SimCity didn’t get off to the best of starts, with server issues hammering the game mercilessly. Australian consumer group Choice has awarded publisher EA with a ‘Shonky’ award for charging dismayed gamers a high fee for calling tech support during the debacle.
In the 8th annual Shonky awards, EA Australia was bestowed with the award for unfair play.
The award page explains that the glut of Australian gamers faced with similar server issues when trying to play SimCity led to something of an upset. Moods were dampened further when players reached for their phones to call EA for help.
“Australian gamers, however, were even more unhappy when they discovered that the telephone support line was a 1900 number attracting a $2.48 per minute fee,” the post reads. “That’s right – after forking out up to $100 for the game, you’re then expected to cough up for after-sales support that’s normally free – as it should be. And this shonkosity is even worse when you consider it’s their fault you’re ringing in the first place!
“Yet our US counterparts pay nothing – a fact exploited by canny Aussie gamers who use Skype to ring the US helpline for free. This is just another example of the big fat Australia tax we pay on many things IT-related, including hardware, software and electronic downloads.”
There does seem to be a lack of parity between EA’s Australian tech support and services found in other nations, but we’re seas apart, so there could be a good reason for this phone premium, or maybe not.
What do you think? Does EA deserve this award?