It seems to be smart that traditional PC game require 'Constant Online', it has many kinds of excuses, such as 'For better online experience', 'Save the local space for player's hard disk', 'Polish your network wire from getting rusty' etc.
But the true reason, we all know about it.
As a programmer, I bet that 'Constant Online' is not an idea that come from an programmer's mind, and it must be from a smart MBA graduate, dress and tied, waving his laser pointer on the PPT and promote his 'Constant Online' idea, which acts like an undead mage spelling fire ball. As a business elite, 'I only care about the business, not the game.' must be his pet phrase.
For a 15 years PC game player from C&C1, I consider that the game stored in my PC is a integer property of mine, that means, after I payed and got the copy, I can install and play my game on any time any where, with or without network. I can play Redalert on fjord of Norway as I wish, though it is odd, but that made me relieved that the game I bought is really belong to me.
Let's put aside issues like network lagging, 'Constant Online' give cutomers a feeling of discomfort. Weeks ago I bought a copy of 'Total War Shogun II', I can't wait playing the game when I open the pack, it is exciting you know, but I have to wait because the game need to run on steam and it must be updated for about 3G files, and the update is compulsive and the game could not be run offline!
I am not American, so I do not know wheather internet service in American is free and without lagging, but in the world, even in Eurpe, there are many places that have bad internet lan.
Even we only talk about business, which traditional PC game get the business success from 'Constant Online'? Starcraft II need an online account to play, even using the map editor, but how about the result, the business result? How many players enjoy the 'online playing experience'? How many map creators benefit from the 'Online map publish' mechanism? In fact, it is abandoned and forgotten gradually by players, and it was also cracked even in Beta version.
In 2003, Blizzard's warcrat 3 and starcraft rules the RTS world, but today, players want a next generation RTS game, Starcraft II failed the players, and Command & Conquer General II, with its Frostbite engine, have a chance to get great success in the RTS world, both business and non-business. EA should look further, and do not strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.