Insider claims EA lied about SimCity requiring online servers

At Rock Paper Shotgun, John Walker hears from a "Maxis insider" who claims that Electronic Arts lied about how SimCity works in order to avoid the obvious solution to its launch troubles: disabling the "digital rights management" (DRM) system that locked paying customers out.

Maxis’ studio head, Lucy Bradshaw, has told both Polygon and Kotaku that [Sim City] “offload a significant amount of the calculations to our servers”, and that it would take “a significant amount of engineering work from our team to rewrite the game” for single player. A SimCity developer has got in touch with RPS to tell us that at least the first of these statements is not true. He claimed that the server is not handling calculations for non-social aspects of running the game, and that engineering a single-player mode would require minimal effort.

SimCity's spent much of the last week in a state of near-unusability. If the source is telling the truth, it means that EA could have fixed it, but instead preferred to keep it broken, with customers locked out and lied to, all to maintain the credibility of its DRM system.

That SimCity was built to require "server-side calculations" was daft to begin with. Expecting players to believe this setup is instrinstic to the game rather than merely a DRM hook? Pull the other one, it's got a dongle on it!

SimCity Social is horrible

Kyle Orland on a game that looks like Sim City but is in fact a mindless, pointless treadmill: "judged by the relatively low standards of CityVille clones, SimCity Social actually isn't a half-bad example". [Ars]