SimCity Launch 'Dumb,' Electronic Arts Rep Says, Issuing Apology And Free PC Game For Botched Release

Well, you know what they say: Rome wasn't built in a day. Still, to some gamers, it feels like it's taken Electronic Arts a millennium to iron out the kinks in SimCity's ill-fated launch.

The good news: On March 8, EA realized how "dumb" its release of SimCity was, apologized and offered a free EA game as compensation to players unfortunate enough to have walked face-first into the disastrous debut of the city-building simulation. Apparently, the game's servers could not handle the heavy release-week load.

"A lot more people logged on than we expected. More people played and played in ways we never saw in the beta," Lucy Bradshaw, general manager for Maxis, the EA label that makes the game, wrote in a blog post Friday. "OK, we agree, that was dumb, but we are committed to fixing it."

The bad news: Despite progress, SimCity still wasn't running at 100 percent, as of Sunday night. This means that customers haven't been able to properly play the new version of the game, which requires players to log into its servers, for close to a week after its launch.

According to the BBC, players have reported myriad issues since SimCity officially launched March 5. Common problems included delays of 30 minutes or more to log in, slow performance once logged in and frequent crashes that wiped out progress.

These problems led EA to disable some of the game's features and prompted Amazon to briefly suspend digital sales of SimCity last week.

The game's poor performance has brought criticism of EA's "always online" digital rights management (DRM) policy to the forefront. A petition asking EA to remove the controversial DRM from SimCity (and future titles) received more than 60,000 signatures in the wake of the problematic release.

"I expected a multi-billion dollar company to be able to handle release-day server load. This was pathetic, and as a consumer, I for one will not be purchasing games from EA in the future," petition signer Robert Privitere wrote.

But some critics are doing far more than merely voicing displeasure with the release. A DRM-free SimCity "clone" called Civitas is the focus of a $250,000 Kickstarter campaign that takes EA's policies directly to task.



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