As is typical with most large games, The Sims 4 suffered lots of digitally pirated copies making their way throughout certain gaming circles upon its release. What a lot of the pirates didn't know was that the game's failsafe was to slowly pixelate the screen until the entire game is censored.
Strategy Informer is reporting that pirates who have managed to get their hands on The Sims 4 without paying a dime for it are running into the pixel storm that keeps them from enjoying the game for any long period of time.
As mentioned on Strategy Informer...
“Amusingly, irate pirates have been flooding onto the Sims 4 forums, demanding to know why their ill-gotten game now looks like a pixel snowstorm. At which point everyone knows they've got an illegal copy. Oops.“
This is a common practice for a lot of games. Some titles will make it where your controls go completely bonkers, or the gameplay mechanics get twisted, sort of like always being stuck in “drunk mode” in GTA IV. As mentioned in the Strategy Informer piece, Serious Sam had an indestructible arachnid that would pester you through the game if you had a pirated copy of the title.
The flip-side to this is that you can't rent PC games and they no longer have demos as frequently as they used to (anyone remember reading the latest PC gaming mag and then heading to places like 3DGamer and HappyPuppyGames?) so as an alternative, a lot of gamers simply download the full PC title to see if it's worth purchasing. In the case of The Sims 4 anyone who wanted to buy the game on day one was put in a tough spot because no reviews would be available on day-one since EA only allowed review copies to go out after the game released.
Even more worrying was that the game launched with a pretty massive day-one patch. Usually that means that the game is in a somewhat unfinished state based on what it was supposed to be, given that day-one patches are released to address some of the most pressing issues and bugs in the game that didn't get ironed out after the game goes gold. This trend in itself is disheartening as developers aim to hit the deadlines as fast as possible and publishers are pushing to get games out within their expected quarterly windows. The end result is rarely ever in favor of the consumer.
On the upside, at least reviews are starting to appear for the game, with sites many sites pointing out the upgrades and downgrades suffered in the sequel. It does call into question just how well a review could roundly balance out the issues since the game launched on Tuesday and the reviews are live on a Thursday. I've never been a big fan of The Sims but that just doesn't seem like an adequate amount of time to get a good enough feel for the game.
Anyway, The Sims 4 is currently available on PC... without toddlers or pools.