SimCity Boss’s “Straight Answers” Seem Pretty Wiggly

By John Walker on March 16th, 2013 at 12:32 am.

GET IT?

What Maxis are doing is frankly peculiar. Earlier this week we posted a story revealing that claims that SimCity required online servers to run non-regional computations were not the case. That night we were promised a statement from the studio, but heard nothing. Repeated emails to EA have resulted in no response since, and the whole situation has become more muddy with each day. It’s since been revealed that population numbers are nonsense, even down to leaked Javascript code featuring “simcity.GetFudgedPopulation” as a function. We’ve learned that city size limits are arbitrary, pathfinding is rudimentary at best, and Eurogamer’s absolutely superb review lists many more bugs, broken features, disappearing pretend-money and never-arriving resources.

So it’s all the more odd to see Maxis head Lucy Bradshaw acting as if none of this is happening, and instead just carefully rewording her mantra of how SimCity is only supposed to be played online, but this time leaving out the bit about server-side computations for local play.

This week’s fuss all began after Bradshaw’s repeated statement that SimCity needed to be online simply to function. A claim we learned was not the case.

On the SimCity blog on 20th December 2012 Bradshaw wrote,

“GlassBox is the engine that drives the entire game — the buildings, the economics, trading, and also the overall simulation that can track data for up to 100,000 individual Sims inside each city. There is a massive amount of computing that goes into all of this, and GlassBox works by attributing portions of the computing to EA servers (the cloud) and some on the player’s local computer.”

Speaking to Polygon on the 9th March she again said,

“With the way that the game works, we offload a significant amount of the calculations to our servers so that the computations are off the local PCs and are moved into the cloud. It wouldn’t be possible to make the game offline without a significant amount of engineering work by our team.”

And talking to Kotaku in the same week, Bradshaw yet again stated,

“Online connectivity as a creative game design decision was infused into the game’s DNA since its inception and so we’re fully committed to delivering against that experience first. A significant portion of the GlassBox Engine’s calculations are performed on our servers and off of the player’s PCs. It would take a significant amount of engineering work from our team to rewrite the game so that all of those functions are calculated locally without a significant performance hit to the player.”

In today’s posting the studio boss writes,

“From the ground up, we designed this game with multiplayer in mind – using new technology to realize a vision of players connected in regions to create a SimCity that captured the dynamism of the world we live in; a global, ever-changing, social world… We also made innovative use of servers to move aspects of the simulation into the cloud to support region play and social features.”

Spot the difference.

RPS knows that the “simulation” being run on the EA servers is about 1% of the simulation being run on your own PC, so even this rebranded version of the claim still rings a little oddly. It’s not clear what exactly is so innovative about having interactions between different players be handled by online servers – that’s kind of how multiplayer works. But yes, it’s absolutely undeniable that the multiplayer aspects of the game require connection to the, er, multiplayer servers. No one was disputing this, because to dispute that would be frog-hatted mad. The reason there was any fuss in the first place were the claims that the servers were involved in much more, aspects that were they really calculating would indeed deny the simple possibility of a single-player, non-regional version of the game.

And let’s stress again here: If Maxis wanted to make an online-only, multiplayer-only version of SimCity, then that’s their call. No one has a God-given right to a single-player version, and while deliberately shooting themselves in the foot with a cannon by refusing to offer one seems a little odd, it’s Maxis’s call. The issue that RPS has only ever wanted to tackle was getting to the truth about why not. And as many have since demonstrated with offline play hacks (there’s a new one here), we didn’t have it. We could indeed write a very decent, very sensible editorial on why not offering single-player for a SimCity game is hard-boiled lunacy, but that was never the point.

Bradshaw’s post, which appears to be some sort of attempt at damage limitation – without actually ever addressing the issues raised – re-emphasises the point that they wanted it to be always online because of how they designed the game. She then lists the functions those server sums supply. And they’re what we already knew – they let the social game be social. This list that is basically just “the game has co-operative multiplayer” eight times seems to be an attempt to reveal just how grand this aspect is, how intrinsic it is to… something. It doesn’t manage this. What we’re learning from the many players posting videos, and the reviewers who actually played the game properly before smothering it with rosettes, is that those regional functions don’t work very well either.

Things then take a turn for the darned strange when Bradshaw adds,

“The game we launched is only the beginning for us – it’s not final and it never will be. In many ways, we built an MMO.”

In almost no ways have they built an MMO. The first M rather puts pay to that suggestion, with minimal numbers of players interacting, and even then interacting through relatively remote systems. Let alone that it’s a management game that previously functioned perfectly well without the addition of social aspects – which is what makes it so mystifying that apparently adding something has caused so much more to be taken away. But the association with an “MMO” is an essential part of the vocabulary Maxis and EA want us to use, to reinforce the notion that this hasn’t been about piracy, preventing solo-play cheating, and controlling players’ experiences. “Oh, MMOs,” we’re supposed to say. “Yeah, good point, because you couldn’t play World Of Warcraft offline, could you? So this must be the same.” We’re asked to ignore that SimCity looks, feels and plays like a single-player game with some multiplayer functionality, and instead conflate it with an entirely different type of game. It’s a blatantly fallacious stance, but one that’s unfortunately perpetuating. (Check out many other sites’ coverage of Bradshaw’s statements this evening.) Bradshaw then says,

“So, could we have built a subset offline mode? Yes. But we rejected that idea because it didn’t fit with our vision.”

And this is something else we’ve been meaning to mention. This notion that SimCity was born in Maxis’s womb as a permanently online, perpetually social game, is somewhat at odds with, well, Maxis’s own words from just a year ago. Back then they made it clear to the press that the internet would only be needed to boot the game, and then it could run offline after that. These straight answers seem as wobbly as the new SimCity’s roads. A game that was always intended to be so intrinsically online that no offline mode was even conceivable, except for last March, a year before the end of development, when it was.

Obviously we would still desperately love to hear from Maxis to explain the discrepancies we’ve discussed. To ask why it was repeatedly claimed that the servers were so integral for running the core game, when all people needed to do to prove otherwise was pull the ethernet cable out the back of their machine. We want to know how a game that a year ago only needed the internet to launch, is now a game that was originally conceived to be permanently online. If this is a confusion, then please do clear it up for us.

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282 Comments »

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  1. Skaz says:

    One day people will stop buying DRM protected games, then editors will stop putting DRM, then people will start buying games again. Editors will even notice that they sell more games than before, and the universe will be fixed.
    This bullshit is just a little step. Keep faith !

  2. GOU_NoMoreMrNiceGuy says:

    Registered with rps because of the great job you’re doing holding ea’s feet to the fire. Well done, don’t let it go and rock on.

  3. JaminBob says:

    Rock Paper Shotgun and Eurogamer seem to be in love with each other. That’s cool, i’m in love with them both too.

    • Jimbo says:

      Eurogamer handles their advertising.

    • theleif says:

      The Founding Fathers of this Greatest Site on the Web wrote reviews for Eurogamer before the revolution of 1873. So did Quinns, the Jefferson of RPS.

  4. Jimbo says:

    “We could indeed write a very decent, very sensible editorial on why not offering single-player for a SimCity game is hard-boiled lunacy, but that was never the point.”

    Except for when it was the point, like in that article about the online-requirement rendering the game inherently broken. You’ve just found a better drum to bang on since then. Way to Bradshaw your position.

    I wish they’d just come out and say “We built in always-online requirements because most of you steal everything that isn’t nailed down. And most of the stuff that is nailed down. You know that and we know that. Our only regret is that we didn’t use big enough nails.” i doubt anybody would raise any complaints about that.

    • mrmalodor says:

      So what you’re saying is you’d like to be called a thief, disrespected and insulted by the company you just gave your 60$ to.

      Well, to each their own.

      • Jimbo says:

        Well, no, they wouldn’t be addressing me for two reasons: I pay for the games I play and I didn’t buy SimCity.

        It would however be an honest and fair explanation of why they chose to make this game how they did (or why they *tried* to – obviously they didn’t do it well because EA are incompetent). They would only be insulting and disrespecting people who feel they don’t need to pay for the games they play, because somebody else will do it for them. Those people deserve to be insulted and disrespected.

        Of course, if EA actually did answer these questions honestly, John and his rabble (/motley crew) would throw even more toys out of the pram than they are now.

        • mrmalodor says:

          I can tell you this: I pirate a lot. I also buy a lot. I was intending to pre-order Sim City because I love that franchise. Then I found out it would have DRM. I waited. Now we have this fiasco. I will probably never buy Sim City now. Something tells me that a lot of people here and out there are in the same boat. That’s how “efficient” AO DRM is at driving away customers.

          • Jimbo says:

            I don’t think they were ever under the illusion that AO DRM wouldn’t drive away ‘some’ customers. They also know that ‘some’ otherwise-pirates will buy the game if the AO DRM succeeds in making that the only way to play it. They have to weigh one against the other.

            EA isn’t run by pantomime villains; if they believed AO DRM would lose them money then they wouldn’t have used it. If they believed rampant piracy would increase profits, as some claim (which is of course nonsense for a game of SimCity’s profile), then they wouldn’t worry about it. Maybe they’ll see SimCity be a horrible commercial failure and re-evaluate their position in future, or more likely they’ll see it be very successful in spite of the train wreck launch and they’ll conclude that they made the right decision.

    • pantognost says:

      Yeah, of course everyone is a pirate for EA. So they have the enforcer squads of always online DRM. Hey! Why are we complaining about that old bulfrog classic, Syndicate. We are living it in our computers.
      Do not mind of course the fact that piracy sells games due to word of mouth and that indie projects have high retention sales due to it.
      Naturally that would not matter to the corporate behemoths that want to hammer you with compulsion marketing in order to have day 1 break even sales.
      Then it will be the public that does not want that type of game.
      Yup. The public does not want poor excuses of games shoved down their throats. And with the advent of kickstarter they are going to have a “crisis” that we the gamers will be very happy about. ‘Cause when the Zyngas and the EAs and the Activisions have “diversified” away from gaming, maybe we’ll see original ideas being born and our entertainment medium treated with the artistic respect it deserves.

    • newprince says:

      You know exactly why they never said that. Because less people would buy their game if they came out and said something so anti-consumer. There is a growing number of players who would actually like to play their games, but don’t approve of always on DRM. Now that they’ve committed to always on DRM, you can either accept that your game sales will go down, or continue to blast piracy as the bogeyman. Personally I hope they continue with making all their games always-on DRM and microstransaction plagues, because they will no longer be able to point to piracy for failing game sales. They will simply have to get with the times and ditch DRM altogether. Or, even more tantalizingly, they can just go out of business and let better companies handle publishing.

      Do you not find it at least interesting that paying custmomers have to violate the DMCA, crack the DRM in order to play a game they want offline? Does that not indicate *something*, anything at all?

  5. MrPo0py says:

    Just come in to say John Walker’s coverage of this game has been excellent and deserves huge credit. This is why I keep coming back here. You guys need to cover the uglier side of the gaming industry as much as reviews and previews and features and the like.

    Cloud computing can be great and in recent years it has been boom time for the cloud industry but when it’s done on a huge scale the cost of processing power can multiply by staggering amounts. And to be quite honest EA are just way too greedy to take on that burden when their customers processing power is still available free of charge. It all seems a bit hollow to me.

  6. l3illyl3ob says:

    A good breakdown of why this repeated PR speak is nonsense. We are in desperate need of realtalk from EA. Just somebody who can actually say it like it is, and give us realistic answers about what they’re doing to fix the problems present in the game. Currently, they’re just sticking their fingers in their ears and going “Lalalala!”

    In other news, a player took that residential only city idea to the extreme and created a 1,000,000 population residential only city (fudged numbers). Throughout his stream, it became really apparent how horribly broken everything was. His city was halfway in shambles, and halfway really prosperous, with no jobs for anyone and no commercial to shop. The city still turned a profit. Amazing. http://www.twitch.tv/curvygoonette

    • mrmalodor says:

      If the population number is fake, then probably so is the budget. There’s probably a hidden boost to all your profits to make sure you never go broke.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        This is more true than you realize. Unlike games such as Minecraft (or any, first that comes to mind) where say lighting is bugged, and they work to fix it. EA/Maxis seems to have “fixed” bugs by adding new features.

        Roads bugged? Add more busses/trams/buildings.
        Sims bugged? Add more multipliers.
        RCI demand bugged? Add exports to supplement income.
        etc.

  7. bill says:

    I find the most interesting thing to be the way the review scores have been so obviously massaged.

    At release we get 10/10 review scores based on a review event, that fail to notice (or play for long enough to possibly be able to notice) the broken systems. Result – metacritic score of about 91/100

    One week later we get the reviews that actually played the game long enough to notice the flaws, and the metacritic score starts dropping. (currently 64/100).

    But one week later is too late for many consumers.

    And, given that the 10/10 score and the 4/10 scores are both Eurogamer, one wonders if they did that intentionally. Give a 10/10 score on their regional site to keep EA happy, and then later give a 4/10 review on their main site to keep gamers happy.

  8. Allan Smithee says:

    Anyone else remember when Culky paid EA a “little visit”??

    EA comes under terrorist rocket attack: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s49_v5DVK4I

    While it was a great thing to do back then, today it just seems EA aren’t even worth the bother! The right thing to do with them now is to simply ignore them (like they do to us), pretend they don’t exist (like they do to us!) and eventually they will shrivel up and die like they deserve. I used to like EA back in the Bullfrog days but for several years they have clearly and unashamedly been run by a disingenuous contemptible bunch of lying corporate criminals. I don’t understand why people continue to buy into their horrible legal PR and blatant lies? Don’t waste your time anymore people, boycott and move on like the rest of us did years ago and they’ll go bankrupt soon enough.

    Nevertheless thanks for the eye-opening article for the uninitiated who didn’t know how they operate. Really love your site, ditched the corrupt bought-off and bribed corporate review sites many moons ago, keep up the good work!

  9. pantognost says:

    You know what. It is time to show some companies that loyalty can work both ways. I have bought many EA games and also have done the mistake to purchase sim city itself. From now on anything with the EA stamp on it gets ignored. I don’t care if they make the frigging gaming’s second coming with story engulfing as Tolkien and graphics impressive like Avatar. They have shown their respect for their client base and I no longer wish to be in that.
    Oh and btw, please do not send paid trolls, the renown Sent Made Birds (in short smb ;) ),to comment with baseless PR talk in gaming blog comments. It is transparent and simply rediculous. You lost. Get over it and either shape up or shut up.
    Oh btw, dear RPS. Please keep this up for at least a month. Some lessons need to be repated in order to sink in.

  10. Wut The Melon says:

    You know what’s sad about all this? Not that consumers are blatantly being lied to and get a pretty much broken game as a result, but that EA/Maxis are actually going to get away with this, because those same consumers don’t care enough to do anything about it. A couple of games journalists from RPS and a few angry fans aren’t going to make anything of an impact on them, unfortunately.

    I wonder whether someone could just sue them for lying in marketing and delivering a half-broken product? Because I don’t think you could get away with that in any other industry.

    • pantognost says:

      You’d have to prove that they intentionally lied about specific features of the game. Since, electronic mediums are legally new stuff, there is much confusion in terminology and many times, lawyers spin the terminology to their benefit, along with out of context citations that support their point of view.
      Speak with your wallet and they will hear you. We don’t care if they gut the next maden or nfl or uefa game. But, I am elitist in that aspect, don’t touch games for geeks. We anger slowly but we never cool off ;)

    • Ajh says:

      They DID respond to the reddit list of bugs saying they’re working on them. Fix the bugs and people wont feel as cheated maybe?

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Agreeing to EA’s EULAs means you give up the ability to sue them.

      • Mephz says:

        AN EULA is meaningless in many countries and made void by consumer protection laws.

  11. pixelprime says:

    I really enjoyed this editorial. I honestly can’t see this debacle getting any better before it gets worse.

    I did actually enjoy the game for the first 15-or-so hours. But the longer-term mechanics that suffer from things like traffic pathing, sims’ job allocation, and the bizarre way tourism seems to be calculated, all built up to a head and stopped me playing.

    Nothing would please me more than to jump right back into this game when these things are patched-up. I don’t even mind the restricted city size too much – in a way it kind of forces you to think more economically about zoning, rather than just throwing down roads across the countryside willy-nilly.

    I hope RPS can continue to cover this story in a mature way, and not stoop to the sensationalist, view-grabbing vitriol expelled by other sites.

    • WebFusion says:

      As far as I can tell, RPS is one of the only sites not throwing these guys softballs and giving them a pass on their blatant lies about the game. Keep it up, RPS – you’re one of the few gaming sites whose journalistic integrity has not been bought off by advertising dollars.

      As for the game itself – it’s obvious they are digging in their heels and saying “this is the way it’s going to be, and we don’t give two shits if you like it or not.”, and that’s fine. Their game – they can screw it up any way they want, but I’m glad I got to see how limited it was in the Beta.

      I would recommend everyone throw at least $5 in the pot for these guys and their kickstarter (http://civitasgame.com/). While that may or may not pan out (I’m not entirely confident in their chances), it at least sends a message that if Maxis won’t deliver what we want, we’ll find someone who will.

      At this point, this is all just comedic spin. They lied about the game, the know that we know that they lied about the game, and now they’re trying to spin those lies to have a different meaning than the first set of lies.

      Hell, some of these people should go into politics.

      Message to the few talented folks that may still be working at Maxis – jump ship, form your own company, and kickstart a true successor to Simcity. I would rather drop $60 on the hope of a proper simulation, than this dumbed-down piece of shit.

      • pixelprime says:

        I agree with you, of course, but I would seriously reconsider your idea of contributing to the Civitas Kickstarter.

        I believe that game developers, as a whole, should be very open and transparent about the type of game they’re trying to crowd-source funding for. Civitas, on initial impression, seems to provide all of these welcoming requirements right off the bat. There are, however, a lot of troubling (even underhanded) things about their KS campaign that makes me feel very uncomfortable:

        – They launched this campaign almost immediately after the initial SimCity PR disaster, capitalising on peoples’ desire for a more ’rounded’ SC experience, and their already-open wallets.

        – They used a lot of SimCity’s negative feedback to promote their own ideas (‘We won’t have this / that, or do this etc.)

        – Their prior development credentials seem very sketchy, at best, for a project of this incredible magnitude.

        – They have posted concept art that seems to be produced almost entirely from a 3D rendering program, and seems odd at best (look at the scale of the house compared to the road laid next to it).

        – They claim to be able to produce a working version of this game within 12 months, which seems absolutely ludicrous in my eyes. Good on them if they can.

        – They shouldn’t even have mentioned SimCity (or referred to it) for this pitch, because overall it comes across as a cloying attempt to source funding from disillusioned fans of SC, and instead used their own ideas and concepts as a means to promote the game on its own merits (i.e. not saying ‘ours will be better’, and so on).

        – Some dubious (but loose) notion of it ending on the 1st April. Coincidence? Maybe, but I’d still steer clear of it!

        • WebFusion says:

          While I agree (in fact I’m fairly certain) that these guys can’t pull off what they’re trying to – a donation towards that kickstarter would (at least to me) be more symbolic than anything.

          Having said that – I don;t consider anything they’ve done in their approach to marketing to be “shady”. simply opportunistic. They are far from the first to capitalize on customer complaints of a competing game – hell the Arma 3 guys have made several references to the faults in BF3 in their marketing materials – to include the inability to mod the game. Going after a dissatisfied customer is just good business.

          However – like I said, your point about them being able to deliver is well justified. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t….but $5 is a pittance to me if there’s a chance that I can help create some competition for Sim City 5.

          Hell, I wish Valve would sit up and take notice. Imagine a Valve-powered simulation with Steam Workshop integration ;-)

          • pixelprime says:

            We could dare to dream, my friend, we could dare to dream.

  12. Ajh says:

    Always online not always online whatever. Fix the game breaking bugs, let us build bigger cities, and offer an offline mode in a year or two, or allow people to host their own games for friends. This would lighten the server load and cost for what will be considered an older game now. Hell, add scenarios for us to play with even. As it stands the game feels incomplete.

  13. SuicideKing says:

    There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and SimCity.

  14. SuicideKing says:

    Ocean Quiggly.

    Maximum Wiggly.

  15. Harpsichord says:

    Who cares? Really?

    The first 5 articles on this situation were mildly interesting, but at some point you just have to step back and realize Sim City 2000 came out in 1994! Is anyone honestly surprised that an EA studio that hasn’t made an interesting title in almost 20 years is producing a by-the-numbers, DRM-chained, profit-motivated, poorly-tested and dishonestly marketed game? There are so many amazing titles around right now, stop letting EA dominate your headlines. IT IS EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT =(((

    • SanguineAngel says:

      It is important to stand up against things that are not right. If this stops dominating the headlines before EA/Maxis issue a suitable response then EA/Maxis will think that they can get away with lying and that their consumers are just mindless sheep they can easily bend to their will

    • Bluestormzion says:

      I care because, to answer your point, I am not “THEY.”

  16. alilsneaky says:

    All we can do as gamers is:
    -not support EA, isn’t their 20 year track record of shutting down talented devs, pissing away almost all budget on advertising instead of QA and development, adding more and more anti consumer bits to gaming and lying to our faces enough to finally stop giving them the benifit of the doubt over and over?

    -stop giving clicks to all these industry ballwasher gaming websites who gobble the ‘sim city is an mmo’ crap up and have no interest in looking out for their readers.
    I haven’t given ign,kotaku, polygon etc a click in a year, are you doing your part?
    They do not represent us, stop feeding them.

    • MentatYP says:

      If you had visited Kotaku recently you would have seen almost as much negative coverage as RPS. RPS and Kotaku are leading the charge on this. In the lead up to the SimCity release I was worried that Kotaku had been bought out–they put out so much positive stuff about SimCity (although there was a smattering of negative stuff too, just not very serious stuff). But since the release they’ve been right there with RPS in reporting on the debacle.

  17. Bluestormzion says:

    And DING DING DING DING DING!!!! We’ve done it. Once again an EA owned company has fucked over loyal fans, charged for day one DLC, demanded online mode, and when all their smoke and mirrors have been revealed to be bullshit, they claim “Artistic Vision.” It’s Mass Effect 3 all over again. I can not express how glad I am that I stuck to my “Never buy EA” stance and didn’t buy this game, no matter how shiny and delicious it looked behind the glass. It was a dessert from my favorite local diner; it looked delicious on the outside but on the inside was full of sawdust and napkins.

  18. DJ0JJ says:

    The bigger they are, the harder they fall…
    What is funny its that the most pirated games of EA are the FIFA ones, and they did not used this scheme inside it “YET”.

  19. MentatYP says:

    The game we launched is only the beginning for us – it’s not final and it never will be.

    At least they didn’t lie about everything.

  20. Lagwolf says:

    So I am guessing “SimCity Online” would not sell so well so they dropped that off. it is an MMORTS rather than a solo game.

  21. barney says:

    My take on this is that always online will enable micro-transactions further on down the line. EA have spoken before about their vision of games that start off as genuine fulfilling experiences, but start to charge you when you’re invested. Some people will be outraged because they paid top dollar for an experience that’s changed irrevocably into a miserly nagware parade, but by that point they’re irrelevant: other people, even if they’re a minority, will pay for the game over and over again in schemes that can be invented at any point in time.

    EA has essentially realised that the real market to publish in is not the games market, but the market within games. When you can’t through something away because of the number of hours you’ve invested in it, that’s when you’ll really start paying off. And then when you’ve spent over £100 on (and in) a game, you’d be a fool to get rid of it. That’d be like saying it was all a stupid waste! So at that point you’re prepared to pay even more just to make the experience bearable when the microtransactive ads get really invasive.

    This makes absolute sense for EA. They are not a company that loves video games: they are a huge corporate consisting mostly of people who don’t have an ounce of creativity or technical savvy between them. And they need to pay bills. Relying on awesome games happening makes less to these people than having tendrils that continuously extract cash from people playing mediocre games.

    EDIT: tl: dr: setting the precedent for always-online before you introduce any genuinely meaningful online components means you can retro-fit the money generating stuff (pay for larger cities? pay to get rid of ads in your cities? buy new cities? buy your way out of devastating acts of God) in later.

    • mrmalodor says:

      I like your description of their business model.

      I think the effect you’ve described is very similar to what pathological gamblers experience. They feel like they owe it to themselves to keep p(l)aying, because they’ve already invested so much, so they keep investing more and more in order to circularly justify the initial investment.

    • Rapzid says:

      I posted a comment on the bottom to this effect, but yours if more thorough and better written. I will disagree with the statement that there are not creative peoples working at EA, but it’s a corporation only interested in making money. These new shifts in EA’s strategy are more recent too and I believe Zynga and more recently Steam(my new name for Valve) have blazed a trail EA is now prepared to plop an avenue down on(see what I did there?!). It’s a shame because at the end of the day I can see so much wasted opportunity in the new SimCity. There is an amazing game in there.. But EA and Maxis are not the duo to cut and polish it. Not now.

      This is all fine. I believe I stopped buying EA starting on Mass Effect 3 due to the Origin requirement for online purchase. Then I found out about how they wrapped that up and I was glad I held off. Then I missed Dead Space 3 which was also a shame at first, but then I found out they further watered it down from 2 and unified the ammo for the sole purpose of supporting a friction-free transactional model. Mass Effect and Dead Space chart an almost parallel course.. Now it’s SimCity that Origin keeps for itself but a week in the wild reveals it to be broken and diluted as well. Origin has actually saved me quite a bit of money. So that brings me back to the first sentence, “This is all fine.”. My monies are now free to go to publishers making games and not micro economies. Bioshock Ifinite, The Witcher 3, Cyber Punk, Metro: Last Light; the makers of these games will get my monies.

  22. AlienMind says:

    It’s time to drive the snake oil seller out of town, feathers and tar and all.

  23. defektiv says:

    What I imagine happened with this whole debacle was that Maxis went to their EA bosses and said, ‘We want to make a new Simcity.” EA came back with, ‘We’ll only fund the development if you make it online-only,” as part of their whole push to do away with single-player games. Remember that? The subtext being, make games less easily pirateable, and also somehow exploit the recent social media aspect of gaming going beyond simple multiplayer, and keep future revenue streams open for DLC and microtransactions, and whatever else you can think of to squeeze every last dime out of our suckers… ahem, I mean “customers.” Oh, and it has to be released by a date certain, and if it’s not done, it’s OK because we’ll just release a payed DLC to finish the game under the guise of adding something new, a la the Simcity 4 Rush Hour expansion fixing traffic issues with the original game. And now Bradshaw’s sputtering defense is her trying not to sell out her corporate masters and thus put her own job in jeopardy. Wish Maxis had never sold itself (and its soul) to EA. RIP Simcity.

  24. Doganpc says:

    Sooo happy to see this blow up in their face, yet sad that it will probably cost us Maxis.

    • caddyB says:

      If this is what Maxis has become then a bullet in the head is the most merciful way.

  25. newprince says:

    You know, it’s really fortunate that Maxis has used the word “cloud” for their lies. As they clearly demonstrated in their earlier claims, they were in fact basically claiming there could be cluster computing type capabilities. They claimed “a vast” amount of computing was being handled server-side. That would simply be astonishing to happen in a video game, and unprecedented. Given that we now know this was pure BS, and in fact very basic cloud-computing stuff is happening server-side (oh, we saved your game. BOOSH into the cloud!), and they can’t even get THAT right, well… like I said, I’m glad they used the words they did over the past year, because otherwise I think you’d have a good basis for a class action lawsuit for false advertising here.

  26. caddyB says:

    liar liar pants on fire

  27. boschefreddy says:

    my roomate’s ex-wife makes $62/hr on the internet. She has been without work for ten months but last month her pay was $20049 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this web site http://www.fly38.com

  28. AaronLee says:

    “But we rejected that idea because it didn’t fit with our vision.”

    Your vision which was so clogged with dollar signs that it couldn’t see your own gross incompetence through meddling with your developers’ products unspinning in front of you.

    This isn’t just a bad game, it’s a bad publisher. The only thing they have is advert money and brands, their actual practices are so lacking in merit and competence that I think I’d breathe a sigh of releif if they were wiped off the gamedev map.

    • neurosys420 says:

      Amen, Death to EA the biggest whore in game development.

  29. Rapzid says:

    Nah, the online-only has less to do with DRM and more to do with micro-transactions. EA wants to create triple A farmvilles. Micro economies like Steam has(I started calling Valve “Steam” because, yeah) with DOTA2 and the hats in TF2. Sure this stuff doesn’t currently exists in SimCity, but you heard it straight from the GM; The game is not done and likely never will be…. Actually that sounds really bad lol.

  30. Barman1942 says:

    I wish they’d stop giving us bullshit corporate speak and talk to us like normal people for once.

  31. mrmalodor says:

    I’ll just leave this here:
    http://oi50.tinypic.com/eisfic.jpg

  32. targaryen26 says:

    people can complain all they want about sim city and EA, the truth is games consumers have been used as guinea pigs for years and we have relished thoroughly and stupidly in our torture. every nasty form of consumer abuse over the past few years seems to have been experimented on us first. initially we hated steam, not only what was at the time a dysfunctional service but also the very idea of it. today it’s universally loved and everyone feels valve can do no wrong. in fact you don’t even own your steam games. it’s a “service” that they can take away from you whenever they feel like it but if you want to return a game – naw they can’t do that. EA is no better or worse than valve. this fixation on EA in recent months and activision before that is nothing but further evidence of the juvenile attitude of “gamers” today. instead of focusing on what is really going on they find scapegoats to rage senselessly on the internet about. this latest episode of always on drm is nothing but the same continuing story that began with steam, continues now with a myriad of bullshit practices and will end the day we all wake up paying extortionate per minute rates not only to play games but even to access our personal day to day files on the fucking “cloud”. i am sorry but if you are so fucking stupid as not to perceive the grander arc of what is going on and where things are going and you continue to buy into this bullshit you are nothing but a stupid moronic willing guinea pig and i have no sympathy for you. in fact i hate your stupidity. it’s because of dumb assholes like the obsessive morons who preorder games or buy them on day one despite the criminal actions of publishers and investors, that we may all wake up some day in a world in which we own nothing and everything is a service investors provide for us out of the goodness of their hearts – which has and will always be proportionate to the depth of our pockets.

  33. Groove says:

    I know this is late to the party, but good work RPS, quality journalisms.

  34. cirugo says:

    Maxis is now scrubbing their SimCity forums of any mention of this topic. I tweeted the PR person quoted in one of your other articles asking when Maxis was going to respond to it and he has now blocked me. Keep up the pressure please.