Teaching an old dog new tricks: Maxis confirms The Sims 4 won't be always online, or have DRM
Let's take a trip back to Spring earlier this year. Everyone was nine kinds of excited for Maxis and EA's latest SimCity offering. Requiring an always-online connection seemed fine at first, encouraging players/mayors to engage in cooperation and teamwork so we all could "interact with nearby player cities to share resources and influence a global economy." However, it was this simple premise that was ultimately the game's downfall.
The massive amount of day one players crowded servers. Building your city offline wasn't an option, so the game was rendered virtually unplayable until Maxis was able to work out the server issues. It was the big start of the public backlash against always online DRM, one that Microsoft even felt the sting of, reversing its policies for the Xbox One. Maxis even offered up a free game as an apology.
Since then, Maxis and EA have learned from their heavy mistake, ensuring that it will remain in the past when EA launches The Sims 4. Producer Grant Rodiek confirmed with VG247 that that "The Sims 4 is an offline, client-based game."
Granted, this move is understandable given the PR nightmare the SimCity launch was, but this might be considered a giant step backwards. It's not that gamers don't like playing online, it's that they don't want it forced down their throats as a requirement in order to play the game. Technology is still a fragile thing, and most people don't like the idea of a $40-60 product rendered as little more than a paperweight because of a crowded server or shoddy internet connection, and rightfully so.
As a purely offline title, it's a pity players won't even be given the opportunity to interact with neighbors. So much for community...
Looking into the future, it's possible that The Sims 4 could one day make its way over to home consoles, but for the time being, the company is only looking at launching the game on PC and Mac only. Information on the title has only just started to trickle out, so an exact release date hasn't been provided yet, but The Sims 4 is expected to release sometime in 2014.
You can check out the first official gameplay trailer below.