We are 36 hours away from the triumphant return of the city building classic SimCity, and the experience is already starting to sour for gamers excited to have everything ready to go the second the game is available. EA and Origin have announced, in their infinite wisdom, that there will be no pre-loading option for SimCity, and that those that pre-ordered the digital version of the game will have to wait until 9:01 PST on March 4th for the full game to unlock. What the heck? Isn’t that one of the best parts of being a PC gamer? Being able to download the game in advance of release so that the second the clock strikes midnight and the game unlocks, you can jump right into action?
This has been confirmed by many forum postings, but especially the latest update to the listing for the game on Amazon.com (click to expand):
While I don’t have a screen shot of the original text, Krome and I had just been discussing this very feature and I had copied the text in an email sent to him:
Limited Edition – SimCity Heroes & Villains, Pre-load March 1, Play March 5
Pre-order SimCity and get the Limited Edition Heroes & Villains content including new characters, crime waves, a Super Hero HQ and an Evil Villain Lair. Pre-order customers will also be able to start pre-loading the game starting March 1 in preparation for the March 5 release. Note: because the game will be available to start loading, this page will say “Available Now” starting March 1, 2013. Please keep in mind the game will not be playable until March 5, 2013 once Electronic Arts turns on the game servers. The The bonus content will be delivered upon release of the game. This offer will be extended to all existing pre-orders. Amazon reserves the right to change or terminate this promotion at any time.
So what the heck, EA? You are forcing people to use your Origin service (which everyone hates by-the-way) and are somehow stuck with this archaic, barbaric notion that the people rightfully excited to play one of your games will just be OK with not pre-loading? Isn’t it 2013? I am pretty sure gamers in 1913 were able to preload their games. Let’s get with the program. I realize that for this really only effects the first few hours the game is released, but it just seems like common sense at this point. Why wouldn’t you want to let your fans pre-load? Doesn’t it add less stress on your servers? I legitimately figured this would be a no-brainer, but well… it is EA. I already had a sour taste in my mouth given the “$20 credit” I was given for pre-ordering through Origin:
Now there is a lot wrong with that wall of text. First of all, I have two weeks to use the credit? Second… have you looked at my choices? Clicking the link, you will see the amazing list of games I’ve already played and beaten at ridiculously inflated prices? I would have ordered on Amazon to get their $20 credit, but it was only on the physical copy shipped, and I didn’t know the details of the Origin credit until after I ordered. Previously, EA and Origin were offering a $50 credit, which totally caught my eye… until I realized it was five $10 credits that can not be used in unison. That’s just too shady for my liking from a company that has already been voted “worst company in the world” on a service that is universally detested. If EA wants Origin to be taken seriously, they have a long way to go.
The sad part is, none of this is Maxis’s fault. I still want the game, and I will still buy the game… from Target, where they will give me a $20 gift card to use in their store that I can use on whatever the hell I want. If I have to wait for the game to load anyway, might as well wait until the morning. EA makes less money off the game and I get a bonus that I will actually use. I have already canceled my pre-order through Origin and cited the lack of a pre-load feature as my reason. Hopefully this will send a message to EA that this is a feature is flat out expected at this point in time, and pretty much offered from all of the alternatives (IE: Steam). We’re all still excited to play the game on March 5th none-the-less, so look for tons of SimCity goodness this week. Hopefully this is but a footnote in an otherwise successful relaunch of the brand.