Analysis: Were EA Right About SimCity? The Evidence Says That They Were!

/ 3 years ago


It’s been two months now since the release of the latest Sim City, and it sure has been an adventure in terms of PR for both consumers and EA alike. Yet two months is a long time in the gaming world and people are quick to move onto the next farce and start yelling at that, forgetting whatever was wrong with Sim City in the first place.

For those of you who don’t know, when Sim City launched it caused a huge uproar from the public, most notably because people who had gone out and bought the game with their hard-earned cash couldn’t play it due to what is believed to be DRM.

EA’s defense was that they didn’t have enough bandwidth on their servers, which prevented people from playing because the game is so inherently dependent on online access for its social features. EA says it’s just like an MMO, it needs the internet to live and breathe as it should, as this way their vision of how the game would operate and it couldn’t do it without the internet. This has been widely debated to be a cover story for DRM, although personally I don’t think it is DRM, but I do believe its a system that acts like DRM, either directly, or indirectly.


Yet with all that fuss, the rage of the consumer seems to have dwindled and what was once a riot has reduced to a dull roar, even EA’s Facebook page is no longer endlessly trolled with hundred of comments about “you should fix you f***ing game” on every status they post.

Yet was it worth it, after all this fuss about DRM, piracy, always online gaming and gamers that can’t play their game due to server issues, has the system settled into place and does it work? Apparently, yes! Or should that be annoyingly yes? I’ll let you decide that one.

A quick search on Google shows that there are seemingly illegal downloads for the new Sim City, but on close inspection, all of them appear to be fake, or a virus disguised as an “offline play” patch. Some players have hacked the game to play offline, but not without draw backs and it seems some extensive re-coding would be required to fully obtain such a system and I doubt EA will rush to do that anytime soon.

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Next stop, torrent websites, if you’ve never heard of them, you’ve had your head stuck in a box for the last few years! The Pirate Bay and countless others provide a source for illegal downloads and just about any game you can think of ends up here pretty quickly… except Sim City, or at least not the new one. A quick search of several of the big sites turns up nothing, I did find a few false positives that were already voted as fake, but that’s it, I couldn’t see any legit torrents for this game.

So what ever EA has done, they seem to be fixing it, there are less and less, or maybe even no reports that people can’t play the game anymore and while some may complain it’s not that great a game compared to other Sim City titles, that  isn’t the subject I want to discuss. DRM or no DRM, it doesn’t matter, EA has pretty much stamped out piracy of this game and if I’m honest, I’m not sure if this is a sign of good things to come, or a sign of a dark future for PC gaming.

EA may have been successful in stopping piracy for this game, but that doesn’t mean the game has been successful. The game would likely have done better without the online features or DRM and overall I think this is a scar that will take a long time to heal in gamers hearts, if it ever does heal that is. Stopping piracy is one thing, but it could have more negative side effects than it does positive ones, most likely in the form of end-user feedback, or worse, a drop in sales due to protest.

It’s been suggested that no one has cracked the game yet because no one likes it, and while I’m sure there are plenty of haters out there, ok a LOT of haters, there will be a lot of fans too. I expect that someone somewhere will crack this game soon enough, it will be pirated, but for now, EA’s security is holding, the question is, for how long. Either way, stripping the DRM like features of Sim City is likely too little too late to save this game.

Are you still playing Sim City? Or have you chosen to never play it at all, sound off in the comments section below as I’d love to know how you still feel about the game.

Of course, there is still a cure for those effect by Sim City 2013 and you can find it here.

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  • i will never and have never played that shite. if no one has reverse engineered it it’s because no body has seen the point in hacking that pile of shit…. great article but you have to stop being so UN-biased.. especially in the face of disgusting buisnesses performing disgusting buisness practices…

    • pdonnell

      It’s such a shame really, I have nothing against EA, they’ve made some of my favourite games and still do. They’ve got some extremely tallented developers and hardworking people there… they’re just let down by poor management and given that half of them have been fired recently, I can only hope they get their s**t together.

      Thanks for the feedback though, I too haven’t bought Sim City for this reason, but it does look like the antipiracy measure is working… for now at least.

    • Xavier Isaacson

      You know, if you wish to make a statement and be taken seriously, it helps if you don’t litter your speech with verbal abuse. It is people such as yourself that give other anti-DRM supporters a bad name, please grow up and learn to communicate in an adult fashion or keep your mouth firmly shut.

      As for my opinion, I don’t see an issue with always online for some games. I think the main bugbears with the new SimCity game was firstly that previous games had less restrictions to play-style and could be played offline, and secondly that EA in its usual “Lets totally mess this up” manner, did not ensure connection stability and bandwidth availability for players.

      Always online does not, and has never equaled DRM, to say it does is disingenuous and creates pointless arguments. What can be argued is that EA effectively shot itself in the face on this one by not allowing offline play, unlike with the previous games in the series. Making such a massive and unwarranted change to the franchise will likely cause ripples whose effects may come back to haunt EA in the near future. This should, were it any company other than EA, factor into future decisions regarding their other titles, even more so now that EA have officially taken over the Star Wars gaming IP from Lucas Arts.

  • yay no more piracy????… you fucking stupid ignorant cunt. If someone wanted to or could be bothered it would be done. Football manager 2013 is a more impressive blockade of piracy. Many people tried to crack it and failed. a botched crack was released never to be fixed….. There are also private servers of many always online mmo’s

    • NickelDare

      Ehhh nope.
      If you want to, you can make a DRM that prevents every kind of Crack.

      So please, if you have no Idea whatsoever please don’t go in like

      Plain stupid.

      • Ben Curwen

        Not enturly true, all drm can be cracked, and online game is slightly different, and has drawbacks like private servers when cracked.

      • If the code can be written, it can be reverse engineered. But you need access to the code.

        In this case, I don’t think anyone has figured out what the EA servers do, exactly.

    • MGregory666

      Luke, try expressing yourself in a way that doesn’t make you sound like you were brought up by a meth addict (even though your dp makes that look the case) and you will be taken more seriously. Throwing C word around like a big man is frankly disgusting. Grow up. This is a site more mature readers who are able to construct sentences without swearing. Now grow up or go back to IGN.

  • so please do explain how always online stops piracy? when there are wow private servers ect…..?????? idiotic article filled with propaganda to make you think it is ok what EA have done and will continue to do because people like you give them the green light.

    • Shawn

      another stupid immature lil kid who thinks he is cool because he stole momma’s cigs. Prolly pirates games because u can’t afford to buy them bum. The human species is in trouble ifdumb b@st@rds like this is our future…

  • if i dont see a pro piracy anti massive organization post ill remove you you stupid fucking cunt

  • Don’t own or and haven’t played it. Seems I won’t be buying it any time soon.

  • djdat

    Even if someone did crack this properly, I still wouldn’t bother with it.

  • Tried a friend’s game, it is not worth the time to crack: SimCity is a 180 degree turn from what SimCity 4 Deluxe was (talking as a die-hard SimCity fan) and with so much shit like forced small cities and bugs everywhere, it might need version 5.0 patch in order to at least be with least bugs and with proper stuff. EA might have “won” for this game, but I can guarantee you that many people will not buy the next game (or any other) because of these stunts, and SimCity is simply something no cracker should bother with, it is indeed that bad.

  • EA have published some good games in the past. Thankfully none of the Sim City games are games I would play. If it was, I’d be highly annoyed with the last debacle. Needles to say I couldn’t care less about the next one.

  • Paul

    Maybe it works now because people gave up on trying to play it, which decreased bandwidth enough that EA didn’t need to add any additional hardware to run the game adequately.

  • DRM never stops pirates. It only delays them.

    And contrary to what EA believes pirates won’t give up and buy the game if it has DRM on it, they will be willing to wait for months for a crack to come out. And there is always one eventually, not in the first few weeks, maybe months, but eventually there is one. Some guy managed to get the game to run offline entirely with no issues, so it’s very likely we’ll see torrents for the offline hack soon at the very least.

  • Personally I don’t like always online games, so wouldn’t buy it. I’m one of Sony’s “anti-social” gamers but still spending over £600 a year on new games. Thank God the PS4 will have a place for me, if not EA.

  • Patrik Eriksson


  • Patrik Eriksson

    it isn’t that hard to ‘crack’ a DRM, and all current DRM can be decrypted
    as u need a quantum computer to make it (almost) un-decryptable

    the hard part is doing this in realtime
    the decryption itself isn’t that hard to do

    and the server soft i guess it can be emulated

  • CreepyT

    I remember when spore came out and we were playing with the cracked version of the creature creator for the longest time. Then suddenly it was cracked, the same thing will happen with this one. Granted, it’s all to do with being connected to a server, but a version I downloaded last night is pretty promising as an offline version. A few annoying glitches, like being booted to the main menu and having your city deleted, so you have to start over again. Time will tell who will be the first to release a decent offline version, I’m sure there is a race going on between the major crackers out there!