Jerry, Who Buys SimCity At Launch

Posted by Colorwind (257 posts) -

Okay, I’m just going to warn you right now that this is going to be a rant and it’s going to be a very long one.

The more I think about this whole debacle with SimCity, the more angry I get. So I’ve decided to express this by presenting a situation that most people seem to forget. I would like to introduce you to Jerry.

Jerry is 32 years old with an office job and a live-in girlfriend. He used to play video games but in the past several years, he hasn’t had as much time to play games aside from a few a year. On March 4th, 2013, he goes into his local Best Buy to buy a new case for his iPhone because he accidentally ripped his old one when he sees an advertisement for the new SimCity game. This catches his eye and he remembers all the hours he sunk into SimCity 4 10 years before when he was in college. So he decided to pick up a copy and buys it along with the phone case and a Snickers bar since they were there at the checkout line.

He drives home, eating the Snickers bar along the way, and once he’s there, replaces his old phone case with the new one. He then decides to play some of the new SimCity game since his girlfriend won’t be back from work for almost an hour. He opens the case, inserts the disc into his computer and begins the installation. After the various steps, bells, whistles, agreements and various other signing offs of his immortal soul, SimCity (and Origin) has been successfully installed onto his computer. He may only have about a half an hour to play now but he gets right into it. However, he is unable to as he gets a message saying that he could not log into SimCity due to a network error.

Now, I’m going to pause here the story of Jerry and speak to you directly. Video games are a form of entertainment. They are in fact a play thing that we do to amuse ourselves. This can lead to various ideas that can at times take games to be more than a play thing and can be thought provoking or artistic or even cathartic. However, once constant that used to always be true is that video games are a product. Whether you were going to engross yourself in a drama filled storyline such as the one in Final Fantasy IV or just mow down bad guys in Contra, the process remained the same. You went to the store that was selling the game you wanted, you gave them the correct amount of money and they would give you your game. You would then take the game home, pop it into your console or computer, and play. Simple.

However now a new concept has been introduced. Instead of video games being a product, some video games are instead seen as a service. Now some titles want you to pay monthly or in some other timely increment for the ability to play the game. This concept…is fine. I don’t mind the idea of paying each month for the ability to play a game granted my initial investment was small. Which brings us to the game in question, SimCity. SimCity has attached to it what is known as always online DRM. It’s a form of protection that is designed to keep the game from being offered online for free as an illegal pirated download. See, if the game requires you to have an active internet connection at all times, it can constantly check to make sure that your copy is legitimate.

Now the developer of SimCity, Maxis, says that requiring that online connection allows them to implement a variety of different features and social connections in the game that previous SimCity titles did not have. That sounds pretty good, right? The great thing about technology is it can enable ideas previously not possible to become reality and give us new ways to experience entertainment, video games not the only medium who can benefit from this.

However, here’s where things change without some, including those who should absolutely be aware of this, not taking the following into consideration. Corporations and consumers have a basic understanding with any product that is made available. The consumer agrees to give money to the store provider which then the corporation gets a cut of and in return, the corporation gives the consumer a product in working order as advertised. With video games, this means you buy a video game and when you put it into the device it’s for, it works.

When you have new restrictions on the product such as always online DRM, the previous understanding no longer applies. A new one is in order and with the new restrictions comes new expectations. Requiring an constant internet connection means that the cost for playing that game is higher than it normally would be for a game without always online DRM. If I want to play the new Tomb Raider, I require a PC that is strong enough to run the game as well as a copy of the game itself. That means that I have to have a computer that’ll run me around $800 to $1000 as well as the $60 for the game itself. Tomb Raider also has multiplayer but if I want to play the main part of the game which is the single player campaign, I don’t need an internet connection, meaning that the internet connection is optional.

To play SimCity, I’ll need a PC roughly the same price, as well as the game at around the same price as Tomb Raider. However, I also need that internet connection that roughly costs me anywhere from $20 to $50 dollars a month or even more. This in essence makes that game by association a service, not a product. Now a small tangent. This could easily be avoided if the developers had decided to include an offline mode. In exchange for losing some of the new features the game implements, I have the option to play the game even if I don’t have an online connection at all times or at all. This alone is probably a deal breaker for many of you and that’s understandable but the main point is what this does to the consumer’s expectations.

Now that more is being expected from the consumer, more is now being expected from the corporation. Not only is the game expected to be as advertised and in working order, the game is also expected to provide its service at all times. So what happens when one party does not adhere to this understanding? We know what happens when the consumer doesn’t. They could be arrested for stealing the product off the shelves or their internet connection speed could be affected or that particular consumer could be banned from the service. The repercussions are in fact the same regardless of the severity of the expectations.

So when the corporation fails to meet their end of the understanding, you should be mad. You should be very mad. I mean, I could go to jail if I were to steal a copy of SimCity. I could have my internet speed throttled if I were to pirate it. What are the repercussions for the corporations? Well, lets look at other products and services for examples. Lets say I buy a table from Home Depot, already assembled. I just tied it down to the back of my truck and brought it home. I place it down in my kitchen and realize that the table is lopsided. Despite my floor being level, the table is not. Apparently, one of the legs on the table is not the same length as the others. What do I do? I take the table back to Home Depot and either get a refund or an identical table that is level. Because the product was not in working order, that unit will be discarded and the corporation is out a sale.

Lets look at an example with a service. I have my TV service with a company called Charter Communications. I pay them monthly for the service they provide. If one day my TV service stops working due to weather conditions or some other random occurrence, they are required to fix it. If the service is down for a certain amount of time, like an hour or so, I can call Charter on the phone and demand some kind of compensation, usually resulting in a partial refund of some kind. So when a video game fails to meet their expectations, I took am entitled to some kind of refund or compensation of some kind. What do you do when instead of being just a few consumers it’s your entire audience?

In case you don’t know, SimCity hasn’t worked properly since it’s launch due to Electronic Arts not having the servers capable enough to support all the gamers trying to play the game. The game launch a week ago. That is beyond unacceptable and what’s worse is the repercussions don’t match the failure to the consumer. Losing a lot of sales of SimCity is not enough. Imagine if I kept stealing copies of SimCity for a week. That would not end well. Instead, EA has only asked that people be patient as they fix the problems while not giving anyone refunds and giving people a free game of which has not been revealed to be anything good. A free game should have been offered practically each day the servers were not working properly.

That word patience. Don’t be. Imagine of instead of taking that table back that you just slipped a drink coaster under the short leg and called it fine. Imagine not complaining to the cable company about your service and having sporadic service until your bill came in the mail, of which was full price and of which you pay. Doing so means you have failed as a consumer and have let the corporation bulldoze over you and say that the understanding between corporations and consumers doesn’t not apply to you. That the corporation can do whatever it wants with you because you will just lay back and take it without opening your mouth. EA essentially sold you a broken product that would only fixed later through their service which means your product purchase was meaningless and practically an unnecessary purchase. Highway robbery at its finest.

And I do mean that the buying of the disc or download is unnecessary. I don’t recall a table ever requiring you to have an active internet connection at all times. Cable companies don’t even require you to buy the cable boxes for their services. They only charge you a five to ten dollar leasing fee that only applies there because the hardware is required. The box art and cardboard packaging for SimCity is not required and that doesn’t even apply to the download. So if I need the internet to play the game, that $60 was worthless. Another quick tangent: for those thinking that you can’t compare video games to cable companies and pieces of furniture, why? Why not? In terms of products and services, they are the same and even if they weren’t, I don’t see how that gives video games a free pass not to adhere to the same standards if not better other products and services must.

The problem with always online DRM is two fold. One, it means that the audience of the game is significantly limited. If someone who doesn’t have access to a constant online connection wants to play this game, they can’t, pure and simple. If someone wants to play it on their laptop and they don’t have a data plan, they can’t do it. If someone has an always active internet connection but has bandwidth limitations or download and upload caps, they have to watch how they play it. That means less people will be willing to buy the game and that means less money for EA.

Two, always online DRM is a business model that hasn’t been proven to work. Before the game was even released, we in the know of this industry knew there was going to be problems. Game sites knew it, gamers knew it, everybody knew it. Which means that both Electronic Arts and Maxis knew it as well. They knew that they would have problems when the game was released and they decided to do it anyways because the understanding between corporations and consumers was a distant second in their minds. What was important was securing that initial income and then just fixing it later while acting humble and apologetic while offering some game for free that’s really of no consequence to them anyway.

Now lets come back to Jerry. After several minutes of trying to connect, Jerry eventually gives up and takes the disc out of the computer. He repackages it and watches TV until his girlfriend comes back home. See, Jerry is not an avid gamer and as such, does not follow the latest video game news and doesn’t know that this is a known problem of the game. So the next day, he goes back to Best Buy and returns the game for a full refund. Like he should. Jerry doesn’t get to play SimCity, and EA loses out on money.

Gamers may be different as they know that eventually the problem will be fixed but they too will not trust EA with this kind of business model and the sales will suffer from that audience as well. However, EA won’t be the one to take the brunt. Maxis will. Even if the always online DRM was their idea, it was EA who provided it. They are the ones that failed the consumer and their own developer. It’s not like Maxis owns Origin or runs all the servers. EA has to manage all of that with them yet Maxis will ultimately be hurt by this more than EA.

So what about after launch? After all the problems have been ironed out and everything is stable? Well, lets change Jerry’s story a bit. Instead of at launch, lets say Jerry picked up SimCity a few months after launch. Yes, we’re going into the future as Jerry now picks up his copy of SimCity in June. He comes home, Snickers eaten and phone case put on, and installs the game. This time he’s able to connect without issue and immediately starts to build his city. Everything goes fine and when his girlfriend comes home, he saves his progress and has dinner. The next day he starts the game up after work and plays some more, again saving his progress after he’s done for the day. The following day he starts up his game to find that the server did not save his progress and he has to do what he did the following night all over again. Or maybe the server completely wiped his city and he has to know start over. Maybe nothing happened and he can continue his city like normal. Any of those could have happened.

Even if nothing happens to Jerry and he plays the game until the servers eventually are discontinued and his purchases has been completely invalidated since it was really a temporary service rather than an actual product purchase, it doesn’t change that it was never necessary. It doesn’t change that in a competitive market like the video game industry where a lot of people only buy a few games brand new a year because games run you $60 a pop, something like always online DRM wastes your time and prevents you, the consumer, from doing what you want with your purchase. What’s worse is it doesn’t prevent pirating at all! I’ve already seen several copies of the game pirated for download. Sure they have the same problem as those who bought the game legitimately but the difference is those who pirated the game are $60 richer. It doesn’t change the fact that I am not going to bother with SimCity because there are too many games coming out right now like Tomb Raider, Bit.Trip Runner 2, God of War Ascension and Gears of War Judgment that will work out of the box for me to put up with SimCity’s DRM nonsense. Hell, I can download Sim City 4 off Steam for $20 and play that and have a good time. Which I did and am.

Do not shrug this off as no big deal. Do not tell anyone to be patient or to quit complaining. If the game works fine for you, know that you are the exception, not the standard and that doesn’t mean that your lack of issues or understanding of the situation invalidates others problems. Stand up for yourself as a consumer and let your voice be heard so that corporations know that this will not be tolerated. Contact the Better Business Bureau, write complaints to EA directly. Hell, don’t buy the game or wait a week or two. Game sales in the first two weeks are the most important. Doing so will stop your anticipated game from being dragged down with its arbitrary business practice and stop people like Jerry from being duped. Online connectivity for certain features is a mode, an optional part of the game, not a requirement. Always online DRM is never required and don’t let anyone tell you different. Diablo III did this last year and now SimCity has recreated this same problem this year. Should it happen again, do not let this slide. There’s always other games more deserving of your attention. Now if you will excuse me, I have tombs to raid, runners who need to jump and a Sim City to build that won’t be lost due to it being unable to load at this time.

#1 Edited by BoG (5191 posts) -

You make some interesting points (and yes, I read the entire thing). If there is one difference between a table and the new SimCity, it's that SimCity will be working well in a few weeks, and that table won't grow a new leg. That doesn't mean we can't be angry, and it doesn't mean that we have to accept the issues.

That being said, I feel that the free game is enough compensation for the time I wasn't playing SimCity over the past week, and the time that I was playing SimCity with many features disabled.
The game is disappointing, though.

#2 Posted by Jimbo (9820 posts) -

EA could be on for back-to-back Worst Company in America awards. Quite a feat!

#3 Edited by Dagbiker (6977 posts) -
Jerry is fucked.

#4 Posted by Fattony12000 (7460 posts) -

Oh, Jerry.

Jerry must have been fucked when he had to spend two or three days just trying to get sound to work in his DOS games. And back then, the floppy you bought was the floppy you got!

#5 Posted by Oscar__Explosion (2329 posts) -

Three things this generation has taught me about purchasing that I won't soon forget. Never pre-order, wait a few weeks for a sale and look up reviews/ general consensus.

#6 Posted by Nictel (2422 posts) -

Is Jerry European? If so he should just get a PS3/Vita and PS+: Free games!

If not, I feel sorry for Jerry and his trust in EA. As so many of us made that mistake..

#7 Edited by Mirado (993 posts) -

@colorwind: Jerry might also be slightly bothered by the fact that the disk he bought doesn't contain the actual game, simply the launcher to allow him to download said game.

Jerry's ignorance isn't excusable in any case; going to a movie theater and demanding your money back because the projector broke is perfectly understandable, but if there's a lot of reviews for that theater which indicate the frequency of its failure, he doesn't get my sympathy for taking that chance. Jerry should be an informed consumer; there are pre-release reviews and first day impressions for practically everything under the sun these days, and five minutes on his phone's browser or computer before leaving work could have told Jerry that perhaps his $60 would have been better spent taking his girlfriend out for a nice night, and that he should wait and check back on SimCity when his schedule allows it. His causal relation to games isn't a defense; just like you may check reviews for a restaurant before going out, you should do so for anything (movies, games, music, whatever), and take that information into account when making your decision. This does not excuse the failure of this launch or, as it currently seems, the idea of always on DRM in general, but a quick glance would have saved him the annoyance.

Freak out on EA for the botched launch, withhold your money from future titles, warn others away, and do whatever you feel is necessary to equalize this indignity or prevent it in the future. Just keep in mind that a modicum of research, even for the uninitiated, can save you this headache, and if always on DRM is the future, you can be assured failures like this will become less frequent if the money stops flowing at launch, as you say.

Informed consumerism is the proper path to solving this issue.

#8 Posted by TruthTellah (9160 posts) -

I read all of this, and unfortunately, I can't agree with you, Jerry. Many games have been "services" for a long time, and most games have had services attached to them(such as online features and multiplayer). There are two perceived problems in this situation, and one is a real problem.

The first is that a developer decided to take an offline single player series and make an online multiplayer game within that series. It is a very different game from past entries in the series, not least being the way it is designed around cloud computing and multiplayer. This is not an actual "problem"; it's a developer deciding to go a different direction with a series and some people disliking it. That isn't a problem; that's a disagreement. People can argue whether design decisions are good or bad, but the product people are purchasing is what it says it is.

The second is that a developer decided to take an offline single player series, make an online multiplayer game within that series, and then failed to prepare properly for its launch, leading to many difficulties over the first week of its launch. This is an actual problem. It's a real failure by the developer, and many people are appropriately angry with that failure. While it being an online game might have been annoying to some people as a design choice, it wouldn't be as much of an issue if the game worked as intended and advertised. The launch has been an embarrassment, and fortunately, they have made great strides in fixing it. EA should have provided refunds to people asking for them while service was down, and they should have been more prepared. This is something they have to fix and make up for. It's a problem that is hopefully nearly over.

Beyond that, the suggestion that games can't have online be essential to the experience is ridiculous, and blaming a developer for a consumer being uninformed about a product they're buying is absurd. If you go into a store wanting a shampoo that smells like strawberries but instead buy a shampoo clearly labeled to smell like water lilies, it isn't their fault that you didn't understand what you were buying. And you can even be upset that someone would have the gall to make a product that has aspects you don't prefer, but they are free to make a product that has aspects you don't prefer, label it as such, and then sell it. Maxis and EA have been unendingly clear about what kind of game they were making, and the packaging tells you that it requires an online connection at all times. It is the game they advertised and you bought. That isn't a real problem; that's a disagreement with what kind of game you wanted something to be. Them failing to have the game working properly at launch -is- a problem, as it's a clear failure on their part to provide the service you paid for. That's what most people are angry about, and rightfully so.

#9 Posted by Humanoid (206 posts) -

Still can't believe that SimCity is 42.99 at launch.

#10 Posted by Colorwind (257 posts) -

@dagbiker: Wow. Did not know that. That makes this worse.

@oscar__explosion: I know right!? You can't just walk into a store and buy a game anymore without risking getting crap or being subjected to something.

@nictel: Jerry could be. Remember though. Jerry is not a major gamer. He might not want all thoses games. He just wanted SimCity.

@mirado: Jerry shouldn't be at fault just because he didn't do reasearch to see if SimCity was working. If he bought the game and it worked and he just didn't like it, then yes. He should have checked the reviews and the general opinion online. See the quality of the game is an opinion and not actually binding in anyway with the corporation. The corporation just has to make sure the game is as advertised, which it is, and that it works, which it doesn't. No research should be required for that. To use your movie theatre example, that's why it wouldn't be okay for Jerry to ask for his money back if he didn't like the movie but it would be okay if the projector broke or something. Would checking online about the game prevented him from spending $60? Yes but by no means is that required and by no means is he at fault by not doing so. That's saying that impulse purchases are by default foolish because of the way video games are today.

@truthtellah: Real quick. I'm not Jerry, that's just a random person I made up for this. lol. But to respond, I agree with your first point that wanting the game be online only as opposed to having an offline mode is a disagreement and you're also right about EA being clear about what this game it. I said in a tangent that the always online DRM isn't necessary considering what the game is doing but that is just a matter of opinion. You are correct in that regard. Services have been in video games for awhile, that is true, but they have been optional. The bulk of the game was accessible to you when you paid that $60 and that's what the corporation was selling you. That's fine. However, EA failed to deliver on what they themselves said the game would be. By paying that $60 and agreeing to always have an active internet connection while playing the game, EA agreed to allow me to play the game as advertised in working condition. The problem is SimCIty is being sold as both a product and a service. Since the game is essentially downloaded online and requires an online connection, the $60 you paid is meaningless. If you are going to require a persistent online connection, it stops being a product and becomes a service. If SimCity were to be free-to-play with some kind of subscription service or microtransactions or advertisements in it, some kind of model that is suitable for a service and not a product, there would be less outrage. The shampoo example doesn't work here because in that the consumer is at fault for buying the wrong product. Here, they bought it, it just doesn't work. What sad is it doesn't matter if the game is any good with this issue. You could give me a CD copy of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles, one of the greatest albums of all time, but it won't matter if the disk is cracked. If I can't play the game, it doesn't matter if it's any good. If a tree makes a sound in the woods and no one's around to hear it, did it actually make a sound? Not really because no one was around to prove it. Also, like I told @mirado, not checking about the game is not Jerry's fault. Anything being sold to you should work. It doesn't have to match your definition of good or enjoyable but it does have to be in working order.

#11 Edited by Jams (2961 posts) -

Jerry was a race car driver, he drove so god damned fast

He never did win no checkered flags but he never did come in last

Jerry was a race car driver, he'd say "El solo number one"

With a bocephus sticker on his 442, he'd light 'em up just for fun

Jerry was a race car driver, 22 years old

One too many Camparis one night and wrapped himself around a telephone pole

#12 Posted by Mirado (993 posts) -

@colorwind said:

@mirado: Jerry shouldn't be at fault just because he didn't do reasearch to see if SimCity was working. If he bought the game and it worked and he just didn't like it, then yes. He should have checked the reviews and the general opinion online. See the quality of the game is an opinion and not actually binding in anyway with the corporation. The corporation just has to make sure the game is as advertised, which it is, and that it works, which it doesn't. No research should be required for that. To use your movie theatre example, that's why it wouldn't be okay for Jerry to ask for his money back if he didn't like the movie but it would be okay if the projector broke or something. Would checking online about the game prevented him from spending $60? Yes but by no means is that required and by no means is he at fault by not doing so. That's saying that impulse purchases are by default foolish because of the way video games are today.

I don't think I used the word "fault" once, but I'll run with your point anyway. It isn't Jerry's fault that the game is broken. It wouldn't be Jerry's fault if the game was bad. Jerry IS at fault for wasting his own damn time when a cursory glance would have told him their were significant issues with the game he was about to purchase. The quality of a game is an opinion, the fact that it was broken and people were yelling quite loudly about it is not. Jerry could have found that out very quickly. That's specifically why I avoided using the quality of the movie in my example, as it's not what I'm talking about. Jerry's got every right to get each dollar back that he paid, but he could have just saved himself the trouble.

No research should be required to make sure a game works as advertised, just like no research should be required to make sure a movie theater has working projectors in it or that a local restaurant keeps giving its customers food poisoning. Guess what? Shit doesn't work like it should. How things should operate, and how things actually are, often don't line up. You cannot just assume everything is going to be smooth sailing if there's a track record to prove otherwise. If, every time a new movie (video game) is about to premier (launch), all that anyone can talk about is how the projectors at the theater are dim or prone to failure (always on DRM fucks it up), it would make sense to not go to the premier. We know that always on DRM buckles on launch days. This isn't new. This time, it's EA's fault. If you wait to buy, you get to achieve both your aims; punish launch failures by not purchasing during that critical opening window, and you avoid the failure yourself.

Impulse purchases are by definition foolish, not just default. You're acting on an impulse, something that overrides logic. If they weren't foolish, they wouldn't be called that. Anytime you buy something without waiting to do your research, you're courting disaster. Just assuming the game is going to work (forget how it's supposed to be, because that has no bearing on reality, apparently) is a great way to get burned, just like assuming a nighttime stroll in Central Park can't get you mugged ("but there shouldn't be robbers in the park!"), going on a boat can't get you drowned ("it was designed to be unsinkable!"), or driving a car can't get you killed ("but vehicles shouldn't explode!").

Note, I am not saying "do not buy games", nor am I saying "don't go to New York City" or "don't get on a boat" or "don't drive cars". I'm saying if past evidence has shown that always on DRM fails at launch (statistics show Central Park at night is dangerous/turn of the century boats called "Titanic" have a less than proven track record/Ford Pintos have a history of bursting into flames), then if you buy/go/sail/drive them, and you get fucked by it, I'm not going to shed a tear. Just because Jerry shouldn't get screwed doesn't mean he had to get screwed, especially since the possibility of this happening is already known. That's on him.

Caveat Emptor.

#13 Edited by Colorwind (257 posts) -

@mirado: It doesn't matter if Jerry could have found out about the game quickly. It may have made him a smart consumer if he would have but it's not required. It just isn't. Jerry may have gotten his money back but like I mentioned, EA isn't refunding people their money if they bought it from Origin directly. That's bullshit. This also works for how projectors can mess up or you could drown from a boat or any of those other examples. See all of those are the exception, not the constant. You normally won't drown while in a boat. It's possible but the odds are favorable and that's why people don't mind going on boats (normally). SimCity being broken is the standard, not the exception. That is not acceptable and that's bad business. And far be it from EA to not take advantage of those impulse purchases. Jerry could be a blithering idiot when it comes to buying things. Maybe that phone case he bought was $50 when he could've gotten the same one at Walmart for $20 but EA will gladly take his money. And they can because all they have to do is have their product be as advertised and in working order. Which they didn't. That's on EA, not Jerry and no amount of foolishness changes that when the problem is the norm and not the exception.

#14 Posted by Mirado (993 posts) -

@colorwind: It's only the norm with a small subset of games; normally, games do indeed work at launch, as most boats don't sink and most cars don't blow up. But it's precisely when that happens that the informed consumer doesn't get burned by it. Two seconds of "huh, wonder if this new game is a good purchase" saves Jerry and hurts EA all at once.

Jerry could be a blithering idiot when it comes to buying things. Maybe that phone case he bought was $50 when he could've gotten the same one at Walmart for $20 but EA will gladly take his money. And they can because all they have to do is have their product be as advertised and in working order. Which they didn't.

It's the blithering idiots of the world that allow EA and the rest to get away with this. I'm not arguing against the fact that this is EA's fault. The game is broken, it shouldn't be, and that sucks. I'm trying to say that the root cause is people buying in before they know if this thing is going to sink or swim. The only way that EA gets away with a failure to launch like this is if people will buy it anyway. Guess what stops that? Looking back at other, persistent DRM-laden games and going "Huh, those didn't work out, now did they?" If you still buy in anyway, caveat emptor. All bets are off.

The only reason why those $50 dollar phone cases can be priced like that is because some sucker is going to snap them up anyway. This shit flies because there are too many Jerry's in the world. Smarter consumers force better products by voting with their wallet. Always on online games aren't an inherent evil; no one jumps up and down about how MMOs needed a stable internet connection (and not just because that's "expected"), and if a game you like (that didn't have such DRM in the past) now requires a stable connection, either get one (if possible) or vote with your wallet and state that you don't like the direction the series is going in. If these kind of games are built with the proper capacity in mind, they can avoid a similar failure. Being wary at the launch of products like these will help facilitate that. If they are upfront about what the game is, you can't complain about it being a service, and being a smart consumer will catch those times that issues like this slip through.

Keep in mind that this outrage would be a small murmur if everything had gone smoothly.

If you cannot see that the root cause stems from the willingness to pre-order games blindly, or especially to buy into games with shit practices such always online games built without the capacity to handle the rush, then I have no more to discuss. Contacting the BBB or writing letters is useless next to the power to look up a game, find out it's launching like shit, and saying "No." You can write all the letters you like, but if there's two million Jerry's buying the game before launch anyway, it's all for naught.

Buy smarter. Hold off until you know things are working out. Don't assume. That's how you solve this.

#15 Edited by Colorwind (257 posts) -

@mirado: You're whole argument is that although its EA's fault, we as a consumer should know better. I'm saying that even if that were true, that doesn't excuse EA from selling a broken product. The blame falls on EA alone and is not shared with the consumer due to them not being diligent. You can't blame someone for not knowing. This isn't like the law where you're liable for a crime regardless of whether or not you were aware it was illegal. Again, Jerry isn't a gamer and doesn't know this stuff. We gamers can just play something else as long as we get a refund but Jerry is just screwed. That is bad business in a competitive market like the video games industry. I ended my post by saying not to buy this stuff so I agree with that but at the end of the day, Jerry wanted to play SimCity and EA was unable to provide that to him. Fail.

#16 Posted by Gladiator_Games (444 posts) -

Double check your TV contract. As someone who works for a telecommunications company, our contracts clearly state we will not reimburse for lost service. Essentially, you pay us, we dont have to give you service. Has anyone poked at the Simcity EUAL?

#17 Edited by Colorwind (257 posts) -

@gladiator_games: Dude, my service sucks and drops often and I get reimbursed all the time. As long as the service is down for a long period of time, I get reimbursed. I just have to ask. Maybe the company you work for doesn't do that. And that's messed up.

#18 Posted by Slag (4459 posts) -

@colorwind:

Word man. You nailed it.

If EA is going to mandate always on DRM for games that don't need it then they better damn well make sure

a) they give the consumer something better gimmick gameplay features

b) lower the price of the game since it's more hassle to use now

and

c) that they have adequate servers to support the game for an adequate period of time

Or they could do the more consumer friendly thing and let us play offline.

#19 Edited by Poppduder (460 posts) -

@jams said:

Jerry was a race car driver, he drove so god damned fast

He never did win no checkered flags but he never did come in last

Jerry was a race car driver, he'd say "El solo number one"

With a bocephus sticker on his 442, he'd light 'em up just for fun

Jerry was a race car driver, 22 years old

One too many Camparis one night and wrapped himself around a telephone pole

I knew I liked you.

#20 Posted by Gladiator_Games (444 posts) -

@gladiator_games: Dude, my service sucks and drops often and I get reimbursed all the time. As long as the service is down for a long period of time, I get reimbursed. I just have to ask. Maybe the company you work for doesn't do that. And that's messed up.

Read it anyhow. Most of the time agents do it just to get rid of callers. "Its not worth the fight". But there will be a point when someone will say no, just saying!

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