EA Greenlights SimCity Modding... But With Fine Print
Maxis and EA have officially announced that if you want to mod SimCity, you’re free to do so, and your work will definitely be welcomed, and possibly even used by them in the future. Oh, yeah, there’s a catch though; you must follow EA’s rules about this matter.
Now, one might believe that this is totally reasonable, however, you must check these rules:
- Mods must not jeopardize the integrity of the gameplay or harm the experience of others. Mods that affect the simulation for multiplayer games and multiplayer features, such as leaderboards or trading with other players, are not allowed.
- Mods must not infringe any copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret or other intellectual property right of any third party and will not include content that is unlawful, tortious, defamatory, obscene, invasive of the privacy of another person, threatening, harassing, abusive, hateful, racist or otherwise objectionable or inappropriate. SimCity has an age rating of ESRB Everyone 10+ and PEGI 7, and similar ratings from other ratings boards around the world. EA requires that Mods not include any material that would not be allowed under these ratings.
- Mods may not modify any .com, .exe, .dll, .so or other executable files.
- The terms and conditions of SimCity EULA and EA’s Terms of Service are specifically incorporated into this policy by this reference. In the event that the terms of this policy are in conflict with the terms of the SimCity EULA or EA’s Terms of Service, the terms of this Policy shall supersede and govern over any such conflicting terms.
- To maintain the integrity of SimCity and ensure the best possible gaming experience for our players, EA reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to revoke permission to use, distribute or make Mods at any time, to disable any Mod within SimCity and to take disciplinary action against players who harm the experience of others.
Did you see what Maxis and EA did there? Well, if you didn’t let’s explain a little bit of this situation.
SimCity is plagued with this “always online” feature, making it basically impossible for anyone to test any modding in their single-player experience without somehow causing any changes in the game’s multiplayer experience, meaning that it will be really hard for anyone to not break the first rule.
Now, let’s check something else that was mentioned in this official announcement:
- Mods must be non-commercial and distributed free-of-charge at this time. Accordingly, Mods cannot be sold, licensed, rented for a fee, nor can the Mod Game contain features that would support monetary transactions of any type. Mods may not be used to advertise any goods or services
- Donations may not be solicited directly through Mods. However, EA recognizes that the time and resources needed to create Mods can sometimes be substantial. Accordingly, Mod developers are allowed to fund their development costs through donations outside of the Mod itself
So, this doesn’t sound all that bad, you can’t sell your mod, however you can accept donations, outside of the mod itself. What does this mean? For instance, you create a website to freely distribute your mod, and there you ask for donations, that won’t give them absolutely anything in-game. Whereas, you can’t add anything that suggests making donations within your mod, so nothing can be said about this in-game.