- United Kingdom
SMN WeeklyIt 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.