When we talk future proofing a game it's a very different thing from future proofing hardware. For a game – when it's future-proofed – we're talking about how far into the future the game will hold up; whether you'll still be able to play it or whether its functions will still be relevant. There are some games that are not future-proof right from the start: MMOs are not future proof since they rely on a constant net connection to play. Games laced with always-on DRM are also exempt from being future-proof, why? Because they, too, are tied in functionally to the reliability and longevity of a company's server, meaning that if the company goes under or their servers fail, you lose the game forever.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun has always been vocal about always-on DRM; always championing consumers and warning gamers about the hazards of this abominable service. Things really came to a head when RPS's John Walker finally threw away the niceties and called always-on DRM a disease in the industry and that it's the broken game that needs to go away.
Even more than that, Walker calls the anti-consumer measure an “inherently broken” feature that plagues both the gameplay enjoyment factors and consumer convenience noting...
To see anyone defending EA and Maxis for the state of SimCity, even were it in perfect working order on launch, depresses me to my core. This self-flagellation-as-skincare notion, where gamers loudly and proudly defend the destruction of their own rights as consumers, is an Orwellian perversity. That it might be considered in any way controversial to call them out on their crap, to point out that no, always-on DRM is not an advantage to anyone, is bewildering. It’s a sign of just how far the gaming world has fallen into the rabbit hole of the publisher’s burrowing.
More importantly, both Rock, Paper, Shotgun and Reclaim Your Game's assessment of SimCity note how there is literally no benefit to the consumer having to trudge an arduous journey through various DRM facilitators just to play the game. That's not to mention that you can only play when EA allows you to play.
Erik Kain from Forbes paints gamers a question about solving the problem of digital ownership and how we're almost at the crossroad where things could go from bad to downright ugly.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun makes it known – just the same as they did during the Diablo III fiasco – that gamers and the community at large should not let this go; that deliberately facing this issue head-on and keeping it in the news until something changes is the way to face the problem down, and I agree.
Even when Maxis does get the servers for SimCity up and running at 100% you'll still be at the mercy of EA to access the game, to play the game, and ultimately when and how you'll be able to enjoy the game.
There's an ongoing petition taking place that attempts to get Maxis and EA to back away from the always-on DRM nature of the game, and anyone who doesn't want to see this kind of thing become a norm in their single-player adventures (imagine only being able to play Mass Effect's campaign online or only being able to play the latest Command & Conquer via always-on DRM) then something should be done. At the very least, keep the pressure on EA (because it was ultimately their call) and keep the press on task. Letting EA get away with this is like giving them permission to murder your hobby.
(Main image courtesy of Gamermint.com)