Yesterday the topic of Origin holding back SimCity and other titles focused on the player’s perspective. Today I want to focus on the devs.
Imagine you’re part of the team creating SimCity, and some suit from EA tells you to make a traditionally single-player game have multiplayer elements not because it will make it a better game (was anyone missing global resources from previous SimCity title? Nope), but to justify Origin. Not exactly great news right? And very likely has some trickledown effect on the devs and their overall buy-in on the project. Tough to really get hyped about something you know has built-in flaws for the sake of a perceived boogyman (in this case, digital theft).
The result is that not only do you limit your sales because of the platform (Origin), but additionally you harm sales by alienating a single-player crowd with needless complications, not the least of which make your game unplayable because the login server is crashing. For an MMO we accept these things, but for what is essentially a crippled single-player game? For some that’s a dealbreaker.
And all of this has little to do with the game itself. Perhaps SimCity is a great city building simulator (or in this version, village building simulator), but if the source of purchase or the intangible annoyances drive you off before you even give it a try, it doesn’t really matter.
It’s an interesting example of taking something that generally worked (SimCity), and forcing it into areas it really doesn’t belong (always-online, Origin-only, pseudo -multiplayer), all to push a higher, big-corporation ‘action plan’ (Origin).
It works a lot better if you just let it naturally happen EA.