EA says DRM a 'failed, dead-end strategy'

Labels boss Frank Gibeau says digital rights management "not a viable strategy" for gaming at large.

Digital rights management (DRM) is a broken system, EA Labels president Frank Gibeau told GamesIndustry International this week at the Game Developers Conference.

"DRM is a failed, dead-end strategy; it's not a viable strategy for the gaming business," Gibeau said.

The EA executive's comments came in response to a question about whether or not SimCity's always-online mandate was actually a form of DRM. Gibeau insisted this is not the case.

"That's not the reality; I was involved in all the meetings. DRM was never even brought up once," he said. "For the folks who have conspiracy theories about evil suits at EA forcing DRM down the throats of Maxis, that's not the case at all."

SimCity launched earlier this month amid server woes that made the game unplayable for some. The city-building game went on to sell over 1.1 million copies during its first two weeks, marking the best start in franchise history.

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eddienoteddy

Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
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570 comments
J_P-
J_P-

If steam didn't exist then companies such as EA may or may not have had their own form of drm similar to steam, steam started the whole mess and I hate the publishers for forcing it into the games, it's obvious GN already planned for the steambox all along so he got companies and people to have to use his service so he can then drag it all down for the crappy hoped to be a money maker console.

Cobra_nVidia
Cobra_nVidia

EA must believe gamers are stupid if they think people will buy the idea that the online requirement is anything other than DRM. 

thingta42
thingta42

I read somewhere that the game doesn't even need the internet to function., this was proven when the people disconnected the game from the internet, and the game was running perfectly fine for a few minutes.

June-GS
June-GS

"...DRM was never even brought up once..."  LOLWUT?? I've never been into conspiracy theories much, but Mr. Frank G., do you seriously expect anybody here with half a brain to believe that? I'm surprised you can even say that with a straight face!

christopherlit
christopherlit

This a surprise?  They think that if they say it loud enough and enough times that people will believe it as truth.  "Always online isn't DRM!"  ...  Yes, yes it is.

magusat999
magusat999

I'm starting to believe that companies only go to EA for "protection". The companies that "partner" with EA don't make money, they usually end up being absorbed and broken up. What are they getting out of an EA relationship? They don't need their distribution lines; they don't need their money - those things have many other ways of being accomplished. The only thing I see EA offering is another DRM experiment. I wish they would just sober up an leave EA to survive on its sport games, which is the only thing they actually make decent.

magusat999
magusat999

Strange he would make that comment about DRM (which I agree with) and then turn around and try to de-classify what was done to SimCity as DRM! Yes DRM is a failed, dead-end strategy - and yet you utilized it in SimCity! You don't WANT to call it DRM - but that's what it is and that is the major reason you configured it that way. This must be a record performance of how fast someone can contradict oneself...

AceWombat04
AceWombat04

Regardless of whether it was done for DRM purposes or not (which I suspect is one reason, regardless of what they claim,) it still doesn't cover the claim that the game HAS to be online in order to function, which was easily disproved by a modder. Yes, it came with some issues. But it did run, and with some work, the game could have functioned fine locally. They made the decision to make the game social-centric as a mandatory design implementation, rather than an OPTION. And then lied about it. And therein lies the true offense in my opinion.

ejpaine
ejpaine

I wish there was some way to destroy this company. Literally and legally burn it to the ground and grind the company's shares into dust.

topgun182
topgun182

That's like me saying-"But I don't have internet access"

StealthHimself
StealthHimself

Notice how EA's executives look like devils on the outside. They can lie to our faces and have NO remorse over their anti-consumer business practices..

dexxor245
dexxor245

Straight from EA C.O.O Peter Moore's mouth on IGN video "Many continue to claim the Always-On function in SimCity is a DRM scheme. It's not. People still want to argue about it. We can't be any clearer-it's not. Period."

"Some claim there's no room for Origin as a competitor to Steam. 45 million registered users are proving that wrong."

"Some people think that free-to-play games and micro-transactions are a pox on gaming. Tens of millions more are playing and loving those games."

Oh wait, here's the best part. I'll bet Peter took the idea from Yes, we can! quote. "We can do better. We will do better. But I am proud of this company, the people around the globe who work at EA, the games we create and the people that play them. The tallest trees catch the most wind. At EA we remain proud and unbowed." Notice that there's a picture of him sitting in his comfy chair.

http://www.ign.com/videos/2013/04/05/ea-comments-on-worst-company-in-america-poll

Darkeus
Darkeus

Oh come on.  Are all the people at EA that dumb?  Of course Sim City was DRM.  There is absolutely no way it was necessary for it to be online all the time.  Nobody wanted that crap....  Every excuse I have seen by Maxis and EA smells like the same old BS.  This is eerily familiar to the Mass Effect 3 debacle that happened JUST A YEAR AGO.  Are we not seeing a pattern people?  Why are they buying from this untrustworthy company?
 

     Because PEOPLE had wanted a new SimCity for a long time.  Beside the fact that they were foolish enough to put faith that EA was actually going to do a good job on this game, people just wanted to get back to a game series they loved.  Nostalgia, series loyalty and brand loyalty will get you some sales before Word of Mouth kills it dead if your game is bad....

otaviogalileu
otaviogalileu

I still don't see why it "needs" to be online, other than DRM. I hate playing with others, so my regions are always private. Regarding resource prices, why not update the prices every now and then, when the player actually is online?

I don't know why I even bother... I'm already tired of the whole thing. When a city reaches its borders the game just becomes a space management simulator and is just not fun.

blackothh
blackothh

you dumb asshat, a single player game does not and should not ever need to even see the internet. that is one of the reason you numbskulls cant make good games anymore. I have watched a few hours of gameplay on youtube and it definatly feels like a lackluster simplistic version of the sim city games i liked.

OdinssonThor
OdinssonThor

Guys don't be fooled. If the game developers achieve that the game is returnable within 2 days of purchase if you are not satisfied, i will gladly accept always online gaming, DRM  and similar sh*t like that. But alas they are not. What they try to achieve is to sell you sh*tty product on account of their good marketing techniques. It was like this for me with diablo 3. I would have returned that game in a heartbeat if it were possible. You don't believe my crazy theory?? Well then explain why there are no demos prior to release anymore???

OldKye
OldKye

EA just made it too the final 4 in "worst company in America" awards he must really want them to win....

pwc2
pwc2

EA screwed up with not just DR M, but with several other aspects too.

Evil_Rage
Evil_Rage

Things like this just make me wish my fellow PC gamers (besides just me) would have pushed for and supported blu-ray as an option for drm free physical copies, with the only "drm" being a short key code anytime you wanted to install (unlimited installs allowed). That's "drm" done right for me. 

It's been said that Steam is DRM done right, well, not for ME or anyone else who does not support it or any service like that of EA/Origin or anything else. If we had pushed for and supported blu-ray pc games, we wouldn't need Steam, Origin or anything else. Those services would be unnecessary because single blu-ray discs can hold 25-50GB of game data (now there's even bdxl, although I doubt games would need 128GB of data storage, but I suppose it could happen). I know those would be games I would pay for, I refuse to pay for drm laden digital games, I want my physical blu-ray game in its blu-ray case with no Steam, no Origin, nothing, just buy,  install with code and play. Backups? Copy it to your external drive, there you go.

RoadStar1602
RoadStar1602

EA continues to lie in order to try to save face. Shocking.

the_bi99man
the_bi99man

Well he's right to say DRM is a failure. But the fact that Sim City's online bullshit is DRM is pretty damn hard to deny. Considering the game can be, and has been, played offline.

1wikkid1
1wikkid1

Uhhh what? More bullsh!t on top of all the bullsh!t they've already served up? No sh!t DRM is a failure, everybody has been saying it since the term DRM was created. No matter who tried to implement it and how, it always turned around and hurt the legitimate players more then it benefitted anybody, yes, that's a pretty damm clear sign of a failing strategy.

On to this particular release... the biggest problem in my eyes is that it simply wasn't needed. Nobody really WANTED a new SimCity game. I've been watching SimCity since the original release, and with each successive title it turned more and more into a transportation system simulation instead of a city builder(you know, like the title would have you believe.) I haven't bothered with this particular one, but unless they added a whole LOT of new gameplay options(which would make it even less like SimCity) this game is a poor excuse for a cash grab. City building games are not exactly rare these days, nor do they depend as much on graphics which has the effect of stretching their lives by a whole lot... you want a good city builder look into Ceasar IV or Emperor, if you want a bit more micro then go for Children of the Nile(now THIS is what games should be like IMO.)

csward
csward

What EA did to Sim City, it kind of did with Madden. See, EA used to have games like NFL Street, but they must've not sold well. So they crammed a lot of the same features in Madden and forced everyone to pay for it.

Now, EA has learned spinoff games (like a game called Sim City Online) would fail due to low sales (small market segment), so they crammed those features in Madden, to the point that it is where they spend the most development time each year, chasing that golden goose, the casual.

This Simcity, while a good seller, was bought mostly on good fair from series fans. I would bet each successive release, sales lower, especially if there is direct competition, which isn't the case with Madden.

Also, I have to wonder if EA forced online due to the success of games like Minecraft. They probably think they will sell 6 million+ copies like Minecraft did too, it's just laughable.

dovonob
dovonob

I say bring back cartridges, can't remember ever having any copied games on my Megadrive (Genesis whatever you want to call it) or Snes.

But i do have a vague recollection of having more copied games than brought ones on my erm.....

speccy

Amiga

Atari

PC

Psone

Xbox

Xbox 360

Cartridges for the win!

Well apart from Korean GameBoy cartridges.......

Poodlejumper
Poodlejumper

Yeah Frank.  You should have filed your resignation just after John did. 


You have even less credibility than he did.  I just don't know what to believe coming out of your mouth.

zyxe
zyxe moderator

i bet this was an early april fools' joke...

Ultramarinus
Ultramarinus

Does he really think that we're all stupid enough to fall for such an obvious lie? Why no single-player then?!!!

Rainbowsand7
Rainbowsand7

"Whether our DRM is DRM or not? Of course its not!"

nechiken
nechiken

No shit, fucker. Stop trying to nickel and dime people. Eventually, they'll stop being retarded and refuse to buy your product.

trencher10B
trencher10B

"DRM is a failed, dead-end strategy; it's not a viable strategy for the gaming business," EA Labels president Frank Gibeau said.

No shit, Sherlock.

eric_neo3
eric_neo3

Frank Gibeau is a liar.

Forcing always online onto your customers is DRM. He'll be flip flopping when BF4 comes out justifying again why there's no offline, no user servers, and why there's a need for DRM in their shitty reskin of BF3 with direct X 11 after effects.

VendyD
VendyD

I hope SKIDROW fix this "always online" stuff . ..   P{D

stev69
stev69

It really makes you wonder why EA don't just stfu, its not like they are helping their cause any by persisting with the bs, they aren't fooling anyone. Simple fact is you fucked up and you got caught out and lying is only making it worse. Its all very well saying its a dead end strategy, yet you still went with it for Sim City, charade you are sir.

davidAG
davidAG

If the always online mandate put into place by EA is NOT supposed to act as DRM, then I must ask what else could it possibly serve as? The argument put forth that the always online requirement is supposed to serve as the "vision" for the future of SimCity as some sort of quasi MMO then the argument is preposterous as it flies entirely in the face of the history of SimCity. SimCity has never been invisioned as an MMO, where in its history was it spoken of as being planned as such, never. SimCity has always been a single-player city management game that is supposed to appeal to the OCD micromanagement obsessed architect in all of us. It being an MMO as argued isn't about the vision for the game, it's simply about EA taking steps to turn the game into a monthly paid for service, this is them testing the waters.

Sadly the majority of consumers lack the willpower and balls to call EA out on what they're doing to a beloved franchise by boycotting them and simply refusing to purchase any of their games so long as always online DRM is in place. This game has no legitimate reason for being saddled with always online requirements as the always online requirement has already been cracked, the argument for the servers doing most the work is being discredited by people that worked on the game, cloud saves are just another tool to force online play. Also, just because you have an internet connection does not mean you want to turn your singleplayer game into a shallow MMO experience with other people. As it stands the majority of players set up private games in private regions and play entirely by themselves ... way to go EA by "bringing people together". The actual plan is monthly paid for services and a cash shop, be honest with us.

So, to all you consumers bitching about this online requirement DRM that is becoming a fast growing fad, if you don't like it don't buy the damn game. If all of us decide to not give our money to them because of what they're doing then I can assure you that they'll be forced to change their ways or face extinction.

cjtopspin
cjtopspin

I bought the game...couldn't play it...and returned it.  Of course I bought it on Amazon and, considering that they love their customers, they gave me my money back.


EA epic FAIL

Amazon epic WIN

cirugo
cirugo

they're actually trying to say this game is an MMO now...since every other reason they're flailing efforts to justify for the always-online connection has fallen flat.

this kind of insulting and condescending spin should really anger gamers.  they think you're idiots.

topgun182
topgun182

online only=money in my pocket only

Rammone-X
Rammone-X

"The city-building game went on to sell over 1.1 million copies during its first two weeks, marking the best start in franchise history."

Doesn't this raise eyebrows? Forums around the net are littered with people chanting "EA is evil...bla bla" and yet their games are still doing very well. Why is this happening I wonder. In order to remain objective and "troll" free I have arrived at 2 conclusions:

(1) Either the people who rant about EA's evil are bull-face liars and band-wagon hoppers

(2) Christmas elves and garden gnomes are EA's patrons.

Because of my whimsical thought process, I have decided to go with the later conclusion. It just makes much more sense to me :)

urtin3
urtin3

Too late, EA. The award is waiting for you

Sparticus1013
Sparticus1013

"For the folks who have conspiracy theories about evil suits at EA forcing DRM down the throats of Maxis, that's not the case at all."

I'm not saying that theory in necessarily true, but I wont take EA's word for it that it's false. I do have a hard time believing they didn't have DRM in mind with the always-on stuff though.

ExplosivePants
ExplosivePants

I can imagine this . In the meeting, before failure:

Creative Person: Let’s take advantage of progress in hardware and make new SimCity game better by improving graphics, making city bigger and economy engine more sophisticated.

EA CEO: That’s all good, but how can we take full control over customers and sell them more stuff?

Creative Person: We can run half of the game on-line, disable community modding and force them to buy all extras from us only. Of course, it’s a bad idea, because game performance will suffer and people won't like it.

EA CEO: Yeah, let’s do it anyway, I am sure that our PR department can brainwash our customers into liking it and we will be laughing all the way to the bank.

--- After failure:

EA CEO: It is creative peoples' fault.

KenderDragon
KenderDragon

You may find me stupid, but I believe that Maxis wanted to do a MMO/SIM game à la Spore. When you think the progression, all the latest game was going that way.

But privating gamers from a Single Player mode, if not DRM, was still a stupid move.

cuddlyfuzzle
cuddlyfuzzle

Yeah right! I think this guy is SO full of sh!t. I don't, for one second, believe that EA is going to scrap DRM. 

Cl0uD_Strif3
Cl0uD_Strif3

They messed up what should be a really good game with all this DRM crap, I own Simcity4 Delux and I never even would wanna play that online, and games that are single player should never require someone to always be online that is just remedial I mean come on now why would I wanna be connected to people If I wish to play solo not to mention how simcity is a terrible idea for multiplayer in the 1st place.. But alas till we can play this offline I will never buy it.. Also I heard they 'dumb' downed the game anyway.

jhcho2
jhcho2

DRM was never discussed because not having it is NOT an option. Muahahahaha!