SimCity will require us to be online at all times. The game will be saved at frequent intervals so if connection is broken not much will be lost. If the closed beta aka. the limited demo is anything to judge it by you will be given a very short grace period before the game simply closes and sends you back to your Pc/Mac desktop. I can understand the frustration in this and I share it in that with such a system we do feel less the owner of the video game. We've paid the full price sum of money, we've registered our key/license of ownership, we've connected to the server but we're not allowed to make local saves or play the game in offline mode, because that would be insane, right?
So. With these online-only features in place, which I'm sure mostly are there to serve as DRM, how well does that DRM actually work? Will cloudsaves and the online only approach actually prevent hackers and skilled coders from pirating the game?
My first thought in that regard goes to UbiSoft with their hardline online-only approach (rip hardline online-only approach) first introduced with their The Settlers 7 game. Cracked. Pirates achieve greater stability in gaming by playing offline than the legitimate owners of The Settlers 7. Outcry of rage by video gamer communities around the world.
My second thought goes to Blizzard and their Diablo 3 game. It required you to be hooked up to an online server for stats tracking and similar. Cracked. Local server simulator software created by pirate coders. DRM circumvented.
SimCity seems to take an approach not unfamiliar to MMO fans, where you launch the game, enter your Origin info and you get news and verification/update/patches and whatnot else. When the game is up to date you can log on to their server and start/continue to play. Everything you do is stored in the clouds, like achievements and your saves as well. One positive thing about the saves is that for reformatting purposes, or change of computer, your saves will be attached to your account and not the computer you last played from.
Back to the DRM situation. With the previously mentioned DRM attempts in mind, will EA/Maxis' attempt at fending off pirates work? Will cutting players off from their game when off-line be a trade-off made justified by a 100% pirate free online SimCity community or will this game be cracked like the rest?