March 9, 2013
Maxis, EA Offer SimCity Players A Free Game For Their Woes
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
The opening line on EA´s SimCity site says “Build the city of your dreams.” However, when the game officially launched on March 5, the dream quickly subsided and was replaced with one massive nightmare. This nightmare came in the form of countless angry customers who were outraged because of constantly crashing servers while trying to either download or play their game.EA, a company perhaps best known for producing some of the most exciting sports games under its EA Sports brand, anticipated big things when it launched the latest simulation-based building game. But the decade-long wait for a stunning follow-up to its popular SimCity franchise was met with complete disaster.
Now, just days after millions of angry fans were left with a pricy piece of junk in their hands, the gaming company offered a statement, saying they would vow to fix the problem and offer those who purchased a game on the Origins game store a free game as a way to say they are sorry.
Lucy Bradshaw, General Manager of Maxis, a subsidiary of EA, said the server issues are beginning to improve as the company adds more capacity. She acknowledged there would continue to be “response and stability problems” for some customers and they were “working fast” to address those problems.
She said the reason behind the calamity is pretty simple: “a lot more people logged on than we expected. More people played and played in ways we never saw in the beta.” Bradshaw admitted it was a “dumb” move to believe there wouldn´t be a huge influx of gamers vying for game space, but they are “committed to fixing it.”
In the statement, issued Friday afternoon, she said server capacity was extended by 120 percent over the past 48 hours and was continuing to improve. She noted more and more people were being able to get on and build their cities, and the number of disruptions had dropped by 80 percent.
She said a total fix was close at hand, but they were still not quite there. “I´m hoping to post another update this weekend to let everyone know that the launch issues are behind us,” Bradshaw said.
One of the initial issues was not just server crashes, but that the game has to be played online. Many complaints poured in with customers commenting it made no sense to turn a game that was always played offline into an always-on sim.
Bradshaw maintained that in order to be a great game, they had to take it to the next level. She said the general consensus among critics is that it is a great game, and EA and Maxis will continue to strive to continue to make it a great game.
“But this SimCity is made to be played online, and if you can´t get a stable connection, you´re NOT having a good experience. So we´re not going to rest until we´ve fixed the remaining server issues,” she added.
And to make sure customers know the creators are committed to the game, they are prepared to offer all players who purchased SimCity a free game of their choice.
“To get us back in your good graces, we´re going to offer you a free PC download game from the EA portfolio,” Bradshaw said in the statement. “On March 18, SimCity players who have activated their game will receive an email telling them how to redeem their free game.”
Bradshaw acknowledged offering a free game may seem like a lowball effort to win back customers, but “we feel bad about what happened. We´re hoping you won´t stay mad and that we´ll be friends again when SimCity is running at 100 percent.”
While Maxis and EA are not providing any details on what games will be offered on the 18th, it seems likely people will be able to choose from a predetermined selection of titles on EA´s Origin digital game store.