It hasn’t been a good few weeks for EA Mobile. With the disastrous launch of Battlefield 3: Aftershock and the eventual permanent removal of the game. And now The Simpsons: Tapped Out has disappeared from the App Store.

We have reached out to EA Mobile press relations for a statement on why the game was pulled and when or if it will return, but have yet to hear back. The help page for the game mentions that it was removed due to server capacity issues.

To ensure current players have the best possible experience, we’ve temporarily removed The Simpsons: Tapped Out from the App Store to limit the game’s server capacity to its current players and address connectivity and lag time issues.

If you’ve downloaded the game, you can continue to play. Actually, your experience should only improve as we work on a solution. As soon as we have resolved these issues to handle greater player capacity, we will return The Simpsons: Tapped Out to the App Store…

EA launching a game with server capacity too low? A problem they traditionally have on console titles, but that’s a new one for mobile titles. But, honestly, I don’t think that server capacity is the only problem with the game. While not as bad as Battlefield 3: Aftershock, it does have more fundamental problems beyond just server capacity.

For one, The Simpsons relies on EA’s frustrating Origin game network to play the game. There’s nothing that a game developer can do to be less inviting to a new user than putting them through a frustrating 5 minute account creation procedure at the launch of the game. Origin is EA’s attempt to capture more of the “user graph” in the EA gaming universe. But for users it’s a painful process totally devoid of any reward. Origin engineers seem to be trying to make the process as difficult as possible. And if you do actually get logged in you are rewarded with a grand total of nothing useful. Game Center works, it’s easy, my gaming friends are there, not in Origin. In addition, Game Center doesn’t require the user to sign in to every game for it to work. Game Center just works.

The other problem, as Brad detailed in our review of The Simpsons: Tapped Out, the game relentlessly pushes you to spend money. Not because you want to have more fun, but because you are annoyed. A trait that is unfortunately common on a badly designed freemium game from a traditionally core gaming company. How many times have we seen this from other companies like Glu and Gameloft? They all seem to struggle to get the balance between fun and making money. And EA seems to be falling into the same traps. The key that they don’t seem to understand is to make people want to pay to make the game more fun, don’t annoy the user into paying.

I’m sure we’ll see The Simpsons: Tapped Out back in the App Store soon. They will fix the server capacity issues and get things going again. I doubt they will fix the fundamental flaws in the game though.

Posted in: App Store Insiders, Blog

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