EA marketing initiative and Simcity

I admit this is old news and it only come to my attention after reading Damien's blog, but I cannot stop myself from saying something.


How many of you know the videogame Simcity ?
SimCity is a city-building simulation game, first released in 1989 and designed by Will Wright
I played SimCity on a Commodore 64 when I was a kid. When you are 12 years old it is very exciting laying out your own city, making decisions about geography, building roads, residences, and commercial areas.

Electronics Art has announced that they will be donating the original 1989 SimCity game to the One Laptop Per Child initiative. The goal of One Laptop Per Child is to provide children around the world with new opportunities to explore, experiment, and express themselves. To that end, OLPC is designing a laptop, educational software, manufacturing base, and distribution system to provide children outside of the first-world with otherwise unavailable technological learning opportunities.

Simcity reveals the importance of city planning and civic policy-making to ordinary citizens, making it likely that at least some children in developing countries could be inspired to begin a career in that field. Placement of homes, schools, hospitals, water supply, and shipping docks, for example, is a central part of the game and may shed light on children's own civic situation, as it has for students and users in "developed" countries.

This is a first time a major game developer has provided a game for free to the whole world. Laptops with the game should begin arriving in countries such as Uruguay, Peru, Mexico, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Haiti, Cambodia and India by the end of this year.

Simcity has been out since 1986, so it is a really old game. Why EA did not give away Simcity 2000 at least ?
Simcity 2000 was a major extension of the concept; the view was now dimetric instead of overhead, land could have different elevations, and underground layers were introduced for water pipes and subways.


Simcity is a 20 years old game, and you can already download for free from many websites around the planet. Giving a videogame for free seems really to be a nice gesture from EA; in my humble opinion it is just a mere marketing idea.
They did not give away Simcity2000 because probably kids in developing countries might have a hard time relating to alien attacks that the rest of us have come to accept.

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