My favorite part of Sim City was always being able to summon a Godzilla-like creature to devastate my recently-constructed metropolis. Then scatter the police and fire department in a silly attempt to save the day. They always failed. My city got wrecked.
Anyways, for those following the controversy surrounding the latest game’s fans being unable to play mere hours after launch, you now have a passing familiarity with the term “persistent online.” For the uninitiated, this means that your game requires you to be online at all times, regardless of whether you’re playing with friends, exploring and taking in one-another’s cities or just solo-ing (which, to be honest, is what Sim City is meant for, no?) out, building facilities and calling for Godzilla to kick your city’s ass.
The persistent online concept is something you’re familiar with if you play a mobile game. Most require an active internet connection in order to play, as metrics, data, sales and other bits are relayed back to the developer’s servers in an attempt to further gain control of the masses. Or to further “refine” their game. Because we live in an era where games are released without the high-sheen we’re paying premium prices for. Yeah, I said it.
What’s particularly unnerving about the case with Sim City is that the title, pre-release, was provided to reviewers with them allowed to use a special server specifically for review purposes. Not the actual servers themselves. Why would a massive company like EA need to worry about servers? They run thousands of games of Battlefield 3 off their servers every single day, how could they not have the proper server space allotted to a simple city developing simulator?
The best possible way to understand all the fracas surrounding the Sim City debacle is through the magic of Machinima. Check out the video below and get a firm understanding on just how bad EA screwed the pooch with this one, regardless of the quality of the game.
Sim City creator Will Wright has yet to offer his opinion on how EA and the Sim City franchise can recover from this situation, however; it’ll be interesting to see how next-gen consoles play out, considering persistent online is something both Sony and Microsoft have been talking about for a while now.