The latest version of SimCity has only been out for a couple of days, but it’s already drawn a lot of flak from gamers. Initially it was because the servers were intermittent at best and now it’s because EA took them down in order to improve stability. Of course none of this would have been as much of an issue if it wasn’t impossible to play offline because of the always-on DRM.
This has led to masses of low scoring – many 0/10 – user reviews on Metacritic, almost all of them pointing out the problems with the use of always-on DRM. Many are also annoyed by the dumbed down gameplay, poor online save functions and the fact that without single player functionality, there’s no way gamers will be able to play this in a few years time when the servers are shut down.
So much gamer wroth has been felt, that senior producer of the game at Maxis, Kip Katsarelis, took to the EA forums to discuss it:
“This has been an exciting and challenging week for the team here at Maxis, the culmination years of planning and development. We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and enthusiasm from our fans which has made it even more upsetting for us that technical issues have become more prominent in the last 24 hours,” begins the oddly positive sounding post.
“We are hitting a number of problems with our server architecture which has seen players encountering bugs and long wait times to enter servers. This is, obviously, not the situation we wanted for our launch week and we want you to know that we are putting everything we have at resolving these issues.”
He goes on to describe how Maxis and EA are bringing more servers online to alleviate the bugs, as well as releasing more updates to fix the bugs that were present in the launch build. A cynical mind might argue that there wouldn’t have been these sorts of bugs with adequate internal and beta testing.
Karsarelis finished by quoting a load of numbers in order to sound like the game isn’t tanking: “In a single 24 hour period, there were more than 38 million buildings plopped down, nearly 7 and a half million kilometers of roads laid down, 18+ million fires started and (my favorite fact) over 40 million pipes filled up with poop.”
Not a single mention of the DRM that everyone dislikes so much.
KitGuru Says: To top it all off, the EU version of the game has yet to be released. EA claims that it should have the issues fixed by tomorrow’s launch. For its sake I hope so, or that number of angry gamers is going to get a lot bigger.