SimCity‘s launch problems are clearly the result of Electronic Arts decision to make the traditionally single-player game a DRM-filled, online-only affair. Regardless of the server shortage, almost all of the backlash against the game could have been avoided if EA trusted their customers enough to just let them play it offline. Despite the obviousness of this simple truth, one EA employee has found another scapegoat to blame for all that is wrong with SimCity — everyone who purchased the game and then had the audacity to actually try and play it!
SimCity senior producer Kip Katsarelis made the high-spin comment on EA’s forums, saying:
“Server capacity is our biggest obstacle. We launched in North America on Tuesday and our servers filled up within a matter of hours. What we saw was that players were having such a good time they didn’t want to leave the game, which kept our servers packed and made it difficult for new players to join.”
How dare you log onto EA’s servers and then keep playing the game you purchased a license to play. Who do you think you are? This is all your fault!
At any rate, Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw has also spoken up about SimCity‘s troubles and has explained that there is basically no way to make the game offline at this point. According Bradshaw, this latest SimCity was always conceived as “an online interconnected world”, and “with the way the game [technically] works… it wouldn’t be possible to make the game offline without a significant amount of engineering work by our team.”
Bradshaw also updated the game’s official site to offer an olive branch to rightfully-upset gamers, saying:
“To get us back in your good graces, we’re going to offer you a free PC download game from the EA portfolio. On March 18, SimCity players who have activated their game will receive an email telling them how to redeem their free game.”
I can’t help but wonder what Electronic Arts is going to do in six or seven years when they just shut down the SimCity servers for good, and the game ceases to exist. Who am I kidding? They will just flip the switch, hope nobody notices, and then try and sell you another non-refundable license to whatever their latest online-only game is.