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Latest SimCity game launch offers no fun, just frustration

by Mark Tyson on 8 March 2013, 11:45

Tags: Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA), PC

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There are reports all over the internet about people’s woes as they try and play the latest instalment of SimCity on their computers. The long awaited city building and management sequel was launched by EA on Tuesday and players have been plagued by random disconnections, loss of saved game city data and other error messages, completely sapping the fun out of the gaming experience.

Removing features

In desperate efforts to get the newly released game back onto its feet for frustrated early purchasers, EA and developer Maxis have been working on fixing the problems by using what seems to be a process of elimination. Forbes notes that important features such as community leaderboards and “cheetah speed” time acceleration mode have been disabled in a series of hotfixes. However in fairness the patches have also actually fixed some bugs rather than just bypassing them.

You, the fans, are important to us

Kip Katsarelis a senior producer on the new SimCity game blamed the teething problems on the game’s popularity saying that “players were having such a good time they didn't want to leave the game, which kept our servers packed and made it difficult for new players to join”. Yesterday evening Katsarelis explained that “our plan is to continue to bring more servers online until we have enough to meet the demand, increase player capacity and let more people through the gates and into the game”.  

Amazon removes download edition from store

It appears that the game was released prematurely, before enough servers were prepared, even though the worldwide launch has been staggered to ease this server burden. Amazon has reacted by pulling the digital download edition from its online store. The $59.99 game gets a lousy one star rating average from over 1,000 Amazon user reviews. I presume many users had a lot of spare time to be bothered complaining because they couldn’t play their new game. The customer image gallery for the download edition of SimCity contains an extensive series of error message screengrabs.

Just two from a huge variety of possible error messages you may encounter if you try to play SimCity

Always online, even in single-player mode, to prevent piracy

It would seem like a prudent move for EA to let people play the single-player mode offline so the overloaded servers could be under less strain. In case anyone at EA might listen to users and change its policy, a campaign petition at Change.org has been begun - to ask EA to abandon always-on DRM in SimCity and future games. The petition already has 30,000 signatures.

Due to the current issues an editor at cnet, assigned to review the new SimCity game, has not even been able to play the game once, despite trying to do so at least twice a day since its Tuesday launch. Let’s hope that is another thing that will negatively impact the sales of this expensive, fun-sapping software mess.

HEXUS Forums :: 54 Comments

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thats a bummer !!

a game like really needs to have to be connected to the internet ??

I don't think so !
I got burned in exactly the same way by Diablo 3's error 37 debacle.. After that experience, I swore a terrible oath to never buy one of these always-on single-player games again, starting with this one (despite how much I would love to play SimCity again - I haven't since 2000 and this was the first one I was excited about).

Let's hope all those who got burned this time on SimCity do the same, hopefully after a couple more cycles of this, this preposterous business practice will soon die the death it deserves.
Agreed, it looks so good! If they expect us to always be online to play it, surely we can expect their servers to always be online to allow us to play it. If they screw up, they shouldn't be allowed to punish the consumer for the problem they created. Get rid of the DRM for happy customers.
Same here, I've even stopped pre-ordering games full stop now. Never again after D3! I was really looking forward to SC too. Part of the core reason for playing for me was the ability to take SC wherever you went and boot it up on low spec pcs when travelling etc. I think the online features are interesting, but I don't see why you should be forced to be online. It ain't gonna stop the pirates. On the contrary; I bet sooo many more people will pirate this now.
Is it just me or do these half wits never actually learn anything? How have previous releases like these go? Exactly the same as this, a monstrous mess where there are never enough servers, a service that is constantly fubar and a user experience where paying customers can't play the game they paid for.

Anyone with an IQ over 20 could have predicted this exact outcome with the always on DRM requirement.