Then other things started to come out. EA released statements to the effect that the game would be nigh-impossible to reengineer to run offline, because “with the way that the game works, we offload a significant amount of the calculations to our servers so that the computations are off the local PCs and are moved into the cloud.” Gamers responded that this was probably ridiculous bullshit, but we didn’t have proof of this until the last twenty-four hours, wherein a modder was able to run the non-regional version of the game offline without any significant issues. A Maxis insider has confirmed this. Clearly a “significant amount of engineering” isn’t actually required in order to make the game playable without an internet connection. The DRM that was presented by the game’s distributor as a fundamental part of the game’s function is not fundamental, practically speaking.

So either EA was misinformed by Maxis, or they’re lying.

Why should we care about this? Most simply, because it’s a continuation of an ongoing trend: The recategorization of technology owners as technology users, of the possession of private property transformed into the leasing of property owned by others, with all the restrictions on use that come along with it. And what’s most worrying about this are all the ways in which we as owner-users are being encouraged to view this as a normal part of our relationship with our stuff. When the very concept of “our stuff” is up for grabs.