Video game consumers shouldn’t give EA a pass on SimCity’s always-online DRM.
“What EA and Maxis have done with SimCity is attempt a year-long PR assault to suggest that the online-only nature of SimCity is designed to offer enhancements for gamers,” writes John Walker. “This is simply not true. It’s utter rubbish. It’s a backward step for a format that seemed to be managing for years to offer single player and multiplayer options for games without the universe cracking in two. The idea that multiplayer-only is an enhancement is such an obvious piece of newspeak, such a ridiculous untruth, that we can only loudly and furiously react against it if we’re to not see it incredulously accepted as fact. I do worry it’s maybe already too late.”
As Walker also points out, we used to be up in arms over having to enter a code each time we installed a single-player game (something unheard of when I was first playing PC games, lo these many years ago) but now it’s the norm. We type in our 15, 20, 25 digits and move along people, nothing to see here. It’s mostly an annoyance, but it can be worse. If we lose the code, for instance, and then have to reinstall.
Or when a service like Origin won’t recognize all your Dragon Age DLC even though it shows up in your BioWare account, and keeps telling you to sign in with an account associated with the DLC even though…you are.
You get access to play the game for as long as the servers work. Maybe.
What we are seeing with games is being played out in many arenas. What happens to the digital archives of an Open Access journal such a PLOSone, if they go bankrupt or simply change owners and change the rules?
Are they required to provide digital access forever? What happens in 20 years?
And the other point is no one owns the game anymore. They only own access. Same with digital journals. It used to be that you could get the actual hardcopy. PLOSone and other digital journals has only hardcopy of individual papers.
PLOSone is a good thing and so is Open Access. But the fact that we only permanent possession of the articles we download complicates things.
I guess we could download all the papers off of a journal’s servers. Create our own archive. But then look what happened to Aaron Schwartz when he did tried to create his own archive. Charged with multiple felonies, up to 39 years in prison, facing bankruptcy in order to pay for his court case.
Message sent. Actually using access rights to get complete access is frowned upon by ruining your life. Message received.
This will change. It has to.