This is the EA/Maxis spokesperson comment I see on almost every website, yet I see no customer comments to backup the validity of this statement. I see comment forums with self proclaimed employees of EA or subsidiary companies defending tooth an nail this "vision" with hundreds of thousands of angry consumers calling BS. My question...when is it enough? When does the lie become so absurd that even EA cannot defend it anymore? I challenge any EA troll scouring through these forums to go over to Amazon and take a look at the star rating of your "vision." 1 1/2. 200 positive and 1950 1 star reviews. That's just the standard version. The limited version is much worse. 3117 1 star reviews to a pathetic 137 5 star reviews. One of the 5 star reviews is as such because the game made him so angry at launch, it actually helped him kick his video game addiction. Please explain your comment to me after seeing that. If this is still your "vision", you need to get your eyes checked.
Lets talk about the real problem now. There is a real fundamental problem with business strategy EA has chosen to employ. The gap between what it decides customers want and what they actually want is so large that it's length is rivaled only by that of the grand canyon. When these games fail, they deflect blame and try to get people to buy into the delusion that they're in a small minority of unhappy consumers. With social media and game review sites, this is just blatant stupidity.
This letter is from a EA employee to upper management. Not sure if it's genuine, but I think effectively captures how I imagine we all feel.
""To the executives at EA, from one of your employees
I am deeply embarrassed by the troubled launch of Sim City and I hope you are too. When I walk around our campus and look at the kind of talent we've collected, the amenities we have access to and the opportunities working at such a big company affords us, I can't imagine how for release after release, EA continues to make the same embarrassing, anti-consumer mistakes. We should be better than this. You should not be failing us so badly.
Another thing I see when I walk around our campus are massive banners that display what are said to be our company values. They are on posters on every floor, included in company-wide emails and hanging above the cafeteria in bright colors. You even print them on our coffee mugs so we see them every day. But somehow when planning the launch of Sim City, you threw them all out the window.
Most important of the values you are ignoring is Think Consumers First. What part of the Sim City DRM scheme, which has rendered the game unplayable for hundreds of thousands of fans across the globe, demonstrates that you are thinking about consumers before you are thinking about yourselves? Does "first" mean something different in boardrooms than it does to the rest of us? Does the meaning of that word change when you get the word "executive" in front of your title?
You can't even pretend that you didn't know consumers would be angry about this. Common sense aside, consumers complained about this during your public betas. In fact, when one of them posted his criticisms on the forums, he was banned! You tried to silence your critics. The same thing is happening now as users write in to demand refunds. What part of this behavior aligns with our company value to Be Accountable?
What you've demonstrated with this launch is that our corporate management does not believe in our core values. They are for the unwashed masses, not for the important people who forced this anti-consumer DRM onto the Sim City team. This DRM scheme is not about the consumers or even about piracy. It's about covering your own asses. It allows you to hand-wave weak sales or bad reviews and blame outside factors like pirates or server failures in the event the game struggles. You are protecting your own jobs at the expense of consumers. I think this violates the Act With Integrity value I'm looking at on my own coffee mug right now.
On behalf of your other employees, I'd like to ask you to fix this. Allow the Sim City team to patch the game to run offline. If Create Quality and Innovation is still a core value that you believe in, then this shouldn't be a hard decision. Games that gamers can't play because of server overload or ISP issues are NOT quality. Be Bold by giving the consumers what they want and take accountability for the mistake.
Finally I'd like to ask you to follow the last company value on the list in the future: Learn and Grow. When you made this mistake with Spore, the company and all your employees suffered for it. You didn't learn from that mistake and you are making it again with Sim City.
So please, learn from this debacle. Don't do this again. Grow into better leaders and actually apply our company values when you make decisions. Don't just use them as tools to motivate your staff. With the money, talent and intellectual property available to EA, we should be leading the industry into a golden age of consumer-focused game publishing. Instead we're the most reviled game publisher in the world. That's your fault. Things can only change if you actually start following the company values and apply them to every title we launch.
A Disappointed But Hopeful Artist at EARS"
1. It was Maxis who pushed for the DRM scheme, not EA. EA embodied it in the hope Maxis would have everything done correctly and so forth.
2. There is some discrepancies on what was said in the "letter", which I won't point out for obvious reasons.
3. The only thing EA did wrong was limit the servers to start with which they fixed quickly. They even gave people a free game for the trouble.
4. Many of the people who are posting negative things are people who don't even have the game, and are just following what others say. There is anti-EA people out there on forums etc, and any chance they get when someone moans about something is they jump on it and try to make it worse. They were the ones who got thousands of people to mark EA badly on the BBB.
I will admit an offline SP with a larger play area would be nice yes. But that is up to Maxis in a sense if they bring that to people. Its confusing, with the whole politics.
EA did take action and offered a free game to people who purchased and activated Sim City on Origin. You should have gotten an email with the instructions on how. And tried to get a middle ground with people, but the majority of people were the ones who bought the game thinking there would be a SP element.
So it is difficult, but things will get better, people just need to be patient about it.
Let me say - although not too familiar with KI and the engine they've used to compose this strategy game: They promised to have characters individually enough to act freely, meaning once they're emplpoyed, going to the same workplace they initially went to, make money, build house, improve lifestyle while before going to school, study etc. Lots of users posted that this isn't the case, KI acts pretty linear, looking for the closest way to work (which isn't always the same), the closest vacant flat (which hasn't been the ones they've lived in before) a.s.o. What I've learned this causes the engine to be not as complex as promised making this game falsely claimed revolutionary. Glassbox-Engine simulates a city in its easiest form not in its most individual. The Engine would have to be completely redesigned and while I am not a developer I sure know this is not a matter of days. I can sure feel for customers being angry at false promises. Sure can.
Edit: Spelling, the usual
[Edited by ae_LON, 3/28/2013 3:20:51 PM]