American McGee Wants Upset SimCity Gamers to "Relax"

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American McGee Wants Upset SimCity Gamers to "Relax"

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McGee thinks we should all just get along when it comes to launch failures and always-online DRM.

EA's controversial SimCity launch was a hard-learned exercise in implementing always-online DRM. Blizzard's launch of Diablo III was an equally rocky road, with several gamers experiencing server login difficulties due to the lack of launch preparation in the Americas and Europe. Game designer American McGee has offered his two cents on the dramas surrounding always-online DRM, and he thinks that everyone needs to calm down a little.

When asked about the SimCity and Diablo III launches, the designer of American McGee's Alice said that "incendiary media coverage or player reactions" aren't called for when things just don't work as they're intended to. "Do gamers or the media think EA or Blizzard wanted things to go so badly at launch? Do they think all the screaming and gnashing of teeth actually helped resolve those issues more quickly? There's got to be a balance to the relationship," he commented.

"Just because you've given a restaurant your business doesn't entitle you to throwing molten cheese fries in your waiter's face if your margarita comes out frozen instead of on the rocks," McGee continued. "People need to relax a little and stop turning everything into World War III - Gamers vs. The Man. There are no winners in that scenario."

He agreed that customers do have the right to receive products that work as advertised. However, he adds that developers and publishers also need to consider ways to counter piracy as well as create online experiences that meet the needs of gamers, or "face extinction" as a result.

McGee claimed that some Chinese developers have managed to solve these issues and maintain a happy player base, as opposed to Western developers, who "have some obstacles to overcome before they get there".

Source: Forbes

Permalink

Nice try to shift the blame. But it's too obvious. It doesn't matter that negative feedback doesn't help. What matters is that it tells you that you can't expect no reaction when you switch to a server exclusive model that does not have servers capable of handling the number of users you yourself WANT.

American McGee:
There's got to be a balance to the relationship

Oh god, the irony!

Well, yeah, if your waiter brings you a frozen margerita its one thing, but if he decides to take a dump on your plate and tries to convince you its steak, then i think you have the right to be upset.

You can't shackle American Freedom of Offline play with always on DRM. The Patriots have crushed you and your game for even trying.

American McGee:
"Do gamers or the media think EA or Blizzard wanted things to go so badly at launch?"

I don't know, do you think EA and Blizzard thought we'd appreciate paying $60 for the privilege of staring at an error message for two weeks?

Maybe Chinese McGee needs to relax in regards to big publishers marketing too? http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/121620-American-McGee-Blasts-EA-Marketing

The problem with SimCity was that the launch failed because EA and Maxis decided to lie to their customers in order to put the game behind the bars of DRM. Is this his way of telling us his next game will be an always-online single player game which needs DRM to calculate masses of data?

Timothy Chang:
"Do gamers or the media think EA or Blizzard wanted things to go so badly at launch?

No. But then again, why should I care? Especially since the always-online thing is a particularly well known issue that well predates these products.

Akratus:

Oh god, the irony!

I don't get it. Though it is funny within the context here, where he seems to be all "won't somebody please think of the poor developers who took your money with the implication of a working title?"

There is a balance, it seems, not unlike Fox News.

By putting the always-on DRM on the games, they created all the incendiary media coverage and player reactions. Those things would not have existed if the games didn't require you to be always online. They created problems that didn't have to exist.

If they require us to be online 24/7, we should require them to be online 24/7.

American Mcgeee is a fucking retard.

If someone wants a virgin bloody marry and the waiter brings you a frozen margarita and then insists "No really this is a bloody marry!" then you have every reason to be pissed.

I guess he conveniently missed where EA lied to people, twice, about the game.

American McGee:
"Do gamers or the media think EA or Blizzard wanted things to go so badly at launch?"

no. but I'm sure they expected problems (EA especially, after diablo 3 how could they not). doubt they did anything to prevent it.

Hey, you know what, maybe developers and publishers should relax about piracy and stop turning everything into World War Fuck You - Game Creators versus their Customers. Do they really thing all the screaming and shackling DRM to games actually helps to resolve piracy more quickly?

This from they guy who left the United States because George Bush got reelected?

You'd think he'd be happy to see the Madness Return.

Timothy Chang:
American McGee Wants Upset SimCity Gamers to "Relax"

"Just because you've given a restaurant your business doesn't entitle you to throwing molten cheese fries in your waiter's face if your margarita comes out frozen instead of on the rocks," McGee continued.

Source: Forbes

Permalink

If a waiter brings you the wrong drink he's not likely to stand there lying to you about why it's impossible to give you the drink you actually ordered while at the same time refusing to give you a refund for said drink.

American McGee:
"Do gamers or the media think EA or Blizzard wanted things to go so badly at launch?"

No. But it didn't work, and they need to learn that Always Online isn't a good model, so I'm angry at them in the hopes that they'll learn not to do it again. If your game is always online, that means I can't play it. That's regardless of server issues and the like - my internet connection simply isn't reliable enough.

It's a bit like telling someone off when they do something wrong... wait, no, it is telling someone off when they do something wrong.

Only thing is that the margarita isn't just frozen; the waiter refuses to give it to you for a couple of days and when he finally does, he tells you that you can't drink it at the speed you want to or that you can't enjoy it unless there are at least three people at your table. Furthermore, should your cellphone lose it's reception, the waiter will snatch away all your food and tells you that you can't have it back until you get your reception back. At that point, I think the costumer is within her full right to fling a sole cheese fry in the waiters general direction.

"Do gamers or the media think EA or Blizzard wanted things to go so badly at launch?" No, but they sure as hell aren't making it any easier on themselves by using a deeply flawed system that is generally very unpopular with the consumers and being ill prepared for the launch, as we have seen, and then follow that up with demonstrably false claims as to why the always on DRM is needed. I'd say that speaks volumes in terms of arrogance and disrespect.

And no, it is not in any way, shape or form unreasonable to expect a game you paid full price for to work as advertised. It is however unreasonable for developers to claim that this is somehow the fault of the consumer that this has become such a big deal. Granted, us gamers are infamous for kicking up a shitstorm over some trivial things, but no one in their right mind can claim that the developers and publishers are not to blame for this. There's a reason this became a big deal, and it sure as hell wasn't sensationalism.

Guy would have a good point... if it was the first time. EA does this constantly, if it was a one off I doubt people would be as mad.

Timothy Chang:

McGee claimed that some Chinese developers have managed to solve these issues and maintain a happy player base,

The Chinese also take it up the arse in regards to their government and corruption as well, does that mean we should bend over as well Mr Mcgee?

In all seriousness the Always Online that was saddled with Simcity wasn't required and could be rendered null with a couple of lines of coding.

kNoRepeatNetworkAlertSeconds : 15
kNetDownForceQuitAfterMinutes : 20

Just remove these any you're set.

I wish people would stop reporting what this idiot says.

The simple crux of it is - the developer COULD have done better but decided to allowed a flawed product. The customer has every right to be angry.

It is becoming increasingly commonplace for incompetent/lazy/greedy developers to release a faulty product then 'patch' it later and say it was acceptable.

Another good argument from an individual torn to shreds by butthurt gamers who freak out at the mere suggestion that their their over-the-top tantrums over everything could possibly be a bad thing. He is not shifting blame from the developer to the consumer - because there's none to shift. People bang on about developer respect, yet they're willing to offer none back. This is the whole "customer is always right" nonsense that's about as archaic as the bloody dinosaurs at a museum.

You can instantly tell people don't have a lot to respond with when they take the other guy's metaphor and make some twisted version of it. Gamers bitch and moan about everything. There are many good causes to fight for when it comes to developer vs. consumer situations, but the majority of the time the way gamers "support" (MASSIVE fingerquotes for emphasis) that cause is by throwing dumb tantrums that only make us seem more childish and juvenile as a whole.

Well, I've ended my relationship with the b**** called EA when they made Origin mandatory.

And in all honesty I'm just extremely amused about EA just failing at everything they touch at the moment...

Regarding that guy defending EA I can only /facepalm.....

Oh and btw. if I expect a drink and instead get a glass with completely frozen content I would leave the bar and not pay one cent for that...

Timothy Chang:
American McGee Wants Upset SimCity Gamers to "Relax"

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McGee thinks we should all just get along when it comes to launch failures and always-online DRM.

Do they think all the screaming and gnashing of teeth actually helped resolve those issues more quickly?

Yes, because that's what these companies respond to: well-deserved public relations fallout

"Just because you've given a restaurant your business doesn't entitle you to throwing molten cheese fries in your waiter's face if your margarita comes out frozen instead of on the rocks," McGee continued. "People need to relax a little and stop turning everything into World War III - Gamers vs. The Man. There are no winners in that scenario."

If that margarita cost $60 up front, never arrives, & the waiter tells you that you'll be banned from the restaurant if you ask for your money back? Hmmm, lemme think...

they might not have wanted a rocky start to the game going up but they sure as hell knew something like that was going to happen. its not like they dont have sales figures at their fingertips through origin and wile a little slower they can get sales figures from brick and mortar places as well.

from a business pov it is better to raise capasity to meet demand than have excess that is not used through over estimation of popularity.
its like that bit at the start of fight club when he is telling the lady sitting next to him on the plane about defects in cars and when they do recalls. if pulling this shit and getting people to not buy your games in the future is not more than the cost of wasted server space then they will just keep doing the same.

So this guy's name is actually American McGee?
; )

Sorry though, just because you are a developer doesn't make your words golden turds of truth.

Some cases things do indeed get way out of hand, other times the customer anger and frustration is justified and understandable.

Gamers haven't just given their time have they? When you're at a restaurant you pay for your food after you're satisfied with it. If it's not up to a good standard, then you send it back until it's right.

With this debacle the game is not working as advertised for a great number of people because of EA's (or Maxis') ignorance and anti consumer policies, for no good reason other than to combat piracy (which obviously doesn't work this way) and to keep modders from bringing free content and charging people for extra content instead.

However, he adds that developers and publishers also need to consider ways to counter piracy as well as create online experiences that meet the needs of gamers, or "face extinction" as a result.

Really? Because CD Projeckt seems to be doing very well without DRM. In fact, didn't they recently announce an intent to expand? That doesn't seem like facing extinction to me.

Balance to the relationship?

So the consumers who buy a defective product and get refused refunds or any recourse hold all the power here, huh? Gimme a break on the 'woe is the game publisher'.

They deserved every lick of the recriminations they got, seeing as they made no effort to resolve the overall defective game and only offered refunds to a select few in an attempt to appease Amazon, not the consumers.

If a waiter brought me a frozen margarita, he'd apologize and go fetch the margarita I paid for a few minutes later.

EA and Maxis, in a stunning move Mr Freeze would be proud of, managed to freeze all the magarita in the world, a 60$ margarita mind you, and it will only thaw in a couple of weeks.

What kind of name is "American" MCGee anyway? xD

These devs that come back from China are always really full of themselves. They must get treated like gods whilst out there, everyone listening to their words like they're a prophet or something.

Karathos:
Another good argument from an individual torn to shreds by butthurt gamers who freak out at the mere suggestion that their their over-the-top tantrums over everything could possibly be a bad thing. He is not shifting blame from the developer to the consumer - because there's none to shift. People bang on about developer respect, yet they're willing to offer none back. This is the whole "customer is always right" nonsense that's about as archaic as the bloody dinosaurs at a museum.

You can instantly tell people don't have a lot to respond with when they take the other guy's metaphor and make some twisted version of it. Gamers bitch and moan about everything. There are many good causes to fight for when it comes to developer vs. consumer situations, but the majority of the time the way gamers "support" (MASSIVE fingerquotes for emphasis) that cause is by throwing dumb tantrums that only make us seem more childish and juvenile as a whole.

Maxis/EA did the following:

1) Made the conscious choice to take a single player franchise and make an always online game. Nothing wrong here. Completely disregarding the franchise's fanbase, sure. But nothing unethical.

2) Completely botched the game's release, resulting in paying customers being unable to play the game they purchased, surprising no one. Almost every high profile online game does this, but that really only serves to make them look pretty stupid for following suit.

3) Refused to give refunds requested by people unable to play the game. And here's where they slip from making bad choices to actual unethical ones. You don't charge people money for a product that does not work.

4) Banned players from the game for communicating with Amazon regarding the game. Unethical, and possibly illegal if someone really wanted to press the issue.

5) Knowingly lied multiple times concerning the nature of the game's online interactions as well as the difficulty in removing online dependency. Again, unethical, and possibly illegal.

And that's just the stuff I can think of off the top of my head. I'm not entirely certain how developer respect is warranted here. I'm also not sure how you can claim that this is a customer entitlement issue. Are you saying that a paying customer shouldn't be entitled to honest dealings and a product that works?

Well if you didn't want things to be bad at launch, then you should've done more to prevent it.

Developers do not automatically deserve respect. Make a good game, and that should earn you one 'lot' of respect that lasts until your next game, burn it with crappy customer service/crappy games/treating customers like crap, and its gone.

Besides the customers are the ones giving them money, of course they deserve respect, or they wont give them the money simple, if anyone thinks we should be grovelling or thanking them for the privilege of giving them money they they'd be sadly mistaken lol. Also anyone out there that owns a business, feel free to treat your customers like crap, and demand they respect you, then tell us all how that works out for you lol ;)

It's not like there aren't enough games out there to buy/play, how many people out there have steam lists full to bursting with games that they haven't played yet, and how many hundreds of different titles are released every year.

The customer is always right is more important than ever, you get burned by one company there's 10 different ones popping out of the woodwork to have your business, customer service is what separates companies from one another these days, seems people (and businesses) forget that.

Karathos:
Another good argument from an individual torn to shreds by butthurt gamers who freak out at the mere suggestion that their their over-the-top tantrums over everything could possibly be a bad thing. He is not shifting blame from the developer to the consumer - because there's none to shift. People bang on about developer respect, yet they're willing to offer none back. This is the whole "customer is always right" nonsense that's about as archaic as the bloody dinosaurs at a museum.

You can instantly tell people don't have a lot to respond with when they take the other guy's metaphor and make some twisted version of it. Gamers bitch and moan about everything. There are many good causes to fight for when it comes to developer vs. consumer situations, but the majority of the time the way gamers "support" (MASSIVE fingerquotes for emphasis) that cause is by throwing dumb tantrums that only make us seem more childish and juvenile as a whole.

Rather not start a flame thread. But this is the kind of sentiment that baffles me. How is it we live in an age where the costumer is willing to sit back and let the service provider take their money for a defunct product, and call out other costumers for being in the wrong when services were not rendered.

I'd like to think all this "bitching and moaning" keeps a business honest.

Relax, Hitler isn't that bad.

What?

No, when something pisses us off we let it be known. That's what you do, and we have every right to. That's part of the "relationship". Or rather, that's what happens when companies violate that relationship.

What else are we expected to do? Just sit back and be okay with taking shit? Bollocks. If he means having a conversation about what alternatives are better, then people are already doing that. But companies aren't listening. Even if they were, that doesn't mean we're not allowed to complain about something we don't like.

And who cares about "winners"? This isn't a competition. We don't want this to be a "war". We don't care who wins or loses. We just want good games that work. It's not that hard.

I find his whole spiel to be quite humorous. Gamers didn't turn this into WWIII, the publishers did when they decided that protecting against piracy was more important than the user experience of their paying customers. Why is it so hard for publishers and developers to understand that if you're going to cram DRM into your games, and that DRM causes your game to be unplayable, the people who paid you have good reason to be pissed.

I find it particularly hilarious regarding his talk about balance in the relationship. A balanced reaction to being sold an unuseable product is to be upset and to make that displeasure abundantly clear. An unbalanced relationship would be selling an unuseable product and then expecting your paying customers to sit around twiddling their thumbs. An unbalanced relationship would be to force DRM on people who don't want it, claim that DRM is actually a service for the customer and then blatantly lie about the necessity of that DRM for the basic function of the product. He's not suggesting anything like balance with his comments, he's suggesting gamers accept whatever bullshit they are fed with quiet subservience.

Why should any customer care if EA/Maxis wanted to release a broken game? We didn't pay them real money for wishes and rainbows, we paid them for a functioning title. And all that screaming and gnashing of teeth? You know what that's called? it's called bad press. So do I think bed press will make publishers/developers fix things faster and avoid making the same mistakes again? You bet I do, because one of the precious few things companies actually listen and respond to is being lambasted in the press, and I refuse to believe that you don't know that too.

American McGee's two cents are worthless here.

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