EA Admits SimCity Strategy Was "Dumb," Compensates with Free Game

EA Admits SimCity Strategy Was "Dumb," Compensates with Free Game

If nothing else, give Electronics Arts (EA) credit for acknowledging how "dumb" it was to not be fully prepared for the demand its SimCity game would attract, given that the publisher is insisting on a DRM scheme that requires an always-on Internet connection. Unfortunately, that's not where the boneheaded decisions end, that's just the beginning. To make matters worse, EA offered frustrated gamers a refund, only to renege on that promise. If you're a publisher wondering how not to launch a product, just follow EA's lead on this one.

All that said, EA is at least attempting to make nice with angry gamers, first with a candid explanation of what went wrong, followed by a free game offer.

"So what went wrong? The short answer is: a lot more people logged on than we expected," Lucy Bradshaw, General Manage of EA's Maxis Label, stated in a blog post on Friday. "More people played and played in ways we never saw in the beta. OK, we agree, that was dumb, but we are committed to fixing it. In the last 48 hours we increased server capacity by 120 percent. It’s working – the number of people who have gotten in and built cities has improved dramatically. The number of disrupted experiences has dropped by roughly 80 percent."

SimCity French Game Set

To get back in gamers' "good graces," EA said it is offering a free PC download game from its portfolio. SimCity players who activated their game will receive an email on March 18 telling them how they can redeem their free gift.

"I know that’s a little contrived – kind of like buying a present for a friend after you did something crummy. But we feel bad about what happened. We’re hoping you won’t stay mad and that we’ll be friends again when SimCity is running at 100 percent," Bradshaw continued.

So, what's the verdict -- does the free game offer make up for the SimCity launch SNAFU, or are EA's antics beyond forgiveness?
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Why is this even an issue in this day and age? Aren't companies that are releasing games like this using cloud services such as Amazon or Heroku to spin up instances on demand (i.e., without intervention), then in-housing the stuff only after the levels stabilize? Some project admin is probably getting chewed out about now.

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Good guy EA?

I commend the company on this move, but this simply shouldn't have happened in the first place. And in fact, it's not the first time it's happened at all. The company clearly was not prepared to be able to support even just the people who pre-ordered the game, much less everyone else. It's a pity, because the game looks seriously sweet.

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Someone needs to do a legit study to see how much all of this draconian DRM crap actually costs, in terms of man-power, development time, implementation, hardware, maintenance, bad PR etc. versus the actual risk of piracy from a game with much simpler, acceptable DRM (like a simple serial number). This crap has to cost a fortune. Convince the bean counters its too expensive long term and it'll go away...

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In addition to the cost of maintaining proper multiplayer servers, they add to that the cost of maintaining single player servers. Just seems stupid. Then they have to maintain those servers until nobody wants to play the game anymore (which we know they won't do). People who bought this better hope the servers stay up for a good while

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They should be refunding gamers their money, not giving out game codes.

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Well, the upside here is: the game will work "eventually", and people get another game on top of it. For those with patience, it's... kind of a good deal. I guess. Hardly ideal, but could be worse.

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seeing in the 'beta' we were only allowed an hour to test the game out thats a load a crap most people played all day long an hour at a pop. if they could get the game off the servers in the 4 hour window(beta 3 was only 4 hours long beta 1 and 2 were a day long event). there was no pre downloading the game during the beta. invites to the final beta came anywhere from 10 minutes before to 3 hours into the stress test. EA FAiled we gave them feed back on this issue and many more during beta. Problem for me I pre-paid for my copy. There was no pre-order my card was charged then and there for a unreleased game. #WeWillNotForget #EAFail #IWantMyMoneyBack

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It was worse then Diablo 3 and really did piss me off I couldn't play the game for almost 3 days. I think blizzard will be happy now they are not going to be labeled worst launch ever now.

However that game is rather fun and very addictive. The free game is a bonus.

Will i keep the game? Yes

Will i get over the launch? Yes

Will i buy another EA game? well i do like some of their game so I would say yes, however i will think twice about getting on the day of release.

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really awesome post.

Play more war games online: www.darkagewars.com

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