I recently bought the PC version of Need for Speed 2015/2016, after much deliberation. The game seemed a bit expensive for what it was, but nevertheless it’s been a while since I played a nice casual racing game so I got it anyway.
I refunded the game a few hours later, and here’s why:
They’ve introduced an always online feature that serves no purpose other than to prevent piracy. This completely ruins the experience for two reasons:
1) If your connection drops you are instantly taken back to the menu screen, which means you lose any progress you made on a race. This forces you to sit through a long loading screen to get back into the game – every single time.
2) You cannot pause the game, ever. Need to see who’s at the door in the middle of the race? Sorry, you’ll need to restart the race. Is your baby crying during an intense 20 minute cop chase? Sorry, you’ll get busted.
You really can’t enjoy this unless you have a fast stable internet connection, no friends, no family, or anything else that could interrupt you.
So what’s the upside? Well you can see other racers online and challenge them if you want, which I don’t. The only real upside has nothing do to with the player or your experience with the game, it’s EA’s way of making sure nobody plays the game illegally.
In this case I wasn’t really upset, because Origin refunded the game. I have to give them that, thanks for giving me my money back for what in my mind is a defective product that was designed to be defective. The game may be consumer unfriendly, but at least the sales platform wasn’t. Still, it’s disappointing that EA keeps on ruining games and their reputation by including incredibly invasive Digital Rights Management (DRM) in its games. Just design a game to be the best it can be and sell it. Don’t try to engineer it around DRM.
Yes you may lose some sales to piracy, assuming that some of the people pirating the game would have bought it otherwise. The alternative, however, is losing sales to loyal customers because you’ve ruined the game for them.