Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw took to SimCity‘s official blog last night to post an update on the game’s DRM/server fiasco that has kept the vast majority of buyers from playing the title. According to Bradsaw, there are still some issues to iron out, however, the “core problem” of having inadequate server capacity is “almost” resolved.
Bradsaw wrote that she was “happy to report that the core problem with getting in and having a great SimCity experience is almost behind us.” Adding that, “players have been able to connect to their cities in the game for nearly 8 million hours of gameplay time and… game crashes [have been reduced] by 92% from day one.”
Maxis has reached this almost 100 percent playable milestone through “a combination of optimizing [the] server architecture and response times” and then “deploying these enhancements” on both the original SimCity servers, and the new ones that have been added over the last several days. According to Bradshaw, the additional servers and improved architecture has “achieved getting virtually everyone into the game”.
While SimCity is currently running better, Bradsaw stated that it is too soon to sound the “All-Clear”. Maxis has been “monitoring each server and gameplay metrics to ensure that the service remains strong”, and they will need “a few more days of data” before they are sure that “the problem is completely solved and the game is running at 100 percent.”
Bradsaw ended the post by thanking players for their “faith” and “confidence” in the studio, saying:
“Our biggest fear was that people who love this franchise would be scared off by bad reviews about the connectivity issues. But you put your faith in us. You bought the game with the understanding that we’d quickly fix the server issues. For that support – that incredible commitment from our fans — we are deeply grateful. As the general manager of Maxis, I want you to know that we cherish your faith in us, and the love you’ve shown for this franchise.”
While it is certainly great news that EA finally managed to get SimCity working 100% (or soon will), this short-term success does not change the bigger picture as it relates to digital distribution and video games as DRM-filled services. You, as the customer, do not own the product you are buying and have extremely limited rights and protections. At some point EA will pull the plug on the SimCity servers and the game you “bought” will no longer exist in any playable form. It may take a number of years for that to happen, but that is the destination you are marching towards when you buy a video game service as opposed to a video game product.