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.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2013 @ 7:41am

    I Just don't get it....

    "We did not focus on the "single city in isolation" that we have delivered in past SimCities. [...] The SimCity we delivered captures the magic of its heritage but catches up with ever-improving technology."

    Because the new technology doesn't allow you to simulate other players/cities in an offline mode right? Hell my Microsoft Hearts can even simulate other players decent enough...

    This whole mess was a bad design choice that was likely made by the business people/publishers (ty EA) and pushed onto the developers "because of the pirates" (*even though they aren't willing to admit it)

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