Always-on DRM has proven to be a major security measure used by certain big companies as a way to combat piracy. Though results of a title using it has varied results, there have been quite a number of titles that have suffered (or are suffering in the case of SimCity) from this feature that requires a constant internet connection in order to play.
Of course, issues with servers crashing have also played a role in the negative reception. Below are just a few of the recent games to be put in the spotlight due to messed up servers and the always-on DRM.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
There are very few people who couldn't tell you what comes to mind when you say 'Star Wars.' In fact, I bet the thoughts of light saber battles, Darth Vader's signature look and sound, and the wise Yoda are rushing to your head right now. Star Wars: The Old Republic was a MMO set within the Star Wars universe that allowed players to choose between two factions: the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire.
Star Wars: The Old Republic had a very rocky launch in which players had to wait in ungodly long queues just to access the game. Not to mention, a few who pre-ordered the title found that the registration codes included were invalid. When BioWare was able to get the servers running smoothly, the game reached over 1 million players within the first few days of its launch. Due to a decrease in its subscriptions in the months following the release, though, Star Wars: The Old Republic abandoned its monthly fees for a free-to-play style.
A title that had been in development for over ten years, Diablo 3 had many worried about how well it would turn out. Taking place twenty years after the events of Diablo 2, you control a character who offers to help Leah and her uncle Deckard Cain as they try to unravel an ominous prophecy. Divided into acts, players are able to explore different locations either by themselves or with others.
Surely, you would think that Diablo 3 would follow in the steps of its predecessor and not require a constant internet connection. This is not the case and due to this requirement, Diablo 3's launch was marred with overpopulated servers and game bugs. Blizzard asked players to be patient. To give the servers time to get stable.
SimCity, the latest entry in the popular Maxis series, uses the new GlassBox engine and reboots the series. It was known from the beginning that EA had planned to use the always-on DRM regardless of whether you planned to play with friends or not. Having the constant internet connection just to be able to play the game is also a feature (or rather, downside) EA implemented into the game.
If you've been reading any of the many video game publications or follow a bunch of gamers on Twitter, it is a safe bet that you know that EA's latest title has been plagued with servers being down or so busy that no one's been able to play. When the game's servers first went live, everyone excitedly went to install the game so that they could build cities from the ground up. This caused one of the worse game launches in recent history as many were forced to wait hours just to start the game. Even then, if the server crashes while you are working on your city then there is a good chance your progress, or entire city, will be lost. Many took to Twitter and the EA forums to voice their dissatisfaction. While EA has added some new servers and disabled features that most use, this hasn't helped much. Another thing that doesn't help is that EA has made it clear that those who purchased their copy of the game digitally cannot get a refund.