On Tuesday many Origin users booted up their machines to learn that EA had pushed a patch to The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection, a compilation package of The Sims 2. The Sims 2 is thirteen years old and was last updated, to the best of my knowledge, in 2008. Two more main series Sims games had been released since then, so why a patch after over nine years? What could possibly need updating in a game that has existed as abandonware for close to a decade? Seemingly nothing, if you started up the game to have a look.
Within a day, though, someone had sussed out what the patch was for. It had removed SecuROM from the game, an intrusive and widely reviled form of DRM that was introduced to the series in the patch that accompanied the Bon Voyage expansion pack and re-introduced with the Ultimate Collection. Simple enough, right? The UC already has it’s share of intrusive DRM in Origin itself, there’s no need for another layer on top of that. Not to mention that SecuROM is also known to have trouble playing nicely with Windows 10.
I’m going to take a step back right now for those who might be unfamiliar with The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection. It’s not for sale. It never was for sale. Electronic Arts has never actually sold anything called “The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection” and the only way to legally acquire a copy of The Sims 2 (for Windows, at least[link to aspyr version]) in 2017 is to buy a used physical copy. The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection was given away for free during a period of two weeks in 2014, immediately after EA announced that it was ending all official support for The Sims 2.
So it’s pretty weird that EA would spend money and man hours in making a game that they aren’t making any from more compatible with newer computers, huh? The only conclusion I could come to is that they’re planning on opening up the game for purchase. There’s a niche for it and the product already exists, however flawed it’s current form may be. The original Sims 2 UI doesn’t play well with larger screen resolutions, newer graphics chips cause all sim shadows to show up as large, black squares and the game will only run at 1024×768 if you don’t edit a .ini file.
If my theory that EA is preparing to begin selling The Sims 2 again is correct, I would expect a few more small updates in the future to bring the game more in line with something one can get away with selling in 2017.
Or not. Because EA are just like that.