Not so, according to EA president Frank Gibeau, though. Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, he insisted that the online-only title has always been an MMO and that it's transition from a single-player franchise to an always-on environment has nothing to do with DRM.
"I was involved in all the meetings. DRM was never even brought up once. You don't build an MMO because you're thinking of DRM -- you're building a massively multiplayer experience, that's what you're building," Gibeau said. "SimCity started out and felt like an MMO more than anything else and it plays like an MMO."
He also posits that DRM is a "failed dead-end strategy" and "not a viable strategy for the gaming business."
So why didn't EA market SimCity as an MMO from the beginning? Apparently it just slipped everyone's mind. "I'm disappointed that we didn't do a better job communicating that upfront," Gibeau explains.