Electronic Arts’ SimCity was easily the most anticipated game of the season, but its launch was an unmitigated disaster because the DRM solution Electronic Arts and Maxis dreamt up means users have to always be online if they want to play. Sadly, EA’s servers weren’t up to the task and most players were either unable to connect or got kicked out of the game after a while. Today, Lucy Bradshaw, EA’s general manager for its Maxis label, issued an apology. EA is also offering players who were affected by these issues a free game from its catalog.
Bradshaw says that not having enough server capacity was ‘dumb.’ EA has now increased its server capacity by 120 percent. In an age where spinning up a few Amazon EC2 or Windows Azure instances takes minutes, it’s surprising that EA wasn’t able to scale its platform quicker, but at least, Bradshaw also says, the number of “disrupted experiences has dropped by roughly 80 percent.”
“The good news is that SimCity is a solid hit in all major markets,” she writes. ” The consensus among critics and players is that this is fundamentally 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.”
Starting March 18, all SimCity players who have activated their game will receive an email that will tell them how to get their free game. It’s not clear if this only applies to players who bought the game before the apology was issued, or if new players – who are still facing issues today – will also be able to redeem this offer.