Sim City’s Traffic Problems Are All Too Real

The much anticipated reboot of SimCity has been released. And unfortunately it’s brought all the delays, headaches and frustrations of real municipal planning.

The big problem is that even if you just want to use it as a private virtual Lego set, the game requires an Internet connection to play and Electronic Arts servers have failed to cope with demand.

Not only have many players been unable to access the tutorial or had their progress frustrated by error messages, but some even got as far as creating a city only to see it disappear. To be fair, EA did promise some unexpected hazards in the game, but most people were expecting that to mean cities being wiped out by Godzilla rather than a giant bug.

At one stage yesterday Amazon even stopped selling digital download editions. It’s now selling again but warns buyers that “many customers are having issues connecting” and admitting “we do not know when the issue will be fixed.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly the response has been hostile and at the time of writing 1,181 people had reviewed the game on Amazon with an average score of one star out of five. The most highly ranked review concludes ” Go up to a random stranger, preferably a musclehead, hand him your $60 and ask him to punch you in the face. You’ll get more out of your money, and it’ll be less painful to watch.”

Many reviewers have noted being particularly frustrated because they have no interest in multiplayer features and believe the Internet connection requirement is simply an unnecessary form of Digital Rights Management protection.

EA is keeping users posted, but its attempts to solve the problem have involved servers being restarted on several occasions, meaning it’s realistically probably not worth the effort of playing at the moment.

For those who can get things working, several features such as achievements and leaderboard are currently disabled to reduce server demand. At one stage at least, EA also disabled the fastest of the game modes that control how quickly the virtual time in your city progresses.

Still, the game’s senior producer Kip Katsarelis did try to put a positive spin on it, claiming the real problem was 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.”


How many of you are having issues playing SimCity? Have you asked for a refund?

19 Responses to Sim City’s Traffic Problems Are All Too Real

  1. Might be a good thing I’ve got exams next week and hence haven’t even bought the game yet.
    Really hope they fix the problems for when my exams are over, I’ve really been looking forward to playing this. :)

  2. I had a great time the first night it came out and into the next morning. Once people started getting their copies and clogging up the servers, it’s been not worth it to play. I’ll take a week or so off and come back when it settles down and EA gets things worked out.

    Given that I played for about 10 hours straight the first day without any problems, I’d say it was worth what I spent on it.

  3. Last sentence is the best. My bullshitbabelfish translates it to: “Some people actually like our game, we didn’t expect this” or alternatively “Don’t worry, people will get bored soon and then our bunch of servers will be far enough for all left players.”

  4. This is why I don’t buy EA games anymore. Ever. Until they get over their absurd obsession with DRM that does nothing but harm legitimate users, they don’t deserve my money.

  5. When will EA finally realise that DRM just doesn’t work? All it does is pisses off those who did buy the damn game without preventing piracy in the least!

    • Well, how longs it been since Spore? They didn’t learn then, and we’re still waiting on them to grow up and take a hint: that’s not likely to happen anytime soon in my estimation though.

  6. Save yourselves the money and the time: find a copy of SimCity 4 Deluxe, install the official patches, then grab the unofficial community built expansion packs NAM (Network Addon Mod – more transport goodies than you’re ever likely to use plus pathfinding fixes) and if you’re a fan of megapolises, CAM (Colossus Addon Mod – adds more growth stages and increases road capacity to cope with all the extra Sims).

    It’s not uncommon to have a plugins folder exceeding 3 GB. All of which is stored on your machine rather than a server which will be taken permanently offline in a few years time when EA needs to upgrade the servers to run whatever its latest and greatest game is by then. Of course, once they switch off the SimCity 2013 servers, nobody will be able to play the game ever again. Think “City of Heroes.”

  7. Out of protest against always on DRM, I won’t buy this game. I own every Simcity game, since we had to have the dark maroon code sheet copy protection to play it, but this is ridiculous.

  8. I was considering buying this game and now I’m glad that I haven’t. I didn’t realize that it was an always-on connection game! Screw that! I was hoping to have a game to play on my downtime at work. I love the SimCity franchise but what’s the point if I can’t even play it when I WANT to play it: When I have no internet connection! I gave up on Diablo 3 for the same reason.

  9. I was reading the hype and eager to buy SimCity, then I read this. I was going to get a couple discounts that would save me $11, but now I’m not so sure. I played City of Heroes and loved the experience, but felt a great lose when it folded. [Converting to Champions Online]. Think I’ll take mittfh’s advice and forget all the new shinies. Maybe they will learn before it’s too late.

  10. I’m still gonna buy it, I’m just waiting for the price to lower and them to get some bug fixes out first. I figured something like this would happen so I’m glad I didn’t pre-order or anything.

  11. There’s some truth to this. The game itself has serious flaws. 2km x 2km cities really are much too small both functionally and in terms of long-term enjoyment. Off-loaded (not currently played) cities lack sufficient modeling to make the multi-city feature add much of anything to the game. Traffic agent AI is broken / non-existent so the more service vehicles you have the worse problems get as all your garbage trucks or buses mill around the same blocks in a conga-line or worse.

    There are many other smaller but still critical issues, but the three issues above are pervasive and constant, dragging down the entire experience.

  12. I mean obviously not being able to play the game you paid 60-80$ for is a lot worse, but once you get a chance to play to your heart’s content you realize there’s these core problems marring the experience.

  13. This is why I don’t buy a game that hasn’t been out for at least 6 months and I refuse always on DRM.

  14. Which is why I will buy it and then download whatever pirate stuff I need to play it offline, since I want it on my laptop for when I travel and what not. This wouldn’t be the first time DRM prevent me for playing a game I bought. Wouldn’t be the first time I download a crack to fix that.