EA Screws Up Every March, Is Their Apology Worth It?
SimCity launched in early March with a bang. Excitement, expectations, high energy levels and a lot of nostalgia. Only one problem: no-one could play. The servers were overloaded and players tried their best to get online.
It simply would not work.
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Electronic Arts “miscalculated” the amount of servers they would need to meet the demand of the game. Subsequently, everyone suffered as play was very limited and slow, if possible at all. Essentially, consumers purchased a game they could not use.
To add a bit more frustration to the mix, EA said that players are not allowed a refund. A refund was against Origin policy. It seems that in March, for the past three years, EA has done something to utterly annoy the absolute hell out of fans.
In March 2011, the release of Dragon Age II was received somewhat negatively. Fans were a bit bitter about what happened and how the game had progressed, and because a developer gave it a user-score of 10-out-of-10 on Metacritic.
In March 2012, the release and ending of Mass Effect 3 lead to a lot of negative publicity for the company, followed by legal actions and issues relating to misrepresentation and breach of promise. It was a mess and gamers still feel a bit sad about what happened.
Welcome 2013. In March this year, EA decided that it would be a wonderful idea to release SimCity without enough back-end juice to let everyone play the game at once. This, again, lead to a lot of bad publicity for the massive videogame publisher.
It seems that Electronic Arts has a thing for annoying people in March. Perhaps it is their way of getting a bit of free publicity as the year starts, only to have it run throughout and keep consumers following what they are doing. Then, when they need to release games like Battlefield, it all works out quite well.
EA’s shares are always quite high during March. In the months leading up (from about June, 2012), the share price was quite low. At $18.74, it has reached its highest point, since about February of 2012. March’s publicity is good, it seems.
Is there a reason for them doing this each and every single year? Perhaps we should take bets on what next year’s “mistake” is going to be.
However–all talks of wagers aside–EA has decided to reward fans with a free game. There is eight different games to choose from: Battlefield 3; Dead Space 3; Mass Effect 3; Bejeweled 3; Medal of Honor: Warfighter; Need for Speed Most Wanted; Plants vs Zombies; and SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition.
And this is where I have a slight problem.
How can this be a justified way of saying sorry. It costs them nothing to do this, and it does not exactly save you money either. If you have not purchased a single one of those games yet, you probably will not purchase them at all. 7 out of 8 of those games are old. And Dead Space 3 did not sell very well, at all.
The consumer–you and I–paid for something we did not receive and as compensation we are now going to receive something we do not want, for free. That’s like paying for sex and getting herpes for free–it’s something you do not want.
Dead Space 3’s sales has been atrocious, and I am not surprised that EA is giving it away for free. It is probably the only way to get people to play a game which they seemed to have ruined by making it a little too ‘mainstream’ with action opposed to the first game’s horror setting.
The Sims is probably the closest game to SimCity (barred SimCity 4) and that is not free. Perhaps that is because people actually buy The Sims, it is old but yet still fashionable. All the others, not so much. If EA’s “Sorry” was not meant to be such a ploy, they should have given the user a choice of any EA game they wanted.
Now, before you call me out, just stop. I understand that you are getting something for free. Let me reiterate, though: whatever you choose, you did not want, because you did not buy it when it released. You wanted SimCity, and they should have made that work.
This sort of ‘free’ practice is not good enough.
I will gladly accept the free game, but only because it is free. My first and foremost choice is to have a game that I buy work when I buy it. That will always be number one.
To end off, EA has said the following about the free game: “As a token of our appreciation for all the support we’ve received from SimCity fans over the past week EA is offering a free EA PC digital download game to anyone who purchases and authenticates SimCity by March 25, 2013 at 11:59pm PST.”