The Way EA is Handling SimCity is Not Okay

Do we really want to be treated like this?

SimCity is yet another example of why always-online DRM may not be the best way to go when trying to protect intellectual properties. Paying customers are finding themselves struggling to get into the servers, players who get into the servers are being randomly kicked, and pirates are playing the game with no issue. Is this really the way things are supposed to be?

Always-online DRM is one of those things about the gaming industry that no one really likes, and it seems to blow up in the face of the publishers that push this anti-consumer practice more than it helps them. What good is DRM when DRM can so easily be circumvented?

SimCity and the way EA is handling the situation is a good example of how not to protect your digital rights. While thousands of players are finding themselves stuck on a login screen, others are vying for refunds and the unlucky souls who purchased directly from Origin are stuck in the inept cogs of EA's sham of a customer service platform. (If you ordered from Amazon, you can get a hassle-free refund.)

This is not okay.

This type of practice treats paying customers like they are criminals, while they give EA money for a game they cannot even play. Despite promises that the servers would be stable upon release day, SimCity is virtually unplayable to anyone who actually gave EA money for a "license key" to play.

If you do not support these types of practices, vote with your wallet. Get a refund if you're unhappy. Fight for it if you have to. Don't buy games that force intrusive or restrictive DRM on the user. Publishers get away with this type of thing because your average consumer doesn't vote with their wallet.

You, a gamer on the internet who is obviously informed on what is going on, know how important it is to push back. If you want something to change, you have to show publishers that you won't give them money just to be treated like garbage. Buying what they're selling and complaining about it is not the way to go in an industry that's main purpose is to make money.

(Images from a lovely NeoGAF thread on the issue.)

Associate Editor

Ogryns are good lads. Simple as. Anyway, I'm basically a human tornado and I love jank. Also simple as.

Published Mar. 7th 2013
  • Juicy Jane
    @camodevil he never really left ....In April 2009, he left EA to run "Stupid Fun Club", an entertainment think tank in which Wright and EA are principal shareholders
  • camodevil
    All I am going to say here is no wonder why Will Wright left Maxis, because I sure if he was still running things for the Simcity Franchise, this game and the server issues would not be such an epic fail.
  • HC Billings
    Featured Columnist
    This is incredibly irrelevant, but every time I see the picture for this article, I burst into hysterical laughter.

    Nicely done.
  • SimCityNot
    This roll out of SimCity was the singular worst experience in video gaming in nearly 35 years. I have nearly every console, Pong, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Mac's, PC'a, nintendo platforms, Sony platforms, XBOX... there has never been a title where I pay $60 and get vaporware and excuses.
    To the people who challenged me on Origin's & EA's bulletin board to get a refund from GameStop:
    Not only did the GameStop near me give me my money back, I talked with them about taking in all of my EA games as used games. If EA doesn't clean up the garbage with SimCity and DRM, I'm going to return and release ALL EA titles on my shelf. My guess is that it's about $500-$1000 of titles. I'm sure there's alot of kids in this neighborhood who would love those games on $10 for a 1-2 year old title.
    Let's face it, what change is there in NCAA College Football 2013? Not much right?
    How about Madden, NHL, or NBA?
    same right?
    I'm deeply offended by the disregard of the consumer by EA.
    No apology from the company and only more promises of "more servers later".
    Not good enough EA.

    Your slogan used to be "it's in the game".
    I'm left asking if the game is really in the box.
    Thanks to Gamestop, they can take it up with the executives at EA.

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