EA: DRM is a "dead-end strategy"

President of Labels division denies Simcity 5's always online approach was DRM by the back door

President of Labels division denies Simcity 5's always online approach was DRM by the back door

EA has said that DRM is a "dead-end strategy", denying that the always online nature of Simcity 5 was designed as an attempt to prevent piracy.

Frank Gibeau, president of EA Labels said that digital rights management, better known by its acronym of DRM, isn't viable in the games industry. "DRM is a failed dead-end strategy; it's not a viable strategy for the gaming business," he told trade site GamesIndustry.

"What we tried to do creatively is build an online service in the SimCity universe and that's what we sought to achieve," he added.

"For the folks who have conspiracy theories about evil suits at EA forcing DRM down the throats of Maxis, that's not the case at all. That's not the reality; I was involved in all the meetings. DRM was never even brought up once."

Gibeau denied that the always on nature of the game was DRM through the back door.

"You don't build an MMO because you're thinking of DRM – you're building a massively multiplayer experience, that's what you're building. At no point in time did anybody say 'you must make this online'. It was the creative people on the team that thought it was best to create a multiplayer collaborative experience."

He also said that the size of the problems facing the launch of Simcity 5 had been exaggerated. "Some customers have had problems, and you're in the media; you know how some things can snowball, and unfortunately that's what happened here.

"We did the best we could in order to respond to that and made adjustments to the service but the game is continuing to sell through at a much higher expectation than we thought. The servers are now at 100 per cent and there's plenty of capacity," he added.

"And we're not the first or the last company – Activision Blizzard, Steam, Ubisoft... everybody's had this problem and it was our turn I guess."