Nothing necessary, anyway.
By Tim Colwill on March 13, 2013 at 9:24 am
There’s nothing more contentious than always-online DRM, and especially when it works so badly that users can’t play your game.
Maxis and EA have been working long hours to get SimCity up and running, and defended their decision to require online connectivity by saying “we offload a significant amount of the calculations to our servers so that the computations are off the local PCs and are moved into the cloud”. Now, a Maxis engineer has come forward to say that this isn’t the case at all.
Speaking to Rock, Paper, Shotgun, the Maxis developer claims that “The servers are not handling any of the computation done to simulate the city you are playing. They are still acting as servers, doing some amount of computation to route messages of various types between both players and cities. As well, they’re doing cloud storage of save games, interfacing with Origin, and all of that.”
“But for the game itself? No, they’re not doing anything. I have no idea why they’re claiming otherwise. It’s possible that Bradshaw misunderstood or was misinformed, but otherwise I’m clueless.”
In fact, says the source, “It wouldn’t take very much engineering to give you a limited single-player game without all the nifty region stuff.” This is in direct contrast to Maxis SVP’s Lucy Bradshaw claiming that a “significant amount of engineering work” would be necessary.
Other people are beginning to discover that, in fact, SimCity works just fine offline until the server catches on. Kotaku ran a test today, and Notch as well has observed that you can just keep playing when the servers go down.
It’s unlikely EA or Maxis will respond to these claims, but they demonstrate clearly that not everyone at the company feels the same way about the always-online requirement. Pleasingly though, a server status page has now been added so that you can quickly see if your region is offline or not.