Giant Bomb News


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 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+
Posted by BasketSnake

Make sure you give them your money next time too.

Posted by Morden2261

I've managed about an hour of gameplay. Everything else has been network errors, server disconnects and general broken-assedness.

What a clusterfuck.

Edited by Dropshocko

Was able to install on both my laptop and pc. Laptop works fine w/ lower performance. PC has an authentication error that an EA rep told me was due to "the server stress, once this issue is resolved it should allow you to play on your PC as "normal"" What a joke.

Edited by Itwastuesday

I bought it on-sale from Gamefly like a dope and I'm now trying to contact them for a refund. I'm guessing it's probably not gonna happen.

Posted by Lanechanger

I'm not the first and I won't be the last but you know what would have prevented this?

Not having it always online

But I guess in the end D3 stopped having issues, but then again a lot of people stopped playing D3... So hey maybe the same thing will happen here!

Posted by KickahaOta

I preordered the digital deluxe edition. I am officially part of the problem.

In the brief intervals that I've been able to actually play the game, I've now started two cities in the same region. One of them built a power plant, and the other attempted to buy some of the massive overcapacity from the aforementioned power plant. Unfortunately, despite the UI assuring me that a power deal is indeed in place, no power and no money actually flows. Thus the city with the power plant is essentially bankrupt, and the other city is powerless. YAY.

Posted by Elwoodan

And here is the problem with preorders: so many people bought before launch the game is surely already a success for EA. they have no reason to learn anything from this debacle.

Edited by iceveiled

I saw this coming and didn't want to be right, but I sure was. I didn't think it would get this bad though. EA is laughing all the way to the bank. Glad I didn't buy this. Too bad, I love the franchise.

Edited by Scarabus

Well aren't they glad they properly beta tested it before release.

..but seriously, who really thought the launch would go smooth? For these online-only games it's best to give it a week at least.

Posted by fargofallout

I have too much time at work today, but ever since Amazon stopped selling the download version of the game, I've been watching the reviews. It's getting 10 to 15 new 1 star reviews every 10 minutes or so. It's actually pretty remarkable.

Posted by SeanFoster

This is the game that made me realize it's time to stop pre-ordering.

Posted by buft

The small cities turned me off the game, the reason i loved the previous games in the city was managing the cities infrastructure from top to bottom, making the decisions about resources and planning my buildings and land around the needs of the city.

with the regions all sharing the same RCI i worry that the game is much more reactionary to what the other people are doing leaving me less in control of the cities overall structure.

Posted by LikeaSsur

Where was this freakout when Diablo III launched?

Edited by Winternet

These MMOs never have good launches.

Oh wait. . .

Edited by eloj

How wonderful to see, their own DRM as a concrete slab, tied to a noose around their necks. Crushing them, harder... and harder...

Don't be fooled here; any processing they've moved from the game to their servers they've moved primarily for DRM reasons (see also: Ubisoft's always-on-DRM). Think about it, how advanced do you think these similations are? Not very. It's all smoke and mirrors. Let's assume the opposite is true that they are running heavy simulations at their end. This would mean they've moved CPU and bandwidth COST from the client (you) to their own bottom line. Does this sound like something EA would do out of the kindness of their hearts? You think they use the heat from the server halls to warm their snowed in corporate HQ for free?

They have a badly designed game hooked up to an equally poorly designed and apparently underdimensioned backend. They know there will be a peak at release, but they DO NOT WANT TO PAY FOR IT. Instead they just sit back and hope that it won't be "that bad" before the peak flattens out. In this case though, I thinkt the noose tightened a bit harder than they had calculated with. The weight never came off the concrete slab after the first day.

Autoerotic DRMyxiation.

Hope they at least get the satisfaction they were looking for out of it.

Edited by spookytapes

This game is a pile of hot garbage. I'm a pretty big SimCity fan, and after playing the beta I was a little worried, but enjoyed it enough to preorder the deluxe version, after all, I've been playing SC4 for a solid 10 years and still bust out SC2000 and 3000 from time to time. SimCity is something I can always come back to. This game is so broken on so many levels that I don't even know what to say about it. Even when I can actually play (which so far has only been twice despite many, many attempts), so many things don't work the way that they're supposed to and the game just kind drops you in without much feedback on how some of the mechanics work, you just figure them out when things go wrong. If you don't have people sharing anything near your city in your region that you need, you just run out of things like water and power. Holy shit, what a disappointment.

Edited by Giefcookie

Where was this freakout when Diablo III launched?

All over the internet?

Edited by MrKlorox

Amazon still hasn't shipped my disc version of the game either, and I ordered it on the 16th of February. Probably gonna try to cancel the order if it's not shipped by this evening.

For those asking about SimCity4, it runs as flawlessly as ever on Win7 once you do a few things like setting custom resolutions and using an app that turns windowed games into borderless fullscreen windows (SimCity 4 won't properly do 32-bit color in real fullscreen on modern GPUs using DirectX hardware rendering) and crank down the shadows setting. Might have to also set the preferred resolution in the WindowedBorderlessGaming program for it to look right.

I'm still holding off playing SimCity4 so I don't get burnt out on the mechanics by the time my copy of SimCity 2013 arrives, if it ever does.

Posted by Nasher02

This is why I tend to hold out on this type of game, then again I brought Diablo a couple of weeks after release and they still haven't implemented all the gameplay elements that they promised *shrug

Edited by megalowho

@likeassur: Diablo III's launch was the mess that taught me to never pick up an always online title at release again. All titles, actually - I'm far less concerned with day one purchases than I was a year ago even. Without it, I might have been wringing my hands with all the other frustrated SimCity owners right now, who will likely take away similar lessons from this situation.

Posted by Grilledcheez

I miss the advisors popping up and telling me things and I also miss ORDINANCES...I think I still have SimCity 3000 Unlimited around here

Edited by morose

No offline gaming option... it's the future!

Edited by VibratingDonkey

The game being broken is as bad as it was predictable, but what I think is really terrible about this whole situation is that EA's refusing refunds.

Your game is broken, does not work, give refunds, you assholes.

Good on Amazon by the way.

Posted by 137


So fucking glad I waited to buy this game.

Posted by yakov456

Ahaha! Please everyone, tell me more about why having to always be connected online isn't a big deal. They've got your money, you think they will fix this quick?

Edited by Sackmanjones

I just got done playing for about 4 hours. No real issues. It was fantastic

Posted by bushlemon

B-b-but muh DRM

Posted by Milkman

Serious question: is Polygon going to lower their review score again?

Edited by benu302000

Here's an idea. Don't buy Sim City. Maybe if EA loses some money, they'll spend a little more time on their launch bullshit.

Posted by Korwin

Dunno why they're trying to fix the servers, they're just going to turn them off in 4 years.

Edited by djou

The announcements in the article officially make the SC launch a bigger disaster than Diablo 3. I expected a few bumps in the road to launching a big game. But this is day 3 after release and their solutions is to shut down parts of the game and reduce the game speed?

This is the game that officially soured me on always-on games. I had some bad experiences in the past but this has been a wreck. Each one of the patches and updates they make have made the game more difficult for me to play. My entire region is stuck on the West 2 servers even though EA customer service says I should be able to access on other servers. Their lack of forwardness in owning to the problems gives me little confidence that this is their "highest priority."

Posted by Verdy

Man, sucks to see this happen. I LOVED the previous Sim City games.

Edited by yoshisaur

I'm really glad I avoided picking this one up on launch day. I really wanted to, but I listened to TotalBiscuit in his "WTF is" episode and knew that it was just going to be another Diablo III episode. However, this looks worse.

I hope this starts to scare developers out of this non-nonsensical DRM. I am in no way, shape, or form saying that only communities are a bad thing, but I am saying that forcing DRM is. Let a player experience the game offline if they choose, but give us a reason to go online. Instead of saying that it's some form of gameplay mechanic, treat it as a challenge to better innovate on the online structure so we want to go online. As far as I'm concerned, this entire ordeal has nothing to do with engaging a player in the online world, but a half-assed anti-piracy attempt and a way to funnel DLC onto the player.

Posted by yoshisaur

@msavo said:

9.5 out of 10, Polygon.

The game is absolutely fantastic from what I played during the beta. I rather enjoy the aspect of multiple cities rather than one larger one. I don't see why a review score has anything to do with online-capabilities. If Polygon wrote up an article saying that the game isn't worth buying until all of these issues are fixed and that the game works to the point where they experienced it (the press beta), then sure. However, 9.5/10 sounds perfectly fine.

Edited by TheMasterDS

Okay, whatever, leaderboards are shit anyway, who needs them, does that mean I can play now? *Checks* Nope.

Posted by Shaanyboi

Always online DRM. Totally worth it.

Edited by Slaegar

Always on DRM isn't doing any of these companies any PR favors. Is it so absolutely unforgivably impossible to have a single player mode in the event this stuff happens?

In order to prevent a couple thousand people from stealing your game, you prevent a couple million from playing it entirely.

I hope EA catches on fire and manages to realize that this stuff isn't helping before they burn away completely.

Posted by LibrorumProhibitorum

Now imagine if the cities were bigger. You'd never be able to fix those servers!

Edited by kashwashwa

Bought it and feel ripped off.

Posted by JRock3x8

either verge or joystiq had a great analogy on this - it's like going to a restaurant, paying for the food and then not actually getting the food that you paid for and being told that they don't know when you will be able to get it and no you can't have your money back.


Edited by AnEternalEnigma

DD future, everybody.

Posted by Dagbiker
The ironic thing is... The Sim City servers are hosted by amazon.

Posted by DonPixel

EA respecting their costumers, apparently that is bad for business or something.

Posted by dvorak

Where was this freakout when Diablo III launched?

How long have you owned a computer with an internet connection?

Posted by aidros

Going to wait to buy till it's settled. Got Starcraft II expansion next week to look forward to!

Edited by darkjester74

I feel like we are at a point that we can safely make the assumption that "online only single player game" = "unplayable for 1 week+ after launch".

Set your expectations accordingly, people.

Edited by graf1k

When all this began on Tuesday I kind of laughed and thought "What did people expect? Of course shit is fucked!" to myself, smugly. Granted, I'm no fan of always-on DRM and think it's bullshit like everyone else, but knowing EA was using it, I was not surprised this happened.

That said, two days later and they still have this issue? That is really bad. I just can't fathom how whatever extra sales come from making the game "impossible to crack" (realistically it will still be cracked eventually, but let's just assume for the sake of argument it IS impossible) justify financially not only the cost of running all these authentication servers, but the ire of all the people who bought the game legit and are now fuming over how terribly the launch has gone, especially after 2 "public betas". Not to mention, being EA, what happens ~5 years from now when they inevitably take down their SimCity servers? Are people just SOL or do they, at that point, just accept that piracy will happen and remove the authentication requirement themselves?

Posted by DantronLesotho
Posted by Hunter5024

I bought this game knowing and accepting that there would almost certainly be problems, and I was right. However it's not until they disabled Cheetah speed that I became annoyed. Cities are going to take forever now!

Posted by FuriousJodo

The worst part is that I REALLY like the game so far and want to keep playing. :(