|Comical screen cap of SimCity malfunctioning illustrated metaphorically by damaged buildings.|
It's unlikely that you could've missed the circus act that was the SimCity malfunctioning. It needed to be constantly online for DRM purposes, and the servers were woefully under prepared for the tsunami of gamers who logged in to enjoy some sky-scrapping erections.
|A second caption further accentuating the issues within the game via metaphorical imagery.|
We saw a similar fiasco only last year with the launch of Diablo III which again experienced serious server malfunctions because they weren't stable or prepared enough to support the influx of gamers. Plus the same "constant online play" implemented primarily for DRM purposes didn't help to ease the transition.
Overall the combined forces of Blizzard and EA have performed magnificently to make the already unpopular DRM even more unpopular for gaming consumers. If truth be told this whole problem has led some of the gaming community to take desperate measures. Cracks for the game have been developed in order to find off-line opportunities; they also allow city creators to build outside of the small boundaries and with no intrusions, making for a more peaceful experience.
Which got me thinking; just how damaging have these negative launches been to the developers and publishers? How much have they lost and how many refunds have they needed to make to all those disgruntled gamers? More immediately, how damaging had this been to the consumer-seller relationship?
Fortunately not long after SimCity launched and the furious recipients of the end product were felt, Tommy Refenes, co-creator of Super Meat Boy, posted a wonderfully eloquent denunciation of EA and other developers that see the need to cut their noses off despite their face.
|Break from the norm. Cute MMO bunnies!|
You can read it here.
It's a interesting read and genuinely addresses the erroneous thought processes behind game development when your cardinal strategy is to figure out ways to stop people playing your game illegally and reduce lost sales, and not working to make a complete product for those who are interested.
I'm afraid an analysis is slightly out of my depth beyond this point but if you are interested to read a dissection of Tommy's post then Tech Dirt has that covered.