Posted March 12, 2013 by Jon Burrows in Games

‘SimCity’ – Chris Kluwe’s Opinion


It seems that EA’s “SimCity” debacle has gained celebrity status. Chris Kluwe, punter for the Minnesota Vikings, is voicing his opinion regarding EA and Maxis’ ineptitude with the “SimCity” release and poor follow-up by Kip Katsarelis, Senior Producer of “SimCity.” Chris Kluwe’s opinions of “SimCity” are very direct and in some cases mildly NSFW (Not Suitable For Work). The following article has been rated T for Teen…

Chris Kluwe Celebrity Gamer

Chris Kluwe is an avid gamer and has been playing “SimCity” since the Super Nintendo version and has been active in the gaming community for some time now. Due to Chris Kluwe’s celeb status, PC Gamer appears to have given him a code to download games for free. Unfortunately, the Minnesota Vikings punter doesn’t have many kind words for this fiasco and Business Insider had the pleasure of an article contribution by this famous Footballer. The article is mildy NSFW and has been censored, somewhat, by the Business Insider editorial staff.

“[…] When PC Gamer came to and said “Hey Chris! We want you to play the new “”SimCity 5” with us in our Celebrity “SimCity” region,” I wasted no time in responding with a resounding “Hell yeah! I mean, what could go wrong?”

SimCity Damage Control

Since “SimCity’s” release on March 5th, EA has done nothing but damage control, offering digital download purchasers a free game. The offer sounds rather vague, and one would hope this is a coupon/code that includes ANY game, without a “use-by” date, which this author has seen EA use. Ever since the release, EA and Maxis staff have been posting live updates with software upgrades and new server deployments, all of which seem to be somewhat effective. Considering the game itself had certain social features removed, such as achievements and leaderboards, this author can only surmise that there is something deeper involved than just “not enough hardware”

The following message from “SimCity” Live Operations Producer Barrie Tingle seems to have been met with varied public responses. Head of Maxis, Lucy Bradshaw, was also been met with varied sentiment.

Chris Kluwe himself had these comments:

“At the time of writing this piece, “SimCity 5″ has been active for almost 62 hours. Of those 62 hours, I’ve been able to log in for around ten. Of those ten, four consisted of massive latency issues and corrupted games, so (quick calculation here), I’ve had access to the actual game for maybe 10 percent of the time I’ve had it. EA’s servers are, to put it bluntly, utterly bug[redacted], and there’s no option to play the game offline.”

One can imagine that this does not bode well for EA’s bottom line. Considering that “SimCity” was released on March 5th and is still experiencing problems, is an indicator that always-on, persistent internet connection required gaming is not quite there yet. In this author’s opinion, it is something that should NEVER be allowed, at least not until there’s unrestricted free WiFi across the world.

As we speak, there is a petition on We The People, the American governments attempt to make the US citizen’s voices heard. The petition presents the idea that the entertainment software industry should implement a refund policy for digitally downloaded content that requires a persistent, always-on Internet connection infra-structure. Does this mean people are finally fed up with entertainment software publishers ripping off their consumers? How many gamers will actually sign the petition? Will YOU stand up for your right to refund if a software product doesn’t perform as intended?

Chris Kluwe:

“Why is this terrible? Not just because of EA’s total [redacted] when it comes to refunds, not just because of the destruction of Maxis’ image as a developer, but because this was completely avoidable and “SimCity 5” is actually a really fun game (when it works). If I was able to play “SimCity 5” offline, I would be wholeheartedly recommending it to everyone, even those who aren’t normally into the genre. For the PC Gamer region, I created a lovely little town called Herpes (the servers rejected Poopytown), and it quickly turned into a bustling metropolis of 160,000 people happily going about their daily business, and I HAD FUN…for the six hours I got to play.

However, after countless failed login attempts, and a queue that constantly refreshed itself but never actually let me in the game (protip: If you have a queue, make sure it actually queues to something), and rubber band lag that almost gave me motion sickness at times, I had to bid a sad farewell to the lovely people of Herpes because I just couldn’t take the frustration anymore. This was no longer a game. It was an aggravation. And I don’t play aggravations.”

Chris Kluwe also took to twitter, venting his frustration about “SimCity’s” always-on, persistent Internet connection requirement.


Celebrities For Change

Will it take a celebrity to change the industry wide abuse of its consumers? One can only hope that more people will follow suite. Jason Evangelho, a contributor to Forbes, wrote an article about the shoddy return policies for defective and unplayable games.

Personally, this author is amazed that gamers still pre-order games. Given today’s track record, compared to games of the past, games are being released in more unfinished states due to unrealistic release time frames, over-hyped marketing and really, skeleton crew development teams. Publishers used to not be as involved in the development cycle of games. They handled the marketing and printing of materials, while the developer went about their business to create a solid product. With the publishers buying out the developers, and “adding more cooks to the kitchen,” one can’t help but wonder if this will be the big publisher’s ultimate demise. It seems that too much corporatism, less solid development hasn’t been a good path for the industry at all. When will the big publishers all wake up and realize that they are their own demise?

Having a celebrity call you out and saying “EA, you are worse than Herpes” is not really this author’s idea of great press…

Click the following link and sign the petition, now!

-By Mark Wolf

Jon Burrows

An exclusive writer for Geek Smash, Jon hails from Mississippi and has a passion for music, comic-books, and writing. He collects antique cars and enjoys shooting handguns. Jon sings in his church choir, volunteers his time helping the Salvation Army at local events and doubles as Santa during Christmas season.