Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
April 18, 2014
arrowPress Releases
April 18, 2014
PR Newswire
View All





If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM TechWeb sites:


Opinion: SimCity launch debacle comes down to mismanaged expectations Exclusive
Opinion:  SimCity  launch debacle comes down to mismanaged expectations
March 15, 2013 | By Patrick Miller

March 15, 2013 | By Patrick Miller
Comments
    89 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing, Exclusive



SimCity has been out for about ten days by now -- a veritable eternity in the games industry -- and the outrage surrounding EA and Maxis's unfortunate launch continues to burn brightly. But what is it about SimCity, specifically, that has kept it in the crosshairs of public opinion for so long? After all, online games get off to rocky server-related starts all the time.

From my perspective, the SimCity problem isn't just that the servers weren't working, it's that the SimCity fans who loved the series enough to buy the new version at launch were never expecting a game with such a heavy focus on multiplayer, nor were they expecting an always-online game to begin with. And when they found out that the new online features and requirements were preventing the game from working at all, it set off an explosion of overall dissatisfaction with anti-consumer trends in the games industry -- something that other devs, especially those tasked with reviving a much-loved classic IP, should be particularly careful about in the future.

The SimCity bait and switch

When I think of SimCity, I think back to the countless hours I spent playing SimCity 2000 on my Mac Performa 475, building (excuse me -- "plopping"), zoning, tweaking, troubleshooting, and generally obsessing over city after city. The "goal" was simply to suss out, through trial and error, the rules that made the game work; the bigger my city grew, the better my understanding of what made my Sims happy.

That right there is the core of SimCity, and judging from the overall tone of EA's SimCity promotion, EA and Maxis seemed to get that, too; if you go and look at the promotional materials over at SimCity.com, mention of multiplayer features and the new Live Service seems like an afterthought. And the system requirements do not indicate that the game requires a persistent internet connection, just that a broadband connection is required.

On the contrary, most of the new features sounded like EA and Maxis were doubling down on doing core SimCity mechanics better than before; trumpeting the ability to look at individual Sims, building multiple cities at once, adding specializations, and so on. In other words, SimCity fans thought they'd be getting a new SimCity, just like the previous ones except better, with a few neat-sounding online features that might spice up the core SimCity design a bit.

However, Maxis and EA were building SimCity to be a proper Online Game, built to rely on an internet-connected infrastructure and mechanics that encourage playing with other people. Whether or not SimCity was conceived from the get-go to be an online game doesn't really matter when it comes to player expectations. What matters is that SimCity was released as an online-only game despite the fact that the core SimCity game mechanics don't depend on a persistent online connection the same way that, say, an MMORPG does.

Essentially, consumers wanted a SimCity, and EA wanted a "SimCity Online," because always-online games are harder to pirate, offer more opportunities for EA to track player analytics, and generally make it easier for a large software-selling company to make money. If Maxis could make a game that made both the customer and the publisher happy, they win; consumers get the game they want, EA gets the game it wants. But if either party is unhappy, Maxis loses.

Server issues ignited DRM resentment

Every time a classic game IP is resurrected into an always-online incarnation on the PC, game enthusiasts will complain about it, but that usually won't stop the game from selling. In general, no consumer is a fan of always-on DRM, or any of the other anti-consumer practices common in mainstream triple-A games, but as long as the DRM doesn't get in the way of a consumer's ability to play the game, their desire to play the game will usually win out over their anti-DRM convictions. (In other words, the people on game forums who claim that they won't buy a game because they really like playing their games on laptops during long airplane flights may be vocal, but publishers will not bend to their wishes.)

I suspect that had the SimCity launch gone smoothly, no one would have cared. Some players would have probably enjoyed the extra layer of gameplay and complexity that the connected features added, and for the people who didn't like the online stuff, they probably would have still enjoyed whatever remained of the core SimCity design, and ignored all the connected stuff.

But the launch didn't go smoothly. In fact, it failed in probably the most catastrophic way possible; the people who loved SimCity's core design the most -- so much that they either preordered it or bought it on the first day -- couldn't play it right when they got it. Instead, they opened up the game and discovered that they needed to connect to a server, and they couldn't do it. Why did they have to connect to a server? Not because of the core SimCity design they loved, but because of all the newfangled features and requirements that, in their eyes, was superfluous to the core SimCity experience.

Since the players literally hadn't had a chance to try out new social and online features, all they saw was a bunch of stuff they didn't care about getting in the way of the game they've loved for over 20 years. That made them mad, and when Maxis exec Lucy Bradshaw explained the problem as simply resulting from overwhelming demand, it made them madder, because they were never expecting an online-centric, online required game to begin with. And when gamers get mad, they'll blow other seemingly minor design quirks into deal-breaking flaws, hack your game to try and "fix" it, and eat up all the negative press about your game they can find.

Doing things differently

It's no secret that we're already living in an always-online world, and when it comes to large publishers and triple-A games, DRM is the norm rather than the exception. So, given the reality that EA and Maxis require SimCity to always have an internet connection, what could they have done differently?

Proactively manage player's expectations. Reviving classic IPs is common practice in the game industry, because it's easy to sell someone on something they've already bought once before. In this case, however, it seems that the SimCity IP had a hidden liability; people wanted to enjoy the new SimCity in exactly the same way they enjoyed the old SimCity, and the new SimCity wouldn't let them do that. Had the new SimCity been pitched early on as an always-online evolution of the SimCity experience, players might have been more forgiving.

Don't mess up. This one is obvious, but perhaps seeing SimCity get crucified in the court of public opinion will drill it into other devs and publishers that launch simply has to go off without a hitch or risk torpedoing your game altogether. If that means prying some extra money out of the coffers for stress testing or delaying launch, then so be it -- you don't get a second chance at a first impression.

Fixing access is more important than fixing design. At the end of the day, people who bought your game just want to play it, however flawed it may be. When Diablo III launched last year, it was arguably in even worse shape than SimCity. Not only were the overloaded servers preventing many players from playing the game at all (either in single player or multiplayer mode), but the game shipped without several of the features that were supposed to make the online component appealing in the first place (the real money auction house and player vs. player functionality, for example).

However, Blizzard managed to fix the server problems within a few days so players could get on with their demon hunting before the internet hate machine had revved into high gear, so even though players had complaints, most of them were still playing. If Maxis and EA had been able to deploy a special offline mode -- even only for the first few weeks while they had ironed out server issues -- their most vocal critics would have been too busy playing the game to rant about it.

Don't underestimate the love-hate relationship between players and publishers. The game industry may exist to sell entertainment, but this ain't no Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Many game enthusiasts still feel long-running resentment over industry practices that treat paying customers like criminals -- especially fans of an older franchise like SimCity, I suspect -- and whenever your DRM gets in the way of their game experience, there will be hell to pay.

Patrick Miller is the editor of Game Developer magazine. Follow him on Twitter @pattheflip.


Related Jobs

Penny Publications, LLC
Penny Publications, LLC — Norwalk, Connecticut, United States
[04.18.14]

Game Designer
Hasbro
Hasbro — Pawtucket, Rhode Island, United States
[04.18.14]

Sr. Designer/Producer, Integrated Play
Owlient
Owlient — Paris, France
[04.18.14]

English speaking Community Manager m/f
Sucker Punch Productions
Sucker Punch Productions — Bellevue, Washington, United States
[04.17.14]

Director of Engineering










Comments


E Zachary Knight
profile image
Withe the news that someone has already figured out how to play the game offline for as long as you want, I think a lot of these suggestions are moot. Once someone devises a way to save offline, then there will be nothing stopping people from enjoying the game.

Luke Shorts
profile image
You mean, besides the risk of being banned for a number of EULA violations? If they really want to enjoy offline single-player, they'd better wait until some helpful pirate has put on the Internet a fully modded and patched version of the game...

TC Weidner
profile image
actually there will much to stop people from still enjoying this game. The city size is way way too restrictive and the path finding is embarrassing. Your sims wake up go to ANY nearest job opening that day, then go home to ANY nearest home with an opening, really? Every police car and every firetruck in your city will all attempt to go to every fire or crime? really. and its gets worse and worse. You can build a successful city without any commercial or industry as long as you have parks, oh nice that realistic .. oh brother

Yeah its a farce. I feel duped.

Kevin Reese
profile image
"You can build a successful city without any commercial or industry as long as you have parks" -=> Ya totally realistic man! Look out how well that worked out for Athens.

Russ Menapace
profile image
I don't think people cared so much about it being always online. I think they cared that it didn't work.

If you can figure out a way to manage player expectations to make them OK with the game they just bought not working, you'll dominate the industry.

Dane MacMahon
profile image
Indeed. There are countless market examples that show people will happily except these restrictions when they work and when the game is good. EA failed in several areas but I don't think the online requirements itself was one of them.

Yes there are people who only play singleplayer who will be turned off by the requirement and the social focus. I'm one of them, actually. However for all those people you lose EA is hoping you gain more with the new features and focus. They might have been right, though the total launch screw-up will make it hard to tell.

Tyler Shogren
profile image
The traffic and other path finding bugs are the real issue, this is exactly why people have been pirating games. People who play more than a few hours cannot finish a game due to these crippling bugs. There's no way internal QA didn't know about these issues, meaning EA PR committed either fraud or gross negligence in communicating with the public. Review scores indicate complicity in most of the gaming media. This is a textbook example of what's wrong with the industry.

EA wants to make this just about DRM, but it's a red herring. It seems their real goal is to put all games on MMO-status: publishing paid-betas, collecting revenue up front and completing (or not) development depending on sales.

Ardney Carter
profile image
And this is why people should refuse to purchase games that for all intents and purposes SHOULD be single-player experiences and yet require an on-line connection. Sadly, this is unlikely to happen in numbers significant enough to effect change.

Kyle Redd
profile image
"Review scores indicate complicity in most of the gaming media."

I can't believe this aspect of the SimCity launch hasn't become a bigger story. The disparity between reviews from outlets who only played on EA's pre-release servers and those that played under real-world conditions is astonishing. Anyone who published one of those early reviews should be publicly shamed and admonished for such a screw-up.

Russ Pitt's review at Polygon has been particularly comical, going from a 9.5 on release day... to an 8 the next, and then a 4 (?!?) a few days after that, as he desperately tried to update his verdict to reflect reality.

Even some of the later reviews were pretty obviously covering for EA's disaster, bending over backwards to accommodate their behavior. Dan Stapleton's 7.0 verdict at IGN flat-out excused and dismissed the entire launch week as "history" and not relevant to his review, right in the opening paragraph. Are you kidding me? It's not hard for me to imagine that he wrote up the review sometime last week, then patiently waited while EA and Maxis repaired the damage to the game, all the while steadily adding points to his score.

Robert Tsao
profile image
@ Tyler

Complicity? I dunno about that. Gamespot's review was one of the most brutally ambivalent write-ups I read on the game. They awarded it a 5.0 out of 10. Gamespot.

I have a feeling a lot of the review scores handed out were predicated mostly on the promise of what the game was instead of the game as a unified whole, ie. a full-fledged service as opposed to a packaged product.

Tyler Shogren
profile image
@Robert

You're right. The initial glowing reviews have given way to more realistic treatments. Though many seem absurdly myopic in their focus on DRM servers vs. brokenness of basic gameplay. Eurogamer and RPS get it right.

Thom Q
profile image
EA is basically the Anti King Midas of the gaming industry at this point.

I'm so glad they had nothing to do with XCOM..

Russ Menapace
profile image
King Feces?

Thom Q
profile image
I thought I would keep it clean! :P

Thom Q
profile image
*Double*

Jake Skinner
profile image
Mismanaged expectations? I'm pretty sure that, as a consumer, there is a reasonable expectation to be able to access the product after you purchase it. If EA were a car company and their product only turned on part of the time, the cars would be recalled and a class action lawsuit would be launched.

I don't think your article takes in the full scope of stability issues with DRM technology and single player games (emphasis "single player.") Diablo 3's launch forever changed the landscape for developers desperate to protect their sales through online authentication. This latest furor against EA's DRM efforts is an escalation of Blizzard's own fallout. I'm sure it doesn't help that SWTOR was a flop.

Patrick Miller
profile image
Diablo 3 shattered sales records, so I don't think the landscape of anything changed there.

TC Weidner
profile image
Patrick- we wont know one way or the other until Diablo 4. Diablo 3 shattered sale records due to the previous Diablos.

Brian Kehrer
profile image
Like it or not, Blizzard made Diablo 3 a multiplayer game. They designed a lot of the systems around ( admittedly, probably a DRM focused decision ) the game being multiplayer. It may have not been a very good game, but they at least owned the idea of D3 being a multiplayer experience.

EA did not. They made a single player game 'always on' for the sole purpose of DRM. They didn't start by saying "what if Sim City were an MMO".

As far as a cooperative hack and slash - I thought Blizzard's technical implementation was quite good after launch bugs were fixed (and Blizzard fixes bugs, where EA never fixed the bugs in Sim City 4, let alone this game). That said - I still don't think Diablo was very good - but that has nothing to do with always on, DRM, or anything related to the Sim City debacle, just bad design.

Christopher Thigpen
profile image
But with this DRM garbage, you don't OWN a game, you RENT it.

And to me. That is trash development. With EA's history of killing servers, the life and death of this simcity can be measured in a few years.

That is what will be missing with this garbage methodology. What makes people so in love with the SimCity franchise, is that you can go back and play the others on an ancient pc and still recall all of the fond memories you had with it before, while you create new memories. All of that, all of the "good-will" that you can inherent for owning the game is gone. EA, Maxis, consumers, whomever. We are all at fault for the continued ineptness of EA's executive culture. Stop making asinine purchases and these garbage features go away. If I was a shareholder, I would be fuming at the last two "giant" releases (SWTOR and SimCity) are prime examples of how greed destroys fan faith.

Kyle Redd
profile image
@Brian

"Like it or not, Blizzard made Diablo 3 a multiplayer game. They designed a lot of the systems around ( admittedly, probably a DRM focused decision ) the game being multiplayer. It may have not been a very good game, but they at least owned the idea of D3 being a multiplayer experience."

I think you're memory may be a little fuzzy, Brian. Can you point to a single instance of someone at Blizzard describing Diablo III as being focused on multiplayer? In fact, after the always-on DRM was revealed, senior producer Alex Mayberry said this to try to calm the furor (http://tinyurl.com/43lexjo):

"Yes, you're going to have a connection, yes, your character will be stored on a server, but it doesn't mean you have to socialize with people. It doesn't mean you have to do anything but play the game by yourself. You'll still be able to have a private game. You'll still be able to go off and play the game solo and adventure solo."

That does not sound like a multiplayer game to me.

And after the game was released they also acknowledged that, sure enough, most people who played Diablo III did so alone (http://tinyurl.com/dxtrd8f):

"While many people are playing co-op, it’s still a minority of games. Ideally we would like players who want to play solo to be able to solo, and players who want to play co-op to play co-op. At the moment though playing solo is the clear choice, even for those who would prefer co-op with some of their friends."

Brian Kehrer
profile image
@Kyle

True enough - although if you look at the design decisions surrounding mid-dungeon join - it's clearly well thought out, technically. Also, the original designs for D3 called for a lot more multiplayer functionality (dueling...) than actually made it. I think that whole project was poorly managed.

I won't dispute that they added a bunch of co-op features to a game most of their audience assumed would be single player, and it was a bit of a debacle.

My real point is that comparing Blizzard to EA isn't entirely appropriate. Blizzard has a fairly great record for support - and while Diablo 3 was a mess at launch, they continue to support their players.

EA is building a reputation for highly anti-consumer strategies, which I believe deserve to be highlighted. This isn't just another 'always on' launch debacle like D3. EA's general attitude toward their players transcends technology - it's just that when servers fail, it's much more obvious. The unresolved critical bugs in Sim City 4, or iOS Sim City are just as bad, which is why I haven't purchased this particular piece of garbage.

The argument that 'always on' applications limit consumer freedom is an interesting one, though.

Ramin Shokrizade
profile image
@Brian,
The choice to go "always on" with D3 was not to combat piracy, it was an adaptation to their Real Money Auction House business model. I described the pitfalls of this approach 6 months before the game came out in this paper:

http://gameful.org/group/games-for-change/forum/topics/smedley-s-
dream-part-1-2-predictions-of-the-diablo-3-rmah

Here Blizzard built the game around the monetization model, not the other way around. I generally promote this as the right way to approach modern game design, but in this case they used a faulty business model that they did not fully understand. They risked their reputation and the franchise on this, to my surprise, and apparently to the surprise of their fan base which now no longer blindly rushes out and buys Blizzard products.

Brian Kehrer
profile image
@Ramin

Check that link, I'd like to read it :)

They certainly failed Econ 101/

Still, the fact that a server based game is 'perfect' DRM likely did not go unnoticed internally. Blizzard has a large presence in China post WoW, and you can't sell anything in China that isn't server based. I don't believe it didn't enter discussion.

That's a good point though. This approach still wasn't gameplay / player first - which has been the first major stain on their reputation.

Dave Bellinger
profile image
@Brian

I respect your opinion, but you are certainly way off-base on your assessments. Diablo 3 is completely independent of Online play, the only noticeable factor being the drop-rates of in-game items in order to make the Real Money Auction House profitable. Apart from that, essentially, it's a single player experience. Sim City on the other hand, while can be played privately and independently of everyone else, very much factors in Multiplayer as the intended method for successful city simulations, as is made evident by the fact that cities can share almost everything, from water and power, to police and fire trucks. I see that you hadn't purchased the game at all, so I just thought I would clarify: it's very obvious SimCity was developed to be (even if not advertised) a multiplayer game.

@Jake

I understand your car metaphor, but EA isn't a car company, and the product is a $60 piece of software. Additionally, the issue was not in the product itself, but in the servers supporting it. A more relevant metaphor would involve buying a phone vs. having a phone service plan. Apart from that, I'd have to disagree that anything is changing, there's tons of press surrounding this whole issue that really just brings to mind the old adage "there's no such thing as bad publicity" (Not always true, but I think apropos in this case.)

Brian Kehrer
profile image
@Dave

In my opinion D2 was always best played collaboratively over LAN. To say D3 isn't, at it's core multiplayer, and an improvement on party finding, is baffling. There is justifiable anger at not being able to play Diablo over LAN, but the core experience of Diablo was never single player in my opinion. From D2 on, it's been about group raids, trading, and dueling - most of which made it to D3.

This is in stark contrast to Sim City, which has always been a single player game. True enough, I have not played the latest iteration, but frankly, the multiplayer mechanics do not seem to go beyond the similar mechanics in Sim City 4, e.g. a passive bonus to adjacent cities.

The interactions in SimCity are not realtime in nearly the same way as Diablo.

Is the core gameplay dramatically improved by playing with friends in Diablo? Yes. Can you say the same of Sim City, or is it just passive bonuses?

Kyle Redd
profile image
@Brian

Regarding the support history of Blizzard v EA, I agree that it's no contest. EA's current reputation is well-deserved and factors in a lot more than just their DRM habits.

If we're talking just about DRM, though, there's really no difference between the two. Both companies make you agree to a host of nasty ToS, privacy, and EULA garbage. Both companies won't let you play until you sign away your legal rights. And in the end, both Diablo III and SimCity are going to be rendered unplayable once the servers are taken offline.

Dave Bellinger
profile image
@Brian

Thanks for the response. While I agree that there was arguably more enjoyment to be had from all the Diablo installments, up to and including 3, by utilizing Multiplayer, the game could always be played through in its entirety without teaming up with another player at all, including Diablo 3. For the new SimCity, I'm not saying the game is "enhanced" by using the Multiplayer features, I'm saying it's very dependent on it to reach the later stages of the game.

We are of course talking about two differently types of game progression, Diablo has a very linear and straightforward progression pattern, Act: Difficulty. The Higher the better, and there is one higher than the rest. SimCity is a game that you get from what you put into, as it always has been. The difference is, to use the easily identifiable metric of city-growth, a large population and skyscrapers what have you, players, dare I say it, *must* work together. Without going into every single aspect that Multiplayer depends on, materials, utilities, population, industry, probably every single component any individual city can accomplish enhances the cities around it, and all the cities must work together to accomplish tasks that will raise the bar even higher (Most specifically for the new SimCity identified as "Great Works", a space station, an arcology, international airport, etc.)

Hopefully that gives some insight. I'm not saying the game is for everyone, but it is very much multiplayer and seems to have always be purposed for it.

David Marcum
profile image
@Brian

Ramin's link -- http://tinyurl.com/cgwsoov

Michael Rooney
profile image
@Like it or not, Blizzard made Diablo 3 a multiplayer game. They designed a lot of the systems around ( admittedly, probably a DRM focused decision ) the game being multiplayer. It may have not been a very good game, but they at least owned the idea of D3 being a multiplayer experience.

The new Simcity is pretty clearly multiplayer focused. It allows you to be many players if you manage an entire region, but you'll have a really crappy time if you try to play just one city in a region.

edit: spelling

Brian Kehrer
profile image
@Michael et al
The ability to have multiple cities in a region with passive bonuses existed 10 years ago, in Sim City 4. 5 introduced the ability for multiple players to control cities in a region. However this could have been done P2P. It's asynchronous multiplayer, distributing a series of variables representing adjacent city state.

This is not even close to comparable to the demands of a fully realtime multiplayer game, based on realtime interaction for core mechanics, such as Diablo 3.

This doesn't even touch on the fact that cheating in a game like D3 is inherently problematic, where cheating in a massively cooperative single player game, is well, not really a big deal.

I suppose I should clarify my opinion, based on everyone's great comments. This isn't really about multiplayer or not. This is about central architecture or not. I think, in retrospect, there is a legitimate discussion to be had (edit: in another thread...), regarding D3's need for a centralized architecture.

Sim City, per it's current design, should not have required centralized servers, and the fact that it does betrays EA's true intentions. It could easily have been offline / p2p multiplayer, and had exactly the same featureset.

Michael Rooney
profile image
How would you do it p2p if people aren't playing at the same time?

Brian Kehrer
profile image
@How would you do it p2p if people aren't playing at the same time?

The old fashioned way - let people host their own server (okay, not really p2p, but decentralized).

or

it could be a centralized messaging service, allowing users to passively get / post to the EA servers without requiring continuos access to play. Hey, the game is async anyway, why not take advantage of that? EA could have designed a sweet asynchronous messaging server, that was totally passive and out of the way.

or maybe something else...

Adam Steele
profile image
@ "Patrick Miller
15 Mar 2013 at 9:55 am PST

Diablo 3 shattered sales records, so I don't think the landscape of anything changed there."

Diablo 3 shattered sales because of what Diablo I & II two were. It had nothing to do with the abomination of Gold Farmer III or Auction House III, whichever true name you prefer.

Go read the forums and see the true opinions of the fans. The ones that tried everything they could to help save the game. Only to be ignored by the arrogant developers at Blizzard South.

Lewis Wakeford
profile image
I hope that 10 years from now the law has caught up with technology and in these situations refunds will be mandatory. Most countries have consumer protection laws for physical goods that allow us the some sort of rights, regardless of the companies policy if they sell a faulty product then they are the ones that get screwed.

Alex Leighton
profile image
I think the major problem is the difference between something working and something working to your expectations. If I buy a blender and it doesn't turn on at all, that's an entirely different thing from buying a blender that turns on and blends but won't puree a handful of stones.

Still though, most stores have some sort of satisfaction guarantee, where if a product doesn't perform as a reasonable person would expect it to perform, the store will issue a refund, or at least store credit. Some stores even have no questions asked refund policies, Best Buy being one example, where you can buy 3 tvs, take them home and try them out, and return the 2 you didn't like, yet they still give you difficulties if you try to return opened games with a functional disk, that otherwise are unplayable, or don't perform to the level they are advertised to.

With games, unless the disk doesn't read at all, the game is considered to be working, therefore you're not entitled to a refund. This is something that has to change, and I was extremely glad to see Amazon offering refunds.

It seems to me that the current retail practices are enabling publishers to put out broken products, because they know that once someone has bought it, they're stuck with it. If retailers were forced to take games back, I'm sure publishers would think twice before putting out broken games.

Doug Poston
profile image
@Alex: If I bought a blender and the damn thing didn't turn on when I wanted it to, I'd return it.

If I bought an 8 cup countertop blender and it broke when I tried to blend ice, I'd return it. Even if there was some fine print on page 6 of the user manual inside the box that said "Do not use on anything harder than berries." As a consumer I can expect a large countertop blender to handle ice.

And most stores would be okay with this, but not EA. Which is why I don't think I'll be buying anything directly from them any time soon...

Titi Naburu
profile image
If you buy a book and return it in a week claiming "I didn't like it", do you get a refund? (I'm not sure of which countries enforce it). The store can claim "well, but you read it, you consumed it".

If you don't like a game's graphics, well, I doubt you can get a refund. If the game doesn't work, the owner will claim "your computer is wrong, not my fault" (I doubt that will say that about consoles), but if the game is actually too buggy I think you should get a refund. If the always-online functionality doesn't suit your tastes (or your internet service), well, I don't see politicians supporting us.

Rob B
profile image
In the UK companies are legally obliged to take a return if 'the item is faulty, not as described or is unfit for purpose'.

There are two or three separate sets of consumer rights laws that can be brought up against this. Now from what I hear people across the EU are having an easier time of getting refunds, but EA certainly isnt making it clear that they are breaking the law by not giving in to the refund requests.

The game didnt work, when the game did work it wasnt as described. Its as clear cut as a game refund can get and they have no legal right to refuse you just because they will get things working down the line. (Just as any retailer would have no right to refuse you a refund because with a few days of tinkering they can fix your item.)

If you want a refund in the UK and across much of the EU politely and repeatedly notify EA that they can not write a contract bi-passing the law and that they are obligated to give your money back. (Your citizens advice or equivalent will likely be able to help you with what specifically you need to write.)

I can only hope that EA mess with the wrong people in this regard and someone takes them to court to make it abundantly clear to them how consumer rights work. I for one am getting sick of the games industry abusing them on the basis of a grey area that in many cases is not that grey at all.

Christian Nutt
profile image
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Dark Souls got this right. It's an always-on single player game with (particularly at the time) unexpected online functionality -- but it's clever, seamless, it doesn't keep you from playing the game if you don't have a persistent connection (possibly because of Xbox Live Gold/Silver, but probably by design) and it's merely highly ADDITIVE, not required. It's a better experience with it, but there's no meaningful downside to skipping it. This is what an always-on single player game should be like.

Jason Lee
profile image
Hear hear! I think that if AAA single player games have a future outside of 4 hour COD campaigns, its this sort of approach. The go-to strategy nowadays seems to tack a multiplayer mode onto a primarily single-player game, which leads to situations like Yager complaining how their requirement to add MP to Spec Ops: The Line took away from them refining the single player game, which was their real focus with the project.

Simon Ludgate
profile image
But as a DRM scheme, Dark Souls failed miserably. So... from the corporate anti-piracy perspective...

Luis Guimaraes
profile image
It worked from the corporate PR perspective. Gamers will only become more and more savvy as time goes on. Not everybody will survive a well informed market.

James Yee
profile image
You think Bungie's Destiny will pull it off similarly?

Ramin Shokrizade
profile image
I think online authentication is going to become the norm for AAA games, if it isn't already. Piracy is just too pervasive. That said, if I *purchase* a retail game, I should be able to play it any time I want and anywhere. Even on an airplane. This conflict means that the days of traditional retail game sales are numbered beyond the indi market. Free to play will replace it, and when a game is "free" the consumer expectation is going to be very different. Granted, you really don't want to screw up any launch, even an F2P launch as that is money just going down the toilet.

I think multiplayer games are more fun, especially cooperative persistent games, and can monetize much higher than any single player game could. Of course the designers need to decide which product they are actually making, and what business model they will be using, well before they finish the game. What EA gave birth to here seems like it was the product of creep and a tremendous amount of managerial indecision.

Jason Lee
profile image
My own philosophy towards piracy is while some of it has to do with users who don't have funds to purchase games but want to play them (which means they wouldn't be major consumers of the product anyways), a lot of piracy revolved around convenience; it was simply more convenient to direct download a game and find a crack then to go to Gamestop or wherever and buy a physical copy. I think the rise of Steam and Direct Download services has made going through one of these services a lot more convenient than piracy now, which is why a lot of former people who pirated use these services; the convenience of buying a game on Steam is much greater than getting an unstable pirate copy and CD cracks/keys. The problem is that EA's solution of Origin isn't offering consumers an increased convenience experience at all; their service isn't just bad, it failed at its most basic function when demand was highest.

Another concern I have is that certain game designs lend themselves well to certain business models, and as this article points out Sim City's single-player design focus is like a square peg to the round hole of a persistent MMO-like online business model. As you point out, the industry is moving towards multiplayer and cooperative-style games, which I don't like. If there's going to continue to be a demand for single player experiences, how many of them will run into design issues when business demands try to get them to fit an F2P or micro transaction model when the more ideal design runs counter to those business needs (Dead Space 3 I'm looking at you)?

Ramin Shokrizade
profile image
I see this happening already all over the industry. Many products start off one way and are forced by management to adopt an incompatible business model. This happens especially often when the product takes multiple years to produce and the business environment changes completely in that time. Thus a product that started off appearing viable ends up not looking that way close to the delivery date.

The reason multiplayer and cooperative games are increasingly being greenlit is because there is a perception that they retain players longer and can yield higher revenues. I am in agreement with this sentiment. I still think the way most companies handle F2P is archaic and obsolete, but that is evolution in action. Slow adapters approach extinction.

Brian Kehrer
profile image
I hear a lot of MBA's wondering how to make the next Minecraft. In the same breath they often talk about how pervasive piracy is.

The wrongheaded assumption is that piracy is pervasive among all audiences. It isn't. Sim City's core audience probably played Sim City 2000, and now has a lot of disposable income. The core PC audience is college educated, over 25, and has money to burn.

If your primary audience is China, that's another story. But I frankly don't believe piracy has significantly harmed the video game industry in the US or Europe. The titles that point to piracy as cause for failure either had draconian DRM schemes, or weren't very good. You'll rarely hear a producer say "we failed because we designed a bad game"

Luis Guimaraes
profile image
Customers will speak with their wallets. Again.

Titi Naburu
profile image
"You'll rarely hear a producer say 'we failed because we designed a bad game' "

Well said, Brian!

Michael Rooney
profile image
@You'll rarely hear a producer say "we failed because we designed a bad game"

That's a rather shallow assessment. A design in isolation is very rarely bad (on the macro scale of an entire game anyway). It's usually design combined with things or not design at all that make a product bad; mismanagement caused resource waste, design was not technically possible, breakdowns in communication caused the design to be implemented differently from what it was supposed to be, the design was too ambitious for the timetable, projections were totally off, deadlines got moved, etc. Producers very frequently will call those out; it is, in fact, part of their job. You can see this every year if you go to any of the post mortems at GDC or in the post mortem features of GameDeveloper Magazine.

There's very rarely a single point of failure.

Brian Kehrer
profile image
@There's very rarely a single point of failure.

That wasn't my point.

My point was piracy gets overhyped as a cause of failure in western markets, and many executives do not understand their audience, and choose external factors over internal ones when assigning blame publicly.

The danger here is once enough people start repeating these fallacies, they are as good as true, because we have to design around rampant, industry killing piracy - while indie devs are able to make a killing ( with the same target demographics ) with DRM free software. Something doesn't add up.

The producers who do recognize failures publicly at GDC are few and far between - and often have so many years of distance, they risk no repercussions.

Michael Rooney
profile image
@"The producers who do recognize failures publicly at GDC are few and far between - and often have so many years of distance, they risk no repercussions."

That's not even close to accurate. Half of every post mortem in Game Developer Magazine is about everything that went wrong (edit: 1 post mortem per month). They usually aren't brutal, as it happened to themselves/their team, but they're pretty honest. Most of the Post Mortems at GDC are for games released the previous year, so I don't know how they'd have 'many years of distance'.

They have classic games post mortems, but there are a lot of them that aren't as popularized. Doing a quick count this year, there are 19 labelled post mortems and only 4 are classic games ones.

Kevin Reese
profile image
Absolutely dumb decisions were made on this game. Seems like the bean-counters were allowed to make decisions that designers should have been accountable for.

When I initially heard they made the game more into a MP design to have a strong DRM system, I thought that maybe this was a rare occurrence where a DRM system was well thought out and good idea. But no: the always-online restrictions brought about 10 negative traits to the game for every 1 that added.

Just a terrible and dumb group of decisions. A franchise like Simcity is pretty easy to improve: yet it seems like they are hell-bent on destroying it.

Besides the DRM, the basic mechanics of the game have also been eviscerated. I just really can't understand the notion of making the game as pretty as possible when you don't have the manpower assigned to the simple core mechanics of the design that make the game enjoyable after the first few hours of play. (The economic system hardly exists , the maps are radically smaller than versions of the game many years old, the population numbers are fudged, the "trumpeting the ability to look at individual Sims" advertised does not exist etc. )

I find the cost-return analysis of these decisions hard to fathom. It just would have been so much simpler to do things right. It really seems like they set priority #1 at maximizing the short-term profit from this one game at the cost of killing a franchise which 20+ years have gone into establishing. Putting all the gamer-grief aside, it just doesn't make sense from a financial standpoint.

Gil Salvado
profile image
Beside the fatal launch of SimCity I don't blame the gamers that complain about the online feature. It's not a part of the core gameplay mechanic - you could still play the entire game without it - but it adds nice content and connectivity to the core design. Just like having random creatures of othrer players in Spore for example. But due to inaccessibility of the login servers for this nice-to-have feature, the whole game is unplayable. And that's something, that should give a professional game designer cluster headaches.

So, I don't blame Maxis for this, because I regard their game designer very highly. I believe, they knew what was coming for them. Even Blizzard didn't managed a smooth Diablo 3 launch a year before. We can assume this to be common knowledge for serious game developers. Such like Maxis' are.

I blame EA for this. Not because they're EA. But because someone at EA required this always on feature to be implemented. Because they have to make a profit of this game. No matter the cost.
Since years it's always the same with them. It's major profits first, happy consumer last. And it's not like they don't make plenty of dollars each year. Being a stock market company they have to make a profit, and that's their dilemma.

TC Weidner
profile image
but EA doesnt do that either, especially when they do things like this. They have been losing millions per quarter, and while the stock market is currently on a Fed Bubble sugar high, EA stock is still in the garbage. So even their short sited, myopic stock vision fails.

Here is a quaint idea, make a good product and offer it at a fair price. Why is that so hard for 21st century companies to comprehend. Oh thats right, MBA empty suits are paid mostly in stock options and their only goal is to ramp up a stock price for a short time, cash out and move on.

Screw the company, screw the consumers, its all about short term manipulation with them.

Maurício Gomes
profile image
Blame Maxis.

They already wrote on twitter that this was their own idea, not EA idea.

Unfortunately, Maxis being part of EA is making Maxis more and more EA-like in their behaviour even if EA does not ask for it

Alan Boody
profile image
@Mauricio It's entirely EA's idea since Maxis is entirely EA. If Maxis was a separate entity then there'd be an argument here. Maxis is Maxis only in name, now. Just like Bioware, Mythic and the plethora of other studies EA has consumed. It's all branding to capitalize on the name.

Paul Peak
profile image
Maxis has already been caught lying about the game twice. First when they said it would be too difficult to make an offline mode and a dev who worked on the game contradicted that and a player has managed to access debug mode for endless offline play. Second when they said that the game offloads significant amounts of the simulation to their servers, which it has been proven it doesn't handle anything but saves and trade between players online.

So yes, blame Maxis for this.

Alan Boody
profile image
@Mauricio It's entirely EA's idea since Maxis is entirely EA. If Maxis was a separate entity then there'd be an argument here. Maxis is Maxis only in name, now. Just like Bioware, Mythic and the plethora of other studies EA has consumed. It's all branding to capitalize on the name.

Michael Rooney
profile image
@Second when they said that the game offloads significant amounts of the simulation to their servers, which it has been proven it doesn't handle anything but saves and trade between players online.

You say that like it's nothing. The world market and regional trading are pretty significant.

Simon Ludgate
profile image
I wonder if anyone will do a meaningful comparison to the previous always-on DRM game from Maxis: Darkspore. I passed that one up too because of the always-on "feature" that caused you to lose all your loot and XP gains if you disconnected mid-game.

Mark Slabinski
profile image
I feel like the Sim City debacle was mishandled from day one, and not just because of mismanaged expectations. Maxis and EA seem to have forgotten that Sim City is a legacy property, and has a rabid following even 10 years after the last game in the series. That kind of property, one that has the potential to stir up all these powerful emotions in people, needs a delicate touch. Maxis and EA should have had their PR people in maximum crisis mode on day one, making every effort to assuage the fans and assuring them that they cared about Sim City as much as they did.

No matter what happens now, everybody loses. Gamers lose by getting an inferior product, the reputation of Maxis and EA is further tarnished, the Sim City name now carries a black mark on its record, and another tick is added in favor of the large publishers in the balance of power in the marketplace.

Michael Wenk
profile image
Oh snap. I'm sorry if I have the expectation that if I spend 60$ for a game that it must work when I want it to. I'm sorry if I have the expectation of being treated like a customer instead of a criminal.

Yes, its all my fault.

James Barnette
profile image
99% percent of all of the "issues boiled down to capacity. and poor pre-planning.

1: Everyone that preorder via online "Origin" should have been able to pre-load the game. At most there should have not been more than a small update needed at launch. And for all the people that did have to try to download at midnight there should have been more server capacity made available.

2: At launch There should have been more server than could have possibly been needed. Instead of 1-2 server per region there should have been 6-8 per region and then over time scaled them back as needed.

Believe me other that the tutorial loop bug "which people found workarounds for" nothing else was a big time show stopper the way that simple capacity was at launch.

People just wanted to play and they couldn't people knew it was a new game and was most likely gonna have a bug or 2 were not stupid we know how this works. but people have to be able to play period. Not ahving enough capacity at launch is a simple issue to fix and it a game killer if you don't address it.

AJ S
profile image
I am a long time fan of sim city and I will not buy the game or any other game that requires this DRM bullshit. Infact I might go out of my way to pirate a copy of sim city just to shove it up EAs ass. I just want the ability to buy the game, install it, and play it without any DRM. I don't "want it to just work" as the article states... I don't want to deal with DRM at ALL when I'm a PAYING customer. This is similar to having someone at walmart / frys electronics check your receipt and bag on the way out. I cant stand it and avoid shopping there for this very reason. I am a paying customer not a theif so don't search through my bags, check my receipt, and treat me like one.

All in all thank you EA, I will never buy another game of yours.

Daniel Cook
profile image
There are a lot of comments on this thread (and articles in fan press) reacting as emotionally betrayed gamers.

The main article is interesting because it looks at the issue from that of a developer trying to improve. What was the core issue behind the surface complaints? What could be done better? Since Gamasutra is theoretically about game development instead of fandom, such a perspective is a rather useful one worth emulating.

Steven Christian
profile image
Some useful takeaways would be:

-Don't lie
-Don't try to take away people's rights
-Online game activation is good
-Online features add great gameplay if they are optional
-Always-Online services require more forethought and planning to be pulled off successfully and the requirements need to be made clear so that consumers can make an informed decision to purchase or not
-Make sure that you at least have room online for every copy produced + every copy already sold
(really that's just common sense, you want people who have bought your game to be able to play, right?)

Christopher Plummer
profile image
Good call. People should stop trying to spin this to attack DRM. The developers wanted this, unfortunately they weren't prepared for the leap from no-online to online.

3 things that immediately come to mind:

1) You've got to crawl before you walk. If you've never done an online game before then make some games that slowly and successfully transition from offline -> connected -> online before jumping in with both feet.

2) Games need to be designed to work when people and networks don't play by the rules. For anyone who is trying to play the game now, it's clear that it was in fact built to be online-connected at all times. The entire sim breaks when you play in an isolated environment and/or when you can't get reliable information about the cities around it (or the simulated world market that it's supposed to be a part of).

2) Loadtests and Betas should not be driven by marketing needs. They should've been using these periods to truly test the limits of their systems in the wild, not to give 1 hr previews of Glassbox to hype up the release. This also means that you run the beta without having your back up against the wall of an announced release date.

3) Build your games to scale properly and make sure you can control flow between access points. Maxis would have been able to ride the initial review scores if the few people that could get in were able to play the game without things breaking. However, everyone's experience was and continues to be negatively impacted by the server problems.

Matt Wilson
profile image
I would've loved to be a fly on the wall during the branding and marketing of this game. If they had just called it "SimCity Online", it would've batted away any one of these complaints - though the sales numbers might've suffered. Like Patrick said, it seemed a lot like a bait and switch marketing campaign.

But it's been fascinating and instructional to watch, especially how fans are reacting.

Jacob Germany
profile image
I find the complaints both valid and themselves informative of the more general gaming culture. It's a gaming development site, but surely the perspectives, opinions, and insights from gamers (developers or not) are relevant to Gamasutra and this thread in particular?

In fact, if anything, the developers at Maxis could have benefitted from some of that gamer insight, right? Should every other developer also turn a blind eye because "Gamasutra isn't fandom"?

Steven Christian
profile image
Actually, EA claimed that the simulation was so intensive that some of it had to be run online on their servers.
As we have discovered, that was an outright lie.

I was going to purchase the game but at this stage I am still waiting on the sidelines to see whether this will be sorted out or not.

Also Australian Consumer Law protects Consumers against purchases of products that don't do what they claim or have faults and an EULA or TOS cannot override your rights. Anything that attempts to take away these rights is ILLEGAL in Australia.

Also on EA's Korean Facebook page, an EA spokesperson actually BLAMED piracy for the fact that there was no server in South Korea, when the server is only for paying customers..??!!

Jeremy Reaban
profile image
I think it really comes down to two things:

1) Don't Lie

2) Don't try to push online and multiplayer into everything, especially traditionally single player games. Don't do what Ms. Bradshaw recently did and tell people how they really want to play game - let them decide on their own.

There is something similar in Richard Garriott's KS, he wanted to make an always online game with multiplayer, and was shocked when people wanted to play it solo, offline. He said it never even occurred to him.

And then in a recent interview, when mentioned how it would work, could offline players hire NPCs to help guard them, he said "That's a good idea, I never thought of it".

I think developers are getting too in love with social and online and multiplayer, and ignoring how most games really are played - solo.

I mean, let's be honest, if gamers were really outgoing and popular people, would they be playing games in the first place? I'm sure there are some people who choose it, but frankly, I think they are still the minority.

Bart Stewart
profile image
It's worth noting that Richard Garriott & Co. listened, and the game now will offer multiple ways to play, including fully offline, Single Player Online, and fully online.

TC Weidner
profile image
what companies are missing is the difference between multi player gaming and social networks. With social networks you can tweet, you can update your facebook, you can do whatever and you dont need your online peers and friends to be online that exact moment you do it. With online gaming you do. The problem many of us face is not that we are not social, or without friends, it scheduling. Its tough to be able to schedule big chunks of game time to be able to play uninterrupted with friends, and to do it constantly and consistently, therefore its often just easier to play solo at your own speed and as your free time and schedule dictates.

So I think companies are misinterpreting online social networking as some sort of cry for more online multiplayer gaming. Its two entirely different creatures.

Gavin Koh
profile image
Not only has Simcity proven that DRM is CRAP (Content, Restriction, Annulment, and Protection), it has also stirred up so such much angry sentiment among gamers. And some of them have voiced far worse "melodramatic" comments on Facebook, Yahoo, and other gaming forums - some of which I deign publishing here.

Get rid of your Forrest Gump stare: "Stupid is as stupid does". Go with what works - DRM that meets both the expectations of customers and publishers/developers. Customers don't want a scenario where they wind up handcuffed to somebody (let alone the domain of single player fun). That is unless your gameplay is so spectacularly wondrous, the eye candy is a visual drug, and the sound is melodiously out of this world.

Will may have given his endorsement for this Simcity, but I don't think it will be enough to rescue the sullied image of his beloved game.

You can bet your bottom dollar that because of this debacle, DRM shall always and forever more be remembered by the following monikers: "Dramatic Resource Mangler", "Digital Rights Manglement" and (here's my take) "Defiled Relations Mismanagement".

A good post-mortem, nonetheless. Valuable lessons to be derived here for all looking at DRM-ing their game.

After all is said and done... boy am glad I still have my copy of Simcity 4 Deluxe.

Lincoln Thurber
profile image
Does anyone truly believe Maxis and EA learned anything, except to ride out the storm to the other side? They already have our money, and they have no reall plans to make teh game into what consumer would want. They will take the cash and slink away having made a nice profit.

The other issue is neither Maxis of EA wants top learn anything from this. From the very start Maxis dismissing player anger by pretending it was "too much joy". They have shown that they will used mental judo to flip anything to be learned into something that they think they "already knew". It is a whole new level of 'Newspeak' EA has created because they don't want there ever to see to be problems - problems are now to be called 'features'. Anger is 'intense interest'. And, disappointment is a merely a 'desire for more'.

In the next few say I'm sure Lucy Bradshaw will say, "Oldthinkers unbellyfeel EA" Which means, "Those whose ideas were formed before the new SimCity cannot have a full emotional understanding of the principles of EA's glorious plans."

Daniel Cook
profile image
We tend to anthropomorphize companies. The reality is that companies never learn. Instead the people learn.

In large companies, those newly educated people are rarely on the same teams from project to project. Things get mixed up due to politics, economics and general churn. So the institutional learning is often quite slow.

There is no group mind or group learning. EA is not a person. A consumer's faith in the continuity and humanity of a brand or large company is no more justifiable than faith in the Spaghetti Monster (or similar variants). Such faith is a common lazy mental shortcut that marketers exploit.

What you can hope for is that some individuals figure out what happened and how to do it better. There's nothing quite like hands on failure to prompt insights. Then you can hope that they get a chance to try again with a group of like minded developers.

Put your faith in people, not companies. And if you want to change them, engage them in a conversation instead of spewing rage.

Bisse Mayrakoira
profile image
Daniel, while it's true that ultimately it is individuals who think and learn, it is rational to expect continuity from companies.

Much of quality comes from process, policy and deliberately grown culture. A company where output quality is merely a semi-random function of the individuals assigned to a project is managed atrociously. You are apparently condoning this mismanagement when it comes to game companies.

I very much doubt you would say the same things about Daimler AG that you say about EA.

Ron Dippold
profile image
Is there really any way to properly 'manage expectations' when you are launching a game that just doesn't work?

I know, your suggestions are a bit more nuanced than that and extend to the 'fixing it later' period, but in the end, they did a huge launch of a game that was designed not to work (because they didn't design for it, which is choosing by omission).

You're certainly correct, however, that they have been spectacularly bad with their damage control, backing off step by step as each of their assertions is proven untrue, till they're now at the point of 'Yes, okay, the game would have worked perfectly well offline, contrary to everything we said earlier, but we wanted you online. For you. Really. Yes, this is for your benefit. You monster.'

(I do actually like the online region thing... as an option.)

Dave Hoskins
profile image
They don't need to check the customer immediately the game is started. I would have divided the online test into time zones or country, then divided an hour up into zone minutes to test. That way the servers are not blown all at once. If no connection can be made then try an hour later, after 3 hours pop up a window explaining that game has to quit because a connection cannot be made. Don't kill it immediately, be nice to the kids!!
And the data sent can be quite minimal, what are they sending, the users entire email list or something?

Jed Hubic
profile image
I don't think it comes down to false expectations. Sure SimCity is an "online" game, but I never saw much in way of advertising and previews slating this to be a primarily online only experience. It could have been an FPS but the simple matter is the game is broken. Intent doesn't really do much in terms of mending technical issues.

This is just a horrible scenario overall, and to make it worse everytime someone from Maxis or EA is questioned about this they start talking about their mantra and philosophy and how SimCity is so great still. It's funny how there wasn't nearly as much PR rhetoric pre launch. I'm likely kicking a dead horse and saying what has already said though...

Bob Johnson
profile image
This is EA. Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.

Why is this news? What should be news is why so many consumers still buy products from EA day one and expect gaming bliss day one.

Titi Naburu
profile image
"Had the new SimCity been pitched early on as an always-online evolution of the SimCity experience"

That has nothing to do with "managing expectations", it's about being honest with game descriptions.

Titi Naburu
profile image
"If Maxis and EA had been able to deploy a special offline mode, their most vocal critics would have been too busy playing the game to rant about it."

That's just plain true. Companies often forget that if you please customers enough, they won't complain.

Michael Rooney
profile image
I don't think the point of that statement was that they had to please customers. A lot of the complaints people come up with don't have to do with not being able to play. I think it's saying more that they gave all their most vocal critics a bunch of free time to publicly criticize the game when they might have otherwise been playing it; though still probably being upset with it.

Bart Stewart
profile image
Lucy Bradshaw's actual words, from her blog post at http://www.ea.com/news/simcity-update-straight-answers-from-lucy , were:

"So, could we have built a subset offline mode? Yes. But we rejected that idea because it didn't fit with our vision."

That philosophy -- and not secondary tactical questions like "launch issues" and "capacity planning" -- would seem to be what really deserves the most scrutiny by gamers, developers, and industry sites like Gamasutra.

It's smart to have a strategic plan for satisfying customer desires. And there's a place for technical leadership in offering new kinds of products.

But is it ever good business to try to dictate an internal "vision" to consumers?

Patrick Miller
profile image
IMO, that philosophy is already taken for granted when it comes to triple-A PC games; the ship has already sailed on whether that kind of vision is sustainable. We already live in a world of DRM and online passes, and for EA and other publishers of its magnitude, I don't think that's changing in the opposite direction any time soon.

ian stansbury
profile image
I think Most people have pointed out many of my points on this so I'll keep it short:

1.) The new Sim City is NOT a good game, to be honest even leaving out all the online stuff SC4 and SC2000 were better from a game play standpoint. Pretty much lay this at the developers feet.

2.)This not only makes me (more) wary of EA in general but also of the other studios that EA publishes/owns. I'm pretty sure I'm going to get Bioshock but now I'm going to wait for the reviews first. Which make me kinda sad.


none
 
Comment: