SimCity has been a highly anticipated game from Electronic Arts for both PC and MAC. Many gamers around the globe have eagerly awaited a chance to jump back into the game that took city building and management to new heights with its multiplayer mode. Yet much of the excitement for the game that once was has all but diminished in the wake of a ton of issues that have occurred since the SimCity’s release. The central point of the controversy comes in the form of “Always Online” DRM instituted by EA for the game, which has contributed to many people not being able to experience the game they paid for. This has understandably created some very upset groups of people.
Since the release of the game on March 5th, gamers have been experiencing all kinds of issues with SimCity that have completely soiled their experience with the game. So much so, that many took to places like Amazon and fired off in the user reviews of the game, which eventually led to Amazon pulling out availability of the game for purchase. Some of the issues that have been said to plague the game include, but are not limited to, buildings appearing and disappearing at random and excruciatingly long wait times while the game tries to connect to EA’s servers. There have even been some reports of gamers losing much of their progress building their city because of the failure to connect to EA’s servers. And due to the Always Online DRM that EA has implemented into SimCity, many copies of the game have been rendered useless because of the constant connection problems.
We are working on the servers 24/7 - expect performance fluctuations. Our fans are our number one priority. Thank you for your patience.
— SimCity (@simcity) March 7, 2013
Yet despite the technical issues surrounding SimCity, the more troubling part of the whole debacle has been EA’s response to the whole situation. EA disabled various features of the game in hopes of trying to remedy some of the issues, as well as delay the European launch of the game by 24 hours to do the same thing. While this is some sort of action to hopefully contribute to actually fixing the problem at hand, EA’s other move on the matter may make a lot of people more upset then they already are. EA has refused to refund customers who were upset by the disastrous launch of the game with some reports quoting EA’s customer service. “If you regrettably feel that we let you down, you can of course request a refund for your order. It is also our discretion to process a refund. If you choose to dispute it, your account will be banned.” So does this mean that displaying your grievances with EA’s game and demanding a refund is a valid cause for EA to ban one’s account? Seems a bit harsh for anyone who has been affected by the game’s launch.
Yet not everyone is taking the launch sitting down and waiting. Some gamers upset about SimCity’s launch have created a petition to have EA take out Always Online DRM from SimCity and all of their future titles. To date the petition has reached well over 17,000 signatures in support of the cause. Many of the supporters have stated that having a game with an always online approach is unfair and unrealistic and paves the way for tons of issues, similar to what EA is experiencing now. AT the same time, user reviews that caused Amazon to remove purchases for SimCity on their website have been an abundance of 1 Star reviews, a total of 826 to be exact, all of which have written extensively about their gripes with the game.
It is safe to say that the launch for SimCity has been a complete disaster for EA and for their many supporters. The biggest question now is where do we all go from here? Can EA do enough to not only fix the issues plaguing their game, but to also regain the faith and trust of many people affect by the whole situation? Many have already called for EA to move away from using Always Online DRM in their games, but for many more that may not be enough. The fact is that EA hyped up a game that was expected to perform up to the expectations they gave everyone, and instead many people had a game they can’t even play. The ball is now in EA’s court; let’s see what they do with it.