Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:44 UTC
Games So, SimCity has been released - the fifth instalment in this venerable series of fantastic games. However, just as everyone suspected, the game has been completely ruined by the always-online DRM. So much so, in fact, that Amazon has ceased selling the game. Update: and it's only getting worse - EA has suspended all marketing efforts for SimCity, and has asked third parties to do the same. Wow.
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what companies listen to
by project_2501 on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:52 UTC
project_2501
Member since:
2006-03-20

The only thing, and I mean the only thing, companies will listen to is people spending money elsewhere.

If people keep paying for it - they feel like the sh** it tolerable, live DVD region coding, or the CD I bought kwhich doesn't play on my kitchen cd player because of anti-piracy damage (looking at you Sony).

Edited 2013-03-07 22:55 UTC

Reply Score: 11

RE: what companies listen to
by thesunnyk on Thu 7th Mar 2013 23:19 UTC in reply to "what companies listen to"
thesunnyk Member since:
2010-05-21

No. This is ye olde conventional wisdom and it's bullshit. The big-wigs at EA will try and screw you, and if you don't pay for their stuff, the shareholders will lose out but the board will still get nice bonuses. In the absolute worst case that the company folds or even looks like it's going south, those same people will leave and get a job at Activision or some other publisher and do exactly the same thing again.

Look at Zynga. It's doing so badly now. Any lessons learnt at EA? Nope!

OTOH, budding nerd comedians can start their set with two words:

Sim City.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: what companies listen to
by BushLin on Thu 7th Mar 2013 23:32 UTC in reply to "RE: what companies listen to"
BushLin Member since:
2011-01-26

Maybe they'll still pay the bonuses if we pull the rug from under them but that'd speed up their demise.

EA will keep swallowing up all we know and love (game wise that is) and turn it into an online only, pay to progress, DLC which should be part of the thing you paid for but is strangely ready at release crapfest... unless we stop feeding them with cash.

Here's the list of online services EA have shut down
http://www.ea.com/1/service-updates

Some of these games are two years old, they were fleecing second hand buyers with charges to activate online play just weeks before they shut down FIFA 11 (even when challenged about the EU ruling which said they should transfer the licence, it was only talking to someone who still had their soul to sort it).

With EA you pay them for two years and then they want paying again for the next release whether you like it or not.

I'm not going to be mugged by them again, hopefully others don't either.

Edited 2013-03-07 23:34 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: what companies listen to
by zztaz on Fri 8th Mar 2013 00:06 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: what companies listen to"
zztaz Member since:
2006-09-16

If you reward bad behavior, you'll get more bad behavior.

People have been complaining about EA for years, but are still buying their products. The obvious lesson for EA is that treating customers badly leads to more sales. EA will not change until customers change.

I can't believe how much crap people are willing to put up with in order to play a game. It's a game! You don't need it! I can understand putting up with mediocre or annoying software that you need to use to earn a living, but not for entertainment.

EA needs your money, you don't need EA. Spend your money with someone who treats you right.

Reply Score: 7

RE[4]: what companies listen to
by BushLin on Fri 8th Mar 2013 00:51 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: what companies listen to"
BushLin Member since:
2011-01-26

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_yxUHDZTq0

(warning, contains the F word)

Reply Score: 2

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Pretty pissed off with the QA on Crysis 3.

I have a system that is more than capable of playing the game at high settings.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: what companies listen to
by Laurence on Fri 8th Mar 2013 13:31 UTC in reply to "RE: what companies listen to"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

No. This is ye olde conventional wisdom and it's bullshit. The big-wigs at EA will try and screw you, and if you don't pay for their stuff, the shareholders will lose out but the board will still get nice bonuses. In the absolute worst case that the company folds or even looks like it's going south, those same people will leave and get a job at Activision or some other publisher and do exactly the same thing again.

Look at Zynga. It's doing so badly now. Any lessons learnt at EA? Nope!

They either jump ship or turn to litigation to further punish their users.

Reply Score: 3

RE: what companies listen to
by Drumhellar on Fri 8th Mar 2013 00:00 UTC in reply to "what companies listen to"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

If people do stop buying DRM-laden games, they'll just blame declining sales on piracy, and try to squeeze harder.

Reply Score: 8

RE[2]: what companies listen to
by zztaz on Fri 8th Mar 2013 00:28 UTC in reply to "RE: what companies listen to"
zztaz Member since:
2006-09-16

"they'll just blame declining sales on piracy"

I don't care if they blame declining sales on the Easter Bunny. If people reject DRM and refuse to buy, someone will notice. If people reject buggy software and refuse to buy, someone will notice. It might not be EA, but others will notice.

The problem isn't EA; EA is showing that crippled games can make money. If we don't want DRM, we need to show that it hurts sales. EA has no reason to change if we keep giving them our money. If we don't change our behavior, they won't change theirs.

Reply Score: 5

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Steam does DRM right.

EA and UPlay are joining up because they can't beat steam on the PC.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: what companies listen to
by Wafflez on Fri 8th Mar 2013 11:09 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: what companies listen to"
Wafflez Member since:
2011-06-26

GoG.com is doing DRM right, Steam blows.

Reply Score: 3

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Never used GoG, but I've never had a problem with Steam.

Origin seems to work alright as well and so does uplay, It not as bad as people make out.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: what companies listen to
by aaronb on Fri 8th Mar 2013 23:47 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: what companies listen to"
aaronb Member since:
2005-07-06

I have bought quite a few games from gog and gaming without DRM seems to be gaming without hassle.

Edited 2013-03-08 23:49 UTC

Reply Score: 3

ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

Steam does DRM right.


How so when it doesn't keep the games from being pirated? What is right about it?

Reply Score: 2

RE: what companies listen to
by MacTO on Fri 8th Mar 2013 12:07 UTC in reply to "what companies listen to"
MacTO Member since:
2006-09-21

It does not work that way.

Let's assume that a stunt like this reduces game sales by 50%, but people end up purchasing the game and its successors every 2 years instead of every 10 years (because the vendor is making minor tweaks to the server to entice people to upgrade, while dropping support for the old versions). The publisher now has a massively more profitable product, with a fraction of the sales.

If you look at past history, you'll find that the hypothetical 50% will be a moot point anyway. Many of those people will end up accepting the changes as more and more vendors adopt them. The people who don't end up accepting those changes won't matter anyway since they will end up aging outside of the games target demographic, while more naive customers age into the target demographic.

And all of that assumes that the company listens to their customers and shrug off the comments for business reasons.

Reply Score: 3

This needs to be huge
by Nelson on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:56 UTC
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29

This needs to be a huge deal. It needs to crash and burn very loudly, very publicly. EA needs this corrective bit of blow back.

The always on DRM is bullshit and ruins the experience. A clear message needs to be sent that this is not tolerated.

Reply Score: 3

worst company
by tomz on Thu 7th Mar 2013 23:08 UTC
tomz
Member since:
2010-05-06

theconsumerist.com has a worst company contest. EA won last year.

Ah, tradition. Nice that everything is familiar and unchanging.

Reply Score: 7

stabbyjones
Member since:
2008-04-15

There's really no other way to put it. Hopefully everyone else stops selling the game as well.

With Blizzard and EA trying to wring all the juices out of original content there is really no reason to buy games like this. I have packed my xbox away and fully embraced Desura/Steam on my PC's.

Reply Score: 9

The game hasn't been ruined
by WorknMan on Thu 7th Mar 2013 23:21 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

The game hasn't been ruined; in fact, if you wait a few weeks, it'll probably work just fine. Of course, I'm not advocating the DRM, but if you bought the game knowing that it was online-only, then you obviously didn't hav a big ethical issue with it requiring an internet connection to play. In such a case, these botched launches are a pretty common occurance, so the best course of action would simply be to wait awhile for the problems to get sorted out before trying to play it. Otherwise, just boycott it altogether if it bothers you that much.

If these companies are going to insist that games like this be online-only, probably the best way to do it would be to have 'staggered' launches, where those who pre-order it get to play before everyone else. So you allow several thousand new players a day, and then you don't have several million people slamming your servers on launch day. This could be esp useful for games such as MMORPGs that they know are going to be huge.

Reply Score: 2

RE: The game hasn't been ruined
by Delgarde on Fri 8th Mar 2013 02:16 UTC in reply to "The game hasn't been ruined"
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

The game hasn't been ruined; in fact, if you wait a few weeks, it'll probably work just fine.


Well, yes - because the online requirement means it can't actually be played under many of the circumstances where I'd like to play a game like that. Say, while sitting on a 12 hour flight, or while sitting on the bus/train to work...

Reply Score: 4

RE: The game hasn't been ruined
by JAlexoid on Fri 8th Mar 2013 07:51 UTC in reply to "The game hasn't been ruined"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

They made an MMOCBG (that's massively multiplayer online city building game) so no wonder. They do not say that on the box, though.

They screwed it up massively. People that preordered were reporting that their games would not unlock, while people that bought the game at launch got in immediately. So EA are to blame for every single bit. But it seems that they are doing a Blizzard here, again. The just like WoW, SimCity is a big investment. But at least you don't have to pay each month... Though I'm pretty sure they would love to introduce that "feature".

See TotalBiscuit on YouTube. He's a gaming commentator, well known.

Reply Score: 3

RE: The game hasn't been ruined
by peejay on Fri 8th Mar 2013 14:03 UTC in reply to "The game hasn't been ruined"
peejay Member since:
2005-06-29

If these companies are going to insist that games like this be online-only, probably the best way to do it would be to have 'staggered' launches, where those who pre-order it get to play before everyone else. So you allow several thousand new players a day, and then you don't have several million people slamming your servers on launch day. This could be esp useful for games such as MMORPGs that they know are going to be huge.

Arenanet did exactly this with Guild Wars 2. People that pre-ordered the game got access to betas and server stress tests pre-launch, and then they got a 3 day head start to play before the "official" release date.

Reply Score: 2

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Arenanet did exactly this with Guild Wars 2. People that pre-ordered the game got access to betas and server stress tests pre-launch, and then they got a 3 day head start to play before the "official" release date.


So how did that work out?

Reply Score: 2

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

"Arenanet did exactly this with Guild Wars 2. People that pre-ordered the game got access to betas and server stress tests pre-launch, and then they got a 3 day head start to play before the "official" release date.


So how did that work out?
"

I am one of the people who pre-ordered Guild Wars 2, mostly because I wanted to show support to someone who is willing to atleast try *something* new in the MMORPG-arena, but I can say that while the launch was smoother than most other MMORPGs these days it still wasn't smooth enough. There was still quite a lot of lag in the beginning and lots of random DCs.

Reply Score: 2

SimCity
by Casey99 on Fri 8th Mar 2013 00:49 UTC
Casey99
Member since:
2011-07-14

I didn't buy it simply because of the crappy city size. But I must admit, this online only thing is a real problem. What happens when EA decides they no longer want to support those servers? Looks to me like the people who bought this game are out their money. Whereas those with previous SimCity titles will be able to play their favorite games for years to come.

Reply Score: 4

RE: SimCity
by dvhh on Fri 8th Mar 2013 02:25 UTC in reply to "SimCity"
dvhh Member since:
2006-03-20
RE[2]: SimCity
by pepa on Sat 9th Mar 2013 02:34 UTC in reply to "RE: SimCity"
pepa Member since:
2005-07-08

Would you rate the DOS version higher than the Windows version?

Reply Score: 2

Easy solution, go indie!
by mattymoo on Fri 8th Mar 2013 03:17 UTC
mattymoo
Member since:
2011-12-29

There are many great, cheap indie games around these days, I've been bitten by both Steam and Ubisoft's UPlay in the past in a similar fashion (their server outages resulting in me not being able to play otherwise non-networked, single player games) and will not be buying any game with DRM in the future.

It's a shame, because I'll miss out on upcoming games like Dogs of War, and will never play another game in the Assassin's Creed franchise, but I will not reward bad behaviour with my money.

Reply Score: 6

It's a success
by kwan_e on Fri 8th Mar 2013 03:45 UTC
kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18

just as everyone suspected, the game has been completely ruined by the always-online DRM.


Surely, if it meets people's (ex|sus)pectations, then marketing should view that as a successful launch.

Reply Score: 3

Already knew this was comming
by tuaris on Fri 8th Mar 2013 06:41 UTC
tuaris
Member since:
2007-08-05

Been tracking this since last year. It comes as no surprise and has played out exactly as I expected it would.

Thanks a lot EA, you had already ruined SimCity back in 2007, now you give us this?

I have no words to describe what has happened.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Already knew this was comming
by tuaris on Fri 8th Mar 2013 07:06 UTC in reply to "Already knew this was comming"
tuaris Member since:
2007-08-05

Looks like there is now a petition for buyers of the game to try and get a refund:

http://www.change.org/petitions/electronic-arts-100-refund-for-sim-...

Reply Score: 4

cyrilleberger
Member since:
2006-02-01

not a broken server, which will be solved in a few days.

What has really ruined the game is that everything in the gameplay is made to force you to cooperate and go online. The maps are too small, they are much smaller than simcity 4's one, and with today's computer, you would expect the other way around, I want to build Paris, not a collection of town that are in its suburbs.

Reply Score: 3

Sure
by judgen on Fri 8th Mar 2013 08:13 UTC
judgen
Member since:
2006-07-12

Just use the cracked version until the servers are properly working. I bet you know as well as everyone else where to look. And if not, google is your friend.

Reply Score: 2

Too greedy
by Invincible Cow on Fri 8th Mar 2013 10:46 UTC
Invincible Cow
Member since:
2006-06-24

As much as I hate that software requires online mode, that's not the real problem here. The problem is that they sold many more game tickets than there were seats at the "virtual stadium". Like selling a million tickets for the superbowl stadium with capacity 82,566 seats.

A gradual rollout would have prevented this mess. Everyone who bought the game could get a date where they could start playing.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Too greedy
by mightshade on Fri 8th Mar 2013 13:08 UTC in reply to "Too greedy"
mightshade Member since:
2008-11-20

As much as I hate that software requires online mode, that's not the real problem here.
(...)
A gradual rollout would have prevented this mess. Everyone who bought the game could get a date where they could start playing.

Yes, it is the very core of the problem. A gradual rollout wouldn't be any less terrible, really.
I expect the following course of events: Buy game, install, play. Period. Not "Buy game, install, wait a day or two or maybe a month, oh and make sure to not be on a train because then you're SOL". I want to waste my time playing the game, not waiting for it.

Edited 2013-03-08 13:12 UTC

Reply Score: 3

What a shame
by Tony Swash on Fri 8th Mar 2013 13:54 UTC
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

I was so excited about the new SimCity as I was a huge fan of the older versions. I was ready to buy the new version immediately but then I read about the small city sizes and now about not just the problems of the always connected model but the fact that you are being forced towards a multiplayer model which personally I don't want to use.

Such a shame.

I am may still be tempted to give it a shot if they iron out some of the server bugs.

Reply Score: 2

Chrispynutt
Member since:
2012-03-14

Seriously is there any series that hasn't plunged on a downward trajectory under EA once their original developers have been bought?

Not even talking DRM. Gameplay either falters or becomes more and more generic with time.

One close to my heart is Mass Effect, Syndicate and Burnout also.

Reply Score: 1

zeos386sx
Member since:
2005-07-18

Even though I just spent $60 on simcity I am going to buy cities xl and be happy. I hate origin and I only installed it to get battlefield 3 and simcity. Cities xl is on steam, the best digital distribution platform, and it is only $30. Hopefully I can get a refund from EA without joining a class action suit.

Reply Score: 1

EA doing damagecontrol
by smashIt on Fri 8th Mar 2013 19:48 UTC
smashIt
Member since:
2005-07-06
RE: EA doing damagecontrol
by project_2501 on Sat 9th Mar 2013 22:36 UTC in reply to "EA doing damagecontrol "
project_2501 Member since:
2006-03-20

I can confirm that I have first hand experience of companies doing this kind of online "influencing" .. be it in forums, shopoing site reviews, etc ...

Seriously - it happens. For real.

Reply Score: 2

Pathetic...
by Tuishimi on Sat 9th Mar 2013 08:40 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

...and not much more can be said.

Reply Score: 2

Stupid people...
by _QJ_ on Mon 11th Mar 2013 13:25 UTC
_QJ_
Member since:
2009-03-12

- "Stupid people buy stupidly stupid things to stupid ones."

Frankly, as Uma Thurman said : « Hey, what did you expect? »(tm)

Ok I shut-meep- and go play Minecraft(c)... ;-)

Reply Score: 1

I'm done
by jweinraub on Mon 11th Mar 2013 16:29 UTC
jweinraub
Member since:
2009-06-22

I am done with EA. I am going to ship every EA title I have back to them. State I am done with your company's disgusting lack of ethics. Untrusting nature of your paying customers. I want nothing to do with you. If you try to mail me anything, I will mark it return to sender.

I will implore others to do the same.
Everyone needs to stop playing SimCity. Even if you can't return it, just stop playing. I know it hurts because I really wanted to play it myself but long as it is an EA property I refuse to do anything with it.

I had already contacted the media (all of the major news outlets in NYC) as this needs to be spoken about on the air. EA needs to be embarrassed more than the almost 3,000 one star ratings. Kip needs to be publicly fired!

Reply Score: 1