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Op Ed

games.on.net - SimCity’s launch woes: Another nail in the DRM coffin, a red flag for games reviewers.
Many games sites, including this one, were offered access to a review event where SimCity could be played in a controlled environment prior to launch. Many sites (although not this one, for reasons detailed here) published their reviews based on these events or, in some cases, on additional playtime on specific dedicated review servers. Some sites waited, played on the live servers — or tried to! — and then published their reviews. That’s fine — after all, what other options are there?

High-profile site Polygon initially gave the game a glowing 9.5 out of 10. Then, they knocked it down to 8. Then, they knocked it down to 4. There’s a collective gasp from the crowd. A four out of ten! That’s a genuinely bad score! That ain’t no seven.

No. It’s not. And it doesn’t matter, because Metacritic — which is the only reason publishers actually care about review scores — never alters a score, once it’s been published. So the Metacritic entry for SimCity from Polygon still stands at ‘95’. In fact, according to Metacritic, the critical consensus is sitting at a nice, healthy, 81. The servers could catch fire tomorrow, EA could shut down the servers, fire everyone at Maxis and flood the entire office with venomous snakes, and the Metacritic score would remain unchanged forever. Bonuses for everybody! Or not, as the case may be.

Meanwhile, the average user score is 1.7. Out of ten. Is anybody surprised?

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