Musings on the new SimCity


SimCity has traditionally been (mostly) a single-player game. I really like the way multi-player has been integrated into this reboot of the series, I just disagree with the decision to tether the game to their online servers when they give you the option to create a personal city region with no one else playing in it. If you’re allowing me to play a “single player” version of the game, why are you still forcing me to log into your servers (beyond a simple authentication… which I would still complain about, but at least it would prevent the 20+ minutes of waiting to play my single-player city experience).

But… fine, whateves. I do honestly feel the addition of city specialization, and resource/research sharing makes it a much more interesting place to play, when you’re playing with people you know (I doubt I’ll attempt playing in public regions). I’m even looking forward to exploring the Global Market some more 😀

All that being said, this trend to tie online game-play to a very public Name, is starting to get on my nerves. Not because of any lack of personal responsibility, but because of the marginalization of gamer households; John and I both love playing SimCity, yet in this incarnation of the game, we each have to buy separate copies of the game, even though we would use the same computer, because otherwise one of us would be online “as” the other, playing games under the other person’s name… quite publicly, with all my friends wondering why I’m playing SimCity in the middle of the day instead of working (yes, there’s an invisible mode, but that’s not the point). What if we had two or three kids, who also liked playing?

Where before, we had one copy of the game, installed on one computer, and I had a login, and John had a login, and each (hypothetical) kid had a login, and everyone could play their own games, with everyone being happy… Now, we have each person needing their own copy of the game (at $60 a pop), despite the fact we’re still all playing on the same machine. The other option is… what, the loss of that online identity completely with everyone in the household playing under a common “house” name? That’s no fun either.

I dunno… I really like SimCity, and I really like the game play of this version. I also really like the multiplayer aspects they’ve integrated from the ground up, so it’s all very natural and works very well. I just really, really wish I didn’t feel like I was being held upside down, having the change shaken from my pockets :\

Anyway.. that’s my two cents. I’m going to keep playing, because I do really like the game play, despite the crap it’s wrapped it.

What do you all think? Is the single-online-identity move simply thinly veiled avarice, or is it an honest attempt to thwart piracy? Do you think this kind of always-on game architecture, even for single player games/scenarios, is a good/appropriate move, or is it just an inevitability we will have to learn to deal with?