Smiley-Face Bubble: The Sims 4 Will Be Offline

By John Walker on August 21st, 2013 at 11:30 am.

Once bitten, and bitten, and bitten, twice shy, it seems at Maxis. After their utterly stupid and inherently selfish decision to artificially force SimCity to be always online, and then lie about why, it seems this time out they’ve decided not to push their luck. Sims 4, the PC and Mac-only release (I can’t see that lasting – surely 3DS, Vita and next-gen ports will eventually appear?) will play one hundred percent offline, according to a report from VG247.

Producer Grant Rodiek told Mr Garrett’s site that it’s “an offline, client-based game”. Presumably before curling his head away and begging, “please love us now!”

It’s tempting to say, “Well, they got burned, so obviously,” but it’s actually rather a big deal. In a world of microtransacted social networking skateboards and the like, to keep a massive franchise like this offline is certainly rather a big deal. Bearing in mind its enormous, mainstream reach, and how easy that would be to monetise online, avoiding making networked neighbourhoods a requirement must have still taken some doing. In fact, it’s hard to not assume that at one point there would have been plans to have it and SimCity integrated.

Of course, it’s not like EA didn’t already quite impressively screw up a fully online incarnation of the Sims, inspiringly called The Sims Online. It was a flop, endlessly mucked around with, before being madly renamed EA Land, then finally and mercifully stamped to death just six months later. So with that in their history, and a whole lot of well-earned hatred and hostility over their ludicrous bullshit with the ultimately pretty awful SimCity, it makes some sense.

So, it’s rather good news, really. The PC/Mac exclusivity is an odd one – it’s hard to see why EA would want to deliberately avoid the next-gen goldmine for a series that always sells infinity copies, plus infinity more of the infinity DLCs that follow. Unless of course they have something else planned for them, that they’ve yet to unveil. Only the unending ticking of chronological time will tell.

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38 Comments »

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  1. Drake Sigar says:

    Plus with their new refunds policy, they can’t really pull another SimCity.

  2. Patches the Hyena says:

    Look at this wonderfully prescient comment on that old EA Land post which is referred to by this article: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2008/02/27/sims-online-is-dead-long-live-ea-land/#comment-27527

  3. SayNoToDRM says:

    Bet it will still require Origin/online activation though.

    • NyuBomber says:

      You are correct, according to a purported FAQ floating about. Requires one-time only Origin activation, then it’s completely offline.

      • SayNoToDRM says:

        If that’s the case, then what little interest I had left in this game has now gone as I refuse to allow Origin or any other SecuROM wrapper anywhere near my PC.

        • fish99 says:

          You can’t have many games to play if you avoid anything that requires a DRM client, securom or online activation. The amazing thing is I have 3 DRM clients on my PC, securom and loads of games that require online activation, and…. I’m still alive. The odds of that must be at least several million to one.

          • SayNoToDRM says:

            On the contrary, GOG and other non-DRM sites offer me a lot of gaming options as does the indie scene in general. The problem I have here is that the RRP of Sims 4 is a shocking £45 for the gutted version (and £55 for the version with a few more bits added), and besides being expected to hand over my cash, I am also expected to ask for EA’s permission to play the game! They don’t seem to trust me as a consumer, so is there a reason why I should trust them as a publisher and Origin as a platform?

            I tolerate Steam (and have games on there) partly because 1) Valve has yet to try and screw me over (EA already did that with SecuROM that disabled my DVD drive and non-gaming software) and 2) They put on proper sales, unlike EA. The DRM pill is a little less bitter to swallow when Just Cause 2 is £2!

            EA, on the other hand has flirted with always-on DRM, 10-day “phone home” verification checks, account lock-outs for being quoted on their forums/raising a support issue, hard drive scanning for potentially pirated software and the final straw, for me, microtransactions from within the game.

          • Hahaha says:

            Just admit your a hypocrite and change your name.

          • Hahaha says:

            “I tolerate Steam (and have games on there) partly because 1) Valve has yet to try and screw me over (EA already did that with SecuROM that disabled my DVD drive and non-gaming software) and 2) They put on proper sales, unlike EA. The DRM pill is a little less bitter to swallow when Just Cause 2 is £2!”

            No edits for you

          • ElDopa says:

            The truth is, these days you don’t need to buy DRM games anymore… Even if I would only play DRM-free games I’d still have more games than I could play. And the number is drastically increasing.

        • Kadayi says:

          *chortles*

  4. Utsunomiya says:

    But why?! Sim City’s always online requirement really enhanced my playing experience beyond what these meager “singleplayer” games could offer. That tingling sensation you get when your game client pings the game server is extraordinary!

    Damn, I’m bitter.

    • Lanfranc says:

      The connection failures were an artful and poignant reminder of the ultimate existential isolation and meaninglessness of human existence. Worth every penny (all 3000 of them).

  5. Premium User Badge

    cpt_freakout says:

    Given the earlier PvZ2 story it seems clear that EA thinks the PC is the place for slow-paced simulations directed at an audience wider than ‘gamers’ and consoles are all about the ACTION for the young’uns. Or something.

  6. BobbyDylan says:

    Look at all da emotions!!

  7. XhomeB says:

    When will they provide a patch for SimCity allowing for offline play? Or increasing the city cize limits? Maybe then I’d consider buying it…

  8. Oureeace says:

    This is what I do, they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. ••• I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money http://www.ℤ℮n45.ℂℴℳ •••Phenomenal!
    Enjoy the journey.

  9. UmmonTL says:

    I thought you weren’t using the L-word when talking about EA’s and Maxis’ statements about Sim City.

    Anyway, just because it’s 100% offline doesn’t mean you won’t have online features like microtransactions to buy more furniture. AFAIK the last The Sims already had that or was it just the Addons and DLC packs.
    Anyways, one big appeal factor of The Sims even for casual gamers are the mods. High quality textures and overly fancy dresses and hairdos to make your virtual life better. Better AI that will make the virtual people act more human. And there is certainly a market for the NSFW mods that EA could never access without the help of modders.

    • NyuBomber says:

      Nobody’s expecting them to not have an online store and oodles of poodles of DLC, but there’s a difference between offering a new furniture set for 1000 EA FunBux, and forcing players to verify, log-in to, stay connected to, and be at the whims of EA’s servers every time they want to play what is tailored to be a single-player experience.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    Knowing EA, on launch day everyone who pre-ordered The Sims 4 will probably burst into flames anyway.

  11. acheron says:

    “EA Land” sounds like something you would encounter in the fourth circle of Hell. (“greed”, obviously.)

    • bstard says:

      EA land makes me thing bout Fallout. Rumors go EA is buying shares for the 9th as well.

  12. ZHsquad says:

    Yes, they say it will be “100% offline”. While this is true, there will be bits and pieces that will coerce you to go online. In the Sims 3, it’s also 100% offline. Yet everytime you do something (get a job, bake a cake, look at a bird, take a shower), it says “tell your friends/tweet this/let others know”. You can’t disable these either.

    That was very, very annoying. Mainly happened after the Supernatural expansion pack. I seriously hope they will not shove this into our faces again. But, it will most likely happen.

    • Premium User Badge

      JamesTheNumberless says:

      Yeah I see nothing here that suggests they won’t continue in this vein. I expect the basic game to be relatively small and there to be a ton of content, game modes and social stuff available for free just for connecting online (and more still available to buy) – but not accessible otherwise.

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      Eh? There’s a toggle for that in the options. Game has never pestered me since I switched that silly social stuff off.

    • The Random One says:

      Just pass the edict to ban social media and… wait, wrong simulation game with minimal advances on each sequel, the last of which has recently been announced.

      • darkhog says:

        And TS3 even took away some of TS2 functionality, namely placing parcels whenever in city you want (later one they added “parcel patch”, but it was still disgusting to see it happening in first place). And there is also no city creator in sight (Seen some on EA’s site, but it seems to be broken, as in not working with current version of TS3).

  13. C0llic says:

    I think this is actually a very canny move for them given the sims target demographic. Lots of very casual gamers, probably playing on laptops, who really aren’t going to be impressed one iota when their game suddenly stops working.

    As much as we all hate this stuff, we have become accustomed to it; taking the knocks and rejoicing when something better comes along. For someone who probably just plays the Sims and maybe some light facebook games, that it isn’t really the case.

    And of course, they’re going to milk it dry with umpteen expansion packs which will be bought, again, by a demographic that is probably a little less likely to seek them out for free.

    This is EA cashing in those brownie points, with what they likely see as the most risk-free franchise they have in terms of ‘lost sales’ due to piracy.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Keymonk says:

    Hopefully this game’ll actually be stable. I love the Sims, but the Sims 3 was a mess, in terms of client stability.

  15. Hahaha says:

    For sure it’s definitely to do about simcity and not the sims online

    \o/ Hentzau has put another post up
    http://scientificgamer.com/

  16. flang says:

    So EA is releasing an Origin-exclusive, DRM game with microtransactions, and this is apparently cause for celebration. Wonderful.

  17. chabuhi says:

    Every pixel will cost $2.99 in RMT

  18. Kadayi says:

    Pretty sure they stated this ‘news’ when the game was originally announced way back when. Why there would be the belief that the game would require a constant online connection is frankly bizarre, based simply upon who the parent company is and not the nature of the existing franchise or the game itself.

    • chabuhi says:

      Sorry, my sarcasmometer is in the shop for repairs so I have little to tell me if you’re serious or not, but SimCity’s franchise history was also free of any always online requirement until the most recent- oh, you are kidding aren’t you.

      • Kadayi says:

        Sim City and The Sims are separate franchises. They stated already when they announced the game that it wouldn’t require a constant online connection. What part of this information are you unable to grasp exactly?

  19. satsui says:

    Hey, I’m all for having The Sims 4 have online capability. Just don’t A) force it on me and B) allow me to choose who my sim can interact with.