EA Games is doing its level best to play down the disaster which was the launch of its most recent Sim City game.
According to VentureBeat, EA Games’ Frank Gibeau is reframing the whole disaster by boasting the company had flogged 2 million copies.
He added that the number of people logging in and playing is holding steady.
All those problems Sim City had were only in the first week of the launch and caused because EA had underestimated demand in the first month, he said.
That is not how we remember it. In fact, we think it was probably the worst launch since North Korean’s last ‘satellite’.
EA made the same mistake the world has come to expect of it – thinking that DRM will save the day. In this case, users of Sim City had to log in to EA’s servers to verify that they had a legitimate copy.
The only problem is that EA had forgotten to buy enough servers to run its DRM system so the whole lot crashed.
In the first three days it was also clear that the game did not work and EA had to issue patches that disabled chunks of features.
Fans were also cross that the game did not have an offline mode. In fact, EA said it was impossible to play the game offline. But it turned out that this was not quite true and EA had installed some code in the game which limited it to offline play for… 20 minutes.
Then it was discovered that the GlassBox Engine which powered the life in the game was doing some odd things. A simulated human would not go to their home at night, they would just go to the nearest home, We would have thought that this could have caused all sorts of marital and social problems. Instead of driving on empty roads, sims would take the shortest path available, when that led straight into congestion. Building bi-passes was pointless because they would ignore them.
Then there was the small matter of the sewage plants exploding.
It was one of the most catastrophic launches in video game history and even after EA fixed the server problem, the software didn’t work properly.
Yet Gibeau seems to gauge those sales, most of them based on preview coverage and pre-release media, as a success.
In other words, a game is now a success if a publisher drums up enough excitement and hype for people to buy a broken game – never mind the enormous disappointment and outrage afterwards.