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Talkingship – Video Games, Movies, Music & Laughs | March 21, 2019

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EA, SimCity’s Launch and Fraud

Shaxster comments on the disaster that is the new SimCity.

EA are committing fraud. They have sold people a product that they have not received. It’s truly atrocious. People have paid $60/£45 for a game that is largely unplayable. Isn’t it a basic requirement of all games that they work? That they are playable? If you are selling a defective product, as EA are, you should be giving full refunds to all who ask, no matter what your return policy is. They’ve missold their game to the public: it was sold under the impression that it worked, yet it doesn’t.

But that’s not my main issue, as the game is still playable for some people, such as the smoother UK launch today (although the game is not currently playable for me). The real problem is that EA have started to disable features until the server issues are resolved. According to them, they are ‘non-essential’ features, but that’s just nonsensical. Leaderboards are an essential part of a game that has been marketed as a large social multiplayer experience, yet they’re now gone. Achievements are part of the game: if I do something, I want to earn achievements for it. In a game like SimCity where the objectives are less clear, achievements are a crucial part of deciding what to do next, yet I cannot access them when I receive the game tonight: these limitations apply in all territories, even those where the game is playable such as the UK.

Worse still is the removal of Cheetah Speed, one of three time settings that lets you control the pace of your game. We still have Turtle (slow) and Llama (medium) modes, but we are now forced to play the game at a much slower pace: something which a lot of people, myself included, will not enjoy. Cheetah Mode was advertised as part of the game: it’s even mentioned in the manual! Yet it is not part of the game on the day it launches in the UK.  

EA have said they’re going to reinstate these features once the server issues have been fixed, but when will that be? Next week? The week after? The fact of the matter is that the product launching today is not the product that has been advertised. And that’s unacceptable. In fact, according to UK Trading Standards, it’s outright illegal. The fact that EA are refusing to accept returns makes it even more wrong, in the eyes of the law.

So good job, EA. Not only have you annoyed thousands of gamers, you’ve also broken the law. And we’re not even three months into the year.