a slimmer of hope: if everyone learns that AAA games just won't work at release with always on DRM, our first-week boycott will happen automatically.

It's not often I find myself in 100% agreement with Jim, but here, he nailed it. Absolutely nailed it. A stellar show, good sir!

Although one thing bothers me, the idea that yeah everyone IS connected all the time.
This very well may be in very urbanized areas and acommodated cities of particular zones of the world, but even now there are spots in even first world countries, where internet is not the "highway of information", and It's probably not going to be anytime soon.

Couldn't agree more. The idea that always-on is the default at this point is still assuming too much. Maybe if the telecomms had done something with all that fiber money they were given.

As it stands now, residing in the 15th-largest metropolitan area in the US (Columbus is smaller than San Francisco but larger than Detroit, Boston or Seattle), I am not always-on even when spending 98% of my time at either work or home. The wireless setup in our office screws with the DNS, causing us to drop Internet for 20-30 minutes on nearly a daily basis. My desktop at home is distant enough from the AP that - especially in an older house whose walls tend to scatter the signal - my connection is intermittent a good percentage of the time. And since it's a stupid AirPort, I can't just go out and pluck a cheap range extender off the shelf, so ya just dance with who brung ya. So even people in "always-on" areas are not always on, for reasons that are not entirely within their control, even leaving EA servers out of the equation.

Most of the time I can manage: Steam will sometimes allow me to start up in offline mode and play the games I paid for, but the occasional game cloud file warnings I get remind me that a lack of rock-solid connectivity potentially affects my gaming experience. If I had games with always-online DRM, I would probably be SOL. If you're going to do it this way, at least give us the courtesy of a reacharound, in the form of some kind of sync token so we can play offline until a connection is (re)established.


EA needs to study it's history. Pulling that kind of shit just leads to revolution, or in this case, a crash.

No disagreements there. Ea is being colossally moronic, and have been so for years.

Jimothy Sterling:

DRM is back again, and it's here to stay! Games are a service, so we're told, but who do they really serve?

Watch Video

Yeah, I agree the the general sentiment of your video, but I guess maybe I'm just a lot more cynical than you because I'm pretty sure that people will tolerate a lot more horseshit than you think they will (just wait for people to come in here to defend EA on this one).

Actually, I'm guaranteed that people will tolerate more horseshit than you think they will, because your own advice in this video is "Give EA your money a few days late".

I'm pretty sure buying this game, whether on the day it launched, today, or in 3 weeks is still 'tolerating EA's horseshit'. Like you said, EA's taking a tactical risk with your enjoyment, and I'm pretty sure the tactics of that risk is knowing, or at least presuming we'll cave in and buy the game a week later or even a year later.

If you want EA to not think of your wallet as it's own personal piggy bank that it has to put in no work to access, I'm pretty sure that teaching them it's not doesn't imply just delaying the opening of your wallet by 7 days.

Remember "Bought the game and is mad about it" and "Bought the game and was happy about it" to EA is both just "Bought the game" if your purchasing habits don't change.

I hope the EA guys all spontaneously combust. Their business practices are bad and they should feel bad.

EA's logic is kind of backwards. If they were really afraid of us, you'd think they'd be doing everything they could to appease us.

I dunno, I think megalomaniacs are more likely to try exerting control than garnering praise.

Not saying it's logical at all, but you know.

OT: Well, I haven't technically supported the use of always-online DRM, so I feel comfortable in my moral superiority. I got Diablo III because of the World of Warcraft year-long subscription promotion Blizzard did, otherwise I likely would've never gotten the game in the first place because I had never played the previous two and had barely a passing interest in it. The same will go for SimCity - I'm not interested in it, so I won't be purchasing it.

Hilarious ending, though.

I think it's completely inexcusable to have this sort of DRM in Simcity and there's literally nothing that can be defended about the decision. Diablo 3 might have 'needed' it to keep the real money auction house from getting filled with hacked equipment, but that's not really a defence when the internet's down and you want to play on your own. Oh, and lets not forget that you can easily be lagged to death while on your own as well as I frequently did.
In Sim City, there is not a single reason for it to be always online. There's no market to balance, there isn't a potential of hacked equipment ruining the game, there is not one single reason for it to be online all the time. This shit simply isn't tolerable, though I think Jim's suggestion of waiting a week or two is a good idea as it'll give the publishers a chance to sweat and maybe even remember the fact that if we were here, they wouldn't be either.

aegix drakan:
You know what's the worst thing? When this game sells poorly or is pirated to hell and back, EA will blame Maxis and say it's because simcity isn't a viable property anymore and stick it in the vault forever.

And then EA will wash it's hands of the whole thing, and not learn a damn thing until the industry blows up, and then whines that it was all the consumer's fault.

This sadly is just wishful thinking. I agree this always on DRM is BS and it is the SOLE reason I didn't buy Simcity after experiencing the mess that was D3. However, I did a quick look at amazon and see that Simcity, despite being REMOVED by amazon for a short time, is still sitting at the #1 spot.

Jim says that eventually we will get sick of it and lash back but here is the thing, people are making the decision to buy this crap despite all the DRM, problems, and bad press. They have no willpower and send the message to EA that sure some people will be upset, but you still have a thriving market who will put up with whatever crap you send their way.

I don't think those people will ever grow the balls to give up a second of enjoyment to stop any unfriendly business practices if it is an experience they want. I hate the use of the term "sheep" because it has been thrown around too much so I will just phrase it like this. As long as people are slaves to their passion, things will only continue to get worse

The biggest problem in this argument is that the free market generally continues to favour bullshit practices.

Best of the 3:
I was not around back then so I can't really say.

Sure you can. It's called history. There's enough data out there that you can reasonably draw a conclusion.

The thing is, people have been calling for a crash for over a decade, ever since someone drew some specious correlation between gaming in the pre-crash market and now, and they'll predict it for another 200 years if that's what it takes. Why? the same reason people predicted the end of the world in 2012. People love to be prognosticators.

Now, I haven't watched the whole video you embedded, but it already sort of comes off like Zeitgeist or Loose Change.

While the creator is correct that ET didn't cause the crash alone, he's incorrect on multiple levels. The game itself was part of a handful of titles that did more damage through overspeculation than any consumer backlash could ever hope to do: Simply, the companies behind them thought they would sell better than they had any indicator of previously and gambled on what was then a much more expensive production process.

Contrast this with the current gaming market. SimCity alone should tell you that they tend to plan for a minimalist sort of deal, underinvesting rather than overinsvesting. He brings up Pac-Man, granted to bitch about the programming. What he ignores is that the game actually sold quite well, and there was no consumer backlash. People ate the game up like people ate games up before. However, the game sold poorly in relation to number of copies manufactured, a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THING that negates his thesis entirely.

He then dishonestly treats the quality of gaming as though it plunged suddenly, when the truth is that was never the case.

Enough about that, though. I don't know when I'll finish the video. What I do know is that video games are big business now, and a big business that plays conservatively. Bad games tend to get put out because they will sell, as did SimCity. Even AVPCM was brought out in no small part due to the risk to the license if it didn't come out, and it was crap mostly because of issues of fraud from the looks of things. Hell, we see the same thing in movie franchises all the time, and nobody's serious about a film crash.

**Puts on hermit's beard, mud-streaked hair, and loin-cloth and walks into the wilderness to shout from therein...**

Just stop buying it, people!

[capcha: A swift kick does it. So very appropriate.]


I'm glad I didn't get it.

I don't even buy games from EA, and I'm hoping that they will get what they deserve one day soon.

Really glad to hear people other than me saying this for once

You wanna know what will happen to EA if this game really does go down the toilet? Nothing! They will keep going and doing this stuff for as long as they can. Wanna know what will happen to the developer, their studio, and their games? no longer existent.

Unfortunate but inevitable consequence of what needs to be done

People have been saying that the video games industry has been headed for a crash for years. They usually would bring up the problem of video games being mostly derivative and repetitive garbage. I'd usually remain skeptical of these claims, but as DRM and companies blatently punishing the consumer becomes more and more of the focus, I can't help but agree.

I used to like ubisoft games, but I made a single purchase of a game that required constant internet connection, and vowed never to do it again. The fucking thing didn't work. I could love the shit out of a game, but if I can't play it, why bother? I didn't boycott EA because it destroys companies and makes otherwise good games shittier than they should be. I decided to stop buying their shit because I don't have a guarantee that I'll be able to play it. Now, despite having practically worshiped Bungie throughout my childhood, I'm actually thinking about not getting Destiny because of the always on requirement. Most gamers have been sheltered from this by their console oasis (with major exceptions, such as psn outage which everyone seems to have already forgotten), but this will be changing very shortly.

People have started talking a lot of shit about valve lately, and some of it is very justified, but is it really that hard to understand why people are so in love with them right now? Despite having beefs with steam, I've never had an issue playing a steam game without an internet connection. The only exception to this is counter strike source, but it's a purely mutliplayer title. Hell, Global Offensive doesn't even require an internet connection, and the only single player option is playing with terrible bots.

There is so much negativity on gaming websites that I'm usually an optimistic and cheery voice, the kind that usually dislikes economically illiterate anti-corporatist rhetoric, so the fact that I just wrote this is more significant than what I just wrote. A lot of the blame for this goes to the shareholders, who seem largely ignorant of gaming and consumer needs and haven't told the big companies to knock this shit off before it became a problem. What they aren't ignorant of is a loss in revenue, which at this point is going to happen. They could have avoided this, but something has to change, or the industry is going to crash. There is no way around it.

As someone who personally objects to pirating games... I smiled and chuckled at the end of this video.

Awesome video Jim =)

aegix drakan:
When this game sells poorly


It's already a hit. And while they might whine about piracy, they're not going to shelve a title that did this well with known launch issues because of it.

Did I hear Jim (indirectly)"suggesting" a pirate copy of this game? (devil)

Actually... Always online DRM is uncrackable... There is no news on Diablo3 for DL... yet...

I am amore of a FPS/Steam user... like I said B4... IF DeadSpace3 gets on STEAM, I'd buy it, twice, for co-op, but if not, single player is fine, because it's NOT that good of a game anyways... as for SimCity, screw it....

I don't understand.

Why didn't they just take into account the number of pre-orders they were getting, and get a server every time that number passed a certain point? I mean sure, they already have the customer's money, but the trade off is that a good chunk of those customers are going to stop buying their products!

And, who exactly is responsible for this thing anyways? EA isn't a giant monstrosity that dips it's claws into a bunch of developers and makes them dance like puppets. It's comprised of people all trying to put something out there, and receive a profit. But not everyone there can be a money grubbing monster, right? So, who was the person, or people, responsible for the decision to make the game have always online DRM? Was it someone at Maxis? Was it the people in charge of watching Maxis?

It doesn't make any sense to me.

There's a lot of talk about a 'crash' and I thought I'd share my two cents.

I subscribe to the "Revolution will not be Televised" theory-that is, the turning point is going to be imperceptable, as collective frustration approaches critical mass. There are a lot of factors beyond the games themselves that play into people buying them, especially the social aspect. But these get weaker with every at-best-lackluster-at-worst-total-garbage release to hit the market.

So what I think we'll see is that EA, Activision, etc. will all be doing the same hat and pony trick with no sign of problems. And then one day, bam! they're burying their latest AAA releases in a landfill.

Serious question: does anyone think EA will die some point soon? Because I'm not that sure that they will.

Yes, they keep making huge cock-ups with their main games and annoying the customers, but they'll never kill themselves with it. EA doesn't have any really special franchises in its care that everyone loves. Not now that Pandemic's gone. *sniff* They don't have a Half-Life 2 Episode 3 or a Thief 4, that nobody would ever forgive them for fucking up. They can just release pap year after year, and while people get angry at the time, no-one remembers it for long enough to stay mad about it. Nobody cares at this point that EA wanted to charge for Battlefield 3 bullets.

And let's not forget, even if they fail in the AAA market, they still have the stable and lucrative sports "games" market cornered too. So, as irritating as they are, it seem that EA might be here for a while. *sigh*

and one more reason i really do not buy ea games for a month after launch or just never at all. i gave up on ea after sims 2 copy i had gotten was faulty and they where as much help as the best buy was with the return of a computer game. basically i gave up on them after that even refused to buy any of their junk unless it was really cheap.

This sort of DRM is the solution to "piracy". It's the only truly effective scheme. They take a significant chunk of the game (in this case, the actual town simulation algorithms), and don't actually give it to you in the box. They keep that part on their own servers where they can control it.

No way to 'crack' that. Perfect protection from copying.

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