There are still people playing all four previous iterations of SimCity today. What happens to this one in X number of years when EA decides they're done supporting it and shuts down the servers?
Exactly... THIS. One thousand percent.
We can still plug in old 8-bit Nintendo systems and play those ancient games for nostalgia's sake... but good luck getting into games long abandoned by their host servers shutting down forever.
I won't get into a game that I can't grow and age with... I get a lot out of playing my favorite games I haven't touched in 5-10 years. New games that start off dependent on their developer's servers are dead to me...
Yeah, but then game publishers don't care about people like you. They also don't care if their game is still playable in 5 or 10 years, because they know they are going to make the vast majority of the game's total sales within the first few months. They'll continue support for a few years, depending on how well it sold (ongoing support costs money, after all.) But eventually, they'll pull the plug and that game you spent your money on will be worthless. It doesn't matter much to the publisher, since it's a net savings to end support, and by that point most gamers have moved on to newer titles, so they aren't going to miss that old game.
EA's a bunch of bastards but they aren't entirely unreasonable. They are still supporting Spore, 5 years on. Where you have real problems is with games that just totally bombed in sales (say, well under 1 million copies) and the company just wants to cut its losses, or even goes out of business. Obviously, if it has an always-online requirement, you're screwed--but then the company that sold you the game isn't inclined to care, because they lost money or don't even exist anymore.
The only reason an Internet connection didn't become a requirement sooner was because the financials didn't work out--not enough people had the required connections to make it viable. But now, there is plenty of broadband penetration in the major markets where games are sold, and requiring a connection serves multiple business needs: it thwarts piracy, enables various social features that wouldn't otherwise be possible, permits purchasing of in-game content, and allows the publisher/developer to unilaterally "retire" the game and push people to buy a newer version (or another title entirely.)
From a business standpoint, it's incredibly astute, and the publishers have figured out that the very vocal minority that hates connection requirements is just that--a tiny minority that the company can safely write off caring about.