Never thought I would live to see the day when EA came to their senses, yet somehow a miracle has happened: soon, the always-online DRM that has plagued SimCity since launch will be but a bad memory. While I highly doubt that it will ever be forgotten, since I am certain this abomination will remain a hot topic for future generations of city builders everywhere, at least it will not bog down the experience much longer.
Remember the original SimCity, in its simple yet thrilling and glorious design? It feels like forever ago now, but back in 1989, the best way for software developers to protect their products against piracy was something nowhere near as intrusive and troublesome as this thing called DRM. Instead, a lot of games used a system which had the player look up one specific code/phrase among a hundred, find word X on page Y of the manual that came with the game, or a similar “if you did not own a legal copy of the game, you would not have received the document containing the codes” feature.
While the 1989 version did not contain actual DRM, pirates would still be unable to play it since you had to locate city name and population count from a list, based on three squares. Simple, yet clever and above all, not in any way intrusive. Want another example? Well, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure did something similar. Here, you would end up playing a limited demo version if the incorrect code was entered three times in a row, rather than be thrown out of the game entirely. Oddly enough, this was not part of the VGA or CD-ROM versions.
That is not the case with SimCity however, as it is not being re-released in a different format or moved somewhere outside Origin. Instead, EA has simply decided to remove the online DRM, without as much as a hint of an explanation. But do we really need a reason? It will be gone, and that is what matters. If you ask me, it is certainly a case of “about time”, that much is certain. I mean, surely there are better ways to combat piracy because whether they will admit it or not, that has to be the reason for such garbage to be included, right? It is not an MMO after all, and I am sure there are many SimCity players who care little about taking their city, small or big, online. Anyway… It will be gone soon, and once again, that is what matters.