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. identicon
    Lord Binky, 18 Mar 2013 @ 8:33am

    Re: Re: Statistcally, you're bound to find someone....

    The GMís response seems more along the line of someone simply being butt-hurt about the general dislike of the direction they took the SimCity reboot.

    They did put a lot of effort into this project, and it definitely doesn't feel good when you put so much time and effort into something that receives such a poor reaction. Based on human nature, it is a given they will cling to the few people that praise them for their work instead of criticize it. What makes it sound childish is crying out that such people exist, which given the massive market they have, no one doubts those people exist (although they may or may not be in the minority).

    But the core of the problem, and Iím sure Iím not the only one who is tired of developers trying to take an established IP, and Ďre-inventí it. They donít make it better, they donít improve upon the core elements that are expected for that IP, and they add some Ďmoderní feature that supposedly makes up for the rest of the game being half-assed.

    Whatís worse is that often times these teams are lead by someone who is acting as if they really believe that taking over someone elseís work is going to get their name on the box and make them the next Will Wright or Sid Meier.

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