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Amazon has stopped selling the downloadable version of SimCity after hundreds of incensed gamers gave the just-launched game one-star reviews. The SimCity – Standard Edition was removed from Amazon's virtual shelves on Thursday. The always-online game has been mostly unplayable since it launched on Tuesday because of problems …

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This this too: http://www.gameranx.com/updates/id/13275/article/sim-city-ea-refuses-refunds-threatens-customer-with-origin-bans/

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Anonymous Coward

Damn, that is bad!

I am pretty sure in teh EU at least EA has to refund, they are not providing the service they were contracted to provide...

Also my major worry with any online game, is what if I spend ages on my city, then EA go bust? I can't play my game that I have brought!

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Anonymous Coward

I can confirm that EU customers can get refunds, as I managed to get one yesterday.

Unless of course their live chat staff are completely inconsistent in the way they handle customer requests.

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hmm

"Unless of course their live chat staff are completely inconsistent in the way they handle customer requests."

You're saying that the live chat staff don't know what they're doing. As they work for EA what do you think the chances are? I'll take that bet.

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Anonymous Coward

Rather ironic

That as I read this article I have an advert on the right hand side for the game which leads to.... Amazon to download it

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Anonymous Coward

Unfortunately, digitally distributed products are broadly exempt from most consumer protection legislation in the EU, notably the Distance Selling Regulations. You basically lose all right to a refund the second the first byte of the file has been downloaded, unless there has been some malice on the part of those responsible for producing/selling the game (e.g. false advertising).

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Yag
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Facepalm

unfortunately

"Also my major worry with any online game, is what if I spend ages on my city, then EA go bust? I can't play my game that I have brought!"

You didn't bought a game.

You bought a license to use a game, which is revokable and modifiable at any time by the seller.

And that you accepted the terms.

Terms that were told to you only after you bought the software.

And you can't be refunded if you refuse those terms.

Worse is... I'm sure that a cracked version with an included server-side will be out in a few monthes - one year top.

And will be far more functional than the official bought for version.

EA can rot in hell, I'll just build my own city in Minecraft.

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FAIL

Selling a game / Capacity planning

Isn't not having a working product and not anywhere close to the capacity required (which can have been anticipated) malicious?

I'm sorry but isn't capacity planning relatively easy? You know you are going to have a urge surge of demand in the first 30 days that will go down without time (depending on how quickly the game is boring - which without save and reload, sandbox feature is probably going to be pretty quick).

In the (good) old time you would have to factor the investment cost to cope at the peak (but could recycle it for next game launch) vs the alienation of the user base but now with IaaS (Infrastructure as a service) like AWS, Azure and other clouds the investment is virtually null, you just pay for the capacity you are using. So invest (buy) server farm to cope for use at D+30 and rent capacity for the rest. Build software able to scale up and launch new instances quickly. Not rocket science.

Ordered the game on DVD, been dispatched but will return it as soon as it gets thru the door. Send a clear signal to EA: Yes I was interested and happy to get a newer SimCity but not in those conditions.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: unfortunately

« I'll just build my own city in Minecraft. »

And I'll build mine on Rock n' Roll

--- Startship

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Happy

Re: Selling a game / Capacity planning

"Urge Surge"

I intend to work this phrase into every phonecall that I have to make today!

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Well no.

You have no recourse under DSR - but you absolutely have a full right to refund under the Sale of Good Act.

What you purchase must be fit for purpose. In this instance it has been absolutely demonstrated and proved that the product was faultly and so you are immediately entitled, in law, to a full and complete refund.

Report them to your local Trading Standards Office.

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Re: unfortunately

> You bought a license to use a game, which is revokable and modifiable at any time by the seller.

The courts in Europe disagree. EA sold you a license to a game, which in its own right means you now own title to that one game and EA has "patent exhaustion" over that one copy (or license) of the game. Essentially this means that EA can not tell you what to do with it.

See Oracle v. UsedSoft.

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FAIL

Wrong. SOGA (not DSR) applies to faulty good - which this is. Just to a charge back on your debit / credit card.

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differs by jurisdiction

The rules that would apply here will differ a lot between different countries.

In the UK I would imagine that any customer who has purchased a license of Sim City would be able to say that EA are in breach of an implied term of the contract that the customer will actually be able to play the game.

If you're affected by this you could do worse than having a look at section 3 of the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 which says (amongst other things):

"...cannot by reference to any contract term—

(a)when himself in breach of contract, exclude or restrict any liability of his in respect of the breach; or

(b)claim to be entitled—

(i)to render a contractual performance substantially different from that which was reasonably expected of him"

If I'd just paid over the odds for what looks like it's going to be a disappointing game at the best of times and it didn't even work because of some horrible DRM system I would say that any attempt to avoid giving me a refund/say that everything was fine an dandy was probably an attempt to "render a contractual performance substantially different from that which was reasonably expected"

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Impossible

Delivered today, impossible to play as it continually requests that I install the game. After 4 hours of trying I gave up, went back at midnight, still nothing.

Have decided to return the Game and already printed out the return label to Amazon.

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FAIL

Re: Selling a game / Capacity planning- Now with added irony.

"but now with IaaS (Infrastructure as a service) like AWS, Azure and other clouds the investment is virtually null, you just pay for the capacity you are using. So invest (buy) server farm to cope for use at D+30 and rent capacity for the rest"

Amusingly the game appears to be relying on AWS, so Amazon's removal from sale may be partly due to self-preservation if Sims are eating the farm(s). I'm guessing due to the removal of iner-city transactions it's an IO problem between cities, especially if they somehow end up on different VMs.

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Thumb Up

It gets better

And if they take the servers down within 6 years you would probably have a good chance of getting a refund under the SGA (the 6 year refund is available if the problem, ie won't work without internet connection, was there from manufacture). But IANAL.

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Anonymous Coward

EA is criminal thief, takes money for nothing

they can go to hell

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Bronze badge

Re: EA is criminal thief, takes money for nothing

But they get their chicks for free.

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Silver badge

Re: EA is criminal thief, takes money for nothing

Them guys ain't dumb.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Anonymous Coward

Re: EA is criminal thief, takes money for nothing

Hehe! Just had a post deleted by a pop-music challenged mod. :)

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Pint

Re: EA is criminal thief, takes money for nothing

maybe get a blister on your little finger

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Coat

Re: EA is criminal thief, takes money for nothing

The thumb is more likely.

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Silver badge

Disgusting, abusive business practices from EA? No, surely not!

What amazes me is that people still bought the fucking thing, especially given the Diablo III saga last year. EA wants to sell you something you neither own nor control, and shut it down when they, not you, get bored of it. But they still want full price for the game, plus microtransactions.

I could rant all day about EA's horrible attitude toward its customer base, but I have stuff do so, so I'll be more succinct:

Fuck EA. Fuck them in the ear.

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Silver badge
WTF?

WTF? did i read that right? there is NO offline mode??

I loved sim city as a kid, but the times I am likely to play are those times I have minimal internet connectivity and a laptop....

Serious fail here...

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FAIL

Exactly my opinion, when can I play? at work, I shouldn't, at home, have no time/better things to do.

That leaves me with trains/planes (no internet connectivity) and hotel rooms (with patchy connections - how many time an hour do you usually loose AP connection/need to re-authenticate? Probably far too if you loose your town at any small glitch).

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FAIL

Why I Got some WINE

and CitiesXL

playing happily offline on my Mac whenever I want to.

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Re: Why I Got some WINE

Exactly what I was thinking. I bought a new laptop specifically for Sim City when it got announced (as my battered old integrated graphics monolith would have keeled over and died had I even thought of installing it) but as soon as they announced the parasitic DRM I went and bought Cities XL which I've been loving ever since.

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Mushroom

What I find hard to believe is the serious lack of communication from EA to its customers. In three or so days they finally get an ambivalent sorry, didn't realise how many people were going to buy (and want to play at the same time) the game, and we're working hard to resolve the issue. This problem will not affect our European or Australian releases.

Why don't I believe you EA? oh yea, cause you're lying sacks of shit!

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Well that's not true, I know 2 people (UK) so far who bought it this morning and have exactly the same issue.

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Meh

Won't effect the /timing/ of the AU, EU. releases.

Not referring to the playability.

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MrT
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Too many...

...nostalgic ElReg readers following the article series on this game's predecessors? Maybe EA are trying for the full old skool experience and are using an Amiga cluster to create the server...

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Happy

Re: Too many...using an Amiga cluster

Doubt it, if they'd have gone with the Amiga cluster, it'd probably be working.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Too many...

"using an Amiga cluster to create the server"

And just what exactly would be wrong with that, please?

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Silver badge

Re: Too many...using an Amiga cluster

Actually they are using C64's. There's one running as a web server here:

http://www.c64web.com

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MrT
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Re: Too many...

From what I understood it's not something that is easily done - lots of custom bits etc (see link) - even the legendary Babylon5 render farm was a dedicated job. Unless someone has ported Tinc to AmigaOS... ;-)

http://eab.abime.net/archive/index.php/t-44845.html

There's nothing wrong with Amigas and it wasn't a skit on their steadiness, but if EA have had anything to do with writing any customized business-critical code then it'll be as crap as their commercial exploits.

They don't use that platform of course. They use a ZX81 supercomputer, last seen running a nuclear power station ( as per the Sinclair adverts ). The real problem is the 2400baud modem, stuck trying to connect to Prestel.

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Looks like it's just a UK thing ( possibly EU? )

amazon.com shows all of the versions are in stock and available.

Still not going to buy it. I saw the storm coming with Diablo 3 and made sure not to buy that game. I new we were looking at the same thing with Simcity.

It's very simple: I will NOT buy a single player game that requires internet access. Period.

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Headmaster

Possible legal issue

If Amazon are selling a defective item in the EU, they can be hauled in front of the courts. Says a lot that this doesn't apply in the US...

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FAIL

Vote with the old wallet, theyll learn (probably)

"While we continue to do everything we can to fix server issues, we're currently in the process of deploying a Hotfix to all servers. This includes various improvements,"

Apparently these `improvements` include removing features like cheetah mode, what a farce.

A single player game that needs an always on internet connection in order to play it is a default non purchase for me as i often want to play a game on my lappy away from the old wifi. A once every now and again verification system like windows does (3 months isnt it?) is just about acceptable, but if my flaky internet disconnects i dont expect my newly purchased SINGLE PLAYER game to stop working.

I really, really hope that the new xbox doesnt pull something like this, as is rumoured. They wouldnt be that stupid, would they?

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Silver badge

Re: Vote with the old wallet, theyll learn (probably)

No, they will say... Our stuff is not selling, piracy is taking all our money, need more DRM!.

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Bronze badge

Re: Vote with the old wallet, theyll learn (probably)

"I really, really hope that the new xbox doesnt pull something like this, as is rumoured. They wouldnt be that stupid, would they?"

You mean like needing to be connected to Xbox Live to play Arcade games if you had to get a new console after the old one had the rrod?

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FAIL

Re: Vote with the old wallet, theyll learn (probably)

One reason I'll never buy this game is the requirement to use someone else's server. What happens when EA decide to close the servers down? In five years time you'll own a game you can't play.

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Windows

Re: Vote with the old wallet, theyll learn (probably)

Thats what RGH is for...

;-)

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EA

Face it chaps and chapesses, EA have consistently rolled out unfinished crap for years now and we, as consumers, have been only too happy to vote with our wallets and say "Yeah, that's okay, stiff me for £40 now for the beta and £30 later on for the DLC that finishes it off".

Terrible attitude, terrible customer service, terrible company.

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Devil

Re: EA

EA has missed a opportunity to profit.

"Error cannot connect; standard servers are busy." "If you would like instant service please purchase the premium server package for £25 now."

They just aren't milking their cows hard enough.

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g e
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Joke

Re: EA

But first EA would need to be able to tell the difference between cow and bull

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Silver badge

Re: EA

Er, no, I wouldn't purchase a product that requires Origin.

Anyone who installs Origin is basically asking for it.

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Pirate

Re: EA

Or a donkey.

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