The Power Of Silence: Why The SimCity Story Went Away

By John Walker on April 22nd, 2013 at 1:00 pm.

Why has the SimCity story gone away? It’s a good question. And the answer for it reveals much about how both the games industry, and the games journalism industry, work.

In March, shortly after SimCity’s disastrous launch (servers couldn’t cope, the game barely ran, features had to be removed, and the always-on DRM was seriously crippling the game), EA and Maxis’ PR went into damage protection mode. And one refrain we saw over and over was a line from Maxis’ studio head, Lucy Bradshaw, that the ‘single-player’ game had to “offload a significant amount of the calculations to our servers.”

On 12th March, RPS revealed that this statement simply wasn’t true. Via a source from inside Maxis, we learned that the server was doing no such thing, and that the calculations were running on the player’s PC. Two days later these claims were confirmed by a modder who had the game running indefinitely offline. It was clear that the message coming from Maxis simply wasn’t true. (There’s no better round-up of the events than the one put together by Kotaku.)

(One thing that’s important to note here: That the claims weren’t true does not provide room to conclude that Bradshaw was “lying”. Not knowing the circumstances within Maxis at all, there’s no way to know that Bradshaw did not believe what she was saying to be entirely accurate. Miscommunication, deliberate misinformation, we just don’t know, and as such accusations don’t help this discussion.)

So what to do next? Via RPS, and much of the gaming press, the reality that the servers were not running offline calculations became widely understood. So how did EA or Maxis handle this situation? With silence.

And if simply telling the truth isn’t considered an available option, silence is by far the most effective response in this industry.

When RPS first broke the story, only a few other gaming sites picked up on it. It was a big story, unquestionably, so why was it left alone by so many? That breaks down into two parts. Firstly, and most importantly, the story was based on an anonymous source. We of course know who the source is, and verified it until we were very comfortable running the story. But that wasn’t possible for other sites – they had the choice of running the story based on a “rumour” from RPS, or not at all. And that’s understandable – repeating rumours is often the gaming press at its worst, and with no means to verify our story, repeating it could have been risky. It could easily have led to legal threats being thrown all over. Which brings us to the second part – they needed some sort of confirmation, or at the very least a response, from EA to offer ‘balance’.

Not reporting the story couldn’t be immediately dismissed as capitulation, being in the pocket of EA, cowardliness, etc. (Not that it excludes it, of course.) What most sites would have done was immediately fire off an email to EA and Maxis asking for them to provide comment. We, of course, had done the same. And here’s where the power of silence played its first part.

EA and Maxis simply ignored all those emails. Sites may have received a, “We’re waiting for a response,” from their regional PRs, but that was it. And so if you’re running GamePow.com, and you’ve decided you can’t run RPS’s anonymously sourced story without giving EA a response, ta-da – no story on GamePow. And EA knows that.

Our efforts to get a response were equally futile. On the 12th March we were told by EA’s UK PR,

“I will have a response from Maxis for you shortly.”

On the 13th we were told,

“Unfortunately I am still waiting on a response, I will let you know as soon as I hear more.”

And from then on we heard nothing back, emails about it simply ignored.

Then on the 16th March, Maxis’ Senior Director of Worldwide Communications, Erik Reynolds, tweeted me out of the blue.

“No response was my fault not UK PR folks or Maxis. Not a PR tactic, just had to unwind the complex issues and gather right info”

An odd statement, certainly. Taken at face value, it would suggest they were preparing to response. They never have. So in hindsight, it’s only possible to interpret as his having instructed people not to give us (or anyone else) a response on this subject, and then left it at that. Which one might interpret as a PR tactic.

Reynolds (with the apposite handle “@buzzspinner”) has a disarming way on Twitter. After his tweet, a number of other people piled in with accusations, and his responses were pitched to imply that Maxis were victims in all this. They were trying their best, and it was all so heartbreaking for them. Many backed off in reaction. But within it, the same immediately obviously dubious lines were coming out, not least,

“This is a disappointing thing bc we dont want to but we also want to say the same thing we’ve been saying since GDC12″

Linking to an article I’d written, painstakingly pointing out how often their story had changed since GDC 2012, I suggested this is “not a thing you’ve been doing.” His responses had nothing to do with anything. After I pointed this out Erik replied suggesting he would try to sort out an interview, but, “yesterday I shut all of them down so the team can focus on the more important things”. I noted that it was sad that addressing these questions wasn’t considered important. He then added,

“We’ve said something officially every day since 3/5 to be transparent with our fans. Maybe not through your site, but no silence”

This was another clever statement. Maxis had done no such thing, but – so far as I have been able to tell – instead had sent out responses to questions asked long before the RPS story had broken. So it was that sites were running their interviews with Maxis that not only couldn’t have addressed the key issues, but only further repeated the statements that our coverage had revealed to not be the case. What they’d done is continued to wallpaper the internet with the debunked claims, after the fact. Not only were sites not reporting the reality of the situation, but they were in fact continuing to report the nonsense.

The conversation with Reynolds concluded with his apologising for not having sent RPS a statement in response, as I had repeatedly said was all we’d asked for.

No statement has been sent since.

And that’s the second stage of the silence tactic. RPS ran the story as far as we could without any response from EA. We’d revealed the issue, confirmed the issue, and discussed the issue. But without EA or Maxis giving us some sort of statement, other than to just repeat ourselves, there was nothing new we could say. And EA and Maxis knows this. So we, like most of the industry, haven’t written about the story since the middle of March.

Silence is a powerful weapon in the industry. The mad truth is, when it comes to gaming controversies, if you ignore it it will go away. This article is a fairly futile attempt to not let it, and to make sure our readers know that EA and Maxis never spoke to us, never responded to any of our questions, and never sent so much as a statement.

And they got away with it! SimCity sold over a million copies in its first couple of weeks, despite barely working. Many reviews ran before the game had been played properly, giving it huge initial scores, failing to recognise how disastrous its simulations were after the first 10 hours or so. The line about server-side calculations is still being stated as fact, with some major journalists losing their minds on Twitter with anyone who dared to question it. EA and Maxis are still sticking to their utterly ridiculous claims that the game was built as an “MMO”, despite that being patently untrue in every possible interpretation. And incredibly, at GDC last month, they were arguing that their game demonstrated how outdated “DRM” was – as if the always-on weren’t the most destructive form of DRM imaginable!

The principle is if you keep saying the same thing over and over, people will start to accept it. And heck, that couldn’t be more true. Sites reporting the nonsense from GDC showed it, reinforcing this latest angle that the game is an “MMO”, despite it featuring literally none of the identifying features of an MMO, from the “massively” part onward. The reason for this, of course, is because we all accept that an MMO has to be online – of course it does – so if they say “MMO” then they hope that association will be made to their game, despite how comprehensively it’s been shown to not need to be running online at all. Their response, perhaps even impressively, was to double-down on the online nonsense. It worked.

This tactic isn’t unusual. PRs very frequently will ignore emails they just don’t want to/have been told not to answer. Silence is by far the most effective means of spreading silence. With a press so frequently under the spell of the belief that one must offer ‘balance’ to report anything, stories will simply go unreported if one side refuses to comment. (Let alone the implicit idiocy of telling a massive corporation what news you are going to write about it before you write it, so they can shut it down before it ever sees daylight. It effectively boils down to asking for permission to run a negative story about a company. Journalists need to pull their heads out of their arses and start having the integrity to run stories they know to be valid, and then asking the corporation for comment.)

The credulous press (edit: please understand that here I’m referring to “the credulous portion of the press”, rather than being mad enough to suggest that the press as a whole is credulous!) is then flooded with “positive” stories, which they dutifully report, and the questions and controversy slide off the bottom of everyone’s news feeds.

And that, you see, is why the SimCity story went away.

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253 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Schmudley says:

    I would have bought SimCity without a thought had it not been for the coverage of this issue, especially by RPS, and I bet there are others who the same. Good work on keeping up the pressure!

  2. sybrid says:

    Seems sort of natural that the story would go away, right? I mean, there’s nothing new to say (it is crap, it has the always-on DRM, they haven’t fixed either of these and aren’t planning on doing so), they aren’t going to say anything, and there’s no new shocking revelations (perhaps aliens demanded the next SimCity contain always-on DRM or they were going to blow up Earth and Maxis nobly saved the human race at the sacrifice of their game).

    I mean, you could post a story every week to reiterate what is known, but why? I’d think that you’d want to move on to talking about other things, and when Maxis inevitably starts talking about SimCity 6 RPS can just remind everyone “Remember when SimCity 5 was shit? I would not recommend pre-ordering anything, even if the super pre-order deluxe version promises to come with an in game moose.” Similarly, whenever EA says a new title doesn’t contain always-on DRM, you could remind us that EA is using doublespeak and we can’t trust anything until the game comes out, so don’t pre-order anything.

    I’d hardly want to see every week a “Is SimCity Still Shit” update unless there’s actually something interesting to add to it.

    To put it another way, you aren’t still running articles about how terrible Duke Nukem Forever was, right? Because everyone’s moved on, and there’s not anything new to say. Similarly the SimCity story is going to ‘go away’ because there’s nothing new to add. But just like you might preface any announcement from Gearbox with “Their recent releases suggest they only make two kinds of games, Borderlands and Crap,” you could similarly remind people “remember how SimCity was shit?” when EA starts talking about whatever exciting new thing you could be pre-ordering now.

  3. dresden87 says:

    Always a good read over here at RPS.

    As a PR professional, this case was handled creatively, but fairly textbook. The PR people are just doing a job. They don’t owe anything to the gamers – just to the company that pays the bills. That is essentially the job description. In fact, their actions tell us a little more about the organization and the situation itself, as inferred by the article here. The game was fucked. Silence is the last resort – it basically means they had NOTHING positive to spin it with.

    As a gamer, this is just another drop in the bucket of “drm sucks”. New xbox console going to be always on and require a super-drm? Welp, looks like I’m buying a playstation boys. Cue up the “this is me dealing with it” meme, Microsoft/Orth.

    Simply put the only way to stop this shit from happening is to stop buying millions of copies of the games. That’s it. Otherwise your million-sales DRM launches will continue to inspire boardrooms and become even more commonplace than they are now.

  4. macks says:

    Please don’t let this go.

  5. reyn78 says:

    Oh well John – this is the usual sorry state of “specialized trade publications” that the PC journalism in vast majority really is. It is to a large extent a problem of any media basing its revenues on advertisements from a very narrow group of advertisers. Add to it lower reporting standards at most of the gaming websites compared to bigger media and there you go – such a cheap tactic pays off well.

    I would rather look at marketing and sales departments as a main driver of little action on this front with PR department’s silence just an excuse. There is also another element to consider – where I live people hate “picking up” stories from competition and giving them credit.

    As others mentioned the “silence” tactic is pretty useless (and even dangerous) in mainstream journalism where “XYZ was unavailable for comment” or “did not respond to queries for comment” limits its scope. Bottom line – just another argument that a lot of PC journalism is really marketing. With exceptions!

  6. TheSquish says:

    Um, I really hate to be that guy but John Walker came under a bit of fire not too long ago from readers who felt that his article about equality for women in the games industry misrepresented inconclusive statistics, and those criticisms were never really addressed by John or RPS. Instead, another article was posted that rightfully pulled apart the far less valid arguments that article received but still did not address the well reasoned points that had also been made. That article also had the comments section switched off, and whilst John encouraged anyone with arguments to contact him personally, when I checked his Twitter he had mostly replied to trolls.

    This is a brilliant article, and I applaud RPS’s stance on both this issue and the issue of equality in gaming, I just feel like maybe when writing an article about ignoring questions that might have embarrassing answers, it might be best to look within first. Sorry to drag this whole thing up again.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      Hypocrisy is man’s highest art.

    • Arglebargle says:

      Fastball right through the strike zone!

    • nitehawk says:

      Except in that story John was neither lying or wrong. Unlike EA, he nor RPS has anything to apologize for.

      • TheSquish says:

        I’m not alleging he did lie or was wrong, or saying that he should apologise, simply wondering if seemingly ignoring reasonable questions and then writing an article taking issue with EA seemingly ignoring reasonable questions is a tad hypocritical of John. The correctness of the positions of EA and John Walker aren’t relevant to the point I’m making, just the attitude in the face of reasonable questions. Honestly, I feel that whether John was right or wrong, a follow-up article where he addressed the readers who questioned his interpretation of the figures would have been a far better read than the one we got that seemed to just attack straw men.

  7. sidspacewalker says:

    This is why I prefer to get my fix from RPS.

  8. Kollega says:

    I recall stating in the comments for the previous SimCity article that maybe calling the situation “Orwellian” was a little overboard. But this… this is more like it. “Ignoring the problem makes the problem go away” can indeed be called Orwellian.

    I haven’t bought (or pirated) anything from EA in a long while, and it looks like i will not for a while more. But i’m afraid that nothing can stop EA, not even hundreds of thousands of people adopting this stance on the issue.

    • Premium User Badge

      Stellar Duck says:

      Wot John wrote:

      “To see anyone defending EA and Maxis for the state of SimCity, even were it in perfect working order on launch, depresses me to my core. This self-flagellation-as-skincare notion, where gamers loudly and proudly defend the destruction of their own rights as consumers, is an Orwellian perversity. That it might be considered in any way controversial to call them out on their crap, to point out that no, always-on DRM is not an advantage to anyone, is bewildering. It’s a sign of just how far the gaming world has fallen into the rabbit hole of the publisher’s burrowing.”

      He’s not calling the DRM Orwellian, nor the game itself but rather the reactions of some people that will laud the erosion of their own rights due to redefining words and being convinced to act against their own interests.

      The horror of 1984 was never the brutal oppression, nor was it the totalitarian state. The true horror was double think and New Speak that took away peoples ability to think and express critical thought. That’s true totalitarianism. Not something as pedestrian as censor ship, silencing people or the like. Preventing people from thinking. That’s horror. In the end, he loved Big Brother.

      That’s what the Orwellian perversity of SimCity is: the people who think it’s great.

      “But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”

  9. the.celt says:

    Great article. The gaming side of it is a First World Problem, but the honesty and responsibility side of it cuts to the core of all problems. I’m glad somebody is holding their feet to the fire. Thanks RPS.

  10. trjp says:

    It’s just possible that the story went away because it wasn’t really all that important in the scale of things!?

    A game was released which required online access – the early players struggled with server issues and features were disabled (see almost every MMO release ever) and the developers made some statements which obfuscated the real issues (see almost every GAME released ever) and then normality resumed.

    Gamers are rather entitled – they tend to rage a lot – I’m not sure it’s great to pander to that and I’ve NO idea where you’d have gone with it. Are you demanding that people fall on their swords or that they make a whole new game to apologize? :)

    What SHOULD have happened with Sim City is that the reviews should have said “it’s not that great and the online thing is a pain in the ass – you might want to skip it for now” and then life would have moved-on.

    Organising all those torches and pitchforks and then finding out no-one could be bothered to come to the rally was a mistake – perspective and all that…

  11. Premium User Badge

    DarkWeeble says:

    I was genuinely curious about what the hell happened. Thanks for this article. I stayed away from the game because of its new direction so I haven’t followed it much. Are people still playing? All I see written about it anywhere is the questionable DLC.

  12. Jimbot says:

    Another type of response that kind of busted my chops was the outright dismissal of the issue by claiming people were running these kind of stories for the page views. Quite a lot of that going on in the enthusiast press these days.

  13. Enkinan says:

    The only way to get this kind of shit to stop happening is to inform as many people as possible. Great article John.

    DIAF EA

  14. AZCatastrophe says:

    Thank you RPS for helping me be an informed consumer of games. I hope everyone, regardless of whether they are pulling out the pitchforks over SimCity, takes a more critical view of pre-orders and release day purchases from EA. I suspect a majority of purchases of SimCity were based on what we thought the game would be rather than what it actually is.

  15. Enikuo says:

    Great article! If a game company lies to the game media and stonewalls them, it’s completely appropriate to call them on it. Nevermind the remarks about “entitlement” and “first-world” problems. If we’re so weak-willed that we can’t stomach criticizing gaming companies, how could we ever hope to deal with real issues? It’s silly to be cowardly consumers, doing the publicists work for them.

  16. Snubbz says:

    I was simply amazed over how many reviews and articles about SimCity just, to put it blatantly, ignored the fact that this “multiplayer game” was in fact not a multiplayer game.

    I do not mind the constant online, as long as it works. I even find it more enjoying to play with a bunch of friends too. But when open game lobbies are impossible to find, then I’m like “fuck it, done with this:”…

    I feel dirty and cheated on.

  17. Brun says:

    It makes me wonder how much of this shitstorm EA could have avoided had they simply called their game “SimCity Online”. I know they were trying to boost sales with name recognition but I wonder if they couldn’t have ended up with more sales had they named the game more appropriately given their “vision”. Despite how it sounds 1M units or so in the first month post-launch is NOT doing that great for a company like EA, they are feeling the pain on this one.

    • alw says:

      Brun says:

      It makes me wonder how much of this shitstorm EA could have avoided had they simply called their game “SimCity Online”.

      or “Ha Ha You Stupid Fucks Will Buy Any Old Shit, Won’t You?”

  18. JFS says:

    Good work, RPS. Just last night (honestly) I wondered wherever the Sim City 5 story went.

  19. sharkh20 says:

    I just thought it went away because everyone got pissed off and stopped playing it. Not just the story forgotten, but the game whole game. I don’t know anyone who kept playing it after the first week and a half of angry. I pointed out the first day it came out on the forums that it didn’t need the server and everyone got all upset with me. A week later, all those people were nowhere to be found.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      Indeed my wife and I who were somewhat optimistic about the game (especially her) dropped it almost as soon as we understood it, because it doesn’t really work very well at a core level.

      They sacrificed a lot to make it a better simulation, and then that simulation is kind of pants.

      Not being able to log-on, or being forced to log-on is one thing. Simply being a poor game is totally another. Its even worse when it is a game like this that could have been amazing with some polish, but then they didn’t bother to do it right.

  20. Sardukar says:

    On a similar issue, whatever happened with Shadowrun Returns and their DRM decision vis-a-vis Steam? Did that just “go away”? Or does Harebrained get a pass because they aren’t EA?

    At least one major $250 backer, Evilore from NeoGAF, pulled out from backing it over the DRM/broken-promises thing.

    How common is that in Kickstarter?

    • kud13 says:

      They clairified that in an update–you will still be able to mod and patch the game without Steam Workshop (just that it’ll be more hassle, because manual, not automatic).

      The DLC/DRM problem is Microsoft’s fault–they have the Shadowrun IP. HBS is simply licensing it. They got M$oft to agree to release the core game DRM-free, and Berlin expansion DRM-free, any other DLC will require Steam as DRM. furthermore, any mods using post-berlin DLC content will also require having that DLC and the accompanying DRM/Steam.

      I’m not too happy about Berlin not being part of the story still, but I’ve liked what i’ve seen enough not to pull my pledge.

  21. Ny24 says:

    All this stories about videogames. On a gaming site. *sigh* I can recall a time where you wrote about politics. You definitely need to write more about gender issues!

  22. Lagwolf says:

    Good piece. It is clear that EA is happy they sold so many copies and could give a rat-arse about the problems & the game’s users.

  23. DrZhark says:

    Yesterday I was browsing the anemic PC games section of my local ebgames, most of the PC game boxes are old, dusty. It’s a very depressing sight. And then, to top it up I found a copy of ‘Simcity’ , guess what is on the cover? A seal saying: “Winner of 26 awards”

    What awards?

    ’tis is a shame

    • MacTheGeek says:

      The EA Committee for Awarding Awards to EA really outdid themselves this year.

  24. pyjamarama says:

    Sorry don’t get what answer to what question are you still expecting, and what is missing? Why should the gaming press keep writing about? except the games updates, ad related content, and server status and don’t see anything worth reporting on SimCity and all of this is being covered.

  25. Freud says:

    The reason we don’t hear more is because most realize that businesses are free to conduct their business as they see fit and we vote with our wallets instead of obsess about these things for months.

    That it’s a poor game is a bigger story than where the calculations are made.

  26. Fonzcorp says:

    Great article. Keep stickin’ it to the man!

    I, for one, have refused to purchase Sim City, even though I waited so long for its release. All due to the everything I have read up about it.

  27. smiddy says:

    And this, you see, is why I keep coming back to RPS.

  28. RIDEBIRD says:

    Couldn’t be more correct, great post. The problem with the industry is that there is really no site nor mag capable of proper investigative journalism. The resources do not exist and there are very few ways to actually find stuff out – the gatekeeping in this industry is pretty airtight. Keep going at this and keep pushing them. Gaming PR are simply not used to anything but using silence and communication is underutilised (to say the least).

    Devs nor pubs never have to take responsibility for hardly anything and you can always explain it away in a hundred different ways.. It’s a shame. Thank fuck for RPS at least.

  29. Deano2099 says:

    Aren’t media darlings Valve the absolute worse for this in the entire industry though?

  30. NotToBeLiked says:

    Please stop pretending RPS somehow ‘made this story big’. It was on every gaming site I visited, and was discussed on many podcasts, youtube videos, and was featured on the bloody BBC News site! EVERYONE knew about this. Many reviews on release date didn’t mention the problems because the servers worked fine when they played and the preview copy had a time limitation.
    The reason that it went away was because after a while, pretty much everyone who played this game came to the conclusion that the simulation was just inherently broken. Even if the whole online DRM scheme wasn’t an issue and they patch in offline play today, no one cares anymore because it’s just a bad game that barely anyone still plays.
    The people who will remember this happened already know EA is a greedy company that doesn’t care about its customers. Most will forget this n-th example of EA’s horrible attitude. Those are the people that also believe EA when they say ME3’s ending wasn’t a cheap rush job.

  31. honky mcgee says:

    #firstworldproblems

    #conspiracytheories

    #writerswithnonewcontent

    • Satanic Beaver says:

      #EAfanboy

      #hashtagsaregay

      #journaliststhatactuallywriteaboutimportantthings

      • Premium User Badge

        ffordesoon says:

        #hashtagsaregay

        #notthattheresanythingwrongwiththat

        #IjustassociatehomosexualitywiththingsIdon’tlike

        #Idon’thategayPEOPLE

        #someofmybestfriendsaregay

        #Ijustusethetermdescribingthemasapejorativeinconversation

        #becauseIsaywhateveryoneelsejustthinks

        #youknowwhatImean

        #wellyesthisISapublicforum

        #andnobodyhereknowsmefromAdam

        #but

        #noreallyIdon’thategaypeople

        #honest

        #you’rebeingoverlysensitive

        #POLITICALCORRECTNESS

        #CENSORSHIP

        #VAGINAS

        #youreallhomos

        #notthattheresanythingwrongwiththat

        #etc

        And so the pointless justification of one’s own cognitive dissonance continues unabated.

        Rather than go through that, you could just use another word for “bad” and/or “dumb” besides “gay.” “#hashtagsaredumb” provides exactly the same content without pointlessly offending a group of people you didn’t mean to offend in the first place.

        • 1Life0Continues says:

          *clap*

          Thank you.

          It always amazes me the excuses people give for using that word as a pejorative.
          It’s simply laziness of vocabulary. Sexist and misogynistic language is jumped on hard, but this gets off scott free? Sad but true, it seems.

          • honky mcgee says:

            Dear Mr. Walker, the company apologized and gave consumers a free game.

            What more do you want? How about a reach around? Would that satiate your bottomless appetite for justice?

            P.S. That’s a question not a statement.

          • Premium User Badge

            ffordesoon says:

            For them to explain why they continue to insist the game can’t be played offline when anyone who owns the game can see that absolutely is not the case by simply unplugging their router?

            For a game that can be played offline to get the offline mode it so desperately needs?

            For readers to fucking remember this and not lap up any old shit EA PR feeds them?

            Those are some reasons.

  32. Film11 says:

    Silence is a powerful tool indeed. So powerful, in fact, that RPS has used it in exactly the fashion described on their very own site!

    There has as of yet been no reply to the comments on the bizarre article giving publicity to platformer “RunRabbitRun”, a painfully obvious copy of Super Meat Boy, levels, graphics and all. As a result, the comments section withered away and nothing else came of it.

    Such an effective tactic, yet so simple to use.

  33. Lev Astov says:

    I love you, RPS.

  34. QSquared says:

    A credible journalist, who might have some notion of balance, could at least indicate that EA had been contacted but chosen not to respond before the time of publication.

    Also, a real game review should not be done prior to the game’s release when the game is intended to be an online only “experience”, although, you should be able to write up ‘sneak-peaks’ or ‘pre-views’, it’s a poor Idea to give the game a rating before it has been released if it is not able to be played stand-alone, and only for an hour at a time.

  35. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Continue being great, RPS!

  36. Tom Servo says:

    Just refuse to do any stories on EA or Maxis games until they answer you. Most readers here probably have enough hatred towards EA that articles on their games wouldn’t be missed anyway.

  37. Satanic Beaver says:

    This is a great article, and it is a perfect example of why RPS is my gaming news outlet of choice. I implore you guys to write more articles of this type, as I think keeping these stories in the mind of the gaming public when they are making a decision on whose games to buy is a very important thing.

    I do have one correction to make however, correct me if i’m wrong, but i believe it should be “it would suggest they were preparing to respond.” not “it would suggest they were preparing to response.”

    Also: You’ve made the front page of reddit.

  38. Joshua Northey says:

    I personally don’t care about the “always-on” at all, or frankly, the lying about it.

    What I do care about is that they made A LOT of sacrifices on the altar of a more detailed simulation, and then in fact provided a shite simulation.

    So we got a much more limited smaller scale game without any of the benefits that this should have entailed and were promised.

    My wife and I LOVE the Simcity franchise, and like Societies this got shelved after very few plays, and is IMHO a huge disappointment. And I was one of the people who was on here defending it. I can only imagine what the people who already hated it think.

  39. Cunzy1 1 says:

    Because nobody actually plays Maxis games after launch week. Remember how Spore generated 90% of it’s buzz before it came out?

    Post launch is when we start building ourselves up for the next game in the never ending search fro satisfaction.

  40. RabidTurtl says:

    It wasn’t just with game’s journalists, but also the fans that Maxis met with silence. Maxis was very much on reddit all the time, but as soon as the game launched and proved to be the failure that it was, they quickly disappeared. If they do appear, it is to play themselves off as the victims, only stating that “we don’t post because of all the haters”.

    Can’t say I respect Maxis anymore.

  41. MoonStorm says:

    Hey John Walker, have you been in a lethargic sleep over the past weeks? The game was hacked and proven it can be played offline. Hellooooo! Why do you need a Maxis/EA PR representative to confirm a rumor spread by an insider?

    And btw, no, not everyone wants an offline play btw. I’m having a blast playing with my friends on Simcity servers driving the intra-region trading. Specializing is the only way to play on these bloody small maps!

    • Spoon Of Doom says:

      Read the article again and you might notice that he’s talking about waiting on a comment on exactly this proof and an explanation about why they keep up the lies even when they’ve been proven wrong.

      And a significant portion of people do want offline play, especially if the current always-on implementation means that they can’t play at all if they don’t have internet access right now or if the servers are down or und full capacity or when the servers probably get shut down in at most 2-3 years.
      Just because this problem does not affect you does not mean that it’s not a problem at all or that people who see it as a real problem are silly.

      Curiously enough, both offline players and online players such as you would be easily satisfied if playing online was just made optional. So why force it, if it’s allegedly not DRM?

  42. Premium User Badge

    frame says:

    Thanks for this article. I didn’t forget this story or the still pending answer. I’m glad I didn’t pre-order or buy Sim City. I wouldn’t want to support these kind of games.

  43. Nico_101 says:

    I just dont believe people still buy stuff from EA.

  44. Premium User Badge

    ffordesoon says:

    I hope you publish a story like this every week until EA gets in touch with you, or at least slip a sentence about EA not getting back to you guys in one unrelated news story a week until it happens.

  45. OMM says:

    Excellent article on PR! Applies to politics too I think. #FCKdlc

    There is another way. Support companies that share your concerns!

    BOOST: http://ideaboost.ca/products/31-super-funky-monkey-busters

  46. willfarb says:

    Don’t let it die, guys. I stayed strong (and was busy with other games…) and didn’t get SimCity… but I hold out this desperate, stupid hope that if we whinge enough they’ll fix it all and I can play it.

    Your willingless to doggedly follow this thing has even overcome my paypal-hate-inertia and got me to resubscribe again.

  47. DestructibleEnvironments says:

    Are those mutton chops or a warm sweater?

  48. brotherthree says:

    What an excellent article, hats off John.

    RPS – use this guys stuff more.

  49. HisDivineOrder says:

    When your target is overloaded with stimuli, stealth only requires waiting for them to be distracted by one of the bright, flashy things that’s begging for their attention. You don’t have to be invisible or even unsuccessful at everything else to get by.

  50. muelnet says:

    I have 2 points to make:
    1. The Silence are the worst Doctor Who villain of all time (curse you Steven Moffat).
    2. You should add a counter to the front page or even the side bar that says “Days waiting for a response from EA on Sim City Controversy” that counts how long you’ve been waiting. When people click on it, it could take them to the ‘Sim City’ tag where they could read up about what’s going on.

    Also, you might want to think of a better label for it.

    • MacTheGeek says:

      Worst of all time? I’m not sure they’re even the worst of the reboot era (Abzorbaloff, anyone?) And I’m not sure any villain will ever top the “maggots” of The Green Death, or Professor Kettlewell and his Robot.

      I’m sure there are more candidates, but I’ve forgotten about them. Hmm, maybe all the bad ones really ARE the Silence…