Why we are suspending coverage of SimCity

Over on Twitter this weekend, our friends at MacGamerHQ drove this point home:

The issue being that the Mac version of SimCity still doesn’t have a firm release date. Us Mac users are used to this sort of treatment of course, notably with the Max Payne 3 fiasco, but in Rockstar’s defence, they at least weren’t making money on pre-order promises. Likewise, it’s not unusual for release dates for anything to slip, and at this point in time we’ve seen the date slip at least three times, first from the simultaneous launch with the Windows version, then to June, and then to “August”. Reportedly, EA support has been responding to emails from people who have pre-ordered the game with a vague reply of “Summer”. EA haven’t publicly replied to anyone asking for an actual release date.

See if you can spot the real problem though:

Screen Shot 2013-08-05 at 10.56.36

That’s right. EA is selling the game on Origin as if the Mac version exists, which it doesn’t. There’s not even some small print anywhere on the page to indicate the game isn’t actually ready. EA just want your money.

In the UK at least, there are laws in place to protect consumers from this sort of false advertising. From the Advertising Standards Agency website:

The Advertising Codes lay down rules for advertisers and media owners to follow. They include general rules that state advertising must be responsible, must not mislead, or offend, and specific rules that cover advertising to children and ads for alcohol, gambling, motoring, health and financial products.

If you live in the UK, and you feel you have been misled by the Origin store’s page, I strongly encourage you to contact the ASA about this via their online form. For our part, we’ve publicly contacted both EA and Maxis about this via Twitter, but have yet to receive a reply. And that brings me on to the next point.

EA and Maxis’ response to all of this has been silence. This is by no means the first time they’ve done this, but the sheer arrogance of a company voted the “most hated” is mind-boggling. EA seem to expect to have their cake and eat it; to twist the media to only report on the things they want, rather than any attempt at “public relations”. For Control Command Escape, that cuts both ways.

As of now, we will not be giving SimCity any more coverage. We will not be reviewing the game when it comes out, nor will we be writing about anything related in the future. Furthermore, we will ensure that we do not host any advertisements of the game on our site, and will be removing all external links to the game. We’ll still leave the game page up, albeit just with a link back to this article. That’s not much, and I dare say it won’t matter a decimal point to EA’s bottom line, but it’s the only thing we can do, so that’s what we’re doing. In the unlikely event that EA reconsider their stance, we will post a follow-up.