SimCity post-release thoughts

Posted by spiralcut (133 posts) -

So, after a month or so of near-constant updates and efforts to live up to their product claims, EA has yet to satisfy its consumer base.

SimCity was supposed to be this glorious simulation, with enough variables, tools, and goodies under-the-hood that it would make your head spin. Instead the players were delivered a game that either un-delivered, under-performed, or flat out lied about its capabilities to its consumers. I don't need to go into specifics here, anyone still following this story knows the concepts and statements I am referring to.

The point of this post is to look at SimCity in the terms of a normal product on the market, under a standard legal analysis.

SimCity is a product, one created by a company that must obey the laws of the land (America in this case). Here we have a unique set of laws that govern products, known as the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), which SimCity falls under. Under the UCC, products delivered to consumers (gamers) must meet certain criteria to meet its warranty, think of this as a guarantee that the product will actually do what it is supposed to do. This criteria can either be explicitly defined by the seller, or implicitly by statements or actions taken by seller in pushing their product.

§2-314 of the UCC specifically explains that such goods (c) "(must be) fit for the ordinary purposes for which such goods are used".

My question today is this, at what point does a game fail to be fit for the ordinary purposes for which it is used? If I log-in and play for 5 minutes does that mean I have used it in an ordinary purpose, even if I am kicked back to the main menu due to server issues? How about buying a game that requires an internet connection on my end (requirements to run clearly printed on the box), only to be met with server failures on the other end (something that is assumed to be provided as part of the service?)

I don't want to create more hate over this whole launch, I am just curious as to what people actually think they are purchasing when they buy a game.


#1 Posted by Sooty (8195 posts) -

I played for around 15 hours and still went and got a refund via chargeback, the game really is borked.

#2 Posted by LikeaSsur (1673 posts) -

This is exactly why every company has a "You can't sue us" clause in their User Agreements.

Considering I have no interest in playing SimCity (I never did), that's all I have to add to this blog. They'll fix everything eventually.

#3 Posted by Veektarius (5289 posts) -

I'm no lawyer, but my expectation is that the interpretation is very broad. It is a game that can be played. Check. Attempting to play the game will not result in any damage to yourself or your property. Check. Did you enjoy the game? No. Well, who cares, read reviews next time.

Another aspect - say you're talking about the period of time when the game could not be played. Did EA fix that problem? I'm not sure but I get the feeling that for the most part, the answer to this is yes. The fact that you lost (a week? two weeks?) after it's initial release is not grounds to sue, so long as the manufacturer corrected the problem. I imagine that if SimCity never worked on most people's computers and EA did not fix it in six months months, there would be some grounds for a lawsuit, but the chances of that happening are pretty slim.

Again, not a lawyer, but all my experiences say it is not illegal for a product to have flaws that make it inferior to other products in the same sphere.

#4 Edited by EXTomar (5024 posts) -

Technically, they usually have a clause along the lines of "...if there is a dispute you agree to binding arbitration" which almost always rules in their favor because they hire the "arbitrator".

My advice on this stuff is always "be prepared to walk away". Games can be fun but if feel you were screwed then abandon that platform. You pull your CC and all other information out and move on where fighting them over a $60 is high minded but a lost cause.

#5 Edited by gaminghooligan (1664 posts) -

I used to think when I bought a game, as soon as I get home I'm going to jump straight on this. Now it's all about whether the servers are up or not, whether or not I have the right kind of account to play the game, or is the game updated with the latest patches? Every negative is still met with a positive however. For steam, I'm restricted to using their service online to play my games, but they make that up to me by having my games up to date and ready for me. I think the "always online" model is something that's sticking around. That being said when a game is broken like SimCity three weeks after the launch, I have to question why the game was released at all. The whole game just feels sloppy and the lack of cheetah speed makes the game near unplayable (imo). Add the servers still constantly going up and down and the whole thing is still a hot mess. EA/Maxis dropped the ball on this game, now we just have to wait and see whether they keep trying to remedy the situation or give up. Throwing a big Nissan ad on the front page sure didn't make me feel any better.

#6 Edited by jdh5153 (1097 posts) -

I don't know why people are still fussing about it. The game works fine now.

#7 Posted by JacDG (2137 posts) -

.... I really liked it.

#8 Posted by spiralcut (133 posts) -

So far I am liking the feedback on here, to be clear I'm not really trying to single out SimCity in particular, but rather this whole concept of "we ship it and if it don't work then too bad..."

@extomar Of course there are so many ways to spin the EULA, while it doesn't wholesale prevent the company from getting sued (federal laws still allow suits even in cases with EULA's and such) there is still the threshold question.

What do people actually think they are buying when they purchase a box like SimCity at a retailer? What is the 'purpose' of a game?

#9 Edited by StarvingGamer (8980 posts) -

The purpose of a game is to install and run. Full stop.

#10 Edited by Arabes (371 posts) -

@veektarius: The legal argument should really be made about what they said the game would be prior to launch and what it was. Server issues aside (they were fucked but not the point) the simulation part of the game is where the whole thing falls to fucking ruin. They said it would an accurate simulation and you would be able to follow your little sim as he lives out his life. Well these sims have a seriously fucked life if they follow the same logic as sewerage :) Unfortunately you'd never be able to get a lawyer/judge etc to understand the arguement or give a fuck about it. That's what pissed me off, not the server issues but the fucking bollocks they talked prior to launch. Surely an arguement could be made for blatant false advertising?

@jdh5153 The game has serious fundamental problems, much bigger than the server issues. It's flaws are on par with the new Aliens games. Sim City is a game that's all about the interaction of systems. The basic systems they use to govern behaviour in this are fucked.

#11 Edited by Veektarius (5289 posts) -

@arabes: Laws regarding false advertising are not criminal laws and filing a charge of false advertising will just result in the company being asked to desist in its advertising campaign. At this point, it's safe to say that EA is doing everything it can to *avoid* anyone noticing Simcity or even remember that release ever happened, so the advertising is already done with. Maybe in other countries, the penalties are harsher.

#12 Posted by EXTomar (5024 posts) -

You guys are totally right. We should all forgive EA because now you can buy a Nissan LEAF Charging Station which will increase the happiness of your busted city. Why did we ever complain about this game before?

#13 Edited by MAGZine (441 posts) -

@sooty said:

I played for around 15 hours and still went and got a refund via chargeback, the game really is borked.

Wait, what? What's the difference between this and stealing?

#14 Posted by EXTomar (5024 posts) -

@magzine said:

@sooty said:

I played for around 15 hours and still went and got a refund via chargeback, the game really is borked.

Wait, what? What's the difference between this and stealing?

To be fair it took 15 hours to discover he had been swindled.

#15 Posted by WasabiCurry (430 posts) -

I was really interested in Sim City, then I heard the awful always-online DRM....

I got Tropico 4 instead! I hate construction much....

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