EA denies Herman Cain ‘9-9-9’ tie to newest SimCity

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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Popular game maker Electronic Arts recently announced the return of its successful franchise, SimCity, a game in which the virtual world’s default tax rate is 9-9-9. That’s nine percent for commercial taxes, nine percent for residential taxes, and a nine percent tax on industry.

Despite the similarities, EA told The Daily Caller the new game was not inspired by the popularity of former GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain’s signature “9-9-9” tax proposal.

When stories of a possible connection between the two plans circulated last fall, Cain roundly denounced the connection, calling the rumor that he borrowed the idea from the game a “lie.”

Asked whether its new game was a response to the popularity of Cain’s plan, EA told TheDC that it was not, given that video game development is a years-long process. The new SimCity’s development had already been well underway by the time Cain became a household name.

“The new SimCity game coming out in 2013 and just announced at GDC [Game Developers Conference] is a city-building game for the PC and these products take several years to develop due to their complex simulation engines,” an EA representative told TheDC.

EA, however, was not above having a little fun with its moment in the political spotlight. The Huffington Post reported that in October 2011 the company temporarily offered SimCity games on its website at a discounted price — $9.99. EA had also released a video jesting at the similarities of the tax codes. (RELATED: More on Herman Cain)

“The SimCity team was well into this development process by the time Herman Cain announced his ‘9-9-9’ campaign and while we did have fun participating in a national dialogue about the origin of his tax plan, we were definitely already working on this highly anticipated video game well before his announcement,” said the spokesman.

The game maker told TheDC that it is not a political company, nor does it try to influence political candidacies. But the timing of Cain’s plan was too hard to resist, the spokesman said, since it perfectly coincided with the development of the game.

The game maker is also taking the popularity of the SimCity/9-9-9 story as a positive sign from consumers about its franchise.

“The popularity of the SimCity/9-9-9 story did assure us that consumers want another SimCity game and it remains a very powerful brand in the world of video games and in pop culture,” said the spokesman.

The new installment of the franchise is set to hit stores in 2013.

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