To mollify players who bought SimCity, only to be mired in a shambles of a launch, EA have released a statement apologizing for their mistakes and promising a free EA PC game as compensation.
Maxis Label GM Lucy Bradshaw writes in a blog post, “I know that’s a little contrived – kind of like buying a present for a friend after you did something crummy. 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.”
No word yet on what game, or what selection of games, will be offered to players for the their trouble. Nor is it clear from Bradshaw’s post whether there is a cut-off date on eligibility for this offer. Nevertheless, those of us who are SimCity owners right now will soon receive an email with instructions for claiming the free game.
While it’s a decent gesture, the rest of Bradshaw’s letter explaining what went wrong is unlikely to soothe angry players, as Bradshaw herself admits.
“The short answer is: a lot more people logged on than we expected. More people played and played in ways we never saw in the beta,” she says. “OK, we agree, that was dumb, but we are committed to fixing it. In the last 48 hours we increased server capacity by 120 percent.... The number of disrupted experiences has dropped by roughly 80 percent.”
While that may be true, my own experiences with SimCity today did not lead me to believe the situation is as improved as Bradshaw makes out, and I wonder if part of the decline in “disrupted experiences” is due to players giving up on the game. Of five attempts to login today, I made it into my game exactly once. I played for two hours, and although the connection to the SimCity servers flickered constantly, I was able to continue playing without interruption. But the other four times I tried to connect, the game either failed on launch or never made it out of the server queue.
As much as Bradshaw and EA might want to change the narrative to one of recovery, from my own experiences and those I see my friends having, SimCity is still a vast distance from anything approaching acceptable or even usable performance. Bradshaw’s letter is a step in the right direction, but it is just the start of what EA need to start doing to fix this launch.