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EA Humble Bundle photo
EA Humble Bundle

Mark Hamill joins the Humble Origin Bundle 2

He's so hot right now
Apr 21
// Jordan Devore
EA Korea spoiled the surprise last week, but here we go anyway: more games have joined the likes of Mass Effect 2 and Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare in the Humble Origin Bundle 2. The new titles are oldies but goodies: Si...
Maxis closure photo
Maxis closure

EA closes SimCity maker Maxis Emeryville

First SimCity (2013), now this
Mar 04
// Jordan Devore
Another studio with a storied legacy has fallen under Electronic Arts. The Emeryville offices of Maxis, the force behind simulation games like The Sims, SimCity, and Spore, shut down today. EA says it's "consolidating Maxis I...
Free SimCity 2000 photo
Free SimCity 2000

Sure, I'll take a free copy of SimCity 2000 on Origin

Don't even think about disabling disasters
Dec 09
// Jordan Devore
I never thought I'd have this many games attached to my Origin account, but here we are with yet another On the House offer from Electronic Arts I might as well claim. You know, just to have. SimCity 2000 is free (read: free to keep, not free to play for a limited time) so get on that. I think the last time I seriously played this was in, gosh, middle school? It's been a while.
SimCity offline photo
SimCity offline

SimCity can finally be played offline

One year later
Mar 18
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Update 10 is available today for SimCity, meaning you can finally play the game offline. Without an Internet connection. By yourself. Like every single past Sim City game ever. EA has an FAQ on what you can expect, such as ho...

SimCity photo

SimCity's offline mode is in final testing now

Do you care? Y/N
Mar 14
// Jordan Devore
Update 10 for SimCity is the one that'll finally, finally add the option to play the game offline and according to Maxis, it's in "final testing. Almost there Mayors." This functionality was previously deemed impossible given...
Fixing SimCity photo
Here's why
In a blog post, SimCity single-player mode lead engineer Simon Fox has written about the lengthy process required to properly move away from multiplayer. "By the time we're finished we will have spent over six and a half mont...

Offline SimCity photo
Offline SimCity

SimCity will finally be playable offline

A forthcoming update will remove the requirement to be online for single-player
Jan 13
// Alasdair Duncan
What a difference 48 hours makes. On Saturday we talked about how Maxis was introducing modding to SimCity but were leaving some fairly restrictive rules in place to preserve the integrity of the multiplayer side. Today howev...
SimCity photo

You can now mod SimCity but only so far

If you want to get truly crazy with Maxis' flawed city builder you may be out of luck
Jan 11
// Alasdair Duncan
We've said it plenty of times before but mods for PC games are great. Mod support is something I look for in games but it was no surprise that SimCity didn't allow mods. With the game being online all the time I assumed that ...
SimCity photo

SimCity going futuristic in Cities of Tomorrow expansion

Scrub that dirty, filthy air
Nov 07
// Conrad Zimmerman
SimCity is due to receive its first major content expansion next week with the release of Cities of Tomorrow, which introduces a host of new building types like drone factories and air scrubbers. Check out the latest tr...

Hey look, SimCity is getting future cities

Hello? Anyone still reading this? ... Hello?
Oct 15
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Are you still playing SimCity?! Anyone? Uhhh, well hey if you somehow still are there's going to be new content launching on November 12 in the form of Cities of Tomorrow. As you can guess by that name, you're going to get buildings that are going to look all future like. Sigh. This game had such potential. Maybe I'll give it another shot when this update is released. Maybe.
SimCity photo

SimCity team looking into offline mode

Bigger cities, however, are definitely not happening
Oct 04
// Jordan Devore
An offline mode for SimCity isn't outside the realm of possibility. Especially not in a world where Blizzard plans to take out its auction houses in Diablo III. (I'm still shocked that's going through.) "Right now we have a t...
SimCity mod support photo
SimCity mod support

Maxis talking to fans about mod support for SimCity

Do they really need to ask?
Oct 02
// Joshua Derocher
Maxis has started a discussion on its forums about possibly allowing user-generated content in SimCity. This is something everyone was screaming for when the game came out, since previous titles were mod friendly. No official...
Sim City photo
Sim City

Cities of Tomorrow is your first big Sim City expansion

Y'all are still playing Sim City, right?
Sep 19
// Alasdair Duncan
SimCity had one of the worst launches of any game in the last few years but EA and Maxis are carrying on with plans to grow the core game with a big new expansion entitled Cities of Tomorrow which will arrive in November thi...
SimCity photo

SimCity arrives on Mac this week

Yep, THAT SimCity
Aug 29
// Chris Carter
So, SimCity is finally coming to Macs this week for those of you who wanted it. No, not that SimCity -- this SimCity. You know, the one that caused all the ruckus because they tried to claim that the game ...
SimCity photo

SimCity for Mac launches on August 29

Let's try this again
Aug 05
// Jordan Devore
After being hit with a not insignificant delay, the Mac version of SimCity should be ready for release at the tail end of this month. At least, Maxis and Electronic Arts have announced an August 29 launch -- let's hope t...
SimCity photo

SimCity feedback led to an offline The Sims 4

EA is 'making changes to the business practices that gamers clearly donít like'
Jul 24
// Jordan Devore
The disastrous launch of SimCity is over and done with. Emerging from the wreckage with two million sales and counting, Electronic Arts is considering allowing the game to be played offline like many of us originally wanted. ...
SimCity photo

Developers leave Maxis to form new sim-focused studio

Jellygrade is a fun name
Jul 16
// Jordan Devore
A few notable developers who worked on SimCity have left Maxis Software to form a studio of their own with the intent to continue making simulation games. The studio, Jellgrade, has been formed by creative/art director Ocean ...

EA considers previously impossible offline SimCity

Survey asks if customers would like it (no sh*t)
Jul 05
// Jim Sterling
According to a customer survey being sent to SimCity players and posted on Reddit, Electronic Arts is thinking about adding an offline mode to the recently released game -- a mode EA said couldn't be done because of reasons. ...
SimCity Mac photo
SimCity Mac

Mac version of SimCity pushed back until August

Update 5 brings more bugfixes
Jun 06
// Joshua Derocher
Sad news Mac gamers: you'll have to wait another few months before you can get your hands on SimCity. The release has been pushed back until August, since Maxis has decided that it is "not ready for primetime yet." With the t...
EA sales photo
EA sales

EA: SimCity sales 'solid,' Crysis and Dead Space were not

Well, that's unfortunately backwards
May 07
// Brett Makedonski
Electronic Arts held an investors' call today, and one of the talking points was the performance of some of its biggest properties. Unfortunately, some of the information that was divulged was sort of disheartening. EA appear...
SimCity photo

EA on SimCity's launch issues: 'This won't happen again'

Labels president believes the game has 'recovered'
May 07
// Jordan Devore
Discussing the SimCity launch fiasco in a call with investors today, EA Labels president Frank Gibeau referred to the title as "a great game that has recovered from a challenging launch." Although that sounds disingenuous whe...
SimCity photo

Maxis details SimCity's upcoming 3.0 patch

Looking to fix a majority of the road issues
May 07
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Maxis has revealed what SimCity players can expect out of the upcoming 3.0 patch. A majority of the update will focus on the road system, such as traffic, transit, vehicles, and so on. Air pollution, trading, and data layer i...
SimCity photo

Will Wright: SimCity's server issues were 'inexcusable'

'I kind of did predict there'd be a big backlash about the DRM stuff.'
May 07
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Game Industry International caught up with legendary designer Will Wright who shared his thoughts on the train wreck of a launch SimCity suffered with all of the server issues players experienced when trying to play the game....
SimCity photo

SimCity's 2.0 update adds more bugs than it fixes

There's just too much poop everywhere
Apr 25
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
The SimCity 2.0 patch was released this week and has fixed some of the issues people were experiencing. Unfortunately the patch has also spawned a ton of new issues, most of which you can learn about in this ever growing Red...

SimCity, Colonial Marines, and The Silence

Apr 23 // Jim Sterling
The trouble with games media -- and indeed most news-based media -- is that it's predominantly reactionary. If there is action in the industry, the bloggers and journalists can react. Conversely, without action, there can be no reaction. During SimCity's launch, Electronic Arts and EA Maxis made all sorts of statements and promises -- activities we could react to, in order to keep the story going and add to the pressure being applied to the companies involved.  As soon as EA and Maxis keep their heads down, however, the story largely goes away, almost instantly. After all, most of the information comes directly from the companies, so if they stop giving out, there's nothing to take. A number of outlets can continue to ask for comments from these companies, but with launch period over and a reduced need for promotion, the chances of getting a response start shrinking at a rapid pace. Rock, Paper, Shotgun learned this -- it's attempted to get a comment repeatedly, but to no avail. Neither EA nor Maxis have to say anything anymore -- they had their SimCity launch, they got their money, now they just need to sit back and let the bad press shrivel into oblivion.  Aliens: Colonial Marines is another fine example. During launch, there was plenty to dig up about what I still maintain is one of the most fascinating screw-ups in recent videogame memory. At first, it was amazing to see how deep the rabbit hole went, to try and work out how six years of Gearbox time led to such an unfinished mess of a game, attempting to fathom how much of the project was outsourced to TimeGate, and who developed what. But during this time, Gearbox was largely maintaining a stonewall of silence, and even outspoken developer Randy Pitchford limited himself to a tiny handful of Twitter outbursts.  Nowadays, Pitchford spends his time retweeting positive comments about Colonial Marines, talking up the fanbase and boasting about how many people like it. As negative coverage dries up, these tactics begin to succeed, rewriting the narrative to shut out the criticism and portray a story where only positivity exists. People like me, who covered the debacle extensively, get referred to as harmful individuals, out to personally injure the studio for some vindictive agenda. This is the second major problem with covering these kinds of controversial games -- do it enough, and publishers start to paint you as a lunatic.  We saw this recently with Peter Moore, responding preemptively to its "victory" in The Consumerist's Worst Company of America competition. Moore, having already guessed EA would clinch the prize, wrote a blog demonizing EA's critics, suggesting that most people who dislike the company are homophobes angry about Mass Effect's same-sex romance, or irrational maniacs upset over certain athletes appearing on Madden box art. While EA maintains total silence over legitimate complaints -- such as knowingly launching a game that would be broken by design -- Moore pens self-serving fan fiction in which EA's raked over the coals exclusively by bigots and bedlamites.  The real kicker is, if you want to keep these stories alive, if you care about industry bullshit and feel it's too important to simply forget, you have no choice but to reinforce the publisher's narrative and look like a vindictive crackpot. After all, if publishers are staying quiet, if they're ignoring your requests for comments, what can you do? At that point, your options are limited, and mostly involve inventing new articles from whole cloth -- be it a no-news post that simply reminds people a certain problem still exists, or finding some contrived way to pen a "fresh" op-ed on things people already know about. At that point, you end up becoming the very fanatic publishers say you are.  Most writers don't want to do that. They don't want to become some raving demagogue, and I do find it hard to blame them. Some games writers want to just write about the software and blot out the seedy surroundings -- and I get that. Hell, many readers want that, and I understand it completely. In fact, if you cover a topic too many times, most readers will start a backlash, which is another issue that cripples one's ability to keep the pressure on.  A cat may love being petted, but if you do it to the point of over-stimulation, they start to bite the hand that's stroking, and no matter how passionate gamers are about a subject -- they will grow tired of it in time. It's a natural reaction, and one that I can't blame anybody for, especially in an age of information overload, where news moves quickly and no subject can stick around for long.  Once a reader has had his or her fill of a topic, the backlash begins. The shitstorm surrounding SOPA was exciting to most people for a while, but it required a lot of coverage to truly communicate how vile it was, and a lot of coverage -- in the Internet age of aggressive apathy -- is too much coverage. It didn't take long for comments to go from intrigued to lethargic, with calls for Destructoid to "let it go" and "move on" and "just go back to talking about videogames." Be it about online passes, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Electronic Arts or harmful legislation, I've been told to "get over it" more than I can adequately remember. I've gotten told to "get over" almost everything I continue to care about, and I dare say it's a familiar phrase to anybody who's talked about a certain controversial subject for a long enough amount of time. Sadly, that's exactly what publishers bank on. It's just what they're waiting for. All they have to do is batten down the hatches, erect the flame shield, and wait for the community to turn on itself, to split between those who have gotten over it, and those who need to get over it. Eventually, apathy wins, everybody gets over it, and the publisher can hype its next unfinished piece of shit, that the cycle may begin anew.  So what can be done? Nothing, probably. Just keep on keeping on. However, I do hope that those who do "get over" these things, and angrily demand others join them, understand that they're essentially a brick in the publisher's stonewall. Nobody is obligated to be angry and indignant -- I would not be so arrogant as to demand any reader or fellow writer take up arms for a cause they don't believe in, and more than likely don't think matters. However, I do ask for an understanding equal to mine -- an understanding that it's equally arrogant to demand others stop caring about something, just because you don't care. There are many who continue to give a shit about SimCity, Aliens, and all sorts of other nasty industry crap, and they're having a hard enough time keeping the discussion alive with publishers attempting to drown them out and snootily dismiss them as a "vocal minority." And that goes double for the "game journalists" of the industry. Those whose job it is to cover the industry and serve the readers, yet tell other writers to get over it, to stop whining, and to just talk about videogame press releases. Those journalists who call angry gamers "entitled" and dismiss their complaints. Those journalists who join publishers -- often publicly laughing with them -- and sneer at anybody with a criticism. You know who you are. I know who you are. And I know Electronic Arts is not your friend, no matter how much you cuddle up to them.  It should, really, go triple for publishers themselves. It should be said that they'd be best served not looking like decadent aristocrats, smugly dumping on the "vocal minority" and boasting about how much money they've made, as if raking in ill-gotten dubloons is an automatic invalidation of any complaint, rather than a fallacious use of argumentum ad populum. It should be said, but what's the point trying to squeeze blood from that stone? After all, these are the words of a lunatic from the fringe minority, who really should get over it. But won't.
SimCity Silence photo
Keep your head down, then rewrite the story
Recently, John Walker at Rock, Paper, Shotgun wrote a compelling article on SimCity, and how Electronic Arts' maintenance of radio silence has demonstrated total effectiveness in getting everybody to shut up. The basic argume...

Why people hate Electronic Arts

Apr 22 // Vito Gesualdi
Lack of creativity Electronic Arts is terribly afraid of the word "creativity." Being creative means taking risks, trying things which haven’t been tried before. EA, meanwhile, prefers to release the same game as many times as possible, seeing just how much money they can milk out of a franchise before the public realizes they probably don’t need the “Extreme Farming” expansion for The Sims.  I've said it before, but this is still the stupidest thing ever. For a good example of how shameless Electronic Arts is about their lack of original ideas, look no further than Goldeneye: Rogue Agent. After snatching the Bond license away from Rare and churning out an endless procession of uninspired shooters, EA finally decided to just try and trick people into thinking they'd crafted a sequel to the N64 hit. The game wasn’t even based on the movie Goldeneye, it was about a dude with an actual golden eye, which makes literally no sense whatsoever.  Worst of all, EA doesn't even have the decency to recognize when they've published another uninspired piece of crap. Medal of Honor: Warfighter was universally panned by critics, though rather than recognize their failure and learn from it, EA execs decided to loudly whine about how unfair the scores were. Is there anything more pathetic than a bunch of filthy rich executives crying because reviewers judged their game based on its merits rather than its gigantic marketing budget? Buying out the competition As established, EA hates coming up with new ideas, and nowhere is this more apparent than their massive lineup of cookie-cutter sports titles. Of course, who can really fault them for taking advantage of those knuckle-dragging cretins who are happy to pay $60 for the exact same game they bought last year? Look at how excited John Madden is about his royalty check.  That being said, it’s pretty pathetic to see how terrified EA is of their competition, likely aware that any developer with even a sliver of respect for the customer could easily blow their half-assed efforts out of the water. That’s exactly what happened in the case of Sega’s NFL 2K5, a game which was not only hailed as one of the best football games of all time, but actually sold for $10 less than EA’s latest lazy installment in the Madden franchise. Sweating profusely as they considered the idea of actually having to work for their consumer's money, the EA execs frantically called up their chums at the NFL, negotiating an exclusive contract and killing off any competing NFL game series, including NFL 2K and NFL Blitz.  Of course, Electronic Arts themselves actually brought back the NFL Blitz franchise in 2012, which is pretty disgusting when you think about it. It’s one thing to commit murder, it’s another to reanimate your victim's corpse and force it to dance for nickels.  Treating workers like Slave Labor You might argue that EA can’t be faulted simply for being good at business, and I’ll be the first to admit I’ve got nothing against good old fashioned capitalism. Problem is, Electronic Arts is a little too old fashioned, the company clearly pining for the days when where treating your workers like slaves was just par for the course. Ah, the good ol' days. See, in America we have something called “overtime law,” where any employee working in excess of forty hours in a week get paid at 1.5 times their normal rate for those additional hours. It’s supposed to encourage companies to hire additional workers, rather than simply hiring a burly guy with a whip to provide encouragement. Somehow though, EA never got the memo about not forcing your programmers to work like sweatshop laborers. In 2004, Erin Hoffman, the so-called “EA Spouse,” posted a scathing expose on how the electronic giant had treated her husband and other employees, forcing them to work as many at 84 hours a week  without any overtime compensation. Her speaking out led to three separate class-action lawsuits being filed against EA, the software giant forced to shelve their plans for motivational shock-collars. Beatings will continue until morale improves. Ruining companies In the 90s Electronic Arts set about buying up every awesome PC developer they could find, with the hopes of working with these talented studios to create great software values for the consumer... Wait, that’s wrong. What EA actually wanted was to buy up a bunch of already popular franchises, then force the developers to release an endless stream of crappy bug-laden sequels. Remember the biblical story of Abraham, who was commanded by god to take his son Issac up to a mountain and stab the kid with the first sharp rock he could find? It was kind of like that, except Issac was the Command and Conquer series and Electronic Arts wasn't kidding around about the “murder your child” decree.    C'mon Abraham, just ship Ultima IX. Who cares if it sucks? Not that EA cared as they helped run studios like Westwood and Origin into the ground. Once the studios were no longer profitable, they simply fired everybody and pocketed whatever cash they'd made. Everybody wins, except of course for those developers who were forced to stab their most-beloved creations to death.  Poor Richard Garriott. I hope he's happy now that he lives in space. Shamless Money-grubbing Though most publishers these days have resorted to a variety of tactics to earn some additional cash, Electronic Arts is perhaps the most shameless about these practices, eagerly trying to squeeze every possible dollar out of your wallet. Countless hours of login screen fun. Downloadable content - You can be sure every EA release will come loaded with it, much of which probably should’ve been included in the retail release.  Used games - Sorry buddy. If you want to play with your friends, you’re gonna need this ridiculous online pass.  Micro-transactions - Because your favorite video games are made better when you're constantly being asked to feed them quarters Digital-rights management - EA promises to make sure that playing the game you bought is as frustrating as possible, either loading your computer up with DRM software, or forcing you to wait weeks for them to fix the servers before you can actually play that copy of SimCity you bought. See, the reason gamers love companies like Valve, is because Valve makes it clear they loves the consumer. Gabe Newell has proven you don’t have to constantly shit all over your customers just to turn a profit. Every time I buy a game on Steam, I feel like I’m supporting a company which actually cares about me as a customer. With Electronic Arts, I get the feeling my money is being used to purchase orphaned children, whose souls are used to power EA's massive fear engine, gradually opening the portal to the hellish nightmare realm where their demonic overlords plot the total enslavement of humanity. Call it a hunch. Non-Existent Customer Service It’s interesting to see how different companies approach the issue of customer service. Many retailers hold by the old adage “the customer is always right,” going out of their way to please every patron. Electronic Arts goes by the motto "we hate you, give us your money," something which has unsurprisingly earned them few fans. Hi! How can we make your life miserable today?  EA's inability to care about their consumers was less of a problem back in the retail days, though the move towards digital downloads has forced people to deal with Origin's incompetent customer service reps. Got charged twice for Battlefield 3? That's a banning. An opponent swore at you during a game session? That's another banning. You pre-ordered Command & Conquer: Generals 2 before it got announced as free-to-play and now need a refund? Sorry bro, better luck next time. The recent SimCity debacle was excellent evidence of how little Electronic Arts cares about their customers. When you sell somebody a $60 product that doesn’t work, the right thing to do is offer them a refund. However, the idea of swimming in a slightly smaller money pool was enough to send EA executives to tears. No refunds for anybody, though you do get a free copy of whatever game EA calculated would least affect their bottom line. So, Electronic Arts has established the precedent that they are allowed to sell you something that doesn’t work, then refuse to give you back your money, and potentially ban you for complaining about it. If that’s not enough cause to cancel your Battlefield 4 pre-order, I don’t know what is. Preorder your inexplicable Origin banning today! In summary, Electronic Arts is like most American companies, their blind greedy love of money resulting in a terrible experience for the consumer. Though we can't argue that they put out some great games now and again, it's their crappy business practices which are the problem. The Worst Company in America? Maybe not, but they're definitely working hard to keep the title.  
Why EA Sucks photo
Worst company in America? You decide.
It wasn't much of a surprise when Electronic Arts was recently voted the Worst Company in America by readers of Consumerist for the second year in a row. Though the game publisher's sins are arguably less substantial than tho...

SimShady photo

Upcoming SimCity patch will address top requested fixes

Servers will be down during this April 22, 1 PM PST update
Apr 19
// Allistair Pinsof
On April 22, SimCity will continue its arduous trek to becoming a game worthy of its name. The Update 2.0 patch will address "a number of top-requested bug fixes and improvements," according to developer Maxis. Along with som...
SimCity photo

SimCity + toothpaste = $$$$$$$$$$!???!?!?!

You have to buy real products to get the new DLC
Apr 17
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
SimCity's latest stunt sees a tie-in with Crest and Oral-B tooth products, where if you buy specially marked packages of toothpaste and stuff, you'll be given a code to the new Attractions Set downloadable content. So what's ...

EA scrapping The Sims Social, SimCity Social

Oh, and Pet Society ... ha ha
Apr 15
// Jim Sterling
The Sims Social is being scrapped by Electronic Arts, along with fellow Facebook games SimCity Social and Pet Society. In the case of SimCity, this will be a case of a game shutting down less than a year after launch. That wh...
SimCity photo

SimCity: Cheetah speed returns, Mac release June 11

It's kind of like the game I bought, now.
Apr 10
// Allistair Pinsof
"Do you like to play with Cheetah Speed?" SimCity's Facebook asks. "No, I prefer not having basic functionality that keeps the game from being boring and painfully slow!" But for the rest of you, you may be happy to hear that...

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