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SimCity's Launch Isn't Going So Well

Electronic Arts is turning off "non-critical gameplay features" to try and ease server load.

UPDATE: We've noticed Amazon has stopped selling the digital version of SimCity, thanks to a tip from a Giant Bomb user. The listing for SimCity says it's "currently unavailable" and the retailer does not know "when of if this item will be available again."

"Many customers are having issues connecting to the "SimCity" servers. EA is actively working to resolve these issues, but at this time we do not know when the issue will be fixed. Please visit https://help.ea.com/en/simcity/simcity for more information."

I asked Amazon customer service about it, and was told it's "not currently available due to the issues on connecting to the SimCity servers" and the retailer was "not completely sure when this is going to be restored."

The launch of SimCity has not gone well, and it continues to not go well. It’s going so poorly, in fact, that Electronic Arts and Maxis are going to be turning off “non-critical gameplay features" to try and make it better.

This move was announced by a SimCity community manager on the game’s message boards. These “non-critical gameplay features” include leaderboards, achievements, and region filters.

According to the patch notes for version 1.2, however, the company has now disabled “cheetah” speed, which is now the same as “llama” speed. An official reason wasn’t given in the patch notes, but it’s not hard to imagine the detailed simulations in each city, which must inevitably sync with the game’s servers, is causing a headache for players building cities really quickly.

“We will continue to let you know as we have more information,” said the company. “We know it has been said before, but we do appreciate your patience as we complete this latest update. Getting you playing is our absolute highest priority.”

That’s probably true, but it doesn’t ease the pain of players who have paid money for SimCity, and can’t play the game. We know there will be launch issues in the first 24 hours of a game’s release, maybe even a little longer, but this is unacceptable. Too bad, since the game is supposedly pretty cool!

Make sure to let us know what your experience is like in the comments.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
359 Comments
Posted by The_Patriarch

So fucking glad I waited to buy this game.

Edited by Bourbon_Warrior

Just sunk about 6 hours into it without realizing, filled up my city and went bankrupt. But man 6 hour gaming session haven't done that in a while. Disconnected from the servers a few times, but didn't lose saves and it just reconnects like a minute later, it doesn't kick you out the game which was something I was scared of. Going to create a crime ridden las vegas tonight and early into the morning.

About 2 hours in my headset ran out of batteries, I didn't change them and just spent the next 4 hours playing the game with no sound, just in this zen state of building.

Posted by bassman2112

I used to support and defend EA, even when hate was flying around them during the whole Dragon Age 2 fiasco. When the Mass Effect 3 thing happened, I didn't defend them as fervently. Now? It's nearly impossible to do so. They have really done a poor job handling their major franchises - perhaps striving for something bigger than they could accomplish, and letting people down in the process. This is yet another example of it, and is super disappointing.

I truly hope EA can turn things around for themselves, otherwise they will truly be the most hated company in gaming for all time.

Posted by Wuddel

Seems fine now.

Posted by project343
Posted by MrHammeh

I love this game so far, shame that EA seems to be the cause of most of this, at least what I can understand.

Posted by Hosstile17

It is a real shame that both recent high-profile PC exclusives have had this problem. It took nearly a month for Diablo 3 to iron out. Hopefully it won't take this long for SimCity.

Edited by Knale

@bourbon_warrior: It really is unfortunate, because when the game is working...man...it's pretty magical.

Edited by ApexDefect

@bassman2112: I'm with you on that front. EA has been getting rocky lately considering the last couple of years.

Posted by subyman

Wow, speeding up time is "non-critical" in a SimCity game. So, everything you do in the game won't count toward your achievements? May as well just wait a few weeks, hell the price will probably have dropped by then. Does this set a new precedent? I've never heard of a publisher gimping a game to get it to run properly after launch.

Posted by BBAlpert

I'm glad I listened more to Alex, Jeff, and Kevin VanOrd ("I'll get to the review this week, but here's my pre-review: THIS GAME IS EFFING BROKEN AND YOU SHOULD NOT BUY IT!") more than Polygon.

Edited by kre8havoc

I haven't had too many problems with the game up until last night. I really enjoy what I played, but it is becoming increasingly frustrating to look at a "unable to connect to servers" message when I know I sunk $50 into this. I am a patient person, so I hope they will get this fixed within this week.

I guess Maxis and EA YOLO'd this launch.

Posted by MordeaniisChaos

I used to support and defend EA, even when hate was flying around them during the whole Dragon Age 2 fiasco. When the Mass Effect 3 thing happened, I didn't defend them as fervently. Now? It's nearly impossible to do so. They have really done a poor job handling their major franchises - perhaps striving for something bigger than they could accomplish, and letting people down in the process. This is yet another example of it, and is super disappointing.

I truly hope EA can turn things around for themselves, otherwise they will truly be the most hated company in gaming for all time.

I still blame Bioware for their shit. This is more clearly a case of publisher side stuff as it's essentially DRM, even if they refuse to admit it. Bioware's stuff is more the games lacking quality in both broad and specific ways.

Posted by geirr

I'd say Fuck EA and all that but I've come to expect failure and fraud from them over the last few years. I'm sure pirated versions of this game lets you play it offline without trouble which is great and totally how it should be.

Posted by LordJerkins

There's just no getting over the city size in this Sim City. I played 4 for years - the huge map option in SC4 (which was 4 times the size of the standard SC4 map) was really difficult to actually fill up completely and I used to be able to spend weeks and weeks on just one city. I also don't like the new game's aesthetic; I feel that 4 hit the right balance between style and realism. Ultimately I feel that they sacrificed the game's graphical performance, city size and server stability all so they could put a blurb on the back of the box about how the game simulates every Sim in a city. If they had just nixed that silly idea at the start of development we'd have a game that could have been a good successor to 4.

Posted by Marz

yeah i'm glad i canceled my preorder a week ago, really sucks for those who actually want to play the game though.

Posted by XChairmanDrekX

It's like EA is practically begging people to steal their game.

Edited by Jaqen_HGhar

It didn't unlock until today here in Norway, so I haven't had much time with it. That being said, I did try to get in early today. No chance. Took about 8 hours before I could actually start playing it. Before that I either didn't get in because the servers was "busy", or I got in but nothing happened. No tutorial prompts, not able to claim a city.

But now that I got in... it is great. I have barely begun scratching the surface, and my first city is going to shit, but I know already that I am going to get more than my moneys worth out of this game. So I have no regrets really.

Posted by Ben_H

This sounds worse than Diablo 3. I certainly didn't have the issues people are talking about here when I was playing D3. The first couple days were messed up but after that it was smooth sailing other than the odd glitch (certainly not a month or any of the other crazy times people are claiming. A few days at worst for instability and around patches, which also happens in SC2). This case sounds like it is getting worse each day, not better.

Good thing I waited. If I get this game I will get it in like a month. I may not even bother because I will be so wrapped up in the new SC2 expansion.

Posted by fargofallout

I really, really, really don't understand why they make these sorts of decisions. They're already not well-regarded, and then they go and do something like this - if Blizzard can't successfully do an always-online launch, what in the hell hope does EA/Maxis have? I predict another year of EA at the top of the "most-hated company in America" list.

Posted by MrBubbles

Yup this game is still broke for me. It still doesn't start when I hit the play button in the launcher.

Edited by darukaru

I feel sorry for anyone who was tricked into purchasing this.

Posted by Commander_Pants

My experience? I have tried many many times to play the game and haven't been able to get in.

I am now in a queue, apparently a 45 minute queue to get a refund.

I love SimCity. I loved the beta, but I REFUSE to reward a complete failure of a launch. EA should have learnt from the debacle that was Diablo IIIs launch. This is WORSE than the launch of Diablo III.

PS - I've avoided ranting about the decision to go 'always online'.

Edited by Fungiefips

@mordeaniischaos: DA2 is the very epitome of a rushed game. That kind of pressure comes from the publisher. I agree with ME3's flaws being Bioware's fault though.

Posted by Dustpan

Looks like EA struck gold again

Posted by NekuCTR

This is so much worse than Diablo 3. In that case shit was straight up blowing up on their end, which you can understand to an extent. Sim City is fine during low traffic hours which seems to suggest that they just didn't have anywhere near enough servers lined up. Launch issues are one thing, but being so fucking short on servers despite having an extensive "beta", pre order numbers, and year of development, and planning is just straight up gross negligence.

Edited by Fleck0

So this has easily eclipsed the Diablo 3 launch, is it worse than the WoW launch yet? people could at least play that one

Posted by Twisted_Scot

Bought the game and have been unable to play it since. I got about 30 mins into it once and it froze then just connection issues since. It sucks but when things that come rely heavily on online connectivity there will always be problems. While I agree that EA should be better at handling this stuff by now (especially after the BF3 nonsense) its just the way it is I guess. No one is immune to early day issues right? Still looking forward to this once its sorts itself out.

Edited by freakin9

I don't know why I want this game, since I haven't liked a Sim City game since that one on the old NES, or SNES, where you got rewards.

Posted by dr_mantas

Shocker...

Posted by Metal_Mills

* Disabled Cheetah speed. Cheetah speed is is now the same as llama speed.

Uuugh! Really? That's awful.

Posted by msavo

9.5 out of 10, Polygon.

Posted by Triphos

My experience is that so far I've only been able to play the tutorial, and I feel lucky to have gotten through that much.

I have faith that this will be a good game eventually, but it really, really isn't right now.

Edited by JoeyRavn

I installed the game yesterday, as soon as it launched in Europe, but didn't even boot it up. I bought a 7970 that arrived today, and I installed it half an hour ago. Started SimCity... "next attempt at login in 20 minutes".

Yeah, fuck you too, EA.

Posted by mosespippy

I assume the Amazon situation is related to refunds, kind of like why you can't buy Nintendo products on Amazon.

Edited by Draxyle

That about sums up EA for me. A series of isolated business decisions made outside the sphere of reality and capacity to deliver upon them effectively (or sensibly). There was zero chance that they would be ready to handle this smoothly, and most everyone knew it.

This game was not ready for launch. In fact, every game they've released in the last five or so years feels like it could have used another six months of QA, testing, and refinement.

Edited by Bourbon_Warrior

I really, really, really don't understand why they make these sorts of decisions. They're already not well-regarded, and then they go and do something like this - if Blizzard can't successfully do an always-online launch, what in the hell hope does EA/Maxis have? I predict another year of EA at the top of the "most-hated company in America" list.

That poll was just ludacris though, that was the same year BP polluted the Gulf of Mexico

Posted by Kerned

@msavo said:

9.5 out of 10, Polygon.

The most trustworthy name in gaming news!

Posted by Hugh_Jazz

@msavo said:

9.5 out of 10, Polygon.

I think it's kinda ridiculous that they lowered the score to 8 because of the server issues. Kinda feels like 1 or 2 would be a better score, for the duration of these issues at least.

I'm sad since I can't play a game I want to play.

Posted by Ravenlight

This is WORSE than the launch of Diablo III.

I'm not sure about that. If we measure in number of customers affected, Diablo III had a much larger playerbase on day one.

On the technical side, it seems like the worsitude of the two launches is about equal.

Sort of makes you wonder if they didn't just anticipate that the launch would be a clusterfuck and not dedicate any additional resources to it.

Edited by Efesell

@fleck0 said:

So this has easily eclipsed the Diablo 3 launch, is it worse than the WoW launch yet? people could at least play that one

WoW launch woes lasted for quite some time, so it really depends how long it takes this to level out.

Posted by Nightriff

Haven't played either of them but is this worse than Diablo 3? Or did those problems end relatively quickly and/or effected a small number of users

Posted by mobius006

played last night for 3 hours. disconnected from the server a lot. But my game saved at the one time i went to the main menu at that time.

So Maybe I have a city on Europe West 1 --- o_0

Posted by Cretaceous_Bob

@nekuctr said:

Sim City is fine during low traffic hours which seems to suggest that they just didn't have anywhere near enough servers lined up. Launch issues are one thing, but being so fucking short on servers despite having an extensive "beta", pre order numbers, and year of development, and planning is just straight up gross negligence.

I watched my girlfriend play for about 3 hours from 9 AM to 12 PM on Wednesday and the servers still managed to drop her connection.

Posted by lclay

This is just an enormous pile of bullshit

I hope the rest of the games industry is watching, we know EA will never learn.

Posted by TheBioLover

PC GAMING

Edited by Efesell

Haven't played either of them but is this worse than Diablo 3? Or did those problems end relatively quickly and/or effected a small number of users

I was still able to play Diablo 3 that night/morning/whatever, it wasn't the ideal playing experience but the 37s dwindled away just a few hours after the initial surge.

Edited by Drakkel

So at first this looked like another Diablo 3 but now it's at the point where the Always On requirement is forcing them to hamstring the game directly. The Future of Gaming.

Edited by iAmJohn

Jesus Christ EA.

Edited by Deathpooky

I'm glad that the design concepts behind the game are entirely unappealing, otherwise it would suck to have bought this and not be able to play it.