Surprising no one, the launch of SimCity was mired in problems as a result of both the game's always-on internet connection DRM and the lack of an option to pre-load game files. In response to all the issues surrounding the launch, EA are offering a refund to anyone who's been affected by the issues.
For those of you living in the United States, you may have been looking forward to spending today wearing your self-made mayoral hat and robe whilst delving deep into constructing the perfect city in the newly released SimCity. Yet when the designated switch flicker over in EA towers flipped the heavy binary bar on the side of the US servers from "NO, thank you" to "YES, please", the servers quickly overheated from the traffic load and promptly fell over.
The problem was two-fold.
Firstly, EA hadn't allowed pre-orderers to download the game files before launch. Usually publishers using digital distribution let you pre-install the game so that on launch day you're all set to start playing. Because EA didn't it meant that everyone who was now able to play SimCity all tried to download a copy of the game at the same time, causing a massive server-stopping drain.
Answering why there were no pre-loads, EA's Origin global community manager, Marcel Hatam, said in a complaints thread "pre-loads are very important, which is why we usually offer them (as we did for all of our last big releases like Crysis 3 and Dead Space 3). This didn't come together for SimCity unfortunately, for which I again apologize." Comforting words.
The second issue was that once players did get the game installed they found that there was no space on servers for them to play. This caused numerous problems because not only did it stop people from playing, those that could get into a server often weren't able to get in with their friends, defeating the much-touted social aspect of the game. Also, players found that they could not play a city-build between servers. So if you built a city on one server, lost connection and were unable to get back in, you'd need to start all over again on a different server.
It all sounds a little ridiculous.
In response to the launch day trouble Hatam said " If you regrettably feel that we left you down, you can of course request a refund for your order at http://help.origin.com/contact-us , though we are currently still in the process of resolving this issue. "
With the European launch due for the 8 March, hopefully EA are sorting out pre-loads now.