Fans sign SimCity petition as launch debacle branded 'deeply damaging'

Over 60,000 have signed against the use of always-on DRM

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With its servers failing to meet demand, SimCity has been hitting headlines for all the wrong reasons this week, and even though EA has made efforts to make up for the fault, its reputation isn't looking too good.

Asked about EA's problems with the SimCity launch, Dr Richard Wilson, CEO of The Independent Games Developers Association (TIGA) told us always-on DRM was a big risk for companies.

"When you get a situation where people cannot play the game because they are locked out, that's bad for the game and bad for the company responsible for it," he told TechRadar.

"If a company is going to deploy always-on DRM then it must do it effectively. Otherwise it will be deeply damaging."

But targeting the launch issues clearly isn't getting to the root of the problem, which is the use of always-on DRM. So far, over 60,000 people have signed an online petition addressed to EA requesting it remove aways-online DRM from SimCity and all of its future titles.

"Even if the game had been launched without a hitch there would still have been criticisms," said Dr Wilson, adding that many consumers "want to buy a game and expect it to work irrespective of the quality of their connection".

MicroCity

Dr Wilson also commented on the use of in-game microtransactions, which are found in the new SimCity title among many others.

"Games should reward skill and not the size of the wallet," he said.

"Those who opt not to pay extra should not be punished - they should be able to play and complete a game and feel they have got a lot out of the experience."

EA recently stirred up debate when it claimed that it would deploy microtransitions in all its future games. The company then backtracked and said it was a misunderstanding but, even so, it's clear that developers are warming more to the idea of gamers using their real-world money.

Dr Wilson added, however, that microtransactions can be justifiable where they actually add "value for money" - so long as it doesn't disadvantage players who cannot or will not pay for the extras.