Maxis GM: Our Vision Is More Important Than Our Customers & Lots Of People Love Our Crappy DRM

from the so,-so-much-wrong dept

Well, it's been several hours, so obviously someone must have done something stupid over at the SimCity franchise. I could run through a long list of links from our coverage of this debacle, but I'll make it easy on you. The key links are the launch debacle, the backlash, and the evidence that all of this is wholly unnecessary. That last one is important because during the initial stages of this muck up, EA/Maxis came out hard, saying that offline modes were logistically impossible because of all the cloud-based resources needed to run the games simulation calculations. The evidence in the link proves rather conclusively that that is absolutely not the case. In that post, I had suggested that it was time for the game's producers to finally come out with a strong mea culpa. Here is that mea culpa, from Maxis GM Lucy Bradshaw:
So, could we have built a subset offline mode? Yes. But we rejected that idea because it didn't fit with our vision. We did not focus on the "single city in isolation" that we have delivered in past SimCities. We recognize that there are fans – people who love the original SimCity – who want that. But we're also hearing from thousands of people who are playing across regions, trading, communicating and loving the Always-Connected functionality. The SimCity we delivered captures the magic of its heritage but catches up with ever-improving technology.
Okay, so it isn't so much a mea culpa as a, "Hey, customers, why don't you go outside and play hide and go f@#$ yourself!" It's difficult to imagine a more tone deaf statement, given the circumstances. To essentially come out and say that you understand lots of people wanted an offline version of this game, and we already know you could have made one quite easily, but you rejected the idea of filling a customer need because it didn't match with your "vision"? I'd suggest that if this launch has been a faithful representation of your vision, it may be time to get idea-glasses.

And can I ask the other obvious question? Where the hell are all the people clamoring for online only mode? I have no doubt that there are folks who wanted and still want online components to the game, but who the hell is asking for a blatant limitation on their game? There's a major difference between offering online components and requiring it be online all the time. Personally, I think Bradshaw is reticulating our splines on that one.

On the other hand, when discussing the need for the servers in Bradshaw's blog post, there was one glaring omission: server resources/calculations. It appears the game's designers have finally decided to stop lying about why the servers in the cloud are needed and instead moved on to suggest that it's just a big part of their customers that are unnecessary instead.

Filed Under: customers, drm, failures, propaganda, simcity, single player, vision
Companies: ea, maxis

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  1. icon
    special-interesting (profile), 18 Mar 2013 @ 7:23am

    As I said b4; haven't bought an EA game since one of them did not work right out of the box. (it still sits in a another box somewhere.) I consider the event theft right out of my wallet. An always on-line sim-city? Hahaha. Not a chance. Still have SC2000

    My own, estimated, negative contribution to EA's bottom line is 3-5 games or 150-250 dollars. This negativity also reflects the degrading quality of current EA's offerings which surely is a symptom of revenue loss. Even it they grew wings and said they tossed DRM it would take me years to read about it on game review sites to trust them with another 40-60 bucks again. Waste of available spending cash.

    Since some of my friends feel even more strongly this has got to be a huge loss to EA and similar DRM'd games. I also hate it when I or family does want a game it takes so long to read game sites to find out the DRM condition for each.

    Any DRM = no purchase. The kids whimper a bit but not obsessively. (they also know that whining gets a dirty look or even an extra chore) Linux games are getting better and more reliable too. (good examples shawnhcorey). I would say freeciv is awesome... except for the huge amount of time sunk into it.

    The Anon comment about refunds would be nice. While we are at it lets go for first sale rights (ability to resell anything an average consumer/firm bought) for anything that sells more than 5000 units. It needs to be normal SOP that any firm/manufacturer must provide a no strings attached product.

    The question might be better phrased as “Do you like it when you are spied on or monitored so closely that it is spying anyway?” With the obvious EA doublespeak when questioned for justification (of DRM) no way I can find a whit of trust in them. It is always the case that when records are kept they are used/abused and almost never in your favor.

    Note to TD staff: Thanks for the new https!

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