EA hasn't learned from others in forcing always online DRM for SimCity

Posted by: John at 12/17/2012 7:06 PM
SimCity is a game I’m truly excited to play. From what I saw at E3, I was really, really anxious to get my hands on the game. That is, until the team did a reddit AMA and released the nugget that SimCity will have always on DRM making you need an online connection even for single player mode.
Thus ends a lot of my excitement for the game. Don’t get me wrong. I think the game still looks absolutely fabulous. But I can’t get excited anymore about a game that’s forcing me to be online when I don’t have to. 
I guess EA didn’t learn from the mistakes that Ubisoft made. Capcom also made the same mistake only to remove the always on DRM for Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition in a later patch.  Perhaps they see what Blizzard has done with Diablo 3 and thought they could get away with it too. But the fact of the matter is, Internet connection isn’t a stable commodity for a lot of people and for games that do have a single player mode, no company should force you to be online to play it.
You’re probably saying, well if you were a developer you would want something like this too so people don’t pirate your games. I am a developer. That’s how I make my living. The number one complaint on the competitor's application was the DRM that hindered the client’s ability to do any work. So what did I do when I created my application? I refused to put in any DRM and guess what? My product sold more and has become a success story. I get calls about businesses wanting more features rather than trying to get the application to work on their machine because of some DRM issue. The client’s happy, I’m happy. 
I’m all for developers trying to protect their product, but there are good and bad ways to go about this. EA, unfortunately, seems to have gone the bad route which will most likely be broken by pirates and who will have better experiences than those that actually pay for the game. 
There’s still time, of course, to rectify this situation. But it’s still funny to see companies thinking they can use this sort of DRM to prevent piracy without hindering those that have purchased it legally. I hope it works out, I really do. Nothing kills a game faster than bad DRM. Remember Spore? It was going to be this huge hit for Will Wright, who incidentally was at EA as well. EA decided go with the truly awful SecuROM, which had a negative effect on the sales and also made it one of the most pirated game of its time. It’s the reason I never installed it on my machine as well.
Ubisoft learned its lesson of always on DRM the hard way and have gone on record in doing away with the policy. I don’t know why EA didn’t see this as a sign, but hey they probably think they can do better. I’m betting not, but time will tell. If your game is an online only affair, then yes always on DRM is a natural byproduct. But for games that are in the single player realm, it’s just a recipe for disaster.