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(Forbes)   How badly did EA botch the Sim City launch? Even its own employees are mad   (forbes.com) divider line 205
    More: Interesting, SimCity, International Women's Day, air launch  
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8848 clicks; posted to Geek » on 09 Mar 2013 at 10:52 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-03-09 10:19:04 AM  
I can't be more happy that always on DRM, where it isn't needed, is failing spectacularly.

This is what happens when you let people with business degrees design code.
 
2013-03-09 10:55:10 AM  
Someone got a link that doesn't pass through the splash-page that Adblock rightuflly refuses to load?
 
2013-03-09 10:55:36 AM  

impaler: I can't be more happy that always on DRM, where it isn't needed, is failing spectacularly.

This is what happens when you let people with business degrees design code.


And when you let beancounters decide how many servers you need instead of network engineers.

"We're going to need 20 severs for the launch"

"too expensive. Make it 5."

"But it won't work!"

"I'm sure you'll find a way by the end of the week!"
 
2013-03-09 10:55:45 AM  

BumpInTheNight: Someone got a link that doesn't pass through the splash-page that Adblock rightuflly refuses to load?


NVM, if you go back to the page again you don't hit the ads.
 
2013-03-09 10:56:50 AM  
The letter in question
    "To the executives at EA, from one of your employees
    I am deeply embarrassed by the troubled launch of Sim City and I hope you are too. When I walk around our campus and look at the kind of talent we've collected, the amenities we have access to and the opportunities working at such a big company affords us, I can't imagine how for release after release, EA continues to make the same embarrassing, anti-consumer mistakes. We should be better than this. You should not be failing us so badly.
    Another thing I see when I walk around our campus are massive banners that display what are said to be our company values. They are on posters on every floor, included in company-wide emails and hanging above the cafeteria in bright colors. You even print them on our coffee mugs so we see them every day. But somehow when planning the launch of Sim City, you threw them all out the window.
    Most important of the values you are ignoring is Think Consumers First. What part of the Sim City DRM scheme, which has rendered the game unplayable for hundreds of thousands of fans across the globe, demonstrates that you are thinking about consumers before you are thinking about yourselves? Does "first" mean something different in boardrooms than it does to the rest of us? Does the meaning of that word change when you get the word "executive" in front of your title?
    You can't even pretend that you didn't know consumers would be angry about this. Common sense aside, consumers complained about this during your public betas. In fact, when one of them posted his criticisms on the forums, he was banned! You tried to silence your critics. The same thing is happening now as users write in to demand refunds. What part of this behavior aligns with our company value to Be Accountable?
    What you've demonstrated with this launch is that our corporate management does not believe in our core values. They are for the unwashed masses, not for the important people who forced this anti-consumer DRM onto the Sim City team. This DRM scheme is not about the consumers or even about piracy. It's about covering your own asses. It allows you to hand-wave weak sales or bad reviews and blame outside factors like pirates or server failures in the event the game struggles. You are protecting your own jobs at the expense of consumers. I think this violates the Act With Integrity value I'm looking at on my own coffee mug right now.
    On behalf of your other employees, I'd like to ask you to fix this.  Allow the Sim City team to patch the game to run offline. If Create Quality and Innovation is still a core value that you believe in, then this shouldn't be a hard decision. Be Bold by giving the consumers what they want and take accountability for the mistake.
    Finally I'd like to ask you to follow the last company value on the list in the future: Learn and Grow. When you made this mistake with Spore, the company and all your employees suffered for it. You didn't learn from that mistake and you are making it again with Sim City.
    So please, learn from this debacle. Don't do this again. Grow into better leaders and actually apply our company values when you make decisions. Don't just use them as tools to motivate your staff. With the money, talent and intellectual property available to EA, we should be leading the industry into a golden age of consumer-focused game publishing. Instead we're the most reviled game publisher in the world. That's your fault.  Things can only change if you actually start following the company values and apply them to every title we launch.
    Sincerely,
    A Disappointed But Hopeful Artist at EARS"
 
2013-03-09 11:00:02 AM  
Over 1,500 one star reviews on Amazon, and climbing.
 
2013-03-09 11:00:17 AM  

impaler: I can't be more happy that always on DRM, where it isn't needed, is failing spectacularly.

This is what happens when you let people with business degrees design code.


Done in one.
 
2013-03-09 11:01:43 AM  

lemurs: Over 1,500 one star reviews on Amazon, and climbing.


try 2,700 and climbing
 
2013-03-09 11:01:51 AM  
Nerd Rage
 
2013-03-09 11:02:22 AM  
This is nothing new from EA.  People who continue to buy their garbage time after time have only themselves to blame at this point.  Why anyone is surprised to own an EA title that is broken is a mystery.
 
2013-03-09 11:03:39 AM  
 In fact, when one of them posted his criticisms on the forums, he was banned! You tried to silence your critics. The same thing is happening now as users write in to demand refunds. What part of this behavior aligns with our company value toBe Accountable?

This has always been their policy.   At best they're delete your post, at worst they'll ban you for any negative reviews.

Got banned for a week from Bioware's forum (EA owned) after posting a negative review of one of the Dragonage DLC's and the Awakenings expansion.  No cursing, no "this sucks" or anything.  Just comments mainly centered on reused maps, models, and average play time vs. price compared to the base game.
 
2013-03-09 11:04:22 AM  

drjekel_mrhyde: Nerd Rage


It is a tale. Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing.
 
2013-03-09 11:06:34 AM  
...and now they're offering some 'free game' to compensate for the shiatstorm.  Nice, it'll probably some shovelware online sports game from two years ago that no one wants.  Or spore, I'd laugh my bawls off if it was spore.  Nope, only way they'd ever get me as a customer is if they did what *everyone* is screaming at them to do which is get rid of the always-online crap, Simcity is a singleplayer series, leave it the fark alone.
 
2013-03-09 11:06:48 AM  
WhyteRaven74: try 2,700 and climbing

Looks like the download edition's about 1,500, but the boxed version's about 2,700.  A disaster either way.
 
2013-03-09 11:06:50 AM  
And a game like SimCity isn't exactly hard to create. So there's no excuse for it not working right right away. Also stripping away features, like subways, is inexcusable. If someone were to whip up a game that's like SimCity minus the hassle and with a few nice things that it's never had, they could eat EA's lunch.
 
2013-03-09 11:07:47 AM  
So, everyone that bought Sim City didn't pay attention during the ME3 fiasco?  Suckers.
 
2013-03-09 11:07:48 AM  

WhyteRaven74: And a game like SimCity isn't exactly hard to create. So there's no excuse for it not working right right away. Also stripping away features, like subways, is inexcusable. If someone were to whip up a game that's like SimCity minus the hassle and with a few nice things that it's never had, they could eat EA's lunch.


Its happening, there's several kickstarter class game projects on the go that are going to do exactly that.
 
2013-03-09 11:08:19 AM  

lemurs: Looks like the download edition's about 1,500, but the boxed version's about 2,700.


ah yeah we were looking at different versions. Some of the reviews are hilarious to read though.
 
2013-03-09 11:09:17 AM  

Click Click D'oh: So, everyone that bought Sim City didn't pay attention during the ME3 fiasco? Suckers.


keep in mind a lot of people couldn't believe EA wouldn't learn from their mistakes and also believed EA was being upfront when they said they were going to do things better.
 
2013-03-09 11:12:16 AM  

WhyteRaven74: keep in mind a lot of people couldn't believe EA wouldn't learn from their mistakes and also believed EA was being upfront when they said they were going to do things better.


Lots of people are dumb.
 
2013-03-09 11:12:25 AM  

Pelvic Splanchnic Ganglion: This is nothing new from EA.  People who continue to buy their garbage time after time have only themselves to blame at this point.  Why anyone is surprised to own an EA title that is broken is a mystery.


Problem is that EA has the cash and the desire to buy sucessful studios and titles.  And then fark them up.
 
2013-03-09 11:14:36 AM  
CSB: Waaaaay back in the early 90s, I was designing a time clock system for a small temporary employment firm. We mocked up a demo and presented it to the executive weenies in marketing and sales, stating over and over it was just a demo and would not be in production for at least a six months.

The farkers told clients it would be installed in 6 weeks. Needless to say the entire project turned into a massive rushed clusterfark of failure.

It was my first major commercial project as a developer. Luckily, I was just the code monkey so it was the higher ups' necks on the chopping block.

Welcome, my son, to the machine.
 
2013-03-09 11:14:48 AM  

fluffy2097: Lots of people are dumb.


thank god, or we'd have 5 headlines a day on Fark.

Satanic_Hamster: Problem is that EA has the cash and the desire to buy sucessful studios and titles. And then fark them up.


Also problem is that people sell their studios/publishers to EA when they come along even though at this point everyone knows what a piece of crap EA is.
 
2013-03-09 11:17:16 AM  
My refund from EA hit my bank account this morning.  Maybe if they fix it and improve the DRM code, I'll buy it again.
 
2013-03-09 11:18:27 AM  

SithLord: My refund from EA hit my bank account this morning.  Maybe if they fix it and improve the DRM code, I'll buy it again.


Yeah, that will show them. Give them metrics that you bought 2 copies of the game...
 
2013-03-09 11:20:33 AM  
"I bought the Trolley Line to DISMANTLE it." - Judge Doom.

Same thing with EA. Nice company you've got. Be a shame if we bought you and put you out of business. See, what you've got might be good. Really good. And we can't have that.
 
2013-03-09 11:20:52 AM  

WhyteRaven74: And a game like SimCity isn't exactly hard to create. So there's no excuse for it not working right right away. Also stripping away features, like subways, is inexcusable. If someone were to whip up a game that's like SimCity minus the hassle and with a few nice things that it's never had, they could eat EA's lunch.


City XL Platinum

Oh, and it's even on Steam, you say?
 
2013-03-09 11:21:27 AM  
Why does Chrome think that article is written in Portuguese?
 
2013-03-09 11:21:48 AM  

fluffy2097: impaler: I can't be more happy that always on DRM, where it isn't needed, is failing spectacularly.

This is what happens when you let people with business degrees design code.

And when you let beancounters decide how many servers you need instead of network engineers.

"We're going to need 20 severs for the launch"

"too expensive. Make it 5."

"But it won't work!"

"I'm sure you'll find a way by the end of the week!"


"Hey, why are we only running 1 application on those 5 servers?  We're adding 20 new apps across that cluster."

"That's right Mr CIO.  We managed to get the engineering teams have 5 servers do the work of over 100 boxes with our leadership.  Thank you for the management bonus."

"Hey, nerds.  Customers report these apps are performing poorly.  Spend the next quarter making them work better by burning your hours, but not adding any hardware or infrastructure.  This poor performance is going to affect your bonus, so get snappy."
 
2013-03-09 11:21:51 AM  
Keep farking that DRM chicken, idiots.

DRM is an unnecessary consideration in software, and is therefore to be avoided from the engineering standpoint.
 
2013-03-09 11:22:03 AM  

fluffy2097: SithLord: My refund from EA hit my bank account this morning.  Maybe if they fix it and improve the DRM code, I'll buy it again.

Yeah, that will show them. Give them metrics that you bought 2 copies of the game...


I don't own a copy of the game, so the metrics are 0.  And technically, based on the DRM model, we aren't buying anything from them.  just a $60 license to rent a client on our local desktops that runs in the cloud which EA reserves the right to terminate at any moment.
 
2013-03-09 11:22:06 AM  
This goes far beyond DRM in that they actually took processing off the home based system and made it server based. In effect, what they've done is sold you a much better looking version of Farmville for $60. This is a spectacularly poor decision considering the game's fan base and expectation that it's a single player game that works right out of the box. Given the horrible launch this game is experiencing, I'd like to hope that this won't be a trend, but you know that they're going to try again.
 
2013-03-09 11:23:56 AM  

SithLord: My refund from EA hit my bank account this morning.  Maybe if they fix it and improve the DRM code, I'll buy it again.


You managed to get a refund from them?  You're a lucky man.
 
2013-03-09 11:28:34 AM  
So it seems Sim CityVille is not incredibly popular.
 
2013-03-09 11:29:01 AM  

Pelvic Splanchnic Ganglion: WhyteRaven74: And a game like SimCity isn't exactly hard to create. So there's no excuse for it not working right right away. Also stripping away features, like subways, is inexcusable. If someone were to whip up a game that's like SimCity minus the hassle and with a few nice things that it's never had, they could eat EA's lunch.

City XL Platinum

Oh, and it's even on Steam, you say?


Let me make that a little more prevalent.
www.joymax.org
On Steam, no EA, no always-on DRM!
 
2013-03-09 11:32:11 AM  
Mentalpatient87:

Let me make that a little more prevalent.

Thank you.  Also, I misspelled the name of the freakin' game anyway.  *sigh*
 
2013-03-09 11:39:22 AM  

Mentalpatient87: Pelvic Splanchnic Ganglion: WhyteRaven74: And a game like SimCity isn't exactly hard to create. So there's no excuse for it not working right right away. Also stripping away features, like subways, is inexcusable. If someone were to whip up a game that's like SimCity minus the hassle and with a few nice things that it's never had, they could eat EA's lunch.

City XL Platinum

Oh, and it's even on Steam, you say?

Let me make that a little more prevalent.
[www.joymax.org image 620x350]
On Steam, no EA, no always-on DRM!


City's XL does so many things right, it was depressing that its failings kept it from being much fun to play.

Seriously, why the hell does everything have to be unlocked all over again each time.
 
2013-03-09 11:41:23 AM  

WhyteRaven74: And a game like SimCity isn't exactly hard to create. So there's no excuse for it not working right right away. Also stripping away features, like subways, is inexcusable. If someone were to whip up a game that's like SimCity minus the hassle and with a few nice things that it's never had, they could eat EA's lunch.


Oh don't worry, I'm sure all those features and bigger maps and a hat pack will all be future $10-20 DRM and/or expansions.
 
2013-03-09 11:42:10 AM  
I bet Will Wright wishes he'd burned Maxis down instead of selling.
 
2013-03-09 11:45:48 AM  
And now, an urgent message from the CEO of EA, John Riccitiello:

i.somethingawful.com
 
2013-03-09 11:47:48 AM  

SithLord: My refund from EA hit my bank account this morning.  Maybe if they fix it and improve the DRM code, I'll buy it again.


B.T. Barnum has a saying for people like you.
 
2013-03-09 11:49:13 AM  

Trollin4Colon: City's XL does so many things right, it was depressing that its failings kept it from being much fun to play.


Yeah, for all the shilling I'm doing for it in these threads, I've only played like 3 hours of 2012. I was never much good at making a city that actually works, and it seems like a lot of work to do so in CXL. But hey, curved roads!
 
2013-03-09 11:51:09 AM  
This seems to be blowing up a lot worse than Diablo III. Probably because a lt of casual gamers play te sim franchises
 
2013-03-09 11:51:44 AM  

19 Kilo: fluffy2097: impaler: I can't be more happy that always on DRM, where it isn't needed, is failing spectacularly.

This is what happens when you let people with business degrees design code.

And when you let beancounters decide how many servers you need instead of network engineers.

"We're going to need 20 severs for the launch"

"too expensive. Make it 5."

"But it won't work!"

"I'm sure you'll find a way by the end of the week!"

"Hey, why are we only running 1 application on those 5 servers?  We're adding 20 new apps across that cluster."

"That's right Mr CIO.  We managed to get the engineering teams have 5 servers do the work of over 100 boxes with our leadership.  Thank you for the management bonus."

"Hey, nerds.  Customers report these apps are performing poorly.  Spend the next quarter making them work better by burning your hours, but not adding any hardware or infrastructure.  This poor performance is going to affect your bonus, so get snappy."


Yup.

So the tricky part of being a developer is learning when to cut your losses and GTFO before you're "asked" to give away your time for free.
 
2013-03-09 11:57:32 AM  
I get annoyed with all the people who say they are going to pirate the game to spite EA. It's counterproductive. I just wish there was a way to let them know just how many of us would buy the game if they simply let us play offline. I'm not going to pirate it. I'm just going to buy something else instead.
 
2013-03-09 12:00:06 PM  

WhyteRaven74: And a game like SimCity isn't exactly hard to create. So there's no excuse for it not working right right away. Also stripping away features, like subways, is inexcusable. If someone were to whip up a game that's like SimCity minus the hassle and with a few nice things that it's never had, they could eat EA's lunch.


You forgot the DLC monetizing opportunities for adding in subways and larger city sizes and stuff that we all used in the previous versions naturally.
 
2013-03-09 12:00:21 PM  

picturescrazy: I get annoyed with all the people who say they are going to pirate the game to spite EA. It's counterproductive. I just wish there was a way to let them know just how many of us would buy the game if they simply let us play offline. I'm not going to pirate it. I'm just going to buy something else instead.


I'm not seeing any mention of people pirating games just to spite EA.
 
2013-03-09 12:00:21 PM  

FuturePastNow: I bet Will Wright wishes he'd burned Maxis down instead of selling.


Bioware's Greg Zeschuck too.

It's so sad what's happened to that company.
 
2013-03-09 12:01:53 PM  

Satanic_Hamster: picturescrazy: I get annoyed with all the people who say they are going to pirate the game to spite EA. It's counterproductive. I just wish there was a way to let them know just how many of us would buy the game if they simply let us play offline. I'm not going to pirate it. I'm just going to buy something else instead.

I'm not seeing any mention of people pirating games just to spite EA.


Just wait, they usually wake up sometime late in the afternoon (long night shift at the grocery store after all).  They've been in all the other threads about the worst launch since the Challenger.
 
2013-03-09 12:05:04 PM  

picturescrazy: I get annoyed with all the people who say they are going to pirate the game to spite EA. It's counterproductive


It's not even that. It's like the gamer equivalent of sharing a "Kony 2012" post on Facebook. Empty gestures served only to make them feel smug.
 
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