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?