A+ R A-
22 December 2014

Voice of Dissidence: Why I Wont Buy SimCity

Rate this item
(5 votes)

Back in June I wrote a piece hyping the latest iteration in the SimCity franchise. It seems I was wrong to speak early. I haven't bought it, and won't be buying it. Here's why.

About a week ago, I was debating whether or not I wanted to buy SimCity, a game I had originally intended to buy, and I decided not to for a few reasons. First off, I feel that ultimately, Electronic Arts treats its customers with hostility and I don't feel that what we've seen of the game lives up to the SimCity name.

Size limitations

The first issue is city size - they've limited the cities to a maximum area of 2km squared. Apparently this is so that it will run on older hardware as well as much as new, that it has to run "On your dad's PC" as well as yours. I'm calling bullshit here; if you're still running a Commodore 64, its time to upgrade. 

The size restriction hampers the game. It's unrealistic and doesn't truly simulate anything at all. In SimCity 2000, SimCity 3000, and SimCity 4 you could build huge metropolises that rivaled the size of real world cities, so you can understand my frustration here. They've said they will expand city size as computer power gets better and better, no doubt with DLC packs that should have been included from the start, at 15 bucks each or more.

I used to live in the city of Chicago, Illinois and I was there for about twenty six years. The image below is a 2km by 2km area of the western side of the city, near the Kennedy expressway. It was taken from Google maps and having lived there, I trust that the measurements are fairly accurate. So, behold, Chicago if it were reduced to a maximum of 2km squared:

 

a 2km x 2km block of Chicago

That is EA's first strike in my book.

Always on DRM

The second, big issue is tied to the above: it's always on DRM. EA claim that the game is running on their servers and everything is saved to their cloud (read database) and that they are doing additional computations on their servers and sending that information to your client. I have a hard time believing that when EA is becoming notorious for nickle-and-diming their customers with DLCs - for example The Sims 3 has had a total of 19 expansions and "stuff" packs added to it by EA since its launch in 2009. In the past, most of the additional mods and "Stuff" added to it was created by players and the community, for both The Sims and SimCity. Its one of the reasons that SimCity 4 has been viable for so many people for so long.

The DRM aspect of it blatantly treats the consumer with hostility. I understand why they want to do it, but they shouldn't be taking it out on the people who actually buy the game just because some players want to crack the game for the challenge of it. Besides, it doesn't actually stop people from cracking the game, it just makes it slightly more challenging to do so... which is precisely why it will still happen. Diablo 3 was cracked, I believe, within one or two months. I'm betting that the latest SimCity  will be cracked in a short amount of time as well. It won't actually stop anything, and it will only piss off people who see SimCity as a traditionally solo game and want to play it that way. When I said I was excited for multi-player play, I did not mean at the expense of people who wanted to play solo and offline. It should have been made with an option to play offline or online, rather than being designed specifically to do one or the other. The Sims 3 was cracked two whole weeks before it was released officially. There is also the example of Spore and its use of always-on DRM. That didn't work out well, either!

The final concern with always-on DRM that somebody I've gamed with in the past brought up with me was that this gives EA the very real option - and threat - that when their next SimCity comes out, they can literally turn it off. For everyone. This would then force anyone who wants to continue to play to buy another version. This is dangerous and a very real threat for what is ultimately of no real practical use for Maxis or EA, and something that offends gamers.

That's strike number two for EA.

Stagnant design

The third strike isn't specific to EA, it's more that their policies are bad for the industry. I don't like or appreciate their use of stagnant design that doesn't do anything new. They perpetuate the continual dumbing down of games, as they have done endlessly with Star Wars: The Old Republic, or for those that like shooters, games like the Battlefield or Medal of Honor franchises. All you see in SWTOR is endless re-hashing of raid and warzone content, and their latest expansion had a single, solitary planet. Admittedly, they did follow through with their promise for LGBT companion characters, but only with that one planet.

However, as I said in a recent guide to conflict in EVE Online, when all you do is endlessly rehash one or two gimmicks to get people to continue to play, all you are doing is breeding a community that ends up hurting the industry because they aren't able to see anything more interesting.

So you know what, EA? To hell with you. You don't deserve player loyalty, and you certainly don't deserve to have anybody buying your crap. Hopefully, Amazon's recent move to stop selling your latest screwup  shakes you to your senses. Unfortunately it probably won't, which is why gamers need to deal with this themselves and stop paying attention to you, because you have long since joined the ranks of Cryptic and Blizzard. The only thing you have actually earned is your award for being the worst company in the world. Congratulationss, you only just beat Bank of America on that one (who, by the way, aren't much better). Its about what you do, not what you say.

For me, the saddest thing of all is that EA has gone so far from their original premise. The image below is a magazine advert they ran when they were a new company, the full text is available here.

You had so much promise at one point, Electronic Arts...

EA's First Magazine Advert

 

That said, instead of playing SimCity (or any game made by EA), there are many alternatives. I went and found my SimCity 4 discs and re-installed that instead of paying for the pile of trash that is SimCity 5. I'll probably buy Cities XL with the money I'm not going to be giving to Maxis.

Did you buy the new SimCity, and if so are you having any problems with it? Let us know below!

Last modified on Saturday, 09 March 2013 23:00

Shop with us!

gamefanshop partner banner

Post Archive

« December 2014 »
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        

Latest Video

Something On the Side

Contrast: Blinded by the light

Contrast: Blinded by the light

Platform puzzler with a bright concept finds itsel...

Skyward Collapse Review: Sooner or later, it will ...

Skyward Collapse Review: Sooner or later, it will ...

Fal-san is your god... Or at least, god of two war...

Cloudberry Kingdom: Hesitation is the enemy

Cloudberry Kingdom: Hesitation is the enemy

Dynamically-created levels make Cloudberry Kingdom...

Rock and roll with indie platformer Element4l

Rock and roll with indie platformer Element4l

Seth reviews I-illusions experimental indie number

Eldritch: A Lovecraftian Roguelike

Eldritch: A Lovecraftian Roguelike

A Lovecraft-inspired roguelike , which is either h...

Master Reboot: Memories of a monster

Master Reboot: Memories of a monster

First-person adventure/horror title with some effe...

Race the Sun Review: Put the ship up to ludicrous ...

Race the Sun Review: Put the ship up to ludicrous ...

We’re racing at the speed of light right towards t...

Bionic Dues: My exo is better than your robot army...

Bionic Dues: My exo is better than your robot army...

A turn based, rogue like with robots? What is this...

Knights of Pen and Paper: Review- Roll that D20, r...

Knights of Pen and Paper: Review- Roll that D20, r...

Fal-san goes back to the age of pixels in his revi...

Vox Review and giveaway: The beginning, nothing mo...

Vox Review and giveaway: The beginning, nothing mo...

Fal-san takes a look at Vox, a cute little blocky ...