Maxis Shut Down By EA

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Robin

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SMN Weekly
It finally happened: many-headed hydra and AAA game development publisher Electronic Arts has announced it’s shutting down Maxis, the venerable game studio that popularized SimCity and its countless associated titles.

Maxis, which was founded in 1987 and acquired by EA ten years later, has a storied history of developing beloved simulation games, the most famous of which is SimCity and its sequels. However, the studio catapulted into the public eye after its release of The Sims in 2000, a title that holds a record as one of the most best-selling video games of all time; The Sims was responsible for a major renaissance in simulation games of the type and spawned various sequels and expansion packs – the latest of which, The Sims 4, was released in September of 2014.

While Maxis amassed a loyal following of fans for its sim games, eventually corporate decisions on the part of EA began to erode its popularity. Things reached a head in 2013 when the newest SimCity game was released, as it featured a digital rights management scheme that made it impossible for legitimate consumers to play the game without a connection to the Internet. The decision to include DRM was made to discourage software piracy, but gamers soon became incensed when the title was launched and the EA servers controlling the DRM checks went down due to overwhelming demand, locking consumers out and making the game unplayable in the process.

Many industry experts saw the writing on the walls at that point, predicting that EA might decide to shut down Maxis sometime in the foreseeable future. With the 2014 release of The Sims 4 garnering mostly positive reviews but failing to perform as strong financially than older titles, this could have been the final nail in the coffin for the game development studio, despite its history of producing otherwise high-quality games across a span of three decades. Many disappointed and frustrated gamers blame EA’s corporate policies for running Maxis into the ground, much as they have been accused of doing with other studios it’s acquired and then shuttered over the years such as Pandemic and Bullfrog.

I guess this can be directly attributed to the disaster which was the new Sim City. I don't know if this means there won't be any new 'Sim' games ever made again or another stuido may pick up development in the future. I was still holding out for my favourite Sim game, Sim Tower to be remade. Also Sim Farm and Sim Safari would have been awesome.

It's funny that there are so many Sim clone games which are very popular on App's on Facebook etc and Maxis could have been the king of these but they missed out in the modern internet age.

To any kid growing up in the 90's the name Maxis and computers went hand in hand, they were some of the best games of the decade and were of much more substance than games today.

It's certainly sad to see them go but they (or rather EA) made such a meal of Sim City it was hard to see them survive, at least under their current name.
 
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TenEightyOne

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The original SimCopter was brilliant fun... it's a real shame that the Sims were simply given too much life in later iterations. I must have wasted* millions of hours on SimCity "Proper" over the years.

*Not wasted, really :D
 

The Bman

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Streets of SimCity oddly satisfied me for reasons even I cannot understand.

SimCity and The Sims are great games, to the point that I still play the older editions more often than the newer ones.
 

Robin

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I fondly remember the SIM games boxart which included hand drawn pictures that looked great. So very 90's ;)

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EA thought process:

Ok all our games are going to be online these days, including you, SimCity.
Ok, here's the deal, Maxis. To avoid piracy we'll require constant connections to servers and make it impossible to get far without using the online features.
Oops, your game bombed, Maxis. If you had done better, we wouldn't have had to shut you down.
 

Robin

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I don't think EA can be totally blamed for this (maybe 80%) because irrespective of the stupid DRM the 2013 Sim City core game design sucked, everything was broken and the 'cities' were the size of towns. Plus Maxis sat doing nothing just raking in money from Sims expansions for the best part of the decade. There was little innovation to do something new plus they never attempted to remake any other titles from their past which I feel could have started something great.
 
39,080
Yeah, there was certainly some of this laid at EA's feet (the terrible, unprepared launch of a game with always on DRM basically killing it completely), but most of the problems with the 2013 game were conceptual rather than just related to the DRM fiasco. Maxis were the ones who talked up the game long before the DRM thing was even known as deliberately being a reboot of the series ideals as a smaller scale multiplayer-centric entry. Seems a stretch to lay such a dramatic shift in game purpose (and therefore risk) as being done just to force a DRM scheme that was going to be hated no matter how it was dressed up.
 
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JohnBM01

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One of my all-time favorite series is the Sim City series. I recall my eyes lighting up and my creativity burning like wildfire at trying to create and manage a virtual city. I felt awed seeing cities come to life with SimCopter and Streets of SimCity in the SC2000 days. I always wanted to get SimCity 3000 Unlimited, but only settled for SC3000. I enjoyed SimCity 4 as much as I could. I never got to play the latest SimCity; and based on reviews of it, I may not want to even touch the latest SimCity.

Also at one point, I got to play around with The Sims. Not too much, but it was a nice diversion from the SimCity titles. I only played the first one.

...and to read news of this, pardon my choice of words, but this is a damn shame. Sad.
 
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A real shame indeed, i remember spending countless hours as a kid playing The Sims when it first came out, bought a load of expansions and everything.

Then there was SimCity i started with 2000 and loved it then played 3000 and then 4, still play SimCity4 to this day, it must be the game i have played the most over so many years, it still has that hook that keeps calling me back for more, no other game has had that mount of replayability in my opinion.

Was seriously looking forward to SimCity 2013 but when it got delayed for mac i had a chance to read reviews and see what the game was like, they ruined an amazing series (probably EA's fault) i decided very soon that i would not support such a game and will never buy it. Hoping the new Cities Skylines coming out next tuesday will be the new SimCity that was meant to be.

Will always have a special nostalgia feeling for maxis and I'm sure i will keep playing SimCity 4 for many years to come still.