I don't have a CD drive so was wondering if it is possible to activate a retail copy of SimCity via Origin and just download the game from Origin rather than installing it using the disk?
Create an Origin account if you do not have one already.
Enter the product key included with the retail copy of SimCity (either through the website or through the Origin client Games > Redeem Product Code)
- The game is now unlocked, and you can download it with the Origin client.
Origin is the delivery mechanism for EA games to receive their updates, as well as handle DRM. This is much like Steam.
You have to install Origin to use the game, so essentially all you are getting at the store is a License Key, and some installation files for Origin, and maybe a SimCity downloader for the latest patch of the game.