This week marks a grand achievement for our company. We are releasing a SimCity game for the first time in a decade. We’re very excited to move this franchise in to the modern era with a focus on interconnectivity and exchanging resources with other players who have cities in the same region. We’ve come under scrutiny for requiring an online connection at all times while playing the game. In part, this is so you can be constantly affected by the cities around you but also to discourage piracy. When we did an Ask Me Anything on Reddit to promote the game and it rapidly deteriorated into questions about these anti-piracy measures. What can we do to salvage this release?
-Kip Katsarelis, Producer, Maxis
I loved SimCity 2000; it was probably the best part of my fourth grade computer classes. On a related note, computer classes in early 90s New York public elementary schools might have been completely inadequate. I have deep affection for SimCity games and I cannot touch type. I even played the spin-offs of questionable quality from the sublime SimTower to the mostly terrible SimFarm (although I’m still proud of how fat I could get my cows for some reason). I say this to let you know how biased I am when I say all your critics should shut up and go die so I can get back to making cool fake cities.
Constantly needing an Internet connection to play a game is a bit obnoxious. We don’t always have Internet connections and when the Internet is down is when we need games most of all; to soothe us and placate us until the life bringing connection to the world’s collective consciousness returns. Just having something on a screen tell me I’m doing something good is all I need to get through the dark times. Sorry, what was I saying? Oh, yeah, always needing an Internet connection is a bummer but it seems to at least be equal parts about providing some kind of social experiment and it’s worth giving that a real chance.
I do hope you’ve learned a valuable lesson about trying to use the Internet as your private advertising realm. Online communities in general and Reddit in particular are notoriously intolerant of any kind of digital rights management protocols that limit the freedom of the users. We can dance around the source of all this but it’s because a lot of these people pirate software. Why on earth would you expose yourself to that kind of community if your hands weren’t clear in this regard? What a sloppy bit of work on the part of your marketing people. Buy some ads, do some features with some friendly websites, even purchase a trending topic on Twitter but never expose yourself to the collective fury of the Internet if you even suspect they’ll have beef with you. Sometimes you aren’t cool enough to be on the cutting edge and it’s better to be aware of that then get caught like McDonalds did with their “Double Cheeseburger? I’d hit it” ad. You really fucked the cheeseburger on this one.