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SimCity's Week From Hell: US Woes Continue

Jonathan Lester
EA, Origin, SimCity

SimCity's Week From Hell: US Woes Continue

SimCity has released in Europe today, and so far, the servers seem to be holding [UPDATE: Carl and Matt report that they're incredibly shaky as of 14:08... uh-oh]. Though we'll likely have an incredibly nervous weekend in store, some long load times are nothing compared to the problems it's facing Stateside in what has become a disastrous opening week.

Since Tuesday, thousands of American gamers have reported that they're unable to even activate their digital copy, while many who've managed to log into the game have lost progress due to server problems. This has lead to a massive backlash against EA and Origin on Twitter, Metacritic and Amazon, the latter of whom actually stopped selling their download version yesterday in light of this issue (at the time of writing, they seem to be back in business).

A petition to add offline functionality has managed to attract over 30,000 signatures.

EA has continually apologised for the outages, but were accused for banning players who asked for a refund, evidenced by what appears to be an incriminating chat log. EA have staunchly denied the allegations, but refuse to refund irate gamers as part of their "general policy" regarding downloadable Origin games. However, in the EU, we're entitled to a 14-day "cooling off" period in which we can legally request a refund.

Developer Maxis have been caught in the crossfire, and apologised for the issues. "Thousands of players across the world are playing and having a good experience - in fact, more than 700,000 cities have been built by our players in just 24 hours," Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw explained to Kotaku. "But many are experiencing server instability and consequently, the rollout in North America has been challenging. It's also now evident that players across Europe and Asia are experiencing the same frustration.

"Our priority now is to quickly and dramatically increase the number and stability of our servers and, with that, the number of players who can simultaneously access the game. We added servers today, and there will be several more added over the weekend. We're working as hard as possible to make sure everyone gets to experience the amazing game we built in SimCity."

We wait with baited breath to see what happens over the weekend (two new EU server have already been added) - and will deliver our full review when we feel it's representative and appropriate (not rushing it out and then moderating the score). For now, we'd suggest that you'd hold off on a purchase until the situation has normalised.

Add a comment4 comments
socialjeebus  Mar. 8, 2013 at 14:31

Well I said I wouldn't be buying it until a single-player offline crack was released and now I'm sitting here fairly smugly.

More fuel for the EA fire of hatred.

Where's Cliffy B when EA need him?

Yukes  Mar. 8, 2013 at 16:15

I know it's been said countless times before, and I know it will be said countless times again, but it really, truly is disgusting that so many games are released nowadays with such major glitches or stability problems that render them effectively unplayable for majority.

I will never play Skyrim because of the PS3 problems, and I don't care. It so whole-heartedly put me off that I just don't want to touch it. And now I'm fairly confident I will never play SimCity because of the appalling way that EA treat their customers.

Whilst I'm on a rant, I think it's equally dire that leading game review sites (I'm not pointing the figure at Dealspwn here, but just an observation from Metacritic) will happily give the game top marks even though IT...DOESN'T...WORK! Talk about a comedy of errors. Is there no agency to monitor the quality of games released? Internal quality assessments are clearly a joke on this evidence.

*Rant over*

Late  Mar. 8, 2013 at 16:51

Is there no agency to monitor the quality of games released?

Kind of. It's you and me - and the rest of the punters.
I preorder a lot less games these days, and I buy a lot less games in their release week - and I know I'm not alone in that.
It used to be fine to preorder a game, and you'd have a decent chance it'd be polished. But since most games can be patched after release I think quality control has definitely slipped. They know they can fix problems after the game's gone out and the coffers have rolled in.
The problem with that, of course, is they've brought the game out, people have bought it, and it seems they're often in a relaxed "there's no rush" mood about bringing out those patches. (Before any of them come here complaining, I'm sure you're very busy behind the scenes, but the fact remains you're busy fixing your mistakes. Mistakes that should have been fixed before the game came out.)

There'll be a backlash, though - but it'll be subtle. If a company gets a reputation for bringing out unfinished products and being slow to fix problems they'll definitely get less preorders and less sales. And that's hurting them where it hurts. A petition won't do them a great deal of harm - but a slowed and diminished cashflow will.

[email protected]  Mar. 8, 2013 at 18:31

An interview with one of the guys behind SimCity, just a few days ago.
Watch from about 7 minutes in.

Am I wrong to find it all funny? Yeah perhaps but I'm not a fan of DRM/always online.

Long live the single player campaign!

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