SimCity and the Failure of Retailers

March 18, 2013 -

SimCity's "always-online requirement" may have irritated consumers at launch, but by most accounts anyone that reads this or any other gaming web site was well aware that the game would require a constant Internet connection in order to play (EA made that fact clear quite awhile ago). But while EA Maxis is taking heat for not creating a single-player SimCity (a right that most would argue they have as artists), the one group that has gotten a free pass are retailers who did not do the best job of disclosing the fact that the game requires a broadband connection in order to play.

A search of several prominent retailers with an online presence (including EA's own digital distribution service Origin) reveals that only two of them disclosed the fact that the game needs a broadband connection in order to play.

Best Buy and were the only retailers selling the game that disclosed this fact in their specs:

Minimum PC System Requirements
PC Processor Type AMD Athlon™ 64 x2 Dual Core 4000+ processor, Intel® Core™ 2 Duo processor
PC Processor Speed 2GHz
PC Operating System Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
PC System Memory 2GB RAM
PC Hard Drive Space 10GB
PC Video 256MB ATI Radeon HD 2400 or better/NVIDIA 7800 or better/Intel® HD Graphics or better video card
PC Drive Type and Speed DVD
PC Additional Requirements Broadband Internet with minimum 256 Kbps download and 64 Kbps upload, support for Shader 3.0 or better

Every other site we searched including GameStop, Kmart, Wal-Mart, Target, Sears, Fry's Electronics, J&R, OfficeMax, Newegg, and even Origin did not disclose this fact.

Generally these specifications read something like what is below - from GameStop (or the sites didn't offer any requirement details at all):

Operating System Windows® XP / Vista / 7
Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core 4000+ or Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz or better Processor
RAM: 1.5 GB Available System Memory XP; 2 GB Vista / 7 (PCs using a built-in graphical chipset are recommended to have 2 GB) Video Card: ATI X1800, NVIDIA 7800, or Intel 4100 Integrated Graphics, 256 MB Video Card w/ Shader Model 3.0

While we can debate the idea of games being "always online" even when playing the single-player component, it is clear that there was a serious lack of disclosure on the part of retailers that SimCity was unplayable without a minimum broadband connection.

As for the physical retail box itself, a representative from a local GameStop tells us that the box notes in its requirements that a "persistent Internet connection is required to play."



Re: SimCity and the Failure of Retailers

What I'd love is if retailers stated to consumers that a game will require an online connection to activate or play when they buy a product.

It'd be a nice gesture, but I'm doubting any retailer would be willing to potentially lose short term profits for the long term goal of less DRM (and thereby hopefully making the difference back in more sales).

Re: SimCity and the Failure of Retailers

Origin does have the info but you have to look for it.

More Details:

Multiplayer: 1-16 Online Only

Genre: Simulation

Release Date: 2013

Developers: Maxis Emeryville


Andrew Eisen

Re: SimCity and the Failure of Retailers

I have a feeling this might get some retailers sued for again something EA pushed! You might say well the retailers are not at fault or this could never happened. Remember when EA first came out with the Online Pass for Dragon Age Origins? GameStop was sued due to the fact the game had expiring codes and did not do enough to warn the consumer. As customers and as buisness owners its time we stop buying EA because its causing buisness owners to lose money and getting themselves into litigation

Re: SimCity and the Failure of Retailers

Don't most retailers just list the product description as dictated by the game publisher? So if most of these retailers don't list the online requirement, it would be because EA did not give that info to them?

Re: SimCity and the Failure of Retailers

Actually, Amazon's is worse I think it says 'Connection to Origin required for ACTIVATION' on the main screen, it doesn't say that it's required for play, but does clearly state activation.

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