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back to article SimCity owners get free game, EA will get A NEW CEO

Maxis has published the list of the games it's offering free miffed 'Mayors' to compensate for SimCity's disastrous launch. The offer was announced by Maxis on Sunday and lets existing customers and those who register before March 25 to get a free game along with their copy of SimCity as compensation. The downloads start on …

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Not too shabby

Means I get a game I've been looking at for free....

Expect I'll get downvoted for this too.....

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Meh

Re: Not too shabby 'are you kidding?'

I sent my copy back and got the refund today from Amazon. My main reason to get rid of it was that it was almost impossible to log on to the same server and find I had to start again.

As to the Games on offer, most gamers will have a copy of them already and if they didn't its because they didn't want them first time around.

I have my money back, and if everyone who complained did the same thing maybe EA would change their tune.

Still went they turn off or reduce the server count next year or the year after, don't winge when you find your saved cities have disappeared in the ether.

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Re: Not too shabby

I, too, think a better idea would be to return the game for a refund, then use it to buy one of the other games on the list.

Though I can't talk - I took the free games after the PSN hack, and I'm glad I did. It got me into the excellent inFamous series. Looking at EA's list, I'd probably take the new Need for Speed - sorry, I meant to say Burnout Paradise 2.

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Childcatcher

Re: Not too shabby

The only good thing about that whole affair was that when I still had my PSP I mistakenly made a PSN account with SCEA, (North America), when I was meant to make One with SCEE (Europe). The upshot beeing that I was able to get InFamus and WipeOut from the US Account, and Little Big Planet, and Ratchet & Clank from the European Servers. This was more the better for me as InFamus was not available as was (The PSN equivalent of XBox Arcade), Dead Nation. In Germany. Cause ya know for the Kids!

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kb
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I upvoted you

Because I think that voting with our dollars is the best way to decide what we will and will not take. if being online 24/7 doesn't bother you and this game, despite the issues, makes you happy? Then I'm happy for you, I really and truly am.

That said I will NEVER buy a game that demands i be online merely to "prove" I am not a criminal, I gave you my money and expect to be treated as your customer NOT as a potential shoplifter. If you went to a shop and a security guy followed you down every aisle, even though you had done nothing and shopped with them for years, would you go back? So why put up with the same treatment from a game company?

I buy games from Steam because I can play for a month without Internet and the worse it'll do is tell me that achievements in some game won't count or that it needs to sync my saves next time I hook up, big deal and the services they give me in return for using Steam DRM (great chat and matchmaking, great service even over the holidays, cheaper prices) makes it worth it to me.

I won't buy Origin games as I have already heard from friends how quickly EA will use the banhammer (costing you your games at the same time BTW) if you dare complain, I won't buy always online like the AC series and Splinter Cell series (although I heard Ubisoft has removed all the always online stuff so if true I may pick them up) and when it came out that D3 was online only not only did I buy several copies of Torchlight II to give away to family and friends (if you haven't tried TL2 its a great game, you can do LAN or online MP and SP is offline) but I wrote a nice letter telling Blizzard WHY I wouldn't buy D3 after buying a good dozen copies of D1 and D2 (again so my friends and family could enjoy it too) so they could see how their boneheaded move cost them another loyal customer.

Vote with your wallet folks and stick to your guns, at the worst you'll have a better gaming exp and be rewarding those that treat you well, and at best as we saw with Ubisoft getting rid of always online you CAN make a company change direction.

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Re: I upvoted you

Tbh i cant see why people are moaning so much about always online DRM... most people have broadband which is connected to the internet most of the time and most people will have their pc/laptop connected to the internet most of the time because, hay, you need your latest facebook update... yeah simcity was unplayable on launch week, but that has passed now. but tbh even on launch week i didn't have many problems(granted some did) D3 had the same connection issues but that was fixed after a week or 2. the only problem with simcity and D3 is that their DRM is protecting a somewhat average game. D3 was linear as hell and from what i have seen they still haven't brought out PVP. SimCity is also fairly linear and lacks new content, if feels like a cut down version of previous simcitys with better graphics. The only people in uproar as i can see is single player gamers that wanted to play a single player game and freetards.(yes it has been cracked to play offline but you still cant save) . With that rant over im quite annoyed that they didn't offer Crysis 3 and the fact that they offered Plants vs Zombies is laughable.

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JDX
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Tbh i cant see why people are moaning so much about always online DRM.

I don't really care about the DRM angle, and personally I am only going to play games at home.

But if you wanted to play on a laptop while on a train or whatever, that's a PITA.

I think the biggest legitimate (rather than hand-wringing "it's just bad because it is") concern is that you are reliant on their servers. Never mind the odd outage - many games have been released buggy - but what happens when they pull the plug? You can still buy and play SC4 as they are pointing out, but in 5 years will SC still be playable?

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Re: I upvoted you

Being able to play offline matters, because although people might have broadband at home, they don't have it all the time. For example, people might want to play while travelling.

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Re: Tbh i cant see why people are moaning so much about always online DRM.

"you are reliant on their servers"

True that. They retire games all the time, when the usage drops below a certain level. I'm not a fan of the DRM by any stretch, but I really wanted the game. It is a bit stripped down, but I've still enjoyed playing it thus far.

And to be honest, if they do turn the servers off after 3 years, I'll have had an enjoyable game for less than £12 per year, with online multiplayer and updates etc. And I'm sure someone will have sussed how to crack it to play it offline and save by then anyway, so that'll be the option for when it is retired.

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Childcatcher

Re: Not too shabby 'are you kidding?'

I nearly bought this game but then remembered that i had already boycotted EA for any future purchases. So saved myself some heartache there. I can say this with no fear of libel: EA are a bunch of fucktards rapidly sucking the life out of gamers and coders who have no passion for games themselves - hell i bet the CEO's are not and have never been gamers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I upvoted you

"Tbh i cant see why people are moaning so much about always online DRM.."

Yet the last line of the article reads "A full list of the games whose online functions are no longer supported by EA, is available here.", where "here" links to:

http://www.ea.com/1/service-updates

To be frank, anyone who can't see why expensively renting an essentially single player game until EA gets bored and turns it off, so they can sell you the next version, deserves everything that they get.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not too shabby 'are you kidding?'

Nobody cares. Go back to the troll cave.

They won't change their tune because they don't have to as they have a fckton of money. Yes their DRM is dodgy and yes it will most likely be unplayable in a few years but it works at the moment. I've not had one issue since the initial server problems. It's still more fun than similar "modern" games. SC4 is still "ok" but just feels a little bit dated now for me.

A lot of people that are getting banned/booted are doing so for doing the "offline hack" that is pointless anyway as it doesn't actually save properly.

As for the game being broken, there has already been numerous updates to attempt fixing things. - A traffic fix came out today.

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FAIL

Re: Not too shabby 'are you kidding?'

Except most people bought the game through Origin and EA don't provide refunds on that basis.

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Re: I upvoted you

Smart phone? Tether? Personal Wifi? Ring any bells? USB Broadband dongle? Most people have a smart phone and im sure you could get a portable broadband easy... you can even get them pay as you go... (granted connection may drop when moving but that doesn't kick you outa the game) and if you say "what about abroad" to which i will reply, "you have gone on holiday, for the love of god put down the laptop."

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Devil

Re: Not too shabby 'are you kidding?'

Considering the fact that Amazon gave a $20 promo code to buy anything from their site when I bought Simcity Limited and now the free game (I wanted to try Mass Effect 3 and downloaded it last night as my free title..its got a 9.5 on IGN, a 9 on Gamespot and an 89% on Metacritic..cannot be bad if its anything like ME1 or ME2 even if its without DLCs), I wouldn't complain now. I paid $60 for my Simcity. With the above discounts and freebies, if my net pay comes down to $30 for the game, its like a dollar for every month of play in 2 years. Thats much less than what some people spend on their Farmvilles and Mafia Wars anyways..

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Re: I upvoted you

in my current location there not even edge available let alone 3G (tested O2, Voda, Three, Tmob and Orange)

Mobile for games that require always on connections is a joke

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not too shabby 'are you kidding?'

" If you went to a shop and a security guy followed you down every aisle, even though you had done nothing and shopped with them for years, would you go back? "

Welcome to Waitrose.

But their chicken pies are heaven.

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Re: I upvoted you

Obviously you do not travel for work and do not have to deal with no internet connectivity when travelling to Central and South America. Not many things are worse then being bored to hell and wanting to have a little gaming to get the mind off work etc. For that reason alone any game that REQUIRES an active working internet connection is a no sell for me. At least Steam games can be configured to play offline before travel begins.

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Facepalm

Re: I upvoted you

Agree about broadband - but there are occasions when you'll want to play offline on a laptop or whatever on holiday or on a train away from any network connectivity.

I've not touched the Sim City franchise for a long time. I do play HL2 and a few Steam games. At least Steam notices offline play and lets you still play the game disconnected. EA should have just followed a similar approach.

EA should have considered offline play in their design and offered an online/offline check for their DRM module so that you can still play offline for a couple of weeks between connecting back up.

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My suspicion...

Is that this 'apology' has ulterior motives. I'm not sure if EA has attempted to force users to use origin for even boxed copies of games (I seem to remember they at least trialed this with a game or two), but this free 'gift' will be distributed via origin for sure. If they're going to lose a bit of money they might as well try to create a bit of consumer lock-in with their digital store, right? Not to mention the reduced cost as it's simply a download.

They're so desperate for the platform to work that they recently joined forces with their competitor Ubisoft to offer each others game libraries on their separate stores (to combat their nemesis steam). Their foolishness will hopefully backfire when one day when users demand portability of digital games between eshops that are on the PC.

Meanwhile I guess we can only vote with our $.... Yeah, I'm not very hopeful for the future.

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Re: My suspicion...

"I'm not sure if EA has attempted to force users to use origin for even boxed copies of games"

They've gone down the same path as Steamworks, i.e. even boxed copies require it. The physical disc just saves you some download time. Sometimes.

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Facepalm

Re: My suspicion...

The day I gave up Steam for Origin is the day I'll sign my own commitment papers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: My suspicion...

"Meanwhile I guess we can only vote with our $"

I don't understand why anyone would buy anything from a games company who think they can force people to have an online connection in order to play a game. It's a shame more people don't tell them to get lost and vote with their wallets. They certainly won't get a penny from me.

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JDX
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Re: My suspicion...

Because most people have an online connection 24/7 these days. Simply "it requires internet connection" isn't actually a problem in itself, it's what that implies and most people aren't thinking that far ahead.

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Re: My suspicion...

"to combat their nemesis steam"

This is odd - I play one Ubisoft game on a daily basis because there really isn't an equivalent anywhere else.

It's called Rocksmith, and it's on Steam.

(For the skeptical: Rocksmith reveals the true purpose of USB sockets. Where else are you going to connect the Rocksmith cable?)

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Mushroom

Rip-off merchants

We bought my son the "full" version of NFS Most Wanted for his PS3 .... now it turns out that he needs additional packs at £12 a go to complete the game.

If this is the way gaming is going then it's just greed.

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but you bought the game disc and it was all on there to the end.

Thieving gits!

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@djstardust

I can't help wonder if this is really about finishing the game or getting his hands on the Lamborghini Diablo (or whatever else is in the DLC's).

Unless he's referring to the 'time saver' DLC; you don't need that to finish the game. You need this if you want to finish the game quicker; so instead of unlocking all cars yourself one by one you get everything in one go, or better put: one purchase.

There's also nothing new here; they did the same with Burnout Paradise.

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JDX
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Re: Rip-off merchants

Why is it a rip-off to sell an add-on, people have been doing this for over ten years. Extra levels, new campaigns, etc.

I have that game - I play it often - and you do not need to buy add-ons to 'complete' the game. It's completed when you have unlocked all the races. The add-on packs are just that - additional content for people who want more (most will not and we'd all have to pay more for it if it were included).

And I don't know where you got £12 from, I looked last night as it happens and I'm sure it was more like £5.

Just buy the next game for £10 instead. Or look for a deluxe edition with it included.

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Joke

"The downloads start on March 22 and registered owners have until the end of the month to grab their games."

In other news, EA's download servers will be offline for scheduled maintenance for the last week in March.

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Joke

Oh.. I see..

So that's why EA has been boasting about a all time high of origin users.. so they have an excuse when users have problems going thru the free offer. "Unanticipated growth".

In other news EA's CEO has been forced to resign. Guess the board had to pin the blame on someone for the continued PR nightmares and declining profits.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Oh.. I see..

All those people trying to download a very small selection of games off the Origin servers? And only 9 days to do it?

Now that really made me laugh.

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Re: Oh.. I see..

Sounds like a situation in which peer-to-peer distribution would make sense.

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Joke

Re: Oh.. I see..

Peer-to-peer distro on origin?? Then they wouldn't be able to 'assume direct control'...

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Message and beancounters

"After the offer expires it is likely that an EA/Maxis bean-counter will run the numbers on the games people chose and come up with a number representing either lost or missed revenue."

But that woud be, ahem, wrong. Looking at that list I already own the only title there I want. So I may, to be bloody minded pick another (the most expensive) and download it, and register it.

But what's the value of it? This is a rather odd concept.

I (say) I wanted Battlefield, and was about to go and buy it then its value to me is the current retail price.

If I didn't want any of them then the value to me is roughly the resale value, oh, zero as it can't be resold.

The "cost" to EA is only lost revenue on the former, not the latter. Even then the marginal cost (actual money out of the door) is pretty much nil, just the extra electricity to generate a new unlock code and spin some platters to facilitate a download.

EA will, of course, never know which was which, so any attempt at saying "we lost revenue of $...." is wrong, irrelevant, and downright silly.

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Re: Message and beancounters

Well - it being silly wont stop them though. I mean it is EA. (but you are quite right)

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Gimp

Translation

Our SimCity Mayors are incredibly important to the team at Maxis. We sincerely apologize for the difficulties at launch and hope to make it up to you with a free PC game download from Origin

We hate you, we fucking hate you, we hope you die now that we've got your money, and no you can't have a refund and we can't code for shit (see Sims3 crashing and memory errors and save corruptions that we haven't bothered fixing in 7+ expansions) - suckers... Here, have a free crap game on us for being our good little bitches.

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Re: Translation

would like to do a minor correction to the last line

Here, have a free crap game on us for being our good little bitches that will require you to buy at least $40 in DLC to finish.

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Good list

Have to admit, I'm really surprised at EA - that's a really good list of games. I didn't expect anything like that and expected games from a few years ago to be offered up. Now the difficulty is to choose what to get... really not sure but I at least already have a couple, so makes it easier! Always wanted to get MOHW, but people don't seem that keen on it... decisions, decisions!

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Ten quid says John Riccitiello blames his departure on software piracy.

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Trollface

If Mr. Riccitiello is responsible for EA's recent policies, then such an accusation would serve only to increase the esteem in which pirates are held...

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Meh

Spin baby, spin!

"After the offer expires it is likely that an EA/Maxis bean-counter will run the numbers on the games people chose and come up with a number representing either lost or missed revenue."

Also likely is that the titles people choose will be included in EA's "sales" figures for the quarter, painting a rosy picture to cover the sudden reversal of SimCity sales.

I made the mistake of purchasing SimCity. I also made the mistake of purchasing it through a new online vendor offering a low price... Still waiting for my copy to arrive, will be mighty pissed if it arrives after the 25th...

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WTF?

Connect Four for Palm

Looking at the list of shut down servers... Now why the HELL did that game need a server? How the hell did EA warp that simple of a game that badly?

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FAIL

Re: Connect Four for Palm

Part of a wider pattern at the company lately. See the big cockups such as no NBA game for 3 years, the Star Wars MMO fail and the sick joke that they thought MoH could compete with CoD. Hahaha. Epic fail all around for quite some time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Connect Four for Palm

"Looking at the list of shut down servers... Now why the HELL did that game need a server? How the hell did EA warp that simple of a game that badly?"

As is so often the case, Penny Arcade has the answer here:

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2013/03/08

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Anonymous Coward

...full list of the games whose online functions are no longer supported by EA....

The line that most caught my attention was :-

"A full list of the games whose online functions are no longer supported by EA, is available here."

If we keep letting game developers / publishers make MAYORS i.e. game-renting-fools out of us, then they will just turn off games whenever they want or force game upgrades on us by turning off previous versions.

Getting sick of this...

I have Ubisoft's Driver-SF. I'd like to play with friends but not online as the online gamer profiles easily become corrupt. But of course there's no LAN option! When they choose to turn this title off it'll be night night permanently for the game!

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9 out of 10 Llamas refused to comment

So am I the only one who actually likes the game and hasn't had any problems playing after the first few days? Though I am looking forward to the traffic routing improvements.

My dislike of EA runs deep, for many reasons (thanks for ruining Mass Effect 3 guys); but Maxis have made a very good game here! I'm quite happy spending my evening browsing El Reg while my city sims away in windowed mode on my other monitor. £30 well spent for me, considering £30 doesn't really buy you much (it's not even a night out).

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Stop

Re: 9 out of 10 Llamas refused to comment

Though I have merely been an advisor to a friend playing it (as I have a boycott on EA) I have noticed quite a few things about the game that really shouldn't be accepted, even disregarding the server stability issues (which I haven't seen and my friend hasn't complained about either).

As you yourself mention the routing for anything basically doesn't exist. Shortest route to whatever thing you're doing that's available. People get new jobs, new homes, new children, new partners every single day because of this. I hardly understand why emergency vehicles even have sirens, it's not like they appear to have a function other than auditory. Most problems (that don't relate to the game's apparent lack of depth) seem related to the routing issues (all the more reason for you to be looking forward to the improvements).

There are some basic city building tools that are missing - and which could provide a useful tool in sorting out the inevitable traffic jams at the entrance to your city. One-Way-Streets is one thing that should, I think, be in the game.

But I wont be surprised if it becomes available as part of a "Transportation Heaven" DLC. Now with all new one-way-streets, intersections that use turn-arrows to alleviate pressure on the busiest roads, and the all new - never seen before - busses that wont go around in a circle to pick up passengers from the same bus stop 10 times in a row!

It'll be an amazing DLC! And for only £15 - I mean that's not even close to a night out!

I can see the appeal of the game - it can be fun. But on reflection I think it's more fun in a Angry Birds kind of way, rather than a Sim City kind of way.

It's more about beating the challenges that the game set (as in how do I make traffic work with this horrific system), than about making a city that's plausible or desirable.

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Unhappy

Re: 9 out of 10 Llamas refused to comment

That is the plan of course. That's why the single player offline mode was never considered.

All the stuff that's oddly wrong and plainly missing will appear every few months as chargeable DLC.

In about 18 months and $60+ later you should all have the full game as it was intended.

Enjoy!

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Happy

Re: 9 out of 10 Llamas refused to comment

Once again, I look on with the smugness of one who NEVER buys a product the moment it comes out, but who waits a few months, saves a tenner or more, and gets something that works.

Why don't more people do this? They've lived their entire life without a product, so why do they then need it NOW?

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Anonymous Coward

Now offline

Looking at the sports games the '11 versions are already off so EA will only support online on the current and previous versions, doesn't seem very long. I guess the incremental changes aren't enough to keep people upgrading so they are turning functions off. I wonder how long before they require a connection so that even single player games can't be played.

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