The reboot of the highly-anticipated SimCity franchise has been met with anger amongst global gamers because the title’s servers have buckled under immense pressure, exacerbated by the fact that gamers could not access or create new cities. Publisher Electronic Arts took steps to the minimize the impact by taking the game’s servers offline yesterday, only fuelling the wrath of paying players.
The game makes use of an always-on internet connection and Digital Rights Management (DRM) system to allow players to access the game and features, and the developers omitted an offline mode, making it impossible to play without a constant internet connection.
After restarting the servers, EA removed some functionality in order to allow more players to enjoy the game. “We are continuing to do everything we can to address the server issues. In the meantime, so that we can give you as good an experience as possible, we are in the process of deploying a hotfix to all servers. This includes various improvements and also disables a few non-critical gameplay features (leaderboards, achievements and region filters). Disabling these features will in no way affect your core gameplay experience,” an EA spokesperson said.
In lieu of the server issues, online retailer Amazon decided to pull all digital sales from their store, and only added that players should visit https://help.ea.com/en/simcity/simcity for more information.
“Your $60 game is now a $60 Frisbee. There is no reason at all that anyone who shells out top-dollar for an over-hyped game should have to sit in a queue for hours at a time to even reach the main menu. The queue makes NO mention of your spot in line, and only says, ‘ATTEMPTING to reconnect in: (20 minute countdown),”wrote a user on Amazon’s page.
Developer Maxis’ general manager Lucy Bradshaw issues a statement, saying that many people are in fact playing the title, but they are aware of gamers that might not have access to the game.
“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. 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,” she told Kotaku.
Bradshaw also added what Maxis will be doing to rectify the issues. “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.”
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor