Maxis’ SimCity Reddit AMA Backfires Hilariously

As I noted last summer, SimCity might be based on a brilliant engine, but adding built in problems like always-on DRM and no true single player option breaks the game. I know I can’t be the only longtime fan of the series who feels this way, but apparently, EA and Maxis never bother venturing beyond the safety of approved feedback outlets. At some point, we will just have to assume that EA HQ is a giant, soundproof building with no windows and no Internet connection, because it’s either that, or the most incredible hubris on Earth that makes them think that hosting a Reddit AMA on the subject of SimCity, the upcoming relaunch of the classic series, could possibly turn out well for them.

“We are working hard putting the finishing touches on SimCity launching March 5 for PC! You can ask us almost anything and would love to talk to you about our exciting new multi-city play where you can control a region of cities that interact with each other, alone or with friends,” Maxis said on Reddit a few days ago. Invitation accepted, Reddit thought, and let them have it with furious vengeance. Here’s are samples from the top 200 comments:

“Please just make it playable offline -___-” -PumpkinLatte
“This is why people make cracks and sales get barfed over to TPB.” -secretchimp
“…it just doesn’t make sense that a company is so deaf to their hardcore fans opinions.” -Metallican
“why the need to FORCE this type of gameplay? multiplayer should be optional, there are many people that just want to build cities by themselves… i seriously don’t understand this decision.” -xYOLOSWAG4JESUS420x
“…my heart cried out in despair when I learned that you plan on making it rely on the worst DRM method ever, and we can’t have offline single-player. I’m sorry, but I won’t be paying money for a game that does that.” -FixLag

This is my personal favorite:

“Go tell your DRM team that they just lost another sale. I know it isn’t your fault, I know if you guys had a choice it wouldn’t be this way…but let them know. Show them this thread if you have to, say “this is what paying customers think about your DRM.”" -InfamousBLT

This thread is just one of many that overwhelmingly show how much people hate what EA is doing with SimCity. Rest assured though that it will matter not. EA and Maxis will almost certainly react by simply avoiding critical backtalk. And why blame them? At this point, they’d have to scrap the game entirely in order to deliver an experience fans of the series actually want.

The good news, if you can call it that, is that SimCity is going to tank. That will either kill the series, and prevent it from being ruined further, or it’ll snap Maxis and EA awake and make them realize that ruining the core experience only serves to drive core fans away.

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9 Comments on Maxis’ SimCity Reddit AMA Backfires Hilariously

JawaEsteban

On December 18, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Yeah, EA/Maxis crossed the line from ‘tone deaf’ and moved into ‘willful ignorance’ territory a while ago. At this point, I’m just watching the trainwreck in progress for entertainment value.

I also hope that this may drive home the point not to mess with the core mechanics of the franchise. If so, the next iteration may actually be a worthy successor to SimCity 4. Fortunately for series fans, the strong SC4 modding community has upgraded that title to such a degree that it bears almost no resemblance to the original factory version. Simtropolis, for example, has terabytes of add-on content available, and it’s only one of many SC4 modding sites. The SimCity franchise will get along just fine until such time as EA is ready to pull its head out of its a**.

Kevin

On December 18, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Call me a cynic, but are we sure the game is going to flop? That it sucks isn’t the point. I still fear a lot of people will buy this, and the sites like IGN/Kotaku will cream their pants with admiration for another EA game.

gasmaskangel

On December 18, 2012 at 4:56 pm

There is something about this whole mess that has always confused me. I get why EA does the DRM stuff, they more than any company seem to hate the idea of paying custumers actually owning what they’ve bought, but the forced multiplayer stuff… it just doesn’t make sense to me because I have yet to meet anyone who wants to play simcity multiplayer and the appeal of doing so completely eludes me.

I honestly do think this is going to flop because people who want a multiplayer game can already get that from a thousand other places, and people like me who just want to build an urban hellhole all by our lonesome don’t want to interact with other humans even periferably while we try to make the lives of our sims hell on earth.

So… what I’m saying is why for the love of God did anyone at EA think this was actually a good idea?

Ross Lincoln

On December 18, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Kevin, the thing to consider is that absolutely no single player ever has asked for the features this game is forcing on them. While some of us would have enjoyed the chance to play against our friends as an option, the core experience has always been single player. Add to that the fact that SimCity may have given rise to The Sims, but that series is NOT a powerhouse brand, and has been, not really, since 1994. SimCity 2000 sold around 2.5 million copies back in the 90s. SimCity 4 sold 400,000 copies a decade later.

The fact is, what EA needed for SimCity to be a hit is for the old school fans to come back in droves, tell everyone they know how good it is, and play it all the time. They also need real PC gamers – not people who play bejeweled – to give it a try too. Instead, they’re taking away everything people love about it, making it inconvenient as hell to play, and expecting… what really? Fools.

kevin

On December 18, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Ross, I hope it fails. But I guess my faith in the general gaming public…. yeah enough about that. Yeah, Diablo III mostly flopped after the first month, but all it needed was that first month.

JawaEsteban

On December 18, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Great point Ross. Hadn’t considered it, but seriously why on earth would the social/mobile gaming crowd that this thing appears to be aimed at drop $70 when they can get farmville or similar apps for free? Who is running marketing over at EA, cub scouts? The mobile crowd doesn’t buy $60+ AAA titles, they buy apps and freemium titles. The fools (good word) are trying to appeal to two very different demographics with the same game, and failing miserably at both.

quicktooth

On December 18, 2012 at 8:32 pm

I HAD intended to offer witty and incisive commentary on this subject, but it seems everyone else has beaten me to it. Including the author of this fine article. Well said Mr. Lincoln, well said.

Ryan Casey

On December 21, 2012 at 11:14 am

Aw, is someone unhappy that a game isn’t made exactly as they want? Does the internet connection make it harder to crack? I have my own issues with EA, but they are doing a good job with SimCity. It’s built on solid gameplay and they are simply trying to ensure people can’t steal their product. Please stop feeling so entitled.

Ross Lincoln

On December 21, 2012 at 11:20 am

Ryan, the problem is that people don’t want to play this thing online always, and they don’t want to be forced to play it with friends, or have to micromanage an overstuffed multi-city game. Always on DRM is also about more than just people who like to pirate games; it’s about the fact that it forces people, like it or not, to remain tethered to a single machine always, and also, to eat up bandwidth unnecessarily. Make no mistake, it’s an inconvenience and also a financial rip off for so many people.

This game is built on some amazing technology, but what does it matter if it’s a ty game otherwise.