EA Honestly Believes SimCity Has Been A ‘Success’

EA Honestly Believes SimCity Has Been A ‘Success’

SimCity had one of the most catastrophic launches in video game history. Even after the server problems went away, fans slowly found out the game was a city-building mirage, with many key features and mechanics simply not working. Somehow, at EA, this qualifies as a “success”. Speaking with VentureBeat, EA Games’ Frank Gibeau said:

In retrospect, our biggest takeaway is that we are lucky that SimCity has an enormous number of loyal fans. That first week after launch was really rough — an experience nobody wants to live through again.

Since then, we’ve sold more than 2 million units, and the number of people logging in and playing is holding steady. SimCity is a success. However, underestimating demand in the first month was a major miss. We hope that the game and the service we’ve provided since then meets the fans’ high standards.

Makes you wonder how many people are “holding steady”.

The fact he gauges those sales, most of them based on preview coverage and pre-release media, as a success, tells you everything wrong with major publishing today. Forget the way the SimCity brand has been poisoned. Forget the constant hassles users experienced for weeks after launch. Forget the way they said they’d be ready for the launch and then weren’t. Forget the glaring holes in the game’s core design.

They managed to convince two million people to buy a busted game before they found out it was busted, so, success! Great job guys, high fives all round.

EA exec Frank Gibeau: Betting on next-gen consoles, mobile, and doing right by consumers (interview) [VentureBeat]


  • “our biggest takeaway is that we are lucky that SimCity has an enormous number of loyal fans”

    In other words, they’ve successfully determined the BS threshold that will allow them to squeeze money out of fans with least amount of effort.

    • Congratulations to everyone who purchased this sim city failing to bycott it. Battlefield 3, Mass Effect 3, Sim City. Every AAA title has had its multiplayer features a freakn mess at launch, EA will never need to improve this, cause after all, they ‘Successfully’ rake in the money from you all. Guess what, Battlefield 4 will be the same, slow release of balance updates and fixes.

  • Couldn’t agree more with the sentiments, they sold a piece of coal at 80 bucks a pop. They don’t even have major server costs with the number of people who simply stopped playing after realizing they bought a piece of coal.

  • In retrospect, our biggest takeaway is that we are lucky that SimCity had an enormous number of loyal fans.
    Fixed that for you.

  • I would be surprised if people are even still playing it, there’s not really much to it once you’ve fulled up your lot… for the 5th time

  • This sounds more like a shady business man who has come out and said to the public “I’m happy to report that I’ve scammed 2 million people”

  • On one hand I have to admit I got my money’s worth out of Simcity 2013 (it’s got many fault, but what can I say… I’m easily entertained)

    On the other hand… when they tried to sell me some DLCs at $10-$15 for a building or two?

  • Short term profit at the cost of long term growth. Modern business schools working as intended, nothing to see here really.

  • I was a fan, the new simcity screwed up everything. Cities that I’ve built can no longer be accessed, no offline play considering it has been proven it doesn’t need an active internet connection and the maps are so small. Nothing to do after you filled it up.

    • Exactly the same position. Its plain stupid, needs a few design changes and they still don’t get the idea when people say let us play offline single player.

  • What they mean is that they reached their sales forecast quota. Basically, not even they expected to sell as many copies as they ended up selling.

  • I’m gonna reinstall simcity 4.

    That was a great game.

    Still haven’t played the latest version. Not going to until it hits a VERY low price.

    • SimCity 4 is still 20 bucks on steam. There are plenty of newer games that are going for cheaper. I wonder where this new SimCity will be in 10 years time.

      • Yeah I might be waiting for a long time. But that’s a given when you’re a budget gamer.

      • Landfill. Because EA’s servers will have been shut off well before then, rendering the game unplayable.

    • I’m still stunned they took such a flying leaping backwards from 4. The online neighbours thing had potential to be great but it seems instead (I’m not a buyer of this new version) they’ve gone for smaller map sizes with no terrain editing!

      I have to ask is there something the new game does better than SC4 that would justify people still playing it 5 months in?

  • I don’t understand why people are so surprised that this game was so successful.
    It sold huge amounts (despite the small but vocal group of people returning the game) and people (who I don’t understand) are apparently stoked to spend $10 for ridiculously over-valued add-ons.

    Unfortunately for us “old folk” who remember the good old days of buying a video game and eating it too; the modern “gamer” is totally down with “micro” transactions.

    Really we have only horse armour to blame.

    • Wanted to add that despite rage at DLC pricing, a shoddy launch and an overall broken game… The game is still actually really fun. The art direction and general feel of the game is fantastic; it’s just when you run into problems (some buildings simply don’t work properly, or various traffic congestion problems, or the terrible inter-city functionality) that the game gets annoying.
      I suppose that makes the glaring flaws all the worse; because if they managed to fix a few of the major issues, this turd could really shine.

  • My die-hard Sims friend absolutely loves the new Sim City. Has put 100 + hours into the game now and doesn’t look like they’ll be stopping any time soon. Had very few issues with the game around its release.

    My only conclusion is media and various social network & gaming sites hopped on the hate train and didn’t actually give the game a chance/play it on release. I also know of various other close friends who are Sim fans that absolutely love Sim City as well.

    Looking back, if anything D3 had far more serious issues on release than the recent Sim City ever had.

    • I dunno, don’t we all have “that friend” who just loves video games so much that they seldom see the glaring flaws in them? I have one of those.

      • I have a friend who was totally into Allods Online, and who didn’t think their launch cash shop was overpriced or anything. Baffling. Something just clicked in his brain I guess.

    • ‘My f friends think X’ doesn’t make the criticism just bullshit hate train stuff. The experience of a few people you know Ida out of sync with hundreds of thousands of people. They liked it. Good for them. Everyone else thinks it’s a streaming sack of entrails.

  • Yeh there seriously needs to be laws around the pre-purchasing deals, and a game that’s released and isn’t finished. I guess you’ll have to clarify whats a finished product compared to dlc.
    Seems to me the testing phase of the final release… is now the ppl that bought it. Hopefully patching the game to make it playable, just sometimes takes months after it released its … standalone .. final.. release. Game production has standards, its just time they got updated so the “CUSTOMER”, the one that matters, isn’t getting shafted.

    • Sliding the other way instead, with Early Access games on Steam generating all the money they want to while having up their invisible, invincible criticism armour (“Nuh-uh! Your criticism didn’t hit me because I’m not finished yet! It’s BETA, are you stupid or something? Nothing I do can be wrong!”).

  • You know what, they messed up. I got the game before knowing about all the release issues, and it was completely unplayable. But they fixed it. They even gave me a free game to make up for it. The fact that it was broken isn’t an issue to me. The fact that it’s fixed now, is. And you know what? It’s a damn good game. It’s just a pity that some people are so anti EA that they can’t look past their prejudices to play a wonderful game. Especially those who are simcity fans.

    • Its not a pity that people are willing to stick to their guns to do what is right for an industry they care about.

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