EA’s SimCity is interesting. I say “interesting” in the sense that it’s apparently more fun to read about than it is to play (I haven’t played it myself, so can’t comment on that aspect of it). In case you missed out here’s a quick run-down:
- Prior to the game’s Windows release in March, some sites were reporting that the game was rather good, having played it on EA’s test servers, and that worries about it’s always-on Internet requirements were just a minority of people whinging.
- Roll forward to a couple of days later, with it’s actual release. People were entirely unable to play the thing, with server issues and very long wait times. That, and the Origin digital distribution platform came a cropper, meaning people couldn’t even download EA games that weren’t SimCity.
- EA responded by removing some core features from the game, such as the ability to increase the game speed.
- It begins to become clear that the so-called server requirements may not be necessary after all. People struggle to find any reason for the game being server-based. This culminates with an alleged Maxis employee claiming that there isn’t really any reason not to allow an offline mode, and later, a modder describes digging into its guts and actually running the game while disconnected from the Internet in a post on the official forum that was later removed (but a copy remains). EA, meanwhile, steadfastly repeat that the game absolutely requires a server to do something, but never actually explain what that is or how people are able to run it offline.
- Finally, it begins to transpire that the gameplay actually has issues, regardless of the server-based nonsense, even prompting Polygon to revise its original review score, dropping it from 9.5 to 8.0, and then to 4.0, before climbing back up to 6.5 (as if anyone really cares by that point).
A Mac version of SimCity was always on the cards, but it was inexplicably delayed. Today EA announced it will be coming to OS X on June 11th. In light of all that’s transpired over the last few weeks, it seems that delaying the Mac version has actually been a good thing for us Mac gamers for a change.
As I look at the related Reddit thread, the message is clear: no-one is interested in the game any more. Whether EA will take this as an opportunity to claim that Mac gaming is dead remains to be seen.
For those who are interested in getting SimCity for the Mac, at least you won’t need to buy it again if you’ve already bought the Windows version, and it will be a “native version, not a port”, which is probably about as nonsensical as anything else they’ve said about the game so far.