Gibeau rejects claim always-on requirement for SimCity is DRM
EA Labels president Frank Gibeau has called DRM ‘a dead-end strategy’, in an interview with GamesindustryInternational.
Responding to questions on SimCity and its controversial always-on requirement, he said, “[DRM] is not a viable strategy for the gaming business. So what we tried to do creatively is build an online service in the SimCity universe and that’s what we sought to achieve. For the folks who have conspiracy theories about evil suits at EA forcing DRM down the throats of Maxis, that’s not the case at all.”
He instead compared SimCity to an MMO, pointing out that no one demands an offline mode for games like World of Warcraft or EVE Online.
Speaking about whether or not DRM factored into SimCity’s design, Gibeau said, “That’s not the reality; I was involved in all the meetings. DRM was never even brought up once. You don’t build an MMO because you’re thinking of DRM – you’re building a massively multiplayer experience, that’s what you’re building.”
Gibeau did admit that EA could have done a better job of handling SimCity’s launch, which was fraught with server queues and bugs during the first few weeks of play. Particularly, Gibeau was disappointed that EA didn’t do a better job of communicating SimCity as an online-only game and selling its MMO-like elements, as well as heading off its numerous technical issues.
“I’m disappointed that we had a rough first couple of days in terms of underestimating how people were going to play the game and how the server infrastructure was going to hold up,” said Gibeau, “but we responded the best we could, we got people to fix it as fast as we could.”
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