Why I’m Breaking Up With You, Electronic Arts (It’s You, Not Me).

Electronic Arts and I are never, ever, getting back together.

Electronic Arts and I are never, ever, getting back together.
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 I used to love you. I really, really did. Historically, there has literally been no quicker way to divorce me from my money than to slap the word ‘Sim’ somewhere on your product. I’m all about brand loyalty: give me something I love, and I’m yours.

But, EA… I can’t let this go. I know everybody has a little turbulence in their relationship, but it’s just not working out. When your creative efforts started slipping, I told all my friends that you were just going through a rough patch. Sure, it hurt me–very deeply–when you bought out Bioware, but I was willing to look the other way.

ALL THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE…

I really should have seen the warning signs with Spore’s bogus DRM. You even listened to customers’ complaints, and implemented a less-restrictive game authentication system, and I was thrilled. They say you can’t change people, but I figured you’d learned your lesson.

Boy, was I wrong. I learned that you’re still using the online-authentication system that failed spectacularly in Spore. Apparently, you still thought forcing players to muddle through online queues to play their offline, single-person game was still a fabulous idea.

And then, to my utter dismay, I saw this. From what I can tell, this diligent beta tester had tried to log in to SimCity… for three hours. When he tried to let you know about this problem, somebody over there must have dropped everything and slapped the panic button, and he was promptly banned for his trouble. I was shocked, disappointed, and a little disgusted. Someone had risen up against your (frankly) tyrannous anti-piracy measures, tried to help you out, and you raised your fiery god-fist against him in a way that really hits me close to my paranoid anti-censorship home.

AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN.

The really hilarious part about this is that your developers participated in a live interview months ago, and were overwhelmed by a crowd of people protesting your DRM policies. Literally hundreds of people posted questions and complaints about this implementation. What this means to me: you either think everyone on Reddit is absolutely out of their skull bonkers, or you’re actively ignoring the people who want to give you money.

At the very least, this is a disturbing chain of events that means you’re fully prepared to deny your hard-working game developers the kind of reward they justly deserve (let’s talk about what happens on the internet, EA). At the worst, you’re throwing your chips into the ‘unethical, militant game-maker’ pile, and the quickest way to make me forsake a game is to police my interaction with it. 

Don’t you remember what made gaming fun? Do you not still get that heady rush at popping a disc into your computer and being dazzled by how many hoops you don’t have to jump through to play it? I understand that Sims 3 has become one of the most pirated games of all time, but locking your game up and throwing away the key isn’t going to stop the truly determined. If anything, the everyday gamer is going to suffer the most.

This is a hard on me, but I’ve got to be strong for both of us. You’ve made a great game, but what happens in ten years when you’ve moved on to something different, and I’m still clinging to this game like I’ve done to all your others? Will I even be able to play it on a handful of servers you’ve neglected and thrown in a dark room somewhere in the back? Is this the dawning of a new, creepy era of built-in obsolescence?

So this is the end, EA. You’re not getting your stuff back. I’m keeping SimCity 2000 to remind me of the good times. Don’t call. Don’t write. I’m moving on.

About the author

HC Billings

HC Billings is an excellent gamer, acceptable writer, and laughable parkourist.