SimCity sells 2 million

Frank Gibeau dubs always-online urban planning game a success, talks about growth of digital, says EA won't repeat mistakes of last console transition

"SimCity is a success."

That's the assessment of EA Labels president Frank Gibeau, speaking to VentureBeat about the always-online city simulation game. Gibeau said that despite the high-profile difficulties the game had at launch, it has gone on to sell 2 million copies.

"In retrospect, our biggest takeaway is that we are lucky that SimCity has an enormous number of loyal fans," Gibeau said. "That first week after launch was really rough - an experience nobody wants to live through again."

The executive later added that fan feedback on SimCity convinced EA that The Sims 4 should avoid the always-online approach, and is instead being developed as a single-player, offline game.

Gibeau also talked about the company's growing digital business and its plan for the next-generation consoles. On digital, he noted that for the first time in EA's history, its most lucrative retail partner in the first quarter was not Best Buy or GameStop, but Apple. As for the console transition, Gibeau said EA had learned from a mistake it made the last time around.

"The idea was that RenderWare would power all of our games in the last transition," Gibeau said. "The problem was that it wasn't ready for prime time. It hadn't shipped any games. The tools, the pipelines, the tech just weren't mature or complete. Then I took that learning because in my role as the head of the studios, I had to make sure we understood how we were going to manage the technology...We blew the last transition because we relied on RenderWare. It didn't work. It set us back for multiple years. I was not going to repeat that mistake."

Gibeau said this time around the company has been banking on two engines, DICE's Frostbite and EA Sports' Ignite, and invested in them earlier to get them up to speed so the developers building games on them were working on more polished technology.

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Latest comments (4)

Andreia Quinta Creative & People Photographer, Studio52 London3 years ago
If you could call pissing-off-fans a success. Keep grinding that reputation bar EA, there's a long way to go on the EA vs The World game.

PS: Oh and denying refunds, pure gold!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andreia Quinta on 24th July 2013 10:18pm

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Chris Madsen3 years ago
I managed to find a online shop that sold the limited edition much cheaper and after playing it, the quality of the game in my opinion is not worth that much in pricing on origin.
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Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 3 years ago
It's a shame that they want SimCity to be single player off-line. Surely they could add peer based multi-player which would remove the cost of having to run servers? I would think people would only want to play on a one-to-one basis so maybe something akin to the Animal Crossing multiplayer model might be more suitable.

And from the bottom of my heart, I'd like to thank Frank Gibeau for being candid about the situation, even if retrospectively. As a company, they have a such an obvious PR line on everything that it's tantamount a constant stream of non-truths.
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Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve3 years ago
Maybe a success in the short term, but I don't think they fully understand the damage they have done to their IP. You're as good as your last game, and the game before SimCity 2013 was great, but success next time around based on this? We'll see.

The overall opinion (post launch troubles) from what I've seen has been "it could have been better" and "it lost its appeal so fast", so they'll have their work cut out for them if they want to win over with the next instalment of the franchise.
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