EA says DRM wasn’t - and isn’t - part of their strategy with SimCity
EA Labels President Frank Gibeau had some very interesting things to say about the publisher's stance on DRM this week. Specifically, that the company doesn't endorse it. There are multiple quotes in this GamesIndustry International piece where Gibeau tries to absolve EA of any wrongdoing or forcing the always-online feature as a form of DRM onto the creative team at Maxis, but I'm not sure anyone's buying it. I'd go so far as to say a publisher known for having invasive DRM, that has apologized for DRM before, saying now that it recognizes DRM isn't the way of the future has to be frustrating.
There were plenty of opportunities to definitively say that the online connection was being utilized not as DRM, but as a game play feature, before the game launched, and saying that it was Maxis' decision post-launch, post-controversy, feels like shifting the blame. Then again, it's certainly possible; Maxis gave a surprisingly tone-deaf presentation on the subject, as designer Dan Moskowitz's GDC speech opened with a joke about being unable to connect to the SimCity servers.
There's beating a dead horse, and then there's trotting the carcass out for everyone to see and watch as you wail on it some more. I can understand gamers not letting the issue go - they were the ones who got screwed out of being able to play the game they paid for - but why EA and Maxis are still trying to shift the blame, or acting like what happened was cute and kind of funny when you look back on it, is baffling.