ALERT: Origin May Be Selling An Outdated, Unpatchable Version of SC4, Yet Again
February 5, 2017 7 Comments
Those of you who have followed my blog likely remember the incident back in 2014, when Origin, the EA-owned digital download platform, had been inexplicably selling users outdated, unpatchable copy of the SimCity 4 Deluxe, which could not run the Network Addon Mod. A couple days after this caught wind and PC Gamer also reported on it, Origin users reported receiving an “update” through the Client, which patched their game to the proper 1.1.641 digital version sold by all other retailers.
However, a user by the name RichardCollins started a thread at Simtropolis on February 2, detailing the fact that his Origin retail copy of the game had reverted back to Version 1.1.610 following a system restore. He noticed this after having the NAM installer tell him he needed the patch to update the game to the minimum Version 1.1.638 needed to properly run the mod. The screenshot he provided showing the version information also has the same filesize and copyright date as the unpatchable Version 1.1.610 Origin copy from 2014. Here’s a comparison:
In this most recent case, the user spent hours over multiple days trying to get Origin to correct the issue, and provide the properly updated version of the game, getting the runaround from completely unknowledgeable Origin customer support agents (which included this absurd exchange–apparently, some gamers aren’t all that trustworthy after all). Those agents told him to disable Windows User Access Control (UAC) and his security software, among other completely useless things that have absolutely nothing to do with getting a bad copy of SimCity 4 Deluxe, which can’t take advantage of the very things that have kept the game’s community alive for 14 years.
Origin did eventually relent and give out a refund, but curiously, the last agent claimed that Origin “did not have access to the patches” but would “keep an eye out for it.” This is a particularly strange response, given the fact that all reports have indicated that users who have gotten free copies from Origin by redeeming their old CD keys have gotten Version 1.1.641.
Beyond this situation, there have also been numerous reports in the past year that Origin copies, unlike other digital copies (even those with DRM), also prevent installation the game’s Building Architect Tool (BAT), a Gmax gamepack that EA released themselves back in February 2004 to allow users to create custom buildings for SC4. This does apparently apply to the Version 1.1.641 copies that the CD key users as well.
Based on the evidence in this case, it appears Origin may have reverted the retail copy from their online store quite some time ago. If you have purchased SC4 from Origin within the past two years, I’d advise you check your version number. If you’re among those affected and have a Version 1.1.610 copy, you can help the cause by sharing a screenshot of your version number, by going to the executable, right clicking it, selecting “Properties” and then going to the “Details” tab.
This is a developing story, and I’ll provide updates if/when any additional information breaks.