American McGee Wants Upset SimCity Gamers to "Relax"

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McGee:
That being said, developers and publishers face extinction if they can't solve the piracy issue while at the same time addressing the demands gamers make regarding connected and accessible games (I see these two things going together).

So that's it then? "Always-Online" or "Extinction"? Bullshit.
Steam and GoG aren't always-online, they must be going extinct.

Because seriously, the number of hoops and legal entanglements the consumer has to jump through with Always-Online, just to play a fucking video game, is already nuts.

The only thing you're really doing with Always-Online is adding another major point of failure.
In fact, objectively, Always-Online is retrograde in design; the consumer used to have a say in the matter, now they don't. So much for "evolution".

McGee:
Being in China all I see are companies who have solved these issues and customers who are happy with the results. Western developers have some obstacles to overcome before they get there.

The Chinese gaming market is not something I'd be bragging about, and not something I'd want to emulate.
Unless you want every game to be cut-rate social garbage or an MMO.

Chinese server companies have a lot of practice with MMOs because their market was EXTREMELY limited and controlled via government regulation (like the console ban). Their customers are happy with that because they had NO OTHER CHOICE OF GAMES. (save for bootleg markets, like the R4, but most consoles were NOT cracked and are by far the exception and not the norm in China)

The problem: NOT EVERY GAME WORKS AS AN MMO. Not every game can be justified as a service, either.
As we're discovering, not many genres are capable of supporting the MMO model, and those that are forced into the mold always, ALWAYS lose something in the process.

Oh, but I understand. The security and rights of the Publishers are more important than anything...including the games they supposedly exist to fucking make. *rolls eyes*

McGee:
"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.

Trust is a two way street.
I want to do business and trust these companies, but the biggest of the bunch have proven, repeatedly, that they are perfectly willing to betray gamer trust, compromise gameplay, or twist the customer's arm for a quick buck at no added value.

If they want my money, they need my trust, and there is absolutely no reason we shouldn't get angry when they're caught deliberately exploiting that trust.

Kevlar Eater:

Seriously. I'm freaking waiting.

Couldn't find the source for Crysis (still looking). So how about the 4-5 pirates per paying consumer of the Witcher 2? or the list that shows that Crysis 2 was pirated almost 4 million times from one site alone during the first year? You can put that number of pirated copies of Crysis 2 in comparsion to the ~640,000 copies it has sold. Comparing the Torrent Freak number to the VG chartz numbers also tells us that for every gamer who legally purchased Crysis 2 during its' first year another 9 downloaded it via a BitTorrent affiliate.

So yeah, I think my point totally stands.

*Sigh* Where do I begin?

"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."

No, not the waiter, that's why people aren't specifically pissed at Origin. People were pissed at EA proper and its mis-management of servers (what could be called the "chef" for the sake of this analogy). The waiter isn't to blame, but I'm entitled to throw my frozen pizza at the chef for insulting me with his pile of garbage.

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."

"Those who make non-violent revolution possible, make violent revolution inevitable" - Martin Luther King Jr.

While not wholly applicable as I don't see the tanks rolling out, it bears some semblance. Gamers, for a long time now, have been expressing dissatisfaction with a number of practices in the industry (mostly perpetrated by EA) that lead to reduced quality of games (ala homogenisation) or just failed launches due to sheer incompetency (Sim City, Diablo 3 etc). The companies aren't listening to our reasonable, calm demands for better. Sure we get some idiots who spew nothing but vitriol in forums, but there are individuals who put forward their cases and desires very well, and do represent us as a whole. So if the likes of EA won't listen to us on the back of bullshit like Sim City, homogenised crap like Dead Space 3, cash cow milking like the upcoming BF4, then we're going to have to resort to more drastic actions to get ourselves across.

You need us, game industry. Treat us well, and find yourselves rich people as we freely give our money for products and services we feel treat us like adult human beings. Not walking wallets, devoid of feeling or opinion.

American McGee, we kindly ask you never ever say anything again. Literally.

"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."

Well that would be extreme reaction but none the less I would feel that the restaurant shouldn't charge money for shoddy food, nor should the customer feel obligated to pay for that food. And certainly the customer should have every right to vocally complain about the shoddy service of that restaurant, plus a good restaurant would immediately fix such a mess.

It's not starting World War III, it's a basic consumer reaction to shoddy products and services. Don't provide a shoddy service if you don't want to be mauled by consumers.

On a side note, I wonder if devs are aware of consumer interest shows like the BBC's Watchdog, if not, they might be in for a shock.

Ooh, I want to stretch his metaphor too!

It's more like the waiter brings you your margaritas, then stands next to you and slaps it out of your hand every time you try to take a sip. And then when you're like "what the hell?" he just stays completely silent and doesn't respond. And this goes on for weeks.

Are we allowed to hate these games cuz they suck? Is that ok mr mgee? Between the shitty itemization of D3 and the broken traffic of simcity, I think these games just plain suck. Maybe they are "fixable", but that should be done before launch (within reason).

The guy would want to fuck off for himself.

I really don't get too upset about always online DRM or suchlike since I just don't buy the product.

But this guys attitude just really annoyed me.

To use his metaphor, the customers ordered the food and then just didn't fucking get the food at all.

And when they did in some cases it was a pile of fetid shite.

Gordon Ramsay would have their balls for a service like that.

I mean who is this guy to talk to his potential customers in that way?

Edited for poor word choice and spelling

American McGee has obviously committed to refunding every dissatisfied Sim City purchaser the $60 they shelled out.

It's funny that everywhere but here in the US (and those places we've bullied into compliance) they've recognized that a pirated copy does not equate to a lost sale (and in fact, sometimes the reverse). DRM is less about I want my money and more about I think it's wrong that you have that.

238U

If we don't bitch and complain, then it won't get fixed.

We all knew that DRM would fuck over the customers and EA did it anyway, because of their compulsive need to control their product post purchase.

And while I'm at it, we never asked for this bullshit. Publishers inflicted this on us.

You know what? He's right. We shouldn't get mad. We should just no longer give game developers our money. That way, we can all be happy. We won't have to have a shitty game experience because we'll be doing something else with our money that's much more entertaining, and game developers won't have to worry about bad PR because no one will have bought their games to talk about them. Sounds like win-win to me.

Theres no reason to comment on how wrong i think Mcgee is, because people already did it for me.

Let's comment on something else shall we?:

...THATS HOW MCGEE LOOKS LIKE?! Jesus...THIS is the designer of The Alice games...One expects them to look somewhat dorky just because ...but nope, it seems like all famous developers are atleast somewhat attractive.

Let me throw another analogy out there. YOu buy a car. Every time you try to start the car, it has to communicate wirelessly with the manufacturer's system to confirm the proper key and owner is sitting in the car before it will start. If it can't communicate with the manufacturer, it won't start. But wait if you do get it to start and you are on the road and the car loses the connection with the manufacturer, the car engine will turn off and you are stuck in the middle of the road. Sound crazy right? Would drive any car owner mad. But according to McGee any angry car owner should just relax then and not scream about it.

Oh, I get it. And McGee may actually be sincere, rather than trying to get in the good graces of his former publisher as he struggles to negotiate a third Alice game into being around said publisher.

But as long as we're slinging bad metaphors around, just because you didn't intend for your company's blender to malfunction and take off three of my fingers doesn't mean I say "Oh, well, that's all right then, so long as you didn't mean for it to do that." Your good intentions somehow didn't translate to adequate safety testing, so don't give me your piss-poor "sorry".

Likewise, EA must have had some perfectly decent numbers on which to estimate the kind of server load they should expect- not least because wherever people bought their copy of SimCity, at some point they had to go through the damnable Origin system to make it functional. That they didn't have that server capacity available, that they chose to force the small city size and multiplayer aspects on people who didn't want them because that's the market model they're pursuing, that the game has major glitches in baseline gameplay- none of these were unavoidable. None of these were an "oops, we couldn't have known that was going to happen." They could have, or at the very least they could have made some less wildly optimistic estimations about how things were going to go down. Instead, they either made those wildly optimistic projections or judged that the cost of fixing things post-launch was less than the cost of delaying and/or providing a server load they might have to downscale later.

Don't throw your cheese fries at the waiter when your margarita is frozen. But when you order cheese fries and a margarita and three hours later you're given a raw potato and a shot of lime juice, tell the manager you're not giving them any more business if they can't be bothered to do any better.

The Sims City situation was really more like having to pay to get into a restaurant then not being served, with the waitress making excuses that it's a legal requirement for you to wait 4 hours before being served and then finding out that this was a lie. That is something rageworthy.

There is no partnership. EA treats it's paying customers like criminals. So what, we're supposed to happily shut up and take it? Screw you American McGee.

This isn't like a margarita being prepared wrong. This is like if you walked into a restraunt, payed, and recieved an empty plate that maybe food would appear on after a few days or so.

I don't care about it though because it only hurts them really. They can keep up their shitty business practices while more gamers become pirates in response.

See, the thing is, at least 75% of PC games are bought digitally. And because Sim City could only be bought through Origin and Diablo III would only be bought through Blizzard, shouldn't both of the companies had an accurate estimate of how many people were going to log in on lauch day? (based on pre-orders) So I don't understand how these companies claim that they didn't expect so many people logging on when they had that info right in front of them. Fact of the matter is, EA and Blizzard were lazy.

I always thought this chap was some sort of gaming design guru but every time I read his comments he just seems to have some very odd views. His Chinese jaunt was interesting; he was extremely defensive about Chinese State censorship and tried to equate it with Microsoft or Sony controlling their respective platforms. A specious argument at best.

Edit - oh yes, analogies that equate DRM and restaurant purchases are ridiculous. You have to buy a meal and have someone rolling a dice, if a certain number comes up, they take your meal away from an indeterminate period of time until you get another number. Er.. maybe.. ridiculous I say!

What an utter display of contempt for the people he wants to sell games to.

Here's my snarky response: Off with his head!

Tien Shen:
Let me throw another analogy out there. YOu buy a car. Every time you try to start the car, it has to communicate wirelessly with the manufacturer's system to confirm the proper key and owner is sitting in the car before it will start. If it can't communicate with the manufacturer, it won't start. But wait if you do get it to start and you are on the road and the car loses the connection with the manufacturer, the car engine will turn off and you are stuck in the middle of the road. Sound crazy right? Would drive any car owner mad. But according to McGee any angry car owner should just relax then and not scream about it.

Lol I rather like this one! Sure nobody would try to steal it, but few would want to buy it, and those who do won't be happy.

It's not perfect though, no EA game has injured or killed anybody, at least not yet... that i know of >_>

CManator:

Tien Shen:
Let me throw another analogy out there. YOu buy a car. Every time you try to start the car, it has to communicate wirelessly with the manufacturer's system to confirm the proper key and owner is sitting in the car before it will start. If it can't communicate with the manufacturer, it won't start. But wait if you do get it to start and you are on the road and the car loses the connection with the manufacturer, the car engine will turn off and you are stuck in the middle of the road. Sound crazy right? Would drive any car owner mad. But according to McGee any angry car owner should just relax then and not scream about it.

Lol I rather like this one! Sure nobody would try to steal it, but few would want to buy it, and those who do won't be happy.

It's not perfect though, no EA game has injured or killed anybody, at least not yet... that i know of >_>

days later, somebody figures out how to disable the connection feature among others and all of the people who broke the warranty have actual functioning cars

meanwhile, EA sits back, satisfied that their method of trying to prevent piracy has not in fact promoted it far beyond anything else they could have done

The hypocrisy in this is practically palpable...

This is the second developer who has been an associated of EA to defend EA out of the blue. Two times is a coincidence, this happens the third time, I'm drawing the conspiracy charts.

MPerce:
Wow. I feel like I read a completely different article from the rest of you guys.

He's not trying to shift the blame from EA, he's telling us to just chill out a bit. This is definitely quite ignorant on his part, since he should know by this point that once the Internet gets mad, it gets REALLY mad, no matter how unimportant the issue is. But it's nice to have somebody saying it, especially since the "EA = Insert Dictator Who Killed Millions" comparisons have become pretty common lately (that, and the mere suggestion that we may be overreacting has spawned some pretty ridiculous accusations regarding Mr. McGee's character in these comments)

Yes. EA royally fucked up. Again. And then they lied about it and generally made things much worse. We all have every right to bitch and complain and make ourselves heard. But we should also try to remember, as we type out our epic monologues of righteous gamer rage, that this is a video game. It's a luxury that, as much as we love and adore it, isn't that important in the grand scheme of things. At the very least, let's try to be rational in our bitching.

Let's draw the line at "EA is fucking stupid," not "EA killed everything beautiful in the world then it murdered my family and dog and oh by the way it's actually Hitler." Most of us do draw this line, of course, but it never hurts to remind ourselves about it.

Um...Ok.

So instead of defending a dumb business practice he's:

1. Mildly purporting that complaining about SimCity makes you a super mad and irrational person?
2. Saying that there are angry people on the internet who blow things out of proportion who should calm down?
3. Saying there are irrational people who should calm down?

Are any of these important? Do I need to make fun of this:

"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."

Ok fine Mr. McGee, I won't turn it into WWIII, I'll just note how it's a bad direction for the industry....like I've been doing.

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

"Guys....EA didn't mean it, they were trying our best for a genuine singleplayer experience, so much that they didn't want our computers to do the necessary calculations. Instead of criticizing them, we should let it slide."

No. if a company says "hey there might be problems" they do not get protected from criticism. Yes gnashing teeth don't solve the problem, but if no one says anything....nothing will happen.

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.

If only he could name a case where this: worked, resulted in no piracy, gave benefits to the consumers instead of the pirates, and made the game easier to play. None has been invented yet, but they could try a service that gets close....like Steam perhaps?

Back to you MPerce

MPerce:

It's a luxury that, as much as we love and adore it, isn't that important in the grand scheme of things.

Isn't this the starving child in Africa argument? Ok fine, I'll simmer down.

Let's be clear, there are people who argue calmly and those that argue insanely. There are those who realize their videogames are not the most important things in the world and there are those who believe that taking away their VIDYA is a blight on the modern world.

You're telling both to "calm down." This is the same thing that Penny Arcade did during the Diablo III debacle. It doesn't do anything, it doesn't remove the problem, it makes fun of a strawman for the issue and doesn't offer a solution.

Gethsemani:

And the reason we have Draconian DRM schemes protecting games these days in the first place is because "gamers" like to not pay for their games, like at all. Just look at Crysis, which was torrented more times from Pirate Bay then it sold actual copies. I am not going to defend EA or always-online DRM, but we should at least be clear with the fact that this kind of respectlessness fully extends both ways. Whoever started it is kind of irrelevant, what matters is that as long as a majority of PC gamers aren't willing to pay for their games and are ready to obtain them illegally instead, we'll be seeing draconian DRM solutions, simply because the developers and producers want to get paid for the product they made.

Their motivations were never in question, it's whether or not they're getting paid more with draconian DRM schemes.
That has yet to be determined. We know it works for MMOs, but not every game follows MMO design logic; most games, by far, are not service-centric.

When Always-Online DRM crosses that line, into games that don't need it, I am hoping that the mass-market rejects it outright. Why? Because Always Online won't just end with stopping piracy; it will be the beginning of a cycle of customer abuse and price hikes.

Pssst... the DRM isn't the thing we're shouting about anymore (at least not primarily)

Once we were able to get INTO the game itself and past the servers... we found a broken and unfinished product that was bad regardless of the DRM used. Get with the times.

Pinstar:
Pssst... the DRM isn't the thing we're shouting about anymore (at least not primarily)

Once we were able to get INTO the game itself and past the servers... we found a broken and unfinished product that was bad regardless of the DRM used. Get with the times.

Well he's focusing on the DRM issue regardless of how poor he's painting a picture of the "entitled-never-satisfied" paying consumers who are "unfairly" criticizing EA and Maxis.

What an apologist idiot.

Yeah, writing articles, poor reviews etc is just like "throwing molten cheese fries in your waiter's face". Riiiiight.

I think the problem is that EA/Maxis were lying to everyones faces to shove their crappy DRM on everyone claiming it was needed for social features that no one wanted. Even if they did, a single player/offline option would have been very easy to do and they instead chose to give pirates the better experience so they could push future DLC for the game.

I do think people who bought Diablo 3 & Sim City get what they deserve though, you bought a game with Always Online DRM, what did you expect? You paid 60 bucks so you could ask a company every time if you have permission to play their game. "No sorry the servers are down" "Game in progress? Oh sorry maintenance in 15 minutes." "Sorry you can't play our game, you're not online."
Don't buy it and play a better game, Sim City 4 anyone?

While Mr McGee seems a bit confused about WHY players are reacting, and seems to be actively trolling the gaming world, this thread alone sure does give him a leg to stand on about HOW players are reacting.

Granted, asking the Internet to respond calmly and maturely to anything is akin to herding kittens during an earthquake.

Timothy Chang:
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.

I totally agree there does have to be some balance in the relationship. If they start TESTING products before demanding money for them, I'll stop freaking out. Deal?

Snotnarok:
I think the problem is that EA/Maxis were lying to everyones faces to shove their crappy DRM on everyone claiming it was needed for social features that no one wanted. Even if they did, a single player/offline option would have been very easy to do and they instead chose to give pirates the better experience so they could push future DLC for the game.

I do think people who bought Diablo 3 & Sim City get what they deserve though, you bought a game with Always Online DRM, what did you expect? You paid 60 bucks so you could ask a company every time if you have permission to play their game. "No sorry the servers are down" "Game in progress? Oh sorry maintenance in 15 minutes." "Sorry you can't play our game, you're not online."
Don't buy it and play a better game, Sim City 4 anyone?

You know that's an interesting point.

If AM was saying: "Don't complain, you should have expected this." We'd be agreeing with him

Instead he's saying: "Don't complain, EA and Maxis didn't mean for this to happen... so you should put up with their bullshit."

Lovely Mixture:

Snotnarok:
I think the problem is that EA/Maxis were lying to everyones faces to shove their crappy DRM on everyone claiming it was needed for social features that no one wanted. Even if they did, a single player/offline option would have been very easy to do and they instead chose to give pirates the better experience so they could push future DLC for the game.

I do think people who bought Diablo 3 & Sim City get what they deserve though, you bought a game with Always Online DRM, what did you expect? You paid 60 bucks so you could ask a company every time if you have permission to play their game. "No sorry the servers are down" "Game in progress? Oh sorry maintenance in 15 minutes." "Sorry you can't play our game, you're not online."
Don't buy it and play a better game, Sim City 4 anyone?

You know that's an interesting point.

If AM was saying: "Don't complain, you should have expected this." We'd be agreeing with him

Instead he's saying: "Don't complain, EA and Maxis didn't mean for this to happen... so you should put up with their bullshit."

Yeah, who doesn't want things to work out with their game so they can make money? Duh that was obvious and I'm not sure why AM pointed that out. The problem was the lying and them getting caught and not even apologizing, they just gave more lies and excuses and refused to fix the issue. I was interested in SimCity but the always online DRM instantly made me say, no because that's just stupid. The recent news saying what's been going on with it just make me want to invest in their older SimCity titles to show "this is what we want not your always online DLC pusher crap".

Damn did i accidentally visit kotarku ?

lets see, take a headline out of context make it sound like hes saying something totally different to what his point was a and go rage bait? Check.

grats escapist another nail in the coffin of your journalistic coffin. oh wait i take it back after reading the original article its clear your quoting someone who is miss quoting someone else. bravo!

"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."

is what he said. and you know what hes right. hes not denying you have a right to expert a level of service hes not saying your in the wrong the blame sits squarely where it belongs, all he is saying is the media fueled hysteria doesnt actually solve anything or help anyone.

zumbledum:
Damn did i accidentally visit kotarku ?

lets see, take a headline out of context make it sound like hes saying something totally different to what his point was a and go rage bait? Check.

grats escapist another nail in the coffin of your journalistic coffin. oh wait i take it back after reading the original article its clear your quoting someone who is miss quoting someone else. bravo!

How is it any different from what he is saying? You yourself quoted him:

"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."

And I see no difference between this and the headline. If anything the actual quote makes me more annoyed than what the headline said.

zumbledum:

is what he said. and you know what hes right.

He's essentially saying "if you're overreacting, don't overreact." Ok, fine words of wisdom I guess....Anything we don't know?

zumbledum:

hes not denying you have a right to expert a level of service hes not saying your in the wrong the blame sits squarely where it belongs, all he is saying is the media fueled hysteria doesnt actually solve anything or help anyone.

And him saying "don't complain" doesn't help the problem either. See where I'm going with this?

Let's go through it.

There are right and wrong ways to solve the problem, for sure. Customers have a right to expect that products they've purchased perform as advertised.

Good so far.

That being said, developers and publishers face extinction if they can't solve the piracy issue while at the same time addressing the demands gamers make regarding connected and accessible games (I see these two things going together).

If only the the issue were that simple.....which it isn't. And saying that they "face extinction" is a huge exaggeration considering DRM-Free options.

Being in China all I see are companies who have solved these issues and customers who are happy with the results.

Ok fine, Mr. McGee. Then why don't you TELL US WHAT THEY DO DIFFERENTLY THEN?
My skepticism just soars through the roof here, cause I'm reminded of China's own piracy issues, their rampant plagiarism issues, and their censorship issues which extend down to people's messages being removed on Chinese forums (political or videogame related) when they point out the anything negative.

Western developers have some obstacles to overcome before they get there.

Such as.....? We need examples Mr. McGee.

Not sure I see how incendiary media coverage or player reactions are warranted when things don't work as expected.

Players shouldn't react to their problems?
Media shouldn't point out how players are reacting to their problems?

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?

I already addressed this, but I'll do so again.

You think everyone just thought the launches of both games would go smoothly? No, they didn't, there was consistent warning from the fanbases and predictions of bad launch results. Lo and behold, they were right!

There's got to be a balance to the relationship.

I agree. But here we don't have a balanced relationship.

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.

No it wouldn't. But filing complaints is nowhere near that heinous.

If Maxis and EA's offices were getting vandalized cause of this, that would be bad. But it wouldn't invalidate the calm and rational complaints of others.

Gethsemani:

Kevlar Eater:

Seriously. I'm freaking waiting.

Couldn't find the source for Crysis (still looking). So how about the 4-5 pirates per paying consumer of the Witcher 2? or the list that shows that Crysis 2 was pirated almost 4 million times from one site alone during the first year? You can put that number of pirated copies of Crysis 2 in comparsion to the ~640,000 copies it has sold. Comparing the Torrent Freak number to the VG chartz numbers also tells us that for every gamer who legally purchased Crysis 2 during its' first year another 9 downloaded it via a BitTorrent affiliate.

So yeah, I think my point totally stands.

Just to point this out. Your first link is made invalid by the second.

Anyway, OT: yeah SimCity gamers should keep calm. They should keep calm when they uninstall it, they should keep calm when they return it, and they should keep calm when they use the refund on something worthwhile and preferably something that actually works. Yeah, I do consider it to be a broken game.

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