Angry employee’s open letter to EA over SimCity’s series of server bloopers
Roshan Ashraf Shaikh / 5 years ago
EA recently put up an apology for problems that many players are facing in SimCity so far, saying that the only reason this is happening is because a lot more people logged in than they initially expected in comparison during BETA, admitting that its a mistake from their end. To dull the pain, EA is offering its SimCity players a free PC downloadable game within EA’ stable. These games will be available to be downloaded on March 18th as they’ll send an email to its players giving them instructions on how to redeem their free game.
But recently, an EA employee with username “DissappointedEA” has expressed his anger via an open letter towards EA management in Reddit, which is now being deleted. Forbes and some redditors who claim to be working for EA as well were able to confirm that the person who posted the open letter is an artist at EARS as he provided an email from EA Executive Vice President and Chief Talent Office Gabrielle Toledano to address about International Women’s day.
The employee mentioned in the open letter that EA should have patched the game to allow offline play and accuses the company that it lacks integrity, shrugs off accountability and brought down itself as an anti consumer, all of which goes against EA’s own official list of company values mentioned under their “About Us” site.
This is the copy of the now-deleted open letter:
“To the executives at EA, from one of your employees
I am deeply embarrassed by the troubled launch of Sim City and I hope you are too. When I walk around our campus and look at the kind of talent we’ve collected, the amenities we have access to and the opportunities working at such a big company affords us, I can’t imagine how for release after release, EA continues to make the same embarrassing, anti-consumer mistakes. We should be better than this. You should not be failing us so badly.
Another thing I see when I walk around our campus are massive banners that display what are said to be our company values. They are on posters on every floor, included in company-wide emails and hanging above the cafeteria in bright colors. You even print them on our coffee mugs so we see them every day. But somehow when planning the launch of Sim City, you threw them all out the window.
Most important of the values you are ignoring is Think Consumers First. What part of the Sim City DRM scheme, which has rendered the game unplayable for hundreds of thousands of fans across the globe, demonstrates that you are thinking about consumers before you are thinking about yourselves? Does “first” mean something different in boardrooms than it does to the rest of us? Does the meaning of that word change when you get the word “executive” in front of your title?
You can’t even pretend that you didn’t know consumers would be angry about this. Common sense aside, consumers complained about this during your public betas. In fact, when one of them posted his criticisms on the forums, he was banned! You tried to silence your critics. The same thing is happening now as users write in to demand refunds. What part of this behavior aligns with our company value to Be Accountable?
What you’ve demonstrated with this launch is that our corporate management does not believe in our core values. They are for the unwashed masses, not for the important people who forced this anti-consumer DRM onto the Sim City team. This DRM scheme is not about the consumers or even about piracy. It’s about covering your own asses. It allows you to hand-wave weak sales or bad reviews and blame outside factors like pirates or server failures in the event the game struggles. You are protecting your own jobs at the expense of consumers. I think this violates the Act With Integrity value I’m looking at on my own coffee mug right now.
On behalf of your other employees, I’d like to ask you to fix this. Allow the Sim City team to patch the game to run offline. If Create Quality and Innovation is still a core value that you believe in, then this shouldn’t be a hard decision. Games that gamers can’t play because of server overload or ISP issues are NOT quality. Be Bold by giving the consumers what they want and take accountability for the mistake.
Finally I’d like to ask you to follow the last company value on the list in the future: Learn and Grow. When you made this mistake with Spore, the company and all your employees suffered for it. You didn’t learn from that mistake and you are making it again with Sim City.
So please, learn from this debacle. Don’t do this again. Grow into better leaders and actually apply our company values when you make decisions. Don’t just use them as tools to motivate your staff. With the money, talent and intellectual property available to EA, we should be leading the industry into a golden age of consumer-focused game publishing. Instead we’re the most reviled game publisher in the world. That’s your fault. Things can only change if you actually start following the company values and apply them to every title we launch.
A Disappointed But Hopeful Artist at EARS”
Possibility exists that this employee won’t be nameless for a long, considering that both EA management and the internet would love to track down and identify him. However, it goes without saying that EA will have to brace themselves for another epic PR nightmare if they are successful to find the identity of this employee and fired him/her.
In any case, hopefully this disaster will teach EA or any publishers on how not to release a game.