By now, gamers have already heard about the launch of SimCity and its epic failure. Those that haven’t, make sure to read our comprehensive post about the game’s many problems. They’ve watched, or experienced first hand, as the game’s servers were crippled by gamers seeking, what else, to play the game.
And so now EA is in damage control mode, doing their best to placate any and all SimCity players who have discovered their money might be better off burning in trashcans somewhere. That said, SimCity developer Maxis isn’t letting this PR nightmare get the best of them, they’re actually approaching it head on (finally!).
Maxis finally issued an official statement on EA’s blog, which is filled with explanations and promises of improvement, but more importantly they’ve done the two best things any company in their position could do: admit they messed up, and offered a goodwill gesture. And like Sony and the PSN outage, this token of forgiveness isn’t so bad.
To be fair, Maxis never admits that the always-on requirement was a bad idea — despite numerous claims to the contrary prior to and after SimCity‘s launch — but they do admit they made a “dumb” mistake by not realizing just how many gamers would turn up on launch day. According to the blog post, which was written by Maxis’ General Manager Lucy Bradshaw, “more people played and played in ways [they] never saw in the beta.” Yes, Diablo 3 too had a beta, and it did nothing to prevent these types of issues.
But now on to the good stuff: the goodwill gesture. For any gamer who has purchased a copy of SimCity before March 18th, EA will offer one PC game from their “portfolio.” Ostensibly, EA is saying “sorry our game is broken, here’s a free game.” That means, even if you were holding off on buying SimCity after reading about these problems, it might be worth it just to get an extra game.
However, the blog post does not mention whether it will be one specific game or if players will get to take their pick from EA’s entire portfolio. If EA was smart they would let players pick whatever they wanted — nothing spells good will like a free copy of Dead Space 3 or Crysis 3. Or, if gamers wanted to be really cheeky, they could pick up a second copy of SimCity. You know, because the game is built for multiplayer.
Either way, it’s somewhat comforting to find Maxis’ response is more than just, “Oops.” Moreover, the fact that a free game is being thrown into the apology should do well to placate the masses. And for those who have been experiencing little to no problems — free video game.
Do you think that EA offering a game from their portfolio is a decent apology? Would you rather just get a refund at this point? Is EA damned if they do and damned if they don’t with SimCity?