Jimquisition: SimShitty

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Zen Toombs:

canadamus_prime:
EA's logic is kind of backwards. If they were really afraid of us, you'd think they'd be doing everything they could to appease us.

Not really. Appeasement is one valid option, and so is exerting control. EA's problem is not that they are trying to control the behavior of gamers, but that they are doing it poorly and that they are worried about the wrong things.

So an issue that Maxis has taken full responsibility for is still getting heaped on EA's doorstep because...boy, EA sure is hateable!! EA can be held accountable for PLENTY of crap decisions, enough that they don't need stuff invented to heap upon their doorstep.

Seriously, the word MAXIS was mentioned THRICE in Jim's video, while EA was mentioned more than quadruple that. This is all being heaped upon the PUBLISHER, not the goddamn DEVELOPER. Don't get me wrong, the DRM is absolute crap (even though Steam gets away with it on a constant basis), but let's place the blame where it BELONGS.

Oh and listen to Jeff Gerstmann's views on why the videogame crash, as it happened before, basically will never happen again. There could be a "Second Crash," but because of how gaming's infrastructure is structured now.

An interesting situation of note is that I've seen some think that there is some kind of band wagon that people jumped on with this whole always online DRM thing for Sim City, but in this case it seems like those of us expecting and complaining about it now were already in agreement that the always online DRM scheme was setting a bad precedent. We just sort of got an ideal outlet for our disdain of the system and it happened to involve a company that already had reputation issues to begin with. Kind of like a hateful version of a peanut butter and Jelly sandwich.

Oh sweet, sweet internet justice:
http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/simcity

Reduced_Silver:
Any lawyers here from the UK. Sounds like Jim says some pretty libelous stuff here.

I'm sure he doesn't have proof for a lot of the accusations he makes against EA.

While Jim is indeed British by birth (and Jim Sterling by the grace of God), he lives in the Deep South and I'm pretty sure resides in the states for all legal intents and purposes. I'm not sure what the UK would have to do with this.

Correct me if I'm wrong, of course. I haven't really kept close tabs with Jim since the restraining order. >.>

duchaked:
hahaha waiting a few weeks is a partial stick-it-to-the-man method if any I suppose lol...sigh

It is really smart, though.

Madman123456:
Yes yes, we suspected that these Servers will have difficulties on day 1. Well, day 1 is over and the game is still in a rather sorry state.

FROM day one should be more accurate. These problems weren't going to go away by virtue of it being Day 2. It was going to take time. The problems, quite literally, don't get fixed overnight.

I'm just tired of EA in general...

Every game that has such promise, like Dead Space 3- they tend to jack it up somehow. The games themselves aren't the problem, it's the methods EA takes to ensure it makes money and that no one can possibly pirate it. However, the huge downfall is that their tactics also punish the consumers who are loyal and buy the games with no deviant mindset other then to just wanting to play the game. Basically shady stuff like Jim pointed out in this episode.

Which brings me to wonder... do people whom work for EA think about the company and how consumers feel? I bet they do, just I never seen any employees there speak their mind as far as I know. Along that, this game looked fun but because I read up about it always needing you to be online- I knew it was going to be a disaster. Until they've mastered having solid servers, it's going to be screwy at the start of the release.

Besides Mass Effect 3 and it's multiplayer, it's the only game I play made by EA (Bioware). I'm not going to buy anymore games nor even pre-order until I have seen reviews (honest ones, like by Angry Joe for example). Is it sad that I do not trust gaming developers anymore?

Now then. Where did I put my eye-patch, triangle hat and skull-flag?

poiumty:
The pirated version I found is currently the best and most fully functional pirated version that exists on the internet. Prove me wrong please.

You make a claim without basis.

But I have to prove you wrong? You've got that backwards.

Zachary Amaranth:
While I agree the current practices are unsustainable, I don't think that means a crash. It means that EA/Activision/whoever have to further tune their practices, as they've been doing for years. History shows that we as a community will buy a new game with always-on DRM, knowing both that it has it and that historically it won't work near launch. They don't even need to fix this problem, unless there's a major sea change.

If you agree the practices are unsustainable, then you should also agree that, at some point down the road, they are going to breach a threshold that consumers aren't willing to cross. I should say that I'm worried less about a crash and more about the market simply drying up. Not some sort of 15 car pile up, but a bunch of cars gradually running out of gas.

I'm sure that EA has probably made it's money back on SimCity by now. However, is someone who buys SimCity and left unable to play it going to be a repeat customer.

Yes, but you aren't representative of the whole. Further, while I hear the sound and the fury from the internet, this is the same outrage we got last time and the time before. The internet is full of people who scream "BOYCOTT!" who then silently buy up the game anyway. If I had a nickel for everybody who 'boycotted' Mass Effect 3 but was playing it onXBL or Steam, I'd be rich enough to start up my own publishing company. With blackjack. And hookers.

I'm not saying you are or aren't sincere. I try and believe the best in people, but the flipside is that I'm aware of the disconnect between the individual and the whole.

I didn't buy simcity, so this isn't something I'm typing up because I got burned by it and am mad. Hell, I'm not even in an active boycott of EA at the moment, I just haven't had the need to buy anything from them in the past couple of years.

I'm not talking in terms of sales or boycott or anything based off of morality. Rather, the companies are consolidating all of their risk into fewer and fewer outlets while making much more risky decisions with their products when cutting corners (usability issues are far more objectively bad than quality issues). This alone doesn't necessitate a failure of the market, as people will take plenty of shit, but when you couple this with the horrendously inflating budgets, a single failed money pit could potentially irreparably hurt a large company, if not now, then at some point in the future. It may not happen in the next three years. It might not happen in the next five years. But when it does happen, if the games industry hasn't gotten out of the toxic business practices they're into right now, it's going to hit them harder than they can afford. People will endlessly put up with shitty service on an airline, but if an air line starts having regular crashes of increasingly expensive planes, they aren't going to last long.

THQ wasn't the biggest player in the industry, but the mere fact that a publisher as large as them can fail, even when the quality of their products was decidedly above average, should be a sobering moment for everyone in the industry. Hell, what happens if one of the new consoles has a wide spread RRoD level issue on day one? With this economy, it would not only spell a fairly early doom for the console, it would also have a devastating effect on anyone developing for it. I'd like to think that companies are careful enough to avoid such mistakes, but I'm starting to have doubts.

I'm sure that the next gen will go smoothly, but this isn't about the quality of the games themselves, it's the accessibility failures that worry me. The consumers aren't that dumb.

I actually have resolved to not buying videogames. It's saved my a ton of money. That I've been throwing at my LGS for MTG product and Wargames minis.
I am effectively ol boycotting. It's not hard everyone else who claims to and fails is too lazy

dbenoy:
This sort of DRM is the solution to "piracy". It's the only truly effective scheme. They take a significant chunk of the game (in this case, the actual town simulation algorithms), and don't actually give it to you in the box. They keep that part on their own servers where they can control it.

No way to 'crack' that. Perfect protection from copying.

Indeed, but there are large tradeoffs to be made in the process.
The most obvious, is that not every game is sustainable in this manner. As Ubisoft learned, very few people were willing to tolerate the always-online bullshit unless they wanted specifically to be online.

Then there's gameplay.
Diablo 3 butchered its own gameplay in an attempt to make more money without overtly charging an online subscription, and SimCity HORRIBLY limits your ability to build compared to previous games by chopping up regions into baby-cities, to allow for multiple players to work on a region at the same time.

Gameplay design suffers when it goes from being single-player or select Single/Multi, to ONLY multiplayer.

Sure, you can play by yourself online, but what is the point? What's the practical purpose beyond having access to the game? There isn't any.

Gameplay suffers to the point where pirates cracking the DRM are doing it more for the challenge (or possibly out os spite) than any practical reason.

But of course, like all solutions to piracy, it's the paying customers who are punished the most.
Here we have a real solution, and it's worse than the problem it's meant to fix.

poiumty:

Treblaine:

poiumty:
The pirated version I found is currently the best and most fully functional pirated version that exists on the internet. Prove me wrong please.

You make a claim without basis.

But I have to prove you wrong? You've got that backwards.

The basis is that I have not found any other, better version on the entire internet nor on the most visited pirate site on the internet.

Now either prove me wrong or shut the hell up.

Have you looked everywhere on the internet? The entire internet?

Otherwise "not found any other" is as relevant as not finding any Pink Flamingos as proof that pink flamingos don't exist anywhere on earth.

or shut the hell up.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/codeofconduct

check out the first video in the que.... nappa and vegeta trying to play simcity, gold

http://teamfourstar.com/

poiumty:
The basis is that I have not found any other, better version on the entire internet nor on the most visited pirate site on the internet.

Now either prove me wrong or shut the hell up.

You're both insulting someone, and trying to coerce them into giving you a direct link to a pirate site.

Why don't you just stop it.

One thing I would add: in this case waiting a week or fortnight may not be enough. I'd personally advise you to wait until next month. That way the profits don't show up in the 2012-23 financial year - the most likely reason for the rushed, shitty, release

Skidrow will find a fix for this "server" issue. Too bad Maxis has been done with since The Sims 2. I was looking forward to this game.

poiumty:

Treblaine:

poiumty:
The pirated version I found is currently the best and most fully functional pirated version that exists on the internet. Prove me wrong please.

You make a claim without basis.

But I have to prove you wrong? You've got that backwards.

The basis is that I have not found any other, better version on the entire internet nor on the most visited pirate site on the internet.

Now either prove me wrong or shut the hell up.

You do realise that you haven't actually said which version you're using meaning that no-one can prove anything.

Undeadpool:

Zen Toombs:

canadamus_prime:
EA's logic is kind of backwards. If they were really afraid of us, you'd think they'd be doing everything they could to appease us.

Not really. Appeasement is one valid option, and so is exerting control. EA's problem is not that they are trying to control the behavior of gamers, but that they are doing it poorly and that they are worried about the wrong things.

So an issue that Maxis has taken full responsibility for is still getting heaped on EA's doorstep because...boy, EA sure is hateable!! EA can be held accountable for PLENTY of crap decisions, enough that they don't need stuff invented to heap upon their doorstep.

Seriously, the word MAXIS was mentioned THRICE in Jim's video, while EA was mentioned more than quadruple that. This is all being heaped upon the PUBLISHER, not the goddamn DEVELOPER. Don't get me wrong, the DRM is absolute crap (even though Steam gets away with it on a constant basis), but let's place the blame where it BELONGS.

Oh and listen to Jeff Gerstmann's views on why the videogame crash, as it happened before, basically will never happen again. There could be a "Second Crash," but because of how gaming's infrastructure is structured now.

Sorry Undead, but your contribution caught my eye and got me rather curious. Maxis has been a pretty significant part of my gaming life, having loved previous city building sims. I find the always-on thing just....heartbreaking, when applied to games like this, or even great IP such as Assassins Creed, Far Cry 3, and now probably soon to be Rainbow 6. Are you actually saying Maxis is behind this design decision? And can you let me know where you found this out? I just find it hard given the backlash regarding always-on, that Maxis would want to do this to their own franchise.

Although I've never played any of The Sims games, Sims3 seems to be pretty broken as well with all the microtransactions. I wonder if this is more EA's fault, or Maxis at this point.

I'll have a listen to Gerstmann's video game crash after work though, thanks for that.

Waffle_Man:

If you agree the practices are unsustainable, then you should also agree that, at some point down the road, they are going to breach a threshold that consumers aren't willing to cross. I should say that I'm worried less about a crash and more about the market simply drying up. Not some sort of 15 car pile up, but a bunch of cars gradually running out of gas.

Unless they alter the model. Which I already said. Which they're already doing. This is a completely moot point by now.

I'm not talking in terms of sales or boycott or anything based off of morality. Rather, the companies are consolidating all of their risk into fewer and fewer outlets while making much more risky decisions with their products when cutting corners (usability issues are far more objectively bad than quality issues). This alone doesn't necessitate a failure of the market, as people will take plenty of shit, but when you couple this with the horrendously inflating budgets, a single failed money pit could potentially irreparably hurt a large company, if not now, then at some point in the future. It may not happen in the next three years. It might not happen in the next five years. But when it does happen, if the games industry hasn't gotten out of the toxic business practices they're into right now, it's going to hit them harder than they can afford. People will endlessly put up with shitty service on an airline, but if an air line starts having regular crashes of increasingly expensive planes, they aren't going to last long.

Yes, but if even the outraged players just buy in secret, there's going to be an extension to the straight up market. And when EA still manages tidy profit margins, bloated budgets are a non-issue. Should that ever outstrip profits, we'll have this talk again.

THQ

Let me stop you there. THQ, the innovator of such bull as the online pass, who lied about their business proceedings and gutted games for profit like EA, didn't go down for such practices. Or quality of games. It went down speculating on the uDraw tablet almost exclusively. The high cost and dependence on subsequent software meant that their stock rotting in warehouses was utterly disastrous. Not that other factors helped, but Superman Jesus and Luke Skywalker combined couldn't save that.

But it'd make for an awesome Captain Planet spin-off.

THQ was more dependent on that than even the makers of Guitar Hero and Rock Band, and that should have been a warning sign. It also means there is NO safe equivalent within the gaming market. It's unlikely there will be. Even when companies like Activision have gambled on hardware, they have never wagered that heavily on it and they're unlikely to. To use the car comparison, it's like saying that the industry is headed for a head-on crash because a drunk driver did so.

It's possible they'll be brought down, but not likely based on any of this information.

What everyone seems to be missing(and yes I am aware this is a far off concern), is that in lets say 5 years time when EA goes bankrupt or just decides to end support for the game, what happens then? Our 60$ goes down the drain?

Novuake:
What everyone seems to be missing(and yes I am aware this is a far off concern), is that in lets say 5 years time when EA goes bankrupt or just decides to end support for the game, what happens then? Our 60$ goes down the drain?

That doesn't even have to happen, they could simply decide to not spend any more money on it.

Microsoft still exist, yet they pull server support for Halo 2. And that's a huge game. Slightly lesser games rarely have server support longer than 4 years.

Cod hasn't exactly had server support pulled, but they have given up any kind of maintenance. COD WaW is utterly inundated with hackers and devs are doing nothing to seal security breaches that allow these hackers in.

Novuake:
What everyone seems to be missing(and yes I am aware this is a far off concern), is that in lets say 5 years time when EA goes bankrupt or just decides to end support for the game, what happens then? Our 60$ goes down the drain?

A lot of us remember this and care.

Some of the...er...'people' who bought the game really dont think that far in advance (If they did they wouldnt buy from EA in general) or actively declare that they dont care because they never reinstall old games anyway.

Treblaine:

Novuake:
What everyone seems to be missing(and yes I am aware this is a far off concern), is that in lets say 5 years time when EA goes bankrupt or just decides to end support for the game, what happens then? Our 60$ goes down the drain?

That doesn't even have to happen, they could simply decide to not spend any more money on it.

Microsoft still exist, yet they pull server support for Halo 2. And that's a huge game. Slightly lesser games rarely have server support longer than 4 years.

Cod hasn't exactly had server support pulled, but they have given up any kind of maintenance. COD WaW is utterly inundated with hackers and devs are doing nothing to seal security breaches that allow these hackers in.

4 years is long, a long of RTSes i play dropped server support after 2-3 years and community had to mod the game to allow user-created lobby to exist, and some poor folk is paying for it. problem is, some of thse games are dfesigned in such a way that you can play via direct IP without these server services, which is bull, but is not a new thing. gaming is moving very fast and dropping server support is nothing new and is to be expected. you do not buy a game for 60 years. you buy a 5 years license to play it (or whatever years they decide to let it run).

Undeadpool:

Oh and listen to Jeff Gerstmann's views on why the videogame crash, as it happened before, basically will never happen again. There could be a "Second Crash," but because of how gaming's infrastructure is structured now.

Oh, there is going to be another crash. It will happen in a year or two. Only a handful of triple-A studios will be left standing. Bioware, Blizzard, Valve, Bethesda will survive. Parts of Ubisoft will live on (AC and Farcry teams, for example). EA will basically be Bioware + EASports. But I imagine an overall reduction of about 75% of existing game studios.

Here's the issue.

A game studio is structured like this: You have a pile of grunts in the trenches. They do the actual work, and make most of the day-to-day decisions within their limited sphere. Then you have team-leads, and sub-leads and these guys are also important because they either facilitate communication and coordination between teams (games have a lot of moving parts) or make high level architecture and/or technical/design decisions. Then Producer, which is ultimately responsible for resources and budget and you need someone who does this. Above the Producer you have a block of Executive Producers, Design Directors, Creative Directors, Studio Managers, Division Managers, VPs, C-level executives. These guys don't add any direct value to a given game, but in theory they add value to the company. In theory. Because it's at this level, in some private conversation, someone makes the decision "all games moving forward will have online DRM." These are also guys that basically never get layed off, unless the entire studio goes under and even then everyone VP-level and above is safe. I'm also kind of glossing over the split between a studio/publisher (aka Maxis management and EA management), but you get the idea.

So when you buy a game, I would guess something like 60% of your dollar covers the cost of what it actually took to make the game, and the rest pays the salaries of upper management. This doesn't even take into account cases where upper management actively hinders the game development by constantly changing the requirements/high-level goals.

What's not sustainable is the way the industry is currently structured. There are way too many people involved in making a game that shouldn't be, either due to their competency or position in the org chart (generally both). This wastes time and money. And then there is an overlapping category of people the game has to pay the salaries of, who didn't directly contribute in any meaningful way.

The games industry is filled with gamers who are also highly skilled professionals. They're just not the ones making the high-level decisions generally speaking (some companies are better about this than others). What's happening is the industry is run basically like how you would run a software company cranking out COTS. Except for a small handful of places, game studios are run like a Dilbert cartoon. Thing is, if you are making COTS there are a lot of ways you can survive making mediocre products and abusing employees as long as the product (mostly) functions in the advertised manner. But video games are a luxury entertainment -- nobody needs to play a video game.

The crash is coming because digital distribution is leveling the playing field. The large publishers survived for years cranking out games with gross inefficiency because selling a game was a function of how much shelf space you could get at the Best Buy, and THAT was a function of how much money you could throw at your marketing department. Companies are making less money because I can go on steam and get a list of games I've never heard of that have a metacritic score > 85. So the big publishers are losing money there... the response has been 1) bribing the gaming press to give inflated metacritic scores and 2) laying off employees in the "useful" category while keeping the overpaid execs, who stand around cracking the whips on the remaining workers and invent reasons to justify their positions. These reasons generally take the shape of company-wide initiatives, such as always-on DRM.

So now the industry is in a death spiral. Gamers will be fine -- every company that consistently puts out quality games that people like to play will survive. The remaining market will be AA indie studios that arise from the ashes, where people who've worked together want to try and make a game without an oppressive layer of management. My only fear is that kickstarter will be tainted -- every "rockstar" blah blah game developer who took credit for some awesome game in the late 90s I guarantee you wasn't the guy doing the actual work. The people who actually know how to make good games are the guys/girls you never hear about.

Anyway, just an observation from someone works in the industry.

I'm still mad at blizzard about Diablo 3.
I damned well paid €60 (wich is magically more than $60, another weird way of unconsentially copulating with customers) for a game that didn't work and damnit wasn't even any good. The game fell about 50% short of actually feeling like a finished and complete game... when I had the oppertunity to play at all. After a week I just quit the entire thing forever and after that I recommended all my friends NOT to buy it.
They cured me off actually buying games I MIGHT like. With the demo culture dead beyond death that obviously means that there really is no way for me to judge wether a game is worth my money. I don't buy games that I don't KNOW are worth my money.
I don't buy games anymore.

Undeadpool:

Zen Toombs:

canadamus_prime:
EA's logic is kind of backwards. If they were really afraid of us, you'd think they'd be doing everything they could to appease us.

Not really. Appeasement is one valid option, and so is exerting control. EA's problem is not that they are trying to control the behavior of gamers, but that they are doing it poorly and that they are worried about the wrong things.

So an issue that Maxis has taken full responsibility for is still getting heaped on EA's doorstep because...boy, EA sure is hateable!! EA can be held accountable for PLENTY of crap decisions, enough that they don't need stuff invented to heap upon their doorstep.

Seriously, the word MAXIS was mentioned THRICE in Jim's video, while EA was mentioned more than quadruple that. This is all being heaped upon the PUBLISHER, not the goddamn DEVELOPER. Don't get me wrong, the DRM is absolute crap (even though Steam gets away with it on a constant basis), but let's place the blame where it BELONGS.

The blame is being placed where it belongs, some people are just to blind to realize it. The person who took responsibility over at Maxis is a senior EA Vice Presedent, so it is the PUBLISHER trying to dump responsibility for their fuckups on the stuido.

Maxis couldnt have made the game single player EVEN IF THEY WANTED TO.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/119449-EA-Turns-Its-Back-on-Single-Player-Games

"I have not green lit one game to be developed as a single player experience. Today, all of our games include online applications and digital services that make them live 24/7/365."

If they didnt go with EAs pants on head retarded "DURHUR MUST BE MULTIPLAYER!" philosophy, it wouldnt have been green lit, and even if they had opted not to do it, the people who opted out would have just been fired and replaced by people who would. BECAUSE EA OWNS MAXIS!

It pains me to think that the industry is heading for another crash, but in the long run... I think it needs to. I think it's for the best. Companies like EA, Ubisoft, Activision, they need to be taught a fucking lesson. And it will ultimately be worth it for the creative people who's games get dragged down with them. They'll rebuild amongst EA's ruins, and for a time it will be good. Glorious! Until the next necessarily crash comes...
I'm doing my part to send a message. I live in australia, so I wait until a title I want is brought to a $60 price tag and buy it at that exact moment.

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/03/12/simcity-server-not-necessary/

Hey Jim, this article should be interesting. A developer stepped forward and announced that the servers do NOT handle complex calculations for single player games and that making an offline mode would require minimal work. Looks like they're actually getting caught in a complete lie.

Lightknight:
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/03/12/simcity-server-not-necessary/

Hey Jim, this article should be interesting. A developer stepped forward and announced that the servers do NOT handle complex calculations for single player games and that making an offline mode would require minimal work. Looks like they're actually getting caught in a complete lie.

Andy alrfeady copied it over to the Escapist. :P
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/122654-Maxis-Developer-Denies-Need-For-Single-Player-SimCity-Servers

But it is ever so sweet when a jackass publisher like EA gets caught lying.

Desert Punk:
Andy alrfeady copied it over to the Escapist. :P
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/122654-Maxis-Developer-Denies-Need-For-Single-Player-SimCity-Servers

But it is ever so sweet when a jackass publisher like EA gets caught lieing.

Ah, great. I do prefer to link original sources though (perhaps my college days hammered that into me), but this is the Escapist after all and that is a good write up. Thanks for the link!

It is often that we "think" or "believe" that they're lying to us. But usually we don't get to catch them redhanded where we can so obviously point at the lie and say, "Look, it's a lie and this is why".

The only thing the video is missing is a Guy Fawkes mask. http://youtu.be/KKvvOFIHs4k

i hope it does crash teach gamers a lesson about the industary

ConanThe3rd:
Could have sworn Jim said he didn't condone piracy but could understand it's Origin.

So...something users get banned for, contributors can now condone in their videos? Seems legit.

Zachary Amaranth:

Unless they alter the model. Which I already said. Which they're already doing. This is a completely moot point by now.

Well, I don't think we're going to make any more progress in this situation because we seem to be a fundamental disagreement about how good the industry is at learning from mistakes. So I guess we'll have to continue disagreeing and wait to see what happens. In the mean time, it's been fun.

Why doesn't anyone ever mention that in 10 years the servers are going to be long gone anyway, making online transactions/always online/unlocking for single player games worthless and with that the purchased product useless?

You can still play those old games like on NES and Atari provided the hardware is OK, but with these online only games you only can play them for a limited amount of years and if your online connection isn't shit.

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