A summary of what happened. Without any pending change announcement, around March, 2018, EA/Origin disabled the Limited Edition content from being enabled at player login to the player's account, despite the fact that this content was paid for, and despite the fact that online retailers continued to sell Shift 2 Unleashed Limited Edition (DVD-ROM). Support stated that they would try to fix this, but it's been 9 months or more since players reported this problem, and it seems unlikely this will ever be fixed.
Is this why half my cars have disappeared since I last played this game early 2018? The ones I owned are stiĺl there, but I cannot race them and I cannot sell them.
March - last edited March
> Is this why half my cars have disappeared since I last played this game early 2018?
That would be a new issue that I wasn't aware of. The problem is that EA/Origin changed the server so that it no longer sends out unlock messages to enable the Limited Edition content and any promotional items. This should only affect 3 cars (SIlvia, Giulietta, LP640), and 3 events (manufacturer showdown, old vs new, single type), plus any promotional cars like the Dr Pepper Camaro.
I don't know if other games content was disabled due to the EA/Origin server bug. It appears that Hot Pursuit Limited Edition does get it's Limited Edition content as soon as a player logs in for the first time to link the key with an EA account. I made a backup of the save files before logging in. On the very first log in, I was prompted to enter the game key, but starting over with a clean save and logging in again, the game didn't ask for the key again, as it already had linked it to my EA account.
I went back and looked at the EULA for Shift 2 Unleashed Limited Edition, it states that online play may be disabled with a 30 day notice, but there's nothing in the EULA that allows EA/Origin to disable content that was paid for, in this case the Limited Edition content. It's been about a year since this problem first started, and still there is no fix.
This is just a guess on my part, but looking at ea service_updates for shutdown dates, the only one I see near the time when the missing content bug started is:
March 15, 2018 - Need For Speed Network (website)
There is no mention of what this website does or how it relates to any of the Need For Speed games. Shift 2 online servers are still running, so it's not clear why the Shift 2 content unlock (Limited Edition stuff, Dr Pepper Camaro, ...) would be affected by Need For Speed Network website, but that's the only change I see in early 2018, which seems to correspond to the time that the content unlock stopped working. The data files for the extra content are there, but can't be accessed.