SimCity launch 'inexcusable' says Maxis co-founder Will Wright

"I can understand the outrage," says original Sim City creator Will Wright.


Will Wright, who co-founded Maxis and created Sim City, The Sims, and Spore, has said the recent SimCity's troubled launch and server issues were "inexcusable," and that both EA and Maxis failed to correctly communicate the game's MMO intentions to consumers.

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SimCity's controversial launch and subsequent backlash saw customers unable to play the game due to it requiring an always-online connection to the Internet. "I could have predicted--I kind of did predict there'd be a big backlash about the DRM stuff," said Wright in an interview with GamesIndustry International, adding that SimCity is "a good game; I enjoy playing it a lot."

Wright's interpretation of the consumer outrage of the game's fumbled launch is down partly to EA's reputation. "It was kind of like, 'EA is the evil empire, there was a lot of 'Let's bash EA over it,'" he said, adding that he can understand why people were unhappy. "That was basically inexcusable, that you charge somebody $60 for a game and they can't play it. I can understand the outrage."

"If I was a consumer buying the game and that happened to me, I'd feel the same," added Wright.

One of SimCity's biggest problems is that EA and Maxis had a hard time communicating the game as an always-online title. "I think people care if it doesn't work," he said. "If you can't play it on planes, stuff like that… I think there are some very valid concerns about it."

"Also there's a perception; I don't expect to play World of Warcraft on the airplane, because my perception is it has to be on the 'Net. SimCity was in this very uncomfortable space, like the uncanny valley, almost; [it was caught] between was it a single-player game or was it a multiplayer game?"

Wright's comments come as Maxis prepares to launch SimCity's 3.0 update this week, which aims to focus on refining the game's traffic management and routing systems, such as cars struggling on u-turns.

Despite the complaints, SimCity managed to sell 1.1 million copies in two weeks and help EA's digital distribution platform Origin hit a peak of 1.3 million concurrent users.

For more on SimCity, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

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