C&C4 will require an "always on" Internet connection, however the game will ship without DRM.
Fans anticipating the release of Blizzard's StarCraft II--and the eventual release of Diablo III--have faced the bitter realization that the company has chosen to omit LAN support in both PC games. Outraged by the news, fans lashed out at the company in bitter protest, however Blizzard stands firm in its opposition against the inclusion of LAN. But now there's something else to protest: EA's upcoming fourth installment of Command & Conquer will require an "always on" Internet connection.
"As of right now, you need to be online all the time to play C&C 4," confirmed community leader APOC over on the CNCDen forums. "This is primarily due to our "player progression" feature so everything can be tracked. C&C 4 is not an MMO in the sense of World of Warcraft, but conceptually it has similar principles for being online all the time." This means that no matter what mode gamers are playing--whether it's the single-player campaign or the multiplayer portion--the game must be connected to the Internet at all times.
He also added that the team has been testing this feature internally with all of its world-wide markets. "We wanted to make sure it wouldn't take away any significant market or territory from playing the game," he said. "We have not found or seen any results that have made us think otherwise. You won't need a fast connection, in fact, you could be on age-old dial-up, and have the same single player experience as everyone else. Online all the time won't cause lag for single-player. We've also heavily worked on the online infrastructure such that people with slower connections will not lag other players with faster connections in Multiplayer."
A prior interview with designer Samuel Bass revealed that the "always on" Internet enforcement actually prevents players from cheating, as the game will be shipping without DRM.