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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
Edited by ScreamingFist

I had no idea how bad this was going to be. Funny thing is I really enjoy playing it! It's just getting to the part to play it that makes all the rage happen. =(

Posted by Subjugation

Reading all of these things is like an out of body experience. I've said it many times before already, but I'm just not having the problems everyone else seems to be having. I just get to enjoy the game, although to be fair the game itself has a fair number of bugs that I've encountered so far. I hope this gets ironed out really soon because this game is actually pretty fun. Hours melt away (and not because you are waiting in a queue, har har).

Edited by masterfaculty

Good! While I feel bad for those who purchased the game, hopefully this will give EA pause next time they choose to do some gully bullshit in the name of squeezing out a few extra bucks. I, too, used to defend them. After all, it is a publicly held company and they need to make a profit. And if they were putting out stellar games, I'd still defend them. But when marketing and microtransaction-related directive from EA hamper the overall experience, they should rightly suffer in the marketplace.

Edited by CptBedlam

So glad I stood by my principles and continued to ignore everything that has an always-on DRM. The core-game itself doesn't look too appealing to me either with the small maps and everything. Too much "The Sims", not enough "Sim City".

This is basically Diablo 3 all over again (or even worse), complete with the core-game being fucked up because it was designed around the always-on DRM.

Posted by squidraid

Reading all of these things is like an out of body experience. I've said it many times before already, but I'm just not having the problems everyone else seems to be having. I just get to enjoy the game, although to be fair the game itself has a fair number of bugs that I've encountered so far. I hope this gets ironed out really soon because this game is actually pretty fun. Hours melt away (and not because you are waiting in a queue, har har).

That's how I was on the first day. I got off work and was able to play for some 4-5 hours straight before I went to bed without a hitch. I have yet to get in the game even once today. You're very lucky.

Edited by SJSchmidt93

Wish I would've pirated it.

Edited by Dagbiker

I hope Sim City is the second game for TnT and its just 2 hours of Vinny closing down and reopening Origin.

Edited by theveej

Feel bad for the people who bought this day 1, but cmon people you should have know better after D3. I predicted this before the D3 launch and I thought the servers would be shit for SimCity (although not this bad). EA really fucked this up though

Edited by Dagbiker

@squidraid said:

@subjugation said:

Reading all of these things is like an out of body experience. I've said it many times before already, but I'm just not having the problems everyone else seems to be having. I just get to enjoy the game, although to be fair the game itself has a fair number of bugs that I've encountered so far. I hope this gets ironed out really soon because this game is actually pretty fun. Hours melt away (and not because you are waiting in a queue, har har).

That's how I was on the first day. I got off work and was able to play for some 4-5 hours straight before I went to bed without a hitch. I have yet to get in the game even once today. You're very lucky.

Yah, I had no problem playing until they started "fixing" it. which probably means that amazon called them up and told them that they were over heating the server room. Or they looked at how much band width they were using and realized this was going to cost a fortune.

All things that probably could have been figured out in a beta test. But my guess is that they had a test server up, in another location, probably using different hardware, for the beta test, and no one thought about that.

Edited by spraynardtatum

EA is the worlds worst drug dealer.

Edited by Oombalan

Numerous issues, it installed and patched perfectly but then

I could connect to the server in the launcher but once the game was launched, no dice.

When I finally got in the tutorial it would sometimes load and sometimes didn't exist, I got in the tutorial twice on two different servers but once I visited the other city within the tutorial I got disconnected.

I then couldn't connect for hours

I had to delete local user data multiple times because it got stuck in a checking for updates loop

When I finally reconnected later, I got through the tutorial when i went to create a region I couldn't claim the region I had created (on multiple serves)

Again left it for another hour and then had to do the tutorial again however this time it would not load it properly so i could see the city but had no instructions on what to do, I couldn't do a thing and this went on for about half an hour, after multiple server changes (where I basically couldn't even connect in the launcher most of the time) I got through and started to build my city and finally play (4 and a half hours after install) I played for about 3 hours and I really like the game.

Posted by KirkDouglas

I find it annoying that people are calling the always-online part of the game DRM, when that's really only half of it. Most of the simulation is being done on the cloud, that's what's fucking up the hip-hop so much.

As an owner of the game, I can say that when it works, it works really well. I've managed to get two cities going in a 5 city region and probably sunk about 7 or 8 hours into it. The worst part of the game is that it will sometimes launch when the servers are 'down' and then tell you when you load in that you can't do anything. Very frustrating.

The actual building part of the game is very good. It has a really neat trading system and building upgrades are satisfying. It also has a neat system where as long as you keep expanding zones, it's almost impossible to go broke. That's sort of like Anno 2070, where the solution to running out of money was to build more houses for taxpaying workers. The upgrade system for buildings is reminiscent of the last two Tropico games.

I really hope they get the bugs ironed out because the core game is worth playing.

Posted by MrCandleguy

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.

I wish i could have that feeling =(
Until this server stuff gets sorted I'll play Tomb Raider.

Posted by Ben_H

I bought this on sale for $3. No DRM, takes up 50 MB, bigger cities, has Cheetah Speed, has a Mac version.

Online
Posted by CptBedlam

I find it annoying that people are calling the always-online part of the game DRM, when that's really only half of it. Most of the simulation is being done on the cloud, that's what's fucking up the hip-hop so much.

It's all part of the DRM scheme though. It's not like standard PCs are unable to do the simulation part; they do some of that stuff server-side to prevent the game from being cracked.

Edited by dsi1

So glad I knew this shit was coming.

If only everyone else did...

Edited by selbie

This is the strangest game launch I've ever encountered. Somebody at EA fucked this up real hard.

Edited by IcelandicHossi

I HATE EA so much, they just ruin everything

Posted by Jace
Posted by GERALTITUDE

I hope it's working when I get home, just bought it last night.

Edited by Stonyman65

@project343: I have a feeling a lot of people are going to be saying that exact same thing lol.

"Well guys, back to the drawing board!"

Edited by Wallace316

I want to buy this game, but knew this would happen after my experience with D3. I'll be avoiding that 'confirm purchase' button until I see on here or some other website that things have been sorted out.

Posted by WinterSnowblind

The game is now officially out in Europe. Expect server problems to be doubled.

Edited by kycinematic

The word of mouth for this game is already polarized to hell and back. Way to scare away potential customers and piss off everybody who already bought the game.

I find it hard to believe that nobody at the companies saw this coming.

"Everybody has to sign into the EA servers first before they can play."

"Shouldn't we test and make sure we'll be able to handle launch day and beyond?"

"Nah."

Posted by Th3_James

I don't even want to play the fucking game anymore, I just want a refund. I could have used that money on drugs and pizza.

Edited by kerikxi

There's no metric to measure how quickly my enthusiasm for this game shriveled up and died. Yeah, I anticipated server problems, although not on quite this monumental a scale. The biggest killer is the designed focus on multiplayer and cooperation, coupled with the abysmally tiny cities. I'm completely with Jeff, I want to build huge cities and that's about it. I don't give a hoot about other players, and I don't want to run multiple inferior cities by myself. Fundamentally they've designed a SimCity I don't want to play. So, meh.

Posted by Funkydupe

Its really sad. SimCity doesn't deserve this. It should have been a new, bigger and better game, a 2013 title. Now it will be remembered for small city spaces and a bad launch.

Edited by SpoogeMcduck

When I log in to Origin it shows I've got 3 hours of time played. I've only played a few minutes and the rest of that time is how long its sat trying to connect to servers.

Posted by KrypticKiller

Love the series but I will not buy always online games. This is why.

Edited by barberforce

This whole situation seems fairly similar to the whole mess surrounding the Simpsons Tapped Out Game that ea also have

Posted by Korolev

Ah crap. I really wanted this game to be good. But EA stuffs it up again. Frickin "always online" crap.

Edited by CJduke

The whole gameplay mechanic of being dependent on other players to make your city run well, as well as the small size of the cities is really not making me want to play this game anyway. I was looking forward to making a huge city, not those tiny things they showed in the quick look.

Edited by Ben_H

Polygon just dropped their score to 4.0. It is too bad, I imagine that original review sold a lot of copies.

Online
Edited by me3639

I gave up buying day one releases a long time ago for these type of problems that continue to plague the industry. But no one ever learns. I would bet in a month or two, once this mess has been cleared up, it will be everything they have advertised it to be. Just like Diablo, Skyrim, Red Dead, Wii U, etc....

Posted by LucidDreams117

http://kotaku.com/5989350/nfl-punter-kicks-the-crap-out-of-ea-and-simcity

This is the greatest thing I've read all day. Oh man. Props to this guy. He tells it like it is. Kudos.

Hahahaha.

Edited by RollingZeppelin

I say all of us out of luck mayors go build a sewage outflow pipe in EA's headquarters.

Posted by MrBubbles

well i finally got into a game and played for a few hours but the game didn't save any of what i did and i lost everything! FUCK THIS!

Posted by Kane_233

European Servers seem to be imploding. First time I've seen that much red on the server screen.

Edited by squidraid

I say all of us out of luck mayors go build a sewage outflow pipe in EA's headquarters.

A++ would prank again

Edited by BR4DL3I9H

I haven't played a PC game in a few years, and this was going to be the one that was going to draw me back in, but like a lot of people I have been hesitating to pick this up because of all the pre-launch issues and now with these launch issues I am just going to wait until it drops in price, or until they remove the stupid always online model.

Edited by Wilshere

http://www.polygon.com/game/simcity-2013/2630

From 8 to 4.

Oh wow! Also Amazon stopped selling it, there is a warning about the servers.

Posted by Dan_CiTi

Dang, they stopped selling the damn thing? That's a whole new level for this stuff. Ouch.

Posted by TheAdmin

It's day 3 and the servers are worse than they've been all week. The updater is slow, the servers disconnect constantly, the tutorial doesn't work correctly, and the game lags out consistently. EA really fucked this one good.

Posted by flippyandnod

Congratulations Giantbomb on being the only site to write an article about SimCity's problems without using a SimCity natural disaster publicity shot as the picture for the story.

Posted by TurboMan

To EA and any other company that wants to restrict their game with crippling DRM: Stop It.

Online
Edited by Stimpack

I'm sorry, but EA can sit and spin. I've never liked always-on DRM.

Edited by Freki

Lost all interest when it was clear it was just going to be Sim Village 2 with tiny districts and super heros so luckily stayed with CitiesXL Platinum ( Sim City 4 fans should give that a go ) and now that it's clear just how much a mess the launch is I'm really starting to apriciate just how sceptical I have become with age regarding both reboots of old franchises, but certainly also EA

Feel bad about those who lost money and time and still can't play.. but are also wondering why they haven't learned the lesson to wait for reviews and launch before buying games

Edited by The_Vein

It's seriously depressing that these sorts of releases are continuing. I dread the future where it's an accepted thing that you just can't play a new PC game for a few days after it comes out while the companies try to get their stupid always on server shit strait.

Posted by Gimbal_Lock

Maxis' getting boned over by EA on this one. They must be pretty bummed out.

Posted by laserbolts

@efesell said:

@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.

At the same time though Wow is a MMO this is happening to people trying to have a single player experience. This is just the worst.