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Not Being Silent on SimCity


Quite recently there was an article on Rock, Paper, Shotgun about how EA and Maxis are using silence to suppress talk of their blunderings in SimCity. This was something picked up and discussed by Jim Sterling, and I thought it would rather hip of me to cling to their coat trails like a bitey dog and chew through some of my own opinions on the topic.

I do not believe there needs to be constant talk of SimCity, and perhaps more importantly I do not believe that EA will getaway scot free from all their shoddy practices. I see their recent woes of losing their CEO as a sign that their decisions are coming back to haunt them. While silence might blot out certain issues in the short-term, it cannot cure them of their reputation. That is something that has been building up for many years, getting worse with each anti-consumer choice they run with.

Ultimately, while we might want EA to answer us, what are the odds that they would ever give us anything better than the usual excuses and PR talk? Given the whole open letter thing they issued in their futile attempt to address why they were so unpopular, it seems that either EA intend on feeding us nonsense or they have simply deluded themselves and as a result are completely in the dark as to why things are not going their way. Even if EA were to suddenly become more vocal I doubt they would ever just come out and say what we actually want them to say. I certainly am not interested in hearing whatever twaddle EA or Maxis still has left to spout over SimCity.

So while I'm not interested in what EA have to say about anything at this point, I do think there is still potential value in a continued discussion of games like SimCity. However, it is a rather condescending reason.

A lot of gamers seem to have a bit of a problem. Whether it is a problem with their memory, or that they forgive companies too easily, or just that they are convinced some games cannot fail. It should not have been at all a surprise when SimCity's servers balls up, or the game turned out to be a front loaded piece of tripe. The questions that needs to be asked is this; how many people, even though they saw the mess with Diablo III still went out and bought SimCity? How many people who hold grudges against EA for ruining games also went out and bought SimCity? A game published by EA with always online DRM, surely that should have been a warning light to everyone to maybe give it some time before pre-ordering or rushing to get it on day one. It would nice to think it is merely the rabble who keep falling for the traps, but I have an ill feeling that even passionate gamers are also biting the lure over and over again.

Doubtless the same kind of thing will happen with pre-order hypes. Rather than take the lessons of Aliens: Colonial Marines, people will lap up the next big game's pre-order carrot. Bioshock Infinite also had a ridiculous gimmick with its pre-ordering on Steam. The fact that game turned out to not be crap makes me wonder whether gamers are going to become complacent on the issue of pre-order bollocks, at least until the next big bomb where they get screwed over.

Coming back to an issue time and time again would seem less for the purpose of getting an answer from the publishers or developers, but rather to remind the gamers. If EA wants to stay silent and not satisfy us with an answer then more power to them.

So while I do not believe we need to bring up SimCity every week, it certainly would do no harm to bring it up prominently the next EA are on the brink of publishing a game “that can't possibly fail”, or the next time we see a game with always online DRM. I mean seriously bring it up. Smack people in the face with it when the time is right like a cold, wet fish. More importantly, gamers need to remember the history of their medium and hold it with greater reverence.

You can also read this on my personal blog.
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About Shuudaone of us since 5:34 PM on 03.27.2012

Online I go by the alias of Shuuda. I am currently living North Yorkshire, England. In 2011 I graduated from the University of Hull with a first class degree in Design for Digital Media, where I studied both the creative and theoretical sides of the digital technology and the internet.

As someone who is passionate about about video games than the fantasy genre, I am highly interested in how stories can be told through interactive media. I concern myself with how the genre is portrayed within the medium and its implications. I give it both criticism and praise, but mostly criticism. Writing fiction has been my hobby for many years, and I feel that video games have influenced and inspired the content of my work in recent times.


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