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

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

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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.

Discussion

575 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.

June-GS
June-GS

@magusat999 Agreed. Too bad we gamers are kinda stupid. After all that crap, we STILL rewarded them with a best-seller. Sigh.  'Nuff said.

Darkeus
Darkeus

@dexxor245 The Origin thing cracks me up.  When you force people to have the program when you buy their PC games and when you automatically change all EA Store accounts into Origin accounts, then yeah it might add up to 45 million accounts.

But that is just BS PR speak.  The real question is, how many ACTIVE users are there?  How many people actually buy games off of it?  Having it active just because they have to doesn't count. 

Lol, I know people who just register the game on Origin and then crack the .exe so they don't have to deal with it....

Wienerman-
Wienerman-

@dexxor245 

A lot of Origin's users are just steam users wanting to play EA's "exclusive" games. My origin account exists solely for BF3.

Fishdude909
Fishdude909

@DarkeusOh come on.  Are all the people at BLIZZARD that dumb?  Of course Diablo 3  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 BLIZZARD and ACTIVISION 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 Diablo for a long time.  Beside the fact that they were foolish enough to put faith that Blizzard 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....

zenogandia
zenogandia

@csward Last years madden actually sold more than the past 5 madden games, the series went back up in sales. I don't like the series, but I'm not sure how this applies to madden.

travlr
travlr

@dovonob EMU and ROMS were available for  SNES and NES games as well SMS and genesis.   games you could play on your computer that were made of games that  came on cartridges.  there were thousands of ROMS out there  so even Cartridges weren't safe from copying.

Brean24
Brean24

@Ultramarinus Because it's not a singleplayer game regardless of if it has the capabilities to be one.

Darkeus
Darkeus

@Fishdude909 @Darkeus   Nice, but see.  You have to find where I defended Diablo III before this can be a jab at me.  Because I agree with you.  You can apply this to Diablo III and it works all the same, just as you showed with this response.

I should charge you with plagiarism.    You copied me word for word with no acknowledgement of the original writer.  ;-p

Come up with your own stuff man.  Plus, what point are you trying to prove here?  Really?

Darkeus
Darkeus

@pongley @Darkeus True, some people at Maxis have come out to say that.  But it did not start that way....  And let us be honest again, Maxis IS EA....  There is no difference.  Maxis is an EA in-house dev house.  So in reality, what EA says represents Maxis.... 

Darkeus
Darkeus

@Fishdude909 @Darkeus Fair enough.  But let me ask, is the AI still broken?  Do Sims still live in the first house they get to?  Does traffic still back up because no one takes a logical route to any place?  Do the other cities really matter that much?  Because most people I know who have it put their cities on private....  Do you still have enough room to make a small city and that is about it? Do Fire Trucks and Police fail to go to fires and the such, even if the fire station is right beside the house on fire?

I mean, there is a lot more wrong with SimCity 5 than just the server woes and always-online requirement.

And I do not think anyone has given Diablo III a pass.  It is still highly panned, the game is still very unbalanced.  The Auction House has been an admitted failure.  Hell, have you seen how bad the play rate has dropped off on that game?  Trust me, Diablo III still gets hit even a year later.  Same with Mass Effect 3 and other bad games..... 

You would think that EA would have learned from these mistakes instead of repeating and exactly copying them....

I guess I am saying, a re-review might not do any good if the other problems of the game are not fixed.

Fishdude909
Fishdude909

@Darkeus @Fishdude909  It was meant to copy you. Made that pretty obvious. The always online thing is horrible I just feel that EA is now taking all heat for that concept, when a year ago Blizzard did the same thing for Diablo when they didn't have to at all. You can play that game completely solo. However people let off because the game was good. Most people that are complaining about SimCity are the people that dont even own it. I personally am enjoying the game. I like the online features making it seem like multiple cities help each other out in the same county, I see where they were going for it. Now did it have to be Always online instead of choice? I dont think so. My opinion 75%-80%  of people will be connected online while playing it anyhow, but doesnt mean you get rid of the choice. 

Now that the servers are fixed I really think a Re-review is done like on other games and the review is done on the game itself and not on the problems of the servers