EA Shuts Down Social Media Games Without Refunding Money
from the lessons-about-always-online dept
Fresh off their victorious repeat of “Worst Company In America” Consumerist award, which the company brass explained away by reminding us how killer-awesome they are, Electronic Arts is now taking steps to mend the wounds with their customers. And by mending the wounds I mean taking down more games on social media sites in which those customers have spent real-world money for in-game currency, without any promise for refunds. So it’s less mending wounds and a little more tossing salt on them, I suppose. Per EA’s blog:
Today we are informing players of the difficult decision to retire some of our Facebook games: The Sims Social, SimCity Social and Pet Society. For players who have enjoyed our games, we will be making a special offer to introduce you to a PopCap game. You’re a valued fan and we want to make sure you get a smooth transition to PopCap. More details about that offer will appear in-game soon.
Yup, those of you who bought currency for game X can either enjoy an offer for game Y, or else you can always have fun by pounding a bunch of sand. Now, it is true that game shutdowns were always a possibility, and perhaps even an inevitability, when it came to social media gaming, but there’s a better response to be had from EA than offering store credit on games that the customer may not want at all, especially for a company in such dire need of even a dash of good PR. Still, there’s a larger lesson to be learned here, and that lesson is you should run screaming from always-online requirements with every opportunity to do so. Per the original PC World article:
If you have no interest in Facebook gaming, these closures may not seem so tragic. But keep in mind that the push toward online-only games doesn’t stop with Facebook or with massive multiplayer games that have always been susceptible to shutdowns. EA’s SimCity requires a server connection, which has caused all sorts of problems with the game’s launch. The same was true for Activision’s Diablo III. What happens when the publishers of these games don’t feel like keeping them up and running anymore?
What happens? Let me refer you to the aforementioned pounding of sand. There are some types of games where this is more understandable than others. Games that rely primarily on social constructs and multiplayer come with an understanding that they can’t go on in perpetuity. But when the primary game mechanic is not social and the company still requires a connection? Well, that’s just holding you and your money hostage, friends. And with the rumors of always-online console requirements, gamers need to be aware that it might not be a game their purchasing with their hard-earned money. They may only be buying borrowed time.