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    EA Says SimCity 'Has Recovered From a Challenging Launch'


    Haljackey

    Nevermind the bugs: the folks behind SimCity say it's doing just fine.

    Misinformation. Server errors. Fan backlash. Since EA launched SimCity two weeks ago, the online… Read…

    In an earnings call today, EA's Labels president Frank Gibeau had some choice words about the publisher's disastrous sim management game.

    He called the launch "challenging"—perhaps the understatement of the year—and vowed it wouldn't happen again. He also said it had recovered:

    I’ll start with Q4 and SimCity – a great game that has recovered from a challenging launch. The short explanation for the launch is that the initial rush of consumers overwhelmed our game service, disrupting the consumer experience. As we stabilized the game and improved service in the first week, fans continued to pour in. So far we are ahead of forecast with more than 1.6 million units currently sold through to consumers. The digital story is particularly strong – nearly 50 percent of those sales were high-margin digital downloads.

    The key takeaway here: SimCity is a highly resilient, global franchise with a long service life in front of it. But we learned our lesson and are now building better processes to anticipate and service demand. This won’t happen again.

    That sure is an interesting way to describe a game that has been nothing short of a catastrophe for everyone involved. Cops can't cross intersections. The traffic system is a mess. Attempts to patch the game have just caused more issues. Why is EA saying the game has "recovered"? I wonder just how many of those 1.6 million SimCity buyers wish they could get their simoleons back.

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    Mr Saturn64

    Posted

    In no way did the game "recover" from its release. It still sucks.

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    peacsea

    Posted

    ugh, to say the least...I haven't played in a well over a month now...

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    Ro-Bo

    Posted

    The short explanation for the launch is that the initial rush of consumers overwhelmed our game service, disrupting the consumer experience.

    Blaming the consumers?

     

    And they say they learned their lesson...

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    Mr. Flibble

    Posted

    What language classes do you have to take at school to be able to rattle off sentence after sentence of corporate babble like that earnings call is full of?

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    cirugo

    Posted

    I don't believe their sales numbers just like I don't believe their stories about the server requirements.

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    Sandis_van_Great

    Posted

    People just got smart enough to not play it anymore.

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    Hellken

    Posted

    What language classes do you have to take at school to be able to rattle off sentence after sentence of corporate babble like that earnings call is full of?

     

    He would be a good negotiator in a hostage - taking incident. 

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    Kiiroitori

    Posted

     

    The key takeaway here: SimCity is a highly resilient, global franchise with a long service life in front of it

     

    What? Long service life? Sure.. I wish you luck with that,

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    Gurning_Chimp

    Posted

    1.6 million units sold? That's a bit...crap to be honest.

     

    Good. Let EA burn. Form barricades around every game store when the next Madden or FIFA comes out though, Choke off the supply of idiot dollars!

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    AIX

    Posted

    $50 says the servers are shut down within 2 years. Shall we get a pool going?

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    SS3K

    Posted

    inother words EA is trying to move on to other things and forget that ever happened. makes me laugh with anger the way how they keep blaming the customers about the servers disaster. you are a big company and your game needs constant DRM so what do you do about it? save money and hope for the best and face the music or do you make more servers to keep things at bay?

     

    here's an answer on what could have saved you money and kept things at bay, make a game what doesn't need DRM without DRM! I guess for EA that would have gotten them all confused.

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    A Nonny Moose

    Posted

    Hold on.  1.6 million sales indicates a lot of moolah in their treasury, but we haven't seen the contra entries on the balance sheet vis a vis cost of this roll out.  It is entirely likely that, at some great expense, EA rolled out this game, and is now in the dill trying to recover. 

     

    So they took in 96 million.  In double entry think:

     

    Sales 96M

        Costs   ???

     

    Net revenue on this operation ???

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    Yaffle

    Posted

    "The digital story is particularly strong – nearly 50 percent of those sales were high-margin digital downloads."

     

    Whilst the shareholder spin is about margins (which are hard to calculate anyway given the sunk cost/fixed cost nature of the beast) there is another thing lurking here. In the Physical Media days EA would ship X million shiny discs into the channel, and a proportion would sell. They had to guess that proportion. With digital, AND pre-order you get a really good handle on the number of units actually sold, not merely shipped.

    So they knew how many had been sold, and a fair few of those would be pre-sold, but still managed to massively under estimate the back-end requirement to the point where six (eight?) weeks on, it's still not fully functioning.

     

    It's a good job nobody said they were ready for the demand, eh Kip Katsarelis? 

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    macscfan

    Posted

    I'm not surprised that consumers are being blamed again (really crummy given that last year EA said they would not make the same mistakes that Blizzard/Activision made with Diablo 3), but one thing that was important was the 50% or so of digital sales.

     

    With retail sales - they get anywhere from 20 - 35% of the revenue, after the retail stores, distribution, etc. eat up the majority of what we pay at the cash register.

     

    With digital sales, through Amazon they get around %66 of the revenue, and with Origin, they get around 100% of the revenue, and they don't have to deal with the messiness/cost of physical distribution.  With Origin, they are sharing those expenses with all other EA games being sold through there.

     

    So while the numbers may seem low compared to previous versions of SimCity, the revenue is pretty decent, and given that SimCity is a service and that they have plenty of DLC planned, this is going to be a cash cow for years to come.

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    macscfan

    Posted

    I'm not opposed to them treating SimCity as a service, as long as I keep my cities between iterations/years, if they improve SC a great deal and deliver on what they had originally promised, and most importantly, if I do not end up spending more than I would if they sell it as a standalone game.  They also must continue to provide value in the form of new content.

     

    The MMORPGs I play, which are basically games/software as service, continually add content.

     

    If SimCity as a service turns out to be us spending quite a bit more than we would have if it was a standalone game, then I've got a problem.  A big problem.  I'll take my money elsewhere.

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    LivingInThePast

    Posted

    The problem, Macs, is that EA rushed it out far too early and turned off a whole lot of people with the missing content and bugs. Those people are NOT coming back, no matter what.

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    macscfan

    Posted

    LivingInThePast - agreed, most people I know that played it early on (or tried to) won't come back, at least not anytime soon.  Lot of anger.

     

    I think they can get those people back if they offer a few things - offline play, larger maps, better AI.  That's what will keep me playing in the future.

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