A game with our saves up in clouds

#1 Edited by Funkydupe (3305 posts) -

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?

#2 Edited by DJJoeJoe (1316 posts) -

Slowing piracy down even for a few days after release is considered a huge win for people selling games, some of those frustrated people looking to grab the game for free may buckle and just buy the thing. I speak from experience because I love games, and there's definitely a strong urge to play a game when you've set your eyes on it. So much so that you'll pirate a game if you don't have the money to buy it, or buy it if it looks like it won't be pirated even for just a few days (since there's really no way to know sometimes... it's not like I follow piracy groups twitter feeds or any nonesense lol, I don't even think they have blogs...).

There's really no opinion to be had from me personally about more cloud centric gaming features because the ups and downs seem to level eachother out at this time in gaming, the ups being not having to worry about your data, it's just 'there' and can be 'there' from anywhere you are. The downs obviously being the time it is down, makes things real sad. Right now the downs happen, but in a perfect world or even in a slightly less shitty world than now the downtime would be better and as that gets better there really becomes less and less reason to have it all locally based. How many people actually give a shit about local saves anyways? I backup my saves occasionally via third party apps cause that's the kinda person I am (revisiting fallout new vegas becomes tough if you don't' have those 200+hour saves, and steam cloud is way unreliable for that kinda stuff). My saves are in my dropbox, and I have to manage them manually with whatever game save app I'm using and whether or not I have them in other services as well (I do, why not it's all free).

The people that are hit the hardest are definitely the ones staying up to play the game at midnight, turning them off from doing that sort of stuff... is that really all that bad? I have no idea why I was up at 6am still trying to play diablo 3, it's not like it was going to give me a blowjob or give me a good night's sleep (sleep is valuable guys). Honestly the most harm that up front downtime for games has done to me is further destroy my relationship with people who play video games, because of the heavy amounts of entitlement that gets spewed out. Yes it's terrible that something you paid for isn't available that instant, but the only time you should have legitimate cause to be 'that' pissed is if it stays unavailable for like a week... which is doubtful (I was playing diablo 3 that day).

#3 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

Grammar pet peeve that may end up making me look like a douche. Whatever #YOLAINOTN

Everything you do is stored in the clouds

When referencing storage infrastructure, one would generally say "Everything you do is stored in the cloud"

--

For realsies, though, I can only envision the practice of requiring an internet connection to become more ubiquitous.

@DJJoeJoe said:

Slowing piracy down even for a few days after release is considered a huge win for people selling games

This is important to keep in mind, too. How long did it take for Diablo 3 crackers to create the local server? It took a month or so, didn't it? From a very pessimistic perspective, that looks like a victory for Blizzard.

#4 Posted by Incapability (197 posts) -

The problem with DRM like this, is that it eventually just serves to punish paying users and be of absolutely no concern to pirates. It's a very backwards approach to protecting your product - I believe Steam is evidence that, if your product is just good enough, there's no need for invasive DRM or some other insane measure. You just made a good product that people are happy to use, no buts about it.

#5 Posted by jozzy (2041 posts) -

The biggest issue in the case of Sim City is you can't even go back to an earlier save. What is more fun in Sim City then getting some disasters on that city you spend all night building, with the knowledge you can go back to your intact city tomorrow.

#6 Edited by Bourbon_Warrior (4523 posts) -

@DJJoeJoe: This sounds like it is using the Diablo 3 way of game data, with everything being distributed from EA servers, which means the pirates won't be able to crack the game.

#7 Edited by BBAlpert (1356 posts) -

I don't want my saves up in the clouds! They'll get contaminated from all the barium and aluminum salts the government put up there!

(follow the money)

#8 Posted by Funkydupe (3305 posts) -

@Incapability said:

The problem with DRM like this, is that it eventually just serves to punish paying users and be of absolutely no concern to pirates. It's a very backwards approach to protecting your product - I believe Steam is evidence that, if your product is just good enough, there's no need for invasive DRM or some other insane measure. You just made a good product that people are happy to use, no buts about it.

@jozzy said:

The biggest issue in the case of Sim City is you can't even go back to an earlier save. What is more fun in Sim City then getting some disasters on that city you spend all night building, with the knowledge you can go back to your intact city tomorrow.

Both very good posts. I still believe price is always a key to how much people can tolerate. Do people still buy games on Steam outside the arranged sales? Paying 60 bucks to play something you're hyped up about on launch day, but a server set up primarily for DRM, denies you access because it can't handle traffic or similar - well, let's just say it is a starter issue but one that gets +1 to the pirates for holding out, either waiting for a pirated copy, or +1 for the crowd that manages to hold off buying the game until it sees a price cut or goes on sale.

#9 Posted by konig_kei (595 posts) -

Being EA they'll shut down the servers 2 years later making all of your saves and the game obsolete because Sim City duo (or some gay name like that) has come out.

#10 Edited by Funkydupe (3305 posts) -

It'll be hard doing a retro play of SimCity if there is no server. So when the server shuts down, the game is gone: Just like an MMO. I can't see that they'll introduce some sort of solution then at that point incorporates a way of saving locally.

#11 Posted by EternityInBlack (17 posts) -

@konig_kei said:

Being EA they'll shut down the servers 2 years later making all of your saves and the game obsolete because Sim City duo (or some gay name like that) has come out.

Have they actually done this? While I haven't played a proper Maxis game since Spore, I'm curious if that's something they actually did since IIRC the saves were in the cloud.

#12 Posted by DJJoeJoe (1316 posts) -

@Incapability said:

The problem with DRM like this, is that it eventually just serves to punish paying users and be of absolutely no concern to pirates. It's a very backwards approach to protecting your product - I believe Steam is evidence that, if your product is just good enough, there's no need for invasive DRM or some other insane measure. You just made a good product that people are happy to use, no buts about it.

While both a very different, with steam being a whole platform and the stuff for SimCity being very game specific, they are essentially the same in their tone and usage. Both require something for you to actually use the game and while Steam doesn't actively kick you off a game for losing your internet connection you do need to actually verify with steam to start playing ANY game and if a game recognises that it needs an update it won't run until it gets it first, that's usually an issue that surfaces when you try and run a game in offline mode. All of these issues though are things I've hardly ever run into, because I do in fact have internet and I think it 'went down' one time 5 years ago, I think... As far as servers on 'their' end having issues, the years I spent playing games with steam servers as their backbone I can say they go down just as much as anything else, and that sucks because it will take down your friends list and everything connected with it during those times. Usually when it goes down it's not a clean downtime either, it's a constant up and down for hours as you continually reconnect with your friends who are trying to play with you in borderlands or whatever game you're trying to play at the time.

People don't notice Steam's online requirements, but they are there in a way that makes listing the bullet points of other systems downsides hilarious... since it all exists in steam as well. So really what you should be saying is if a product is good enough, the DRM it already has won't matter... because it damn sure exists already in Steam. Also Steam ain't that good, it's just one of the better options that exists... but it's become very stale if you're a person like me who enjoys innovative software. Steam is ugly, and JUST recently introduced history logs in chat... like a feature most/all chat apps had a decade ago :S

@jozzy said:

The biggest issue in the case of Sim City is you can't even go back to an earlier save. What is more fun in Sim City then getting some disasters on that city you spend all night building, with the knowledge you can go back to your intact city tomorrow.

That is frustrating if you play that way I guess, I've never really done that though so I'd have no idea. The fun of playing simcity has always been building a city and managing it for me, not having a tangent of destruction. In fact I have never turned on those disasters because I've never been one to handle the destruction of a city I made, I can barely handle creating a city in the image I am aiming for let along recovering from a disaster in a solid way. The cheat mode type... mode in SimCity offers a physics based bowling ball thing that can roll over your skyscrapers and destroy them that way, that seems interesting to me on a technical level.

@Funkydupe said:

Both very good posts. I still believe price is always a key to how much people can tolerate. Do people still buy games on Steam outside the arranged sales? Paying 60 bucks to play something you're hyped up about on launch day, but a server set up primarily for DRM, denies you access because it can't handle traffic or similar - well, let's just say it is a starter issue but one that gets +1 to the pirates for holding out, either waiting for a pirated copy, or +1 for the crowd that manages to hold off buying the game until it sees a price cut or goes on sale.

The way the servers are set up, from what I've gleened from the stuff I've seen and I'm sure this is known to some/most people already, is that the servers crunch a good portion of the simulation data for you rather than having your own cpu do that stuff. It's not all the simulation stuff of course, but some of it actually has to run through their servers to get solved for you and it doesn't run on your local machine. I think this is pretty rad and I've always been in favor of server-side computing for portions of tasks in applications and some games. Why should my cpu bother with that stuff when the cost of sending the data is so small in my bandwidth (data can have a very small footprint on your connection and offer a large boost in efficiency on your end).

If you want to look at it this way, this game won't really need vastly intensive servers like an mmo because the data is just this simulation stuff and then the snapshots of your cities that is saved there so when your friend comes online they can grab that snapshot of your city for their region and have a decently up to date version of it to interact with. Also that snapshot serves as the backbone for the leaderboard stats and all that jazz I'd imagine, for display online or in-game as comparison. Outside large demand for launch day or problems with general management of resources I wouldn't be suprised if things were pretty smooth for the release of the game... I mean say what you want about EA but they do have a lot of servers for their games, it's kinda their thing they've been doing for a long long time now. It's the reason they take down game servers after they become unpopular, because they allocate them to the new games :) Though past instances of this are for sports games that literally no one cares about and it's usually for things like matchmaking and such... with SimCity I'd imagine it will stay consistently popular for a decent amount of time with the expansions and stuff they will prolly release over the next few years, and the servers are so tied up in how you play the game regardless of your cities being interacted with online or not that if any game were to be on a list of games you wanna keep active for a while I would think this one would be on there. Speculating about how long you'll be able to play a game like this though, seems weird. I don't think I'll be playing simcity past 6months, seriously at least. Other video games exist and what not.

@konig_kei said:

Being EA they'll shut down the servers 2 years later making all of your saves and the game obsolete because Sim City duo (or some gay name like that) has come out.

I don't feel like I have to look into it to assume the games that have been shut down are mostly their very old sports games... their popular games that are linked up socials like the sims games kinda exist for a long time, there's a new expansion for the sims 3 coming soon or release recently or whatever, that college one. The Sims 3 released in 2009. Will you be playing SimCity in 2017? Will you even care? I know I most likely will not... if anything I'll be playing the next simcity or some other game on my new consoles that my pc can't really deal with (I'm poor, my pc is great now but I doubt I'll have 2k to drop on a totally new one for a while).

@EternityInBlack said:

@konig_kei said:

Being EA they'll shut down the servers 2 years later making all of your saves and the game obsolete because Sim City duo (or some gay name like that) has come out.

Have they actually done this? While I haven't played a proper Maxis game since Spore, I'm curious if that's something they actually did since IIRC the saves were in the cloud.

Yes they have a list of games that they are no longer supporting, it's long and full of sports games or games you shouldn't give a shit about. Games of 'note' are:

The Sims 2

Games of note they've shut down in the past are:

Need for Speed Most Wanted (the old one...)

SKATE, the original one or whatever.

And like a billion facebook games, sports games and such. Check out the list here, looks like it would be updated as they add more as time goes on: http://www.ea.com/1/service-updates?websso=1

#13 Posted by Missacre (566 posts) -

@djjoejoe: I swear, you sound just like an EA marketer. "Down with Steam because it's ugly!" "Get Origin instead, it's totally not spyware!" I don't know who you are, but I know that I don't like you all that much because of all the pretentious, condescending bullshit you spew, like in your last unnecessarily long post. You can just say you like this game and that you'll be getting it, you don't have to nitpick everyone else's posts and point out how they're wrong and how "innovative" you are with gaming. Also, I, for one "give a shit" about local saves. You know, when they're stored on a hard drive on your PC and you can access them whenever you want because you paid $60 for a game and expect to save your game at regular intervals. Fuck this online-only bullshit and fuck the people that support this cancer.

#14 Edited by SathingtonWaltz (2053 posts) -

@missacre said:

@djjoejoe: I swear, you sound just like an EA marketer. "Down with Steam because it's ugly!" "Get Origin instead, it's totally not spyware!" I don't know who you are, but I know that I don't like you all that much because of all the pretentious, condescending bullshit you spew, like in your last unnecessarily long post. You can just say you like this game and that you'll be getting it, you don't have to nitpick everyone else's posts and point out how they're wrong and how "innovative" you are with gaming. Also, I, for one "give a shit" about local saves. You know, when they're stored on a hard drive on your PC and you can access them whenever you want because you paid $60 for a game and expect to save your game at regular intervals. Fuck this online-only bullshit and fuck the people that support this cancer.

Yeah I really don't get how anyone can willingly support this trash either. I will never support any single player game that is online only.

#15 Edited by Sanity (1890 posts) -

Personally, i hate Origin with a passion and i hate always online DRM, i kinda diden't care with Diablo 3 as you know Blizzard will support that game for a long time but with EA they could drop support and take the servers down in under 5 years if they aren't still profiting. Dont get me wrong i think the whole world economy is a cool idea, but theirs still no reason they couldn't have had a offline mode even if it meant that you couldn't use those same saves online.

That said i think this game will be neat and i want to play it, i think i'll get my moneys worth out of it before all that shit happens.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.