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DRM wasn't a factor in SimCity's online-only design, says EA

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SimCity publisher Electronic Arts didn't force developer Maxis to require an internet connection due to DRM concerns, said Frank Gibeau, president of EA Labels, in an interview with GamesIndustry International.

"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," said Gibeau. "That's not the reality; I was involved in all the meetings. DRM was never even brought up once." Gibeau even went as far as to call DRM a "failed, dead-end strategy" for combating piracy, and said it isn't viable for the game industry.

SimCity's requirement of an internet connection, which Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw told Polygon was put in place because the game offloads certain calculations to its servers, was called into question last week by modders who said they found evidence contradicting EA's claims.

Instead of DRM, Gibeau explained, the requirement came about because Maxis' original vision for this SimCity title was that of a "multiplayer, connected, collaborative SimCity experience where your city and my city and others' were [working together]." As an MMO-like game, SimCity had to be built as an online-only title.

"If you play an MMO, you don't demand an offline mode, you just don't. And in fact, SimCity started out and felt like an MMO more than anything else and it plays like an MMO," said Gibeau.

Gibeau did acknowledge EA's poor messaging about the MMO aspects of SimCity, and said he was "disappointed" at the crippling launch-week server issues.