SimCity server woes impact global launch

Maxis GM acknowledges issues for players in Europe and Asia, Origin asks affiliates to stop promoting the game

When SimCity's North American launch earlier this week was marred by server issues, Electronic Arts said it was "confident" that it would have its Origin online service stabilized and ready to handle the game's international debut. That confidence was apparently misplaced, according to a Polygon report on an internal EA memo from Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw.

In the memo, Bradshaw said server issues made the North American rollout problematic, adding, "It's also now evident that players across Europe and Asia are experiencing the same frustration."

Bradshaw also acknowledged that reviewers have been docking the game as a result of the server issues, and that Maxis is working to "manage this as closely as possible." Polygon's own review of SimCity dropped from a 9.5 out of 10 to an 8, and sits at a 4 as of this writing.

"SimCity is an online game and critics and consumers have every right to expect a smooth experience from beginning to end," Bradshaw said. "I and the Maxis team take full responsibility to deliver on our promise."

The memo notes that three servers were added yesterday, with more to come during the weekend. Bradshaw also said that Maxis would be working around the clock to fix the game's issues.

UPDATE: According to another email obtained by Polygon, EA Origin has asked affiliates of its LinkShare to "stop actively promoting" SimCity on their websites. The LinkShare program rewards affiliates who host text links and banner ads for Origin products on their websites, giving them a cut of revenue derived from their referrals. However, the game remains available through the Origin website, and the downloadable version has also resumed sales on, which stopped selling digital copies after the game's server issues became known.

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Latest comments (10)

Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus9 years ago
Nice that they're trying to manage our review scores. Really cute.

To be fair, Maxis was caught between a rock and a hard place. I can't imagine they were excited about being forced onto Origin, forced into ridiculous DRM, forced into all of these things that are the price of working with EA.
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Mary Hilton Community Manager, Reclaim Your Game9 years ago
Of course they weren't excited about being forced into making a game unplayable.

I wonder how many Maxis people have quit in utter frustration and anger over the debut of their hard work being destroyed by EA's utter incompetence?

I bet a whole lot of them.
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Pablo Santos Developer 9 years ago
Amazing. Specially after seeing Blizzard stumbling on the similar problems months ago.
One would think business people would be the first to learn from other companies mistakes and *not* be cheap on an international debut.
History definitely repeats itself.
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Show all comments (10)
Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer 9 years ago
Haven't they f-ing learned from all the other big online game releases? It's just a matter of incompetent managers who should have forseen this, I don't think the technology is the problem, it's the lack of enough servers that's the problem... And having a singleplayer game needing to keep connected to the internet is just the biggest bullocks of all...
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Jason Alexander QA - Senior Tester, Blizzard Entertainment9 years ago
I think the server issues are the least of the problem and the hoops you have to jump through to buy the game are the real problem. Are the days coming when every Publisher is going to have its own program on my computer to download its games.
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James Prendergast Process Specialist 9 years ago
What's the average time frame for EA shuttering servers for the online portions of games? 2 years? 3??

I wouldn't put it past them to do this in late 2014/early 2015 citing server costs being too high.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 9 years ago
Indeed. If they cheaped-out on the number of servers in launch week (when the load is heaviest), what makes anyone think that they'll keep the servers open for any reasonable amount of time?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 9th March 2013 9:07am

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Andreia Quinta Photographer 9 years ago
I want to spot badmouthing EA on every article that pops up, but they make it so irresistible! *yum*
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 9 years ago
Oh, for the common sense days of single player. Eh, whatever. I skipped this new game and just dug out my SNES and copy of Sim City. THAT started up and played perfectly.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 9 years ago
Mmmm... This is just making me tempted to buy Sim City 4 on Steam. One-third the price of 5, and since my last contact with Sim City was 1 on the Amiga, I'm sure I'll be impressed with the graphics and path-finding, even if it's not as shiny as the latest game. :p
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