Always-on DRM—that is, digital rights management—has been a contentious subject within the gaming world ever since it first arrived on the scene. For those of us not in the know, games that use DRM require people to remain linked to a server via Internet connection in order to actually experience them. While many game developers would assert that it's an effective technique meant to prevent piracy of their software and is a convenient way to distribute updates, most fans would argue that it's a hassle, especially if the DRM authentication network goes down and locks gamers out completely.
Opinions on the matter aside, some video game companies have utilized the method successfully, like Blizzard with Starcraft II and Diablo III, while others have failed miserably by implementing it, such as Electronic Arts' lackluster SimCity reboot. Now, strangely enough, after distancing themselves from using the technology several years back, EA's upcoming relaunch of the popular racing game Need for Speed will require an online connection in order to play.
The news comes from the official Need for Speed Twitter account after user @DeanRheims brought up the notion of the title possibly having always-on DRM. A couple of follow-up Tweets to other users also explained that there will be a single player mode in addition to the multiplayer, and that being connected will allow for one's friends to be a part of their “narrative experience.” However, there was no confirmation of the game being playable offline at all.
For some players, this report could sour the recent Need for Speed release date rumors that the game's release date November 3 of this year. Plus, after EA's aforementioned fiasco with the always-on DRM for SimCity's reboot, one has to speculate whether or not the decision to make an Internet connection mandatory for the racing game is a mistake.
If we're really being honest, it's been quite some time since Electronic Arts has truly understood what the fans actually want. In fact, the video game corporation has been selected as the worst company in America two years in a row in a vote run by the digital publication Consumerist.
Regardless of Electronic Arts' reputation, the details for Need for Speed are still rather scant. Aside from the information that the racing title will be open world, will feature car customization options, and will have an “immersive narrative,” all we have left to go on is the knowledge that it will also be supported by the Frostbite Engine used in EA's other upcoming reboot, Star Wars Battlefront. With any luck, more positive particulars will be revealed at E3 this year.
Does the online requirement for Need for Speed make you hesitant to buy the game? Moreover, is always-on DRM a hindrance to video games in general?
Need for Speed is set to drop later this year for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.