Seriously, we could write a bloody long book on EA’s woeful customer support. And I’m only talking about The Sims 3 customer support. Take into account all the other games they publish and we’d probably have enough to produce a set of books to rival the Encyclopaedia Britannica (which is currently 32 volumes I think).
My latest sorry experience with them came when I was attempting to upload BlueBay Retreat. I finished it in CAW and exported it successfully to the Launcher. After a while it seemed to upload ok:
But when I checked my studio it wasn’t there. I gave it a few minutes and re-checked my studio, nothing. I thought maybe it was because I was trying to upload from the Vista partition on my iMac so I moved the file onto my MacBook Pro (MBP) which is the computer I play and build on. Nothing. I had a quick hunt around the forums but couldn’t find anything (doesn’t help that the search feature doesn’t work for me on the forums…) so I decided to get onto EA’s Live Chat. The Tier 1 agent I chatted with couldn’t help (can they ever?) so he moved me up to a Tier 2 agent who was worse than useless:
EA: Ok so it seems you are having an issue with uploading to the Sims exchange correct
Me: Yes. I have uploaded a new world, and it is showing as successfully uploaded via the launcher but it is not showing up anywhere in my studio on the website
EA.: Ok well as a Sims player myself I understand how frustrating this must be for you and I assure you I will try everything I can to help resolve your issue today.Please take note of the following Chat ID: 58**84. This will be very important if you happen to get disconnected anytime during this chat or need to refer back to this same issue. You can always get back in contact with Live Chat and give the next Agent your ID so you do not need to re-explain anything.
EA.: Can you please send me some information from your computer?
EA.: 1. Hold down the Windows key and press R 2. At the Run command, type in dxdiag and select OK 3. Select “Save All Information” at the bottom of the program 4. Save the DxDiag file to your desktop. 5. Go ahead and upload the file to the Live Chat.
Me: I’m on a Mac!
Me: I have uploaded it both through my Mac and on the Windows partition on my other Mac. I don’t have this problem normally.
EA.: Sorry, I keep letting Mac slip through my mind
Me: MacBook Pro, running OSX 10.6.7, all software updates up to date and all game patches up to date
Me: The problem’s the Exchange isn’t it?
EA.: Give me a few moments to look into this for you please
EA.: Well I have found some very interesting information on this
EA.: From what I am coming across the MacBook Pro itself is not supported for this game
Me: Well I’ve been happily playing for nearly 2 years on my MacBook Pro and according to the readme document my graphics cards are supported, not to mention that I’ve uploaded nearly 100 houses and 2 worlds before!
EA.: I can definitely understand that, the issue with unsupported systems does not say that it will not run the game but that there are issues that can arise that are difficult to resolve because of the system incompatibility
Me: It is not incompatible (EA agent name)! Where does it say anywhere that my Mac is not supported? Not to mention the fact that I have uploaded it through the Launcher in Windows on my other Mac (the hard drive is partitioned, running Vista) and it is showing as successfully uploaded to.
Me: And I have always managed to upload before, so what’s changed?
EA.: We also do not support running partitioned hard drives with different OS’s on the same machine actually
Me: So what has suddenly changed in the last week that is making the Launcher unable to upload?
EA.: That right there is the exact issue that we face with this. I could have been a simple update somewhere in the system or on the game or through the updater.
Me: No (EA agent name) I believe the problem is with the Exchange and the website. It is well know in the community how appalling the website and Exchange are at the moment. I am refreshing the Worlds section of the Exchange at the moment and each time it is showing different worlds, for the same day! If you cannot help me, because you do not know what the problem is and do not want to admit that there is a problem with the Exchange, please tell me now so we’re not wasting each other’s time.
Me: You are using the fact I am on a Mac as the reason why my upload is not showing.
EA.: I am simply telling you that Macbooks and partitioned hard drives with different OS’s are not supported. I do apologize for the frustration
Me: My MacBook Pro does not have a partitioned hard drive. My iMac does. According to the launchers I have successfully uploaded the World on both but it is not showing in my Studio.
EA: That would make each system unsupported
Me: So (EA agent name) what you’re saying is that EA are happily taking my money for their games but nowhere on any documentation are they saying that I cannot play it?
Me: From the ReadMe:
Me: “FOR MAC OS X
* Mac OS X 10.5.7 Leopard or higher
* Intel Core Duo Processor
* 2 GB RAM
* ATI X1600 or NVIDIA 7300 GT with 128 MB of Video RAM, or
Intel Integrated GMA X3100.
* At least 500 MB of hard drive space (6.75 GB if installing with The Sims 3)
with at least 1 GB additional space for custom content and saved games.”
Me: “MAC OS X Supported Video Cards
NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) series
GT 120, GT 130”
Me: I fullfil all the above requirements
EA.: I have informed you of my limitations regarding this issue and unfortunately, I am not able to assist you with this matter.
Me: Then who can
EA.: As I have told you since it is unsupported we cannot. I would suggest the forums to see if other users have made unsupported systems work and how
Me: What you are saying is that EA are selling games to Mac users but won’t support them and won’t tell them they are unsupported? PLease provide me with a link so I can read for myself where it says my 2009 MacBook Pro with the 9400M and 9600GT M graphics cards, running OSC 10.6.7 is not supported?
Me: Because according to the requirements on the DVD boxes, my Mac is supported
Me: if you are telling me otherwise (EA agent name) then I will take this further because EA are misleading users and not selling us what we think we are buying
EA.: We do support Mac’s, however we cannot supported Mac’s that have Windows or Macbook or Macbook Pro. Our developers simply cannot test every game with every different system configuration out there
Me: I would like the link please so I can see in black and white, from EA, that my MacBook Pro is not supported.
EA.: I am sorry but we do not have a link with that information
Me: So you cannot substantiate your own claims? Thank you (EA agent name). What little faith I had left in EA’s support for their games has now disappeared. Goodbye.
I had already told the Tier 1 agent I was on a Mac so the Tier 2 agent clearly wasn’t paying enough attention. I knew it was probably an Exchange issue so why couldn’t EA just admit it? Why didn’t they just say sorry, admit there was a problem, and not waste my time and theirs?
There are only 6 types of Macs – iMac, Mac Mini, Mac Pro, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and the white MacBook. They all run exactly the same Operating System and all software updates, including ones for graphics cards, come directly from Apple. No need to go to 3rd party sites like Nvidia. I didn’t bother telling him that my MBP has both integrated AND dedicated graphics cards in it. That probably would have caused his head to explode.
What bothered me most was him telling me my computer isn’t compatible. These are the tech. specs. of my MBP’s graphics cards:
And this is from the ReadMe.txt that came with Late Night:
Nowhere under the Mac supported bit does it say that Laptop versions of these cards may not work properly. Don’t believe me? Have a look at the ReadMe on your computer. This is the basic summary of my MBP:
So Mr Tier 2 EA person. Have you told me something that maybe you shouldn’t have? Are EA stating on the documentation that comes with the game that my Mac is supported when in actual fact it isn’t? Because surely that would mean that EA are knowingly misleading Mac users who buy the game?
Or do you simply not have a clue and wanted to fob me off to try and get rid of me? So much for EA’s “beloved Mac folk” tag on the Mac Discussion forums.
I suspect it’s the latter……
I did finally manage to get it uploaded to the Exchange via my iMac, 24 hours later. I also posted this thread over on the TS3 site. And what do you know, 4 days later and a guru still hasn’t responded.
I will now be referring to EA’s customer support agents as “Johnny Cabs” because this is how I see them in my head: