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Electronics Arts CEO Ousted In Wake of SimCity Launch Disaster 427

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the onward-to-ruin-the-next-company dept.
mozumder writes "The disastrous launch of SimCity took its first major toll, with EA CEO John Riccitiello being fired from his position and removed from the Board of Directors. It is unknown what effect this may have on the SimCity franchise or any future DRM of EA games, but clearly someone didn't think their cunning plan all the way through when they decided to implement always-on connections for single-player gaming."
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Electronics Arts CEO Ousted In Wake of SimCity Launch Disaster

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  • by neminem (561346) <{neminem} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday March 18, 2013 @06:54PM (#43208495) Homepage

    Yay!

    Also more likely the first to say: its != it's. Yay for slashdot editors.

    • by sarysa (1089739) on Monday March 18, 2013 @07:00PM (#43208585)
      I guess John Riccitiello couldn't get past Turbo Tubes...
      • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Monday March 18, 2013 @08:50PM (#43209579) Journal

        Whether or not that asshole got sacked, or how he got sacked, isn't important

        What's more important is if EA gonna let users enjoy SC5 without been unnecessarily burdened by the online DRM ?

        • by Gorobei (127755) on Monday March 18, 2013 @09:37PM (#43209935)

          It's not the DRM (a real screw-up) but the fact that the entire underlying game is borked.

          All that cool "model each sim, global structure emerges" rather than "model the global structure, visualize it with animations of sim" seems to be faked. All the fakery means the global structure of the game is just broken: you can't build a large functional city in any reasonable way.

          For example, sims leave work, drive home, and pick the first random house they see. They they get wealthy/educated for the next day based on the house they are in. Sure, you get some emergent structure, but it's nothing like a real city or even previous simcity games.

          Path-finding seems borked: shortest path is picked over fastest path. All your fire-trucks race to the single closest fire. Left-turns are a recipe for endless traffic jams. Forget using mass transit usefully.

          The YouTube videos show all this. It seems beyond fixing, unless they can revert to the old statistical simulation model somehow: one PC doesn't have enough compute to run a large city - they could offload to the cloud (ha, they aren't going that,) or rope the GPU into doing clever sim work (that's a research project.)

          • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @04:25AM (#43211547) Homepage

            A PC could easily handle that level of simulation because you don't have to calculate everything every frame. The simulation is asynchronous to the GUI.

          • by DarkOx (621550) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @07:57AM (#43212087) Journal

            I don't disagree with anything you said, but just as much as its not DRM (borked), its not the game play (borked) but the marketing failure he is being ousted for.

            From what I have seen there is simply no indication anyone writing official communications from EA recognizes the problems from our perspective. As far as they are concerned they think "he did not sell it right", and as far as the investors/sheep/dollars and cents all play together they might be correct.

            Yea its pretty disappointing as product but I don't think that is what is driving the musical chairs game starting to play out at EA.

        • by AK Marc (707885) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @12:26AM (#43210791)
          Having worked in a company that big, there's nothing the CEO could have done about it. Everyone would have lied to him "oh, it's going good, it'll be great" if he asked, and he'd be so far out of development, he'd have no way of knowing that something was buggy or not ready. Just have to shuffle CEOs around so that they look like they are worth $100,000,000 per year, when they outsource on the basis of "supply and demand" and any of a million people would take his job, and apparently, not many could do it worse.
          • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @06:23AM (#43211809)
            He's a figurehead and a spokesperson at big events, but ultimately is only as good as his advisors and staff. He can't be at every interview for coders, or even interviews for the HR people who hire the coders. He has to trust his staff to do their job, and they didn't. I see this as more of a marketing selling an idea up the food chain, and dev trying their best to hold it together while sticking to their ridiculous deadlines.

            The next CEO will be in exactly the same position, because everyone else responsible is still in their position of responsibility.
    • Allow me to say that this is further proof that VOTING WITH YOUR DOLLARS WORKS and it works VERY well, its just not magical or instant.

      Remember folks this is NOT just about SImcity, its about how under his watch sales have gone down as he ran off more and more customers with douchebag behavior, from gouging on DLC to bad DRM schemes to bad services like Origin John Riccitiello has done for EA what Steve Ballmer has done for MSFT, run it into the ground. And I'm proud to say many folks have voted with their wallets and refused to buy these "DRMapaloza" games that treat the customer as a criminal, just look at how hard Activision and Ubisoft had their sales hit for this kind of shit, with Ubisoft going so far as to remove it from their games and apologize for it.

      So just don't buy products that treat you like crap, vote with your wallet and you CAN change things, just not overnight. EA under John Riccitiello has been widely derided for bad behavior [escapistmagazine.com] so its really no surprise that people voted with their wallets, we need to continue to refuse to buy products that treat us like crap. As long as D3 is always online I won't have it, i instead bought my friends and family Torchlight II instead, I refuse to buy any game that treats me badly and encourage everyone to do the same as we CAN make a difference, it just takes time.

      • by dcollins (135727) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @12:09AM (#43210705) Homepage

        It wasn't the "voting with dollars" that did this (or rather non-voting), and I would continue to argue that individual purchases don't do dick. What made a difference here was PUBLIC SPEECH, outrageously bad reviews, blog posts, and forum discussions. This is what forced EA spokespersons to take up the issue publicly and make detailed responses; the wildfire of public condemnation. And communities organizing to protest and boycott in the future.

        Probably more difference was made by people who DID buy the game, and reported honestly how wretched it was, then someone like myself, who never had any prospect of even possibly buying this game.

        • by dzfoo (772245)

          And by "public" you mean online nerd-rage, right? I haven't heard a thing about it outside a few blog posts and Slashdot.

          Most reviews were written before the release and were published after, so they turned out to be positive.

                  -dZ.

          • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

            It's mentioned in all the places that matter. Go on Amazon and read the reviews, go on YouTube and watch the popular videos, you can even go on BBC News and see coverage.

    • by fsterman (519061)

      Possessive apostrophe s?

  • Finally! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shoten (260439) on Monday March 18, 2013 @06:55PM (#43208497)

    Someone at a high level paying the price for DRM-incurred failure. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, asshole.

    • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Guppy06 (410832) on Monday March 18, 2013 @07:30PM (#43208889)

      Someone at a high level paying the price

      Golden parachute.

    • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by atheistmonk (1268392) on Monday March 18, 2013 @07:41PM (#43208987) Homepage
      Too bad this didn't happen with Blizzard after Diablo 3 as well. Fuck this always-online NWO bullshit.
      • Re:Finally! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jxander (2605655) on Monday March 18, 2013 @08:23PM (#43209363)

        At least Blizzard had an excuse, if a flimsy one : D3 had a Real-Money auction house... so a lot of the code was kept on their servers, to hopefully prevent enterprising hackers from exploiting bugs to make millions of real dollars. I admittedly haven't tracked how successful that was

        SimCity has no such excuse. What's the worst an enterprising hacker could accomplish here? Fixing the roadways? EA's always-on DRM was pure unexcused buttfuckery.

    • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Informative)

      by jest3r (458429) on Monday March 18, 2013 @07:59PM (#43209135)

      Riccitiello's 10-point plan to Success

      1. Buy Franchise
      2. Water Down Experience for Casual Players
      3. Add Online
      4. Add Co-op
      5. Add Gritty Camera Filters
      6. Overwork Developers
      7. Pretend Game is Finished
      8. Add DLC / Make Old Features New by Converting Them to DLC
      9. Pay for Good Reviews
      10. Hype the Fuck Out of The Game

  • Is this a first? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Monday March 18, 2013 @06:56PM (#43208519) Homepage Journal

    Serious question... is this the first time an exec was ousted for a mistake with DRM?

    • Re:Is this a first? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 18, 2013 @07:04PM (#43208629)

      Serious question... is this the first time an exec was ousted for a mistake with DRM?

      This isn't necessarily about DRM. EA is going to miss the financial projections they made at the end of Jan. He's leaving before the board and shareholders come after him with pitchforks.

      • Re:Is this a first? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by flimflammer (956759) on Monday March 18, 2013 @08:33PM (#43209449)

        Who the hell modded this troll? This is exactly right. As much as I want this to be about SimCity, this is about a lot of things, including but primarily because of their financial position over the past few years. There is no direct correlation between always on DRM and his departure.

        So no, this wasn't the amazing win for anti-DRM efforts we all want it to be. That doesn't mean this situation won't help, though.

        • by Patch86 (1465427)

          There is no direct correlation between always on DRM and his departure.

          Unless you consider poor reviews, disappointing sales, and an embarrassing telling-off by your biggest distributor (Amazon) to have a direct impact on financial results.

          EA is a company which makes every penny of its money by selling games. The quality of the games it makes, how they review and sell, are more or less the only factor that goes into whether it's a financial success. If the CEO is being fired for crappy results (and there isn't some other cock-up attached to account for it, e.g. fraud), then es

    • by rwa2 (4391) *

      Try to be more cynical, will you? If anything it won't be due to the DRM, but from poor capacity planning to go with the launch. Actually, even that is too technical, the official reason will probably have something to do with "PR management".

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday March 18, 2013 @07:31PM (#43208891) Journal

      Serious question... is this the first time an exec was ousted for a mistake with DRM?

      If memory serves, one of the more plausible reasons posited for SimCity's ill-conceived launch was that it was right before EA's financial year wrapped up. I don't think that anybody who mattered gave a damn about DRM; but mangling the DRM-induced server hooks so badly that total non-techie rags like Forbes were writing articles about it... That just doesn't look competent.

      If anything, DRM(as a lock-in and market segmentation strategy) is something that team management would probably earn points for; but only if they can pull it off well enough to win more than it costs them. People like Apple and Valve, yes. EA, not so much.

    • by jxander (2605655) on Monday March 18, 2013 @07:49PM (#43209049)

      He wasn't ousted for DRM, but failing to execute the DRM properly.

      If the servers had been even REMOTELY close to sufficient for a day 1 load, the manager would still be onboard and the DRM would be proven successful. As that was not the case, the problem is the manager failing to properly plan for launch day activities. The DRM is still successful and will be implemented in subsequent EA releases.

    • Re:Is this a first? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Monday March 18, 2013 @08:26PM (#43209397)

      Serious question... was he fired for Sim City or everything except for Sim City?

      EA is celebrating the biggest SimCity launch of all time even as overall the video game maker missed operational targets for the year. Late Monday, CEO John Riccitiello resigned, taking responsibility for the overall poor performance.

      I highly doubt EA's quarterly report includes Sim City already. More likely it was every game except for Sim City--and had nothing to do with DRM in the slightest.

      • by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday March 18, 2013 @09:07PM (#43209731)

        I highly doubt EA's quarterly report includes Sim City already. More likely it was every game except for Sim City--and had nothing to do with DRM in the slightest.

        Maybe it was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back? After coming in below target on multiple projects, they may have been considering it, but seeing how this latest one completely cratered to the point they're having to give away their product in an attempt to maintain credibility with their customers while warding off massive amounts of bad PR... the board may simply have said enough is enough. SimCity may not be on the ledger, but when your latest failure in a string of them is by far the worst, and most publicized, it's foolish to think it wasn't given serious weight in the decision.

  • Fired? What? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki@NOsPam.gmail.com> on Monday March 18, 2013 @06:56PM (#43208525) Homepage

    The guy tendered resignation. [polygon.com] The letter he wrote is in that link there. Besides of that EA has been all over the place in terms of performance for awhile. I picked up a few hundred shares at $12 ~6mo ago and sold them at $18.50, which while not a spectacular turn around was decent enough.

    • Re:Fired? What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dan East (318230) on Monday March 18, 2013 @07:01PM (#43208601) Homepage Journal

      When a board member calls up the CEO and says that it's unanimous, it's time for you to leave, the CEO can either save face and "resign", or let the board officially vote them out. Regardless of what they're calling it, "fired" is probably an accurate description.

      • Re:Fired? What? (Score:4, Informative)

        by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater&gmail,com> on Monday March 18, 2013 @07:30PM (#43208885) Homepage

        When a board member calls up the CEO and says that it's unanimous, it's time for you to leave, the CEO can either save face and "resign", or let the board officially vote them out. Regardless of what they're calling it, "fired" is probably an accurate description.

        Yep, at that level you're rarely publicly 'fired'... You just come back to the office after lunch and find on your desk the equivalent of a pistol with a single round in it. Everyone (involved) knows what that means.

    • Re:Fired? What? (Score:4, Informative)

      by timmyf2371 (586051) on Monday March 18, 2013 @08:15PM (#43209311)
      The letter is a PR stunt and reads as such. Who really puts something like this in a resignation letter?

      "EA is an outstanding company with creative and talented employees, and it has been an honor to serve as the Company's CEO," Riccitiello said in a statement. "I am proud of what we have accomplished together, and after six years I feel it is the right time for me pass the baton and let new leadership take the Company into its next phase of innovation and growth. I remain very optimistic about EA's future — there is a world class team driving the Company's transition to the next generation of game consoles."
      • by bloodhawk (813939)
        Someone that understands corporate environments in that board members more often then not work across MANY big corporates and it is idiotic to do anything to burn your bridges as the next company you want to work for has a chance of being connected to some of the same board members. Only a fool or someone that has no interest in further employment would write anything different.
      • Something about "not burning bridges".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 18, 2013 @06:56PM (#43208539)

    Well, hopefully his golden parachute will only be accessible if he maintains a continuous online connection to HR for the next three years.

  • Odd (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 18, 2013 @06:57PM (#43208547)

    The press release doesn't mention anything about SimCity. Could it be other causes and you're just trying to bend the message to your own personal fantasies? In any case, I doubt it'll have any real effect on the user of DRM.

    • Re:Odd (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DrGamez (1134281) on Monday March 18, 2013 @07:16PM (#43208741)
      I would -love- if this was because of SimCity, but this entire summary is pretty suspect. It smells really bad of wanting to push forward the idea that "Simcity is a failure, and with it, takes EA".

      Like I said, I'd love if this was true - but there are many other reason for the CEO to step down outside of SC5. Not saying the whole mess didn't help him/the board finalize on the decision - but lets not turn into Kotaku levels of terrible summaries here.
  • How about SWTOR? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Billly Gates (198444) on Monday March 18, 2013 @06:57PM (#43208551) Journal

    I still play that game and it was sooo fucking close to a Wow killer. They rushed it without dailies and raids to meet Christmas projection marks in some accountants spreadsheet and they killed the game cards and the expansion at the store and gave up too early.

    I do not care what other say about SWTOR it is not failure and much better. Bioware did great things and they got rid of great people too quickly. Another 6 months when SWTOR had the dailies, raids, and fixes it would have 3x the amount of subscribers.

    What a shame and I am irritated as I do not want to go back to Wow.

    • by armanox (826486)

      You think they would have learned not to do that after so many people complained about KOTOR2's dropped content.

  • by Bookworm09 (1321243) on Monday March 18, 2013 @06:58PM (#43208553)
    ... this does give him more time to play SimCity.
  • Tipping point ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jest3r (458429) on Monday March 18, 2013 @06:58PM (#43208559)

    SimCity was the tipping point.

    Remember, EA was recently ranked as the Worst Company in America [gamespot.com]. Gamers have been complaining about EA way before SimCity. Like when EA negotiated an exclusive rights deal on all NFL games and then churned out the worst NFL games for years and years to come. They have ruined many, many franchises.

    • by Bing Tsher E (943915) on Monday March 18, 2013 @07:04PM (#43208635) Journal

      Since they had exclusive rights didn't they also thus turn out the best NFL games for years?

      Also, we're nerds here. What's a good NFL game in the first place?

  • by Verminator (559609) on Monday March 18, 2013 @06:59PM (#43208571)
    Good riddance. Now kindly proceed rolling heads throughout all upper and middle management, until you get to the first employee who indicated that the always-online feature was an indescribably bad idea. He or she is new CEO.
  • by hawguy (1600213) on Monday March 18, 2013 @06:59PM (#43208573)

    He'll somehow have to scrape by on 24 months of full pay (and stock vesting):

    http://www.polygon.com/2013/3/18/4120344/ea-ceo-john-riccitiello-quits [polygon.com]

    As part of Riccitiello's separation agreement, he'll receive 24 months of salary continuation and continued vesting of unvested stock options until Nov. 30, 2013, with those options exercisable until Feb. 28, 2014.

  • Pure speculation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blarkon (1712194) on Monday March 18, 2013 @07:00PM (#43208591)
    While it's nice to speculate that the guy was fired for reasons that suit the average slashdotter's predilection's about DRM, there is no evidence that this is the case.
    • by DRJlaw (946416) on Monday March 18, 2013 @07:21PM (#43208795)

      While it's nice to speculate that the guy was fired for reasons that suit the average slashdotter's predilection's about DRM, there is no evidence that this is the case.

      In the real world, and even in the legal world, circumstantial evidence [wikipedia.org] is still evidence. You're welcome to offer direct evidence to the contrary... but direct evidence has never been a requirement for criminal convictions, much less individual opinion concening massive business failures followed closely by executives seeking more time with their families.

      "No evidence" is usually a euphamism for "LALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU LALALALA." You're welcome to offer a better explanation, but there is certainly evidence that this is the case.

      • Re:Pure speculation (Score:4, Interesting)

        by mark-t (151149) <[markt] [at] [lynx.bc.ca]> on Monday March 18, 2013 @07:56PM (#43209113) Journal

        Except there's not enough circumstantial evidence to really come to any conclusions here in that regard. What we have here is a story submitter who read far more between the lines of a story about a recent event than was actually published, most likely as a result of something that they wanted or already had expected to be true. Scientific skepticism demands that all the evidence be considered... not just that which might serve a particular desirable outcome, and that might mean waiting a little while to see what happens.

        It stands to reason that if the submitter's proposed reasons for the "resignation" are accurate, then eventually the truth should come out about that matter. At the very least, if those reasons are accurate, then it seems that EA should start taking measures to prevent the situation from repeating. So... wait. And see.

        Otherwise, it's just a conspiracy theory.

    • by ron_ivi (607351)
      Perhaps he was fired because the DRM wasn't strong enough and some hacker proved it was technologically capable of running off-line.
  • by Anonymous CowWord (635850) on Monday March 18, 2013 @07:01PM (#43208597)

    Good God.

    I know this is /. and no one RTFA and all but seriously, at least try to search for key words like "Sim" or "City" before submitting an article with a moronic sensationalist headline like this.

    His resignation has nothing to do with Sim City. Dream on.

    • The headline is strictly correct. He was ousted from his position (in his letter he cites accountability for missing financial targets, which probably means he didn't decide to quit on his own - which CEO would?), and this did in fact happen in the wake of SimCity's launch (which was, in fact, a disaster). The summary obviously tries to conflate his being fired with SimCity's DRM, but the headline seems fine to me.

  • by dfn5 (524972)
    Pinball Construction set for the Mac 512. The 800k floppy disk was DOA. Was I ever pissed. Got a free hat for my trouble, though, so...
  • by eksith (2776419) on Monday March 18, 2013 @07:02PM (#43208611) Homepage

    It may have more to do with the fact EA stock went from $40 to $20 since he took office and there are plenty within and without the company that want to move into mobile gaming more and he's in the way. The board may also believe fresh blood will bring in a new way of doing things in the gaming sphere. I hope they take this opportunity to actually do some worthwhile changes; first being getting rid of or at least finding a better DRM mechanism (since I'm sure there are some dinosaurs who think DRM is still a workable system) and branch out.

    They should learn a lesson from Atari. Inheritence isn't how you hold on to the throne. If blood must be spilled, then so be it.

  • by mlts (1038732) * on Monday March 18, 2013 @07:03PM (#43208625)

    Perhaps the next EA CEO might see about some of the IP they are sitting on and make something decent that isn't just the same junk over and over.

    Wing Commander, Ultima (I know there is are games in the works, but it would be nice to see Ultima 8 stricken off the books, and a "real" 8 and 9 made. Heck, I'd love to see a modern rendition of "Cybermage" just for the surreal aspect that mixes magic and technology, and not being Shadowrun or steampunk.

  • Restoring Trust (Score:3, Interesting)

    by onyxruby (118189) <onyxrubyNO@SPAMcomcast.net> on Monday March 18, 2013 @07:10PM (#43208679)

    When the spokeswoman for Electronic Arts stated that they would try to restore trust with their users I never fathomed that they would actually follow that up with action. I cannot begin to overstate my congratulations to the board of Electronic Arts for doing the right thing and ousting a CEO that had declared his customers the defacto enemy.

    When the lies came out that the online requirement was for server processing I took it as yet another BS statement from a company that held it's customers in contempt. When customers showed how easily you could play offline the lie was exposed and Maxis / EA was forced to admit the truth. I never expected that action would come out of this, and must say I am surprised by this as anything in technology in twenty years. Congratulations to EA for taking a step in trying to restore the trust of your customers.

    • We have no idea this was the reason and I would bet EA does NOT blame DRM for the failure. Especially given the fact that the servers do little processing (as we now know). I am sure they blame server engineering for being unprepared, or the guy who didn't sign the big server check, or the team responsible for forecasting. I can almost guarantee they do not blame DRM, since your gamer brethren BOUGHT THE GAME knowing DRM was in there.

      Only if DRM disappears from EA games in the future, can you declare vic

  • Its first major toll (Score:3, Informative)

    by GrahamCox (741991) on Monday March 18, 2013 @07:22PM (#43208803) Homepage
    "The disastrous launch of SimCity took it's first major toll

    Look, I'm getting sick of this. Just leave out the fucking unnecessary apostrophes OK? What are you, 7? How hard is it to learn the bloody rule and use it? Not hard at all - I've known it since I was seven!

    I do not expect to see this happen ever again. Thankyou.
  • by Ogive17 (691899) on Monday March 18, 2013 @08:02PM (#43209167)
    Anyone who pre-ordered through origin (like me) received $20 off coupon for a purchase of $30 or more through origin. Not a bad deal, I could pick up C&C franchise for $29.99 and add a $5 or $10 filler to break that threshold.. sure I'd be giving them a bit more money but every C&C game ever made for $20 seemed like a good deal. However the fine print says the offer expired today at 10am PDT. I don't recall seeing the limitation to the offer until after I had purchased the game.

    Today I got the email telling me I'll get a free game due to the Sim City fuckup. It's not fine print this time but the email says that eventually we'll be able to choose our game (doesn't say when exactly) but we have to have it downloaded by March 30th. They want to limit their "losses" by making the instructions difficult to understand and leaving a very short window to "cash in".

    EA are a bunch of dicks (I knew it already, just felt like reiterating).
  • It wasn't the DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by meta-monkey (321000) on Monday March 18, 2013 @08:32PM (#43209437) Journal

    First, it wasn't necessarily the failure of SimCity that caused the job change. Second, the existence of the DRM wasn't the reason SimCity is a disaster.

    SimCity is a disaster because of the implementation of the DRM, the PR surrounding the DRM, and then the fact that it's just a completely broken non-simulation.

    Implementation failure.

    Just having an account sign-on for DRM authentication is a thumbs-down, for sure, but it isn't a guaranteed game killer. Case in point, StarCraft 2. I do not like having to sign on to play the single player campaigns, but I've never had a problem logging in, even on day 1 of Wings of Liberty or day 1 of Heart of the Swarm.

    With SimCity, however, I was unable to log on and play for 3 days after launch. After that I never had server problems, but there are many people who are still unable to stay connected or who are having their cities (which are saved on EA's computers) erased or rolled back.

    The lesson is, if you're going to force people to sign on to play a single-player game, you better fucking make sure they can sign on to play their single-player game.

    PR failure

    I don't think Blizzard ever lied to people about why they had to sign on to battle.net for StarCraft. "It's 'cause DRMs." Lucy Bradshaw, the Maxis spokesweasal has stated that SimCity just had to be always connected because EA's servers are performing "significant computations" that just have to be done by their servers. Their terrible "sims go the nearest house to sleep" AI has gotta be run on their Beowulf cluster of HAL 9000s. The beast of a gaming rig under my desk clearly isn't up to the task.

    Of course this is a monstrously stupid lie, and obvious to anyone who has any experience with video games or computers or breathing. This falls into the "pissing on me and telling me it's raining" category. If you're going to piss on me, at least be honest about it. And don't eat asparagus first.

    Game failure

    Despite all that, the real problem with SimCity is once you actually are able to get in and play, you find that they did not actually make a city simulation game, they just made a pretty city drawing program.

    You lay out reasonable street designs, but they get snarled with traffic because the sims do not know where they're going to end up when they leave their homes for work in the morning or when they come home at night. They pick as their destination the nearest place that meets their need and go there first via the shortest path. If when they get there they find the place is already filled up, they go to the next closest place. So imagine if all 400 people who live in your neighborhood were coming home from work at the same time, but instead of going to their actual homes (or whatever place they're going to end up sleeping) they all came to your house first. And after 2 of them crash on your floor, the remaining 398 go next door and all knock there. And then the remaining 396 go to the next house after that, etc etc.

    Next, the whole RCI balance mechanic has been the core of SimCity forever, and that's completely gone. Residential areas are supposed to need Commercial areas so people have a place to buy things (or work). Commercial needs shoppers, workers, and goods. Industry provides jobs for residents and goods for Commerce. They broke all of that, because sims, it seems, can live on love. All they need to not move out of their homes is "happiness," which can be obtained from shopping (commerce) but can also be obtained from city parks. So people have made 400k+ population cities that are absolutely nothing but residential high rises and parks. The people have no jobs and no money and no food, but they can still live in gleaming skyscrapers because I guess they're urban foraging in the parks.

    So, yeah, you can "solve the puzzle" and make cities that don't collapse, but they're completely ridiculous, so it's not a city simulation game. It'd be like having a flight simulator where the rudder has no effect on y

  • by dmomo (256005) on Monday March 18, 2013 @08:39PM (#43209485) Homepage

    We are all assuming that this is specifically because of the botched Sim City release. While it may be very compelling and possibly even obvious to think so, there is no mention of SimCity in the article. It's all speculation by the poster. It might be true, but it makes for a slanted summary. You can see from this thread that it had a definite affect on the discussion.

    An article I read on Forbes today about this didn't mention Sim City as a reason either. The announcement came with the report that Q4 earnings at EA were lower than expected. The server issues, may have had something to do with this and maybe even a big part, but the summary jumps to conclusions. Pretty much this entire thread is following suit.

  • by Y-Crate (540566) on Monday March 18, 2013 @10:38PM (#43210275)

    As he refuses to greenlight single player games. [geek.com]

    Which should not be construed as even a suggestion that the man should lose his job. I don't believe the appropriate response here would be to destroy a man's livelihood. I would like him to reconsider his policy, though.

    • by Tom (822)

      would be to destroy a man's livelihood

      Please. We are talking CEOs here. They can live comfortably on their savings for a decade, provided they didn't blow it all on whores and drugs.

      I'm all for sympathy, but against handing it out indiscriminately. Doing so reduces the value of the times it really is meaningful.

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.

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