As a kid, we had a family computer. All games got installed on this computer and played in a public setting. We didn’t have that many games, but the ones we did have were awesome.
One of those games was SimCity. I don’t remember which version, but it was pre-2000, and on Windows 97, so it was in that era.
I loved SimCity. I loved building my town. I loved growing it out to a huge metropolis. I loved being told I needed to buy a bulletproof limo. (I have no idea why it always did that. I had a ton of roads.)
When the Sims hit, I was on board. 100%. I love that game. I bought the Sims. I bought the Sims 2, and all it’s stuff packs. I bought Sims 3. Loved it. I didn’t get any of the Sims 3 expansions after the first one because it required Origin, EAs answer to Steam.
So when I heard a new SimCity was being worked on, I was stoked. I couldn’t wait. City building at it’s finest.
Then I found out it would be always connected. I got a tad worried. It’s not the always connected that bothers me. I don’t pirate games, as making them has made me acutely aware that if you want someone to keep making awesome stuff you have to support them. Generally I play games connected to the internet. I have no problem with WoW requiring a connection all the time. BUT I also played Diablo 3. I played it as a single player game. I saw error 37 just like everyone else. I had connection issues. And that was Blizzard, who of all video game companies likely has the most experience with servers and connectivity. And they had *issues*. For DAYS. Well I thought, I won’t be getting this game day 1. (Look how RIGHT I was. The game is still unplayable 2 days later due to server issues.)
While discussing it on Twitter, something else occurred to me. I would have to install Origin to play the game. CURSE YOU EA. I HATE hate HATE games that require me to install a program, just to install a game. WHY? Why do I need this useless program on the outside? You are just adding bloat to my pc. DO NOT WANT. Hey PUBLISHERS. PAY ATTENTION. I accepted Steam. I don’t like it. I am not happy with it. But I deal with it because it allows me to get tons of games super cheap. I deal with it because it allows me to re-download games I already bought. I deal with it because over the past 10 years they have managed to make it a fairly decent program. It works fairly well in offline mode. But I still consider it a VIRUS on my computer. I deal with it because I have no other option.
But Origin… Origin is alot like Google+ trying to come along after Facebook (although the analogy doesn’t hold up when you consider that G+ is arguably better than Facebook). I already HAVE a third party program that I have to use for digital distribution. I already have a ton of games on it. I do NOT want another one. I would rather just use the one I already have. I would rather not have to use another program at all. What a novel idea!
I accepted Steam because I had to. I needed to use it for class and so I was forced to use it. I couldn’t NOT play Skyrim, so I kept accepting it. No offense EA, but ONE game is not enough to convince me to install your spyware virus program. At least Steam has games from all kinds of publishers. Your virus only lets me play EA games. I am NOT going to have one of these stupid programs for every publisher.
So I voted with my wallet. I didn’t buy Sim City 2013. I wanted to. I STILL want to. But I am not going to. I am NOT INSTALLING ORIGIN. If you want me to buy your games, you HAVE TO MAKE THEM ACCESSIBLE. Origin is NOT ACCESSIBLE. Think about all those Sims 3 expansions I could have purchased. And I would have. Think about that $60 sale you lost on Sim City 2013. I am not giving you one penny for a game on Origin. I am not going to do it. I want to. I want to give you my money and let you keep making Sims games. But I have to draw the line somewhere so here it is.
It occurs to me though, EA will never know. There is no good way to calculate how many sales they lost because of Always Connected and Origin. On my Twitter feed, it’s at least 5, with about 15 having bought the game. So that’s about 25% of people who WANT the game. Who have the money, and are willing to pay $60 for the game. But didn’t because of these stupid choices. But EA will never know.
Which hurts them more? Piracy or lost sales? Is it better to have 20k people pirate your game or 100k never buy it in the first place? Does Origin add enough value to the people who deal with it to make up for the lost sales from people like me? Is it really that hard to code a version that doesn’t require Origin and can be played offline?
How do I tell EA they lost multiple sales from me? How do I tell them I am not going to budge on this? How do I tell them I want to play their game but I won’t until they change their practices?