As people continue to be not so impressed with SimCity, EA makes a statement as to why they rejected offline play:
But we’re also hearing from thousands of people who are playing across regions, trading, communicating and loving the Always-Connected functionality.
Of course, this ignores the fact that most people hate it, and also runs counter to the earlier statement that they needed to make it online only because it needed to use EA’s servers to calculate game data.
All of this completely discounts the fact that the game has already been hacked to run offline.
The truth, of course, is that the online-only play is EA’s way of forcing DRM on the game, allowing only registered purchasers to connect to the server and play, and to prevent the game from being resold to other buyers without giving EA a cut.
When pirates hack the game to make it work completely offline (when, not if) the people that actually bothered to pay for the game will be left with a second-rate product.
EA is betting on SimCity’s brand name to sell games at this point, the way it has bet on other brands in the past, even if the new game isn’t up to par, and even if it costs the brand whatever credibility it has left.
In the mean time, interest in alternatives to SimCity has soared, and Tropico 4 offered its own game at a significant discount in response. Reddit is also coordinating a mass cancellation of preorders to hurt EA the only place it counts: its bottom line.