Digital Uppercuts: DRM Issues, PS4, 1UP, and Windows Phone 8
It’s been a while since I sat down and pieced together enough thoughts to warrant another edition of Digital Uppercuts, but alas, there’s been a lot to talk about over the past few weeks and so I figured I’d get it going once again.
Obviously one of the biggest stories in the industry right now is the horrendous launch for SimCity. It’s a shame really, as SimCity was easily one of the most anticipated games of the year for PC gaming and was a title that I was blown away by during last year’s E3. And though I do most of my PC gaming on my desktop, I decided that SimCity would be a game that I would wait for the Mac version for, simply because I see myself playing it more either on the go or in bed on my Macbook Pro.
Unfortunately, the game on PC has been a disaster thus far. Using the hated always-on DRM, which requires an online connection at all times to help eliminate or at least curb piracy, has caused the vast majority of gamers to cry foul, as the game has been pretty much unplayable since its launch last week. For multiplayer games, I don’t really mind DRM as much, but for a game that is at heart, a single-player game, the notion that we have to be online to play it is inexcusable. That EA’s servers have essentially folder over from the amount of traffic the game is experiencing is unfathomable, especially considering how outrageous the launch for Diablo III was; leaving players without the ability to connect to Blizzard’s servers either. Yes, I know EA is working on the issue as we speak, but even if you’re able to finally connect, many gamers are still experiencing crashing games that cause their progress to be erased. To say that I’m highly disappointed in not an understatement. And look, I applaud Maxis for creating a wonderful game (if you’re able to actually get started), but EA needs to take a hard look at this DRM stuff. Ubisoft tried it too, and it failed. Publishers need to understand that this methodology may have good intentions, but has proven (so far), to be a failure at the expense of hardcore fans who lose faith and desire to play the game they’ve waited so long to get their hands on.
Unable to play SimCity for more than 20 minutes, I’ve decided to stop completely. I will, as planned, wait for the Mac version and hope that the issues are resolved by then.
So just some quick thoughts on the reveal of the PlayStation 4 from a few weeks ago. I must say that I was both excited and slightly underwhelmed by what I saw. On the one hand, it’s great that Sony’s next-gen baby is now an official reality, and Killzone looked amazing running on the hardware, but there are still many unanswered questions. What is the hardware going to look like? How much is it going to cost? What’s the release date? I was glad to hear that Sony is looking at revamping their online network, but I was also hoping to see it in action.
Hearing that Blizzard was releasing Diablo III wasn’t a big deal for me in the sense that I already play Diablo III on my PC, but was glad to hear that Blizzard is at least ready to put in some console work. Hey, maybe we can finally get Starcraft Ghost! (I’m dreaming, I know!)
I wasn’t too crazy about the look of the controller, but hopefully I’ll get some hands-on time with it at E3 this year and have a change of heart. The idea of games like Destiny and Watch_Dogs coming to the PS4, while still exciting, I feel lost some of its luster with the announcement that they too will be available on the PS3, while both are also coming to the Xbox 360 and Watch_Dogs is getting a Wii U release too. At the end of the day though, I’ll eagerly await this year’s E3 to see what else Sony has up its sleeves. While I would’ve loved to get every inch of info on the PS4, you had to imagine they’d save some of it for E3’s press conference.
A short note about 1UP.com. I had the pleasure of working for the website back in 2006. No, I wasn’t a journalist just yet, but it’s where I grew enamored with the field. I was working in QA at the time, essentially making sure that 1UP and Gamevideos.com were running properly and keeping tabs on the user experience. However being in that environment is where I first began to fall in love with gaming journalism. I had my chance to work with some great people at the time and got my first taste of what it would be like. Long story short, 1UP holds a special place in my heart and I’m saddened by its demise. I wish those who are still with the site all the best of luck and will be sure to rock my 1UP jacket from time to time in memory.
Which brings me to my last thought – this one on Windows Phone 8. I was impressed with the platform when Microsoft announced it late last year and have actually made the HTC 8X my phone of choice, after I sold off my iPhone 4S in order to try something new. I do still like my phone quite a bit, but I’m growing a little tired of the lack of apps available. There is still no Instagram, no Pandora, no official YouTube app, no Xfinity app, no HBO Go, no Shopkick, and the list goes on and on. Pandora was promised for early 2013 and it’s still technically within that time frame but users have been asking for it for months now. While HTC has the 8X and Nokia has its Lumia 920 and 820, there still isn’t much else in the form of hardware either. It’s too soon to panic, but I gotta, say, as fun as the OS is to use, it seems to be losing a lot of its initial luster. Let’s see how things look for WP8 by this summer, otherwise it’s time for me to find a new device.