A Few Stray Thoughts on SimCity

Let’s talk about SimCity!

I know, it’s been talked to death.  Still, I would like to give my thoughts on it.  Especially since I don’t really have anything else to write about right now…

This whole debacle has been extremely interesting for me, a person who didn’t buy the game and can look at all this from the outside.  Every new comment for EA or hack from the community makes me both shake my head and laugh at how much EA has borked this whole thing.  Today, John Riccitiello actually stepped down as CEO of EA, something few people probably expected.  He had survived through disasters such as Star Wars: The Old Republic but didn’t manage to last through this shitstorm of a game release.  No one really knows if it was his own choice or pressure from the company, and we probably never will know for sure.

I don’t think him stepping down really proves that EA has learned anything from the SimCity launch.  No matter how bad things seem to get, EA is always ready to answer with some bullshit-filled press releases and infuriating quotes from PR and people who worked on the game in question.  Instead of taking the punishment in stride and actually thinking it through, it just refuses to back down.  I think it would be much easier for EA if did just take the blame.  So what if they fucked up, as long as they admit they did and try to fix things.  Stop trying to pretend that always-online games are automatically better for everyone; it always ends up that the paying customers get screwed over while the pirates find a better way to play the game, hassle-free.

Do I think EA ever will learn this lesson?  I’m not really sure.  The company sure has proven in the past that it REALLY doesn’t like to bend on matters like these.  We, the consumers, aren’t so stupid that we can’t tell when a game company is feeding us a hot load of bull.  It just makes them look way worse when they do eventually admit to the mistake (if they ever do; not a guarantee in EA’s case).

We will have plenty of chances to see how companies handle always-online games in the future.  I’m sure that as the years go on, we will see them more and more often.  Hopefully, by the time they become the norm, EA may actually figure out how to respect how its mistakes affect those consumers who pay for their products.

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