This morning word came out that the new Sim City, due out next year, will require EA’s Origin and an always-on internet connection. While I’m sure most people are going to cry out about this being another case of needless DRM, this simply doesn’t bother me all that much.
I don’t think it is all that ridiculous to require Origin for a PC game made by a company EA owns. Now I’m sure this might get me some hate from people who believe that EA is the anti-christ, or pro-christ if you are not particularly fond of Jesus, but that is how I see it. Plenty of PC games require Steam support whether they use the service for their purchase or not. Now the issue here is that Valve at their least friendly has never provoked the ire of gamers in the ways that EA has over the years.
My personal experiences with both EA and their Origin service have always been fairly friendly, or at least lacking in major issues. (Note: I am writing this article while arguing with Origin customer “support” for the third time over an easily rectified account issue.) But, in the end that is the lesser of the two issues. The bigger issue in my book is the required always-on internet connection.
At first I thought to myself that people were overreacting in their anger over the requirement. Sim City was announced as having a multiplayer component in the form of an in-game world-wide economy, so why would it not require that kind of connection. If you asked me a month ago I wouldn’t have given it a second though. Now in the wake of EA announcing the closing of servers for multiple games with strong online components it becomes clear that this ultimately might be a problem.
Looking at the most recent list of game servers announced for the chopping block it can be seen that a lot of the listed games are no more than 2 years old. This raises the question for me of will I still be able to enjoy Sim City down the road. Normally I would just say that fine, if I still want to play it in 4-5 years I will just have to do so without the online component, but with the required always-on internet connection requirement this might not be possible. A few years from now I might get a hankering for some city-building; install the game and then fire it up, only to find out that it doesn’t exist anymore.
Maybe Sim City’s online component won’t work quite like this. Maybe when that time comes EA/Maxis will patch the game to not need online access. I don’t really know at this point, but it is something that has me a bit worried for my gaming future..