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EA Labels president Frank Gibeau wants everyone to stop blaming the "evil suits at EA" for SimCity always being online. See, it's not their fault; Maxis' development team was the one that wanted this feataure.
In an interview with GamesIndustry International at GDC, Gibeau compared SimCity to an MMO and straight up called out always-online DRM as awful. “DRM is a failed dead-end strategy; it's not a viable strategy for the gaming business. So what we tried to do creatively is build an online service in the SimCity universe and that's what we sought to achieve," he said.
I admit I haven't played SimCity myself (not a PC gamer by any stretch), but from what I understand from my friends, the game can't really be classified as an MMO. Yes you can visit your friends' cities, but you don't have to if you don't want to, and you can only interact with three other people really at one time. Yes, you can interact on a limited basis with up to 12 people, but that doesn't seem to me like it qualifies as a massively multiplayer game; you know, part of what MMO stands for. If leaderboards also means that it's an MMO, then I guess Bayonetta was an MMO without me even realizing it.
So I guess what I'm saying is that Gibeau's argument confuses me a little. Is he saying that when a mostly single-player experience has a few multiplayer features, that's when the always-online requirement stops being DRM and starts being MMO?