SimCity launch hobbled by server strain; EA offering refunds

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.

Details below.

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 , 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.

Cheers, PC Gamer.

Sign in to Commentlogin to comment
Andytizer avatarDustyGerkin avatarScotten avatarGurning Chimp avatarwhohash avatarRumply avatar+1
Andytizer Avatar
4 Years ago

UK version activates on the 8th. It is possible to activate the game via VPN ( but of course, getting onto a server is another matter entirely.

DustyGerkin Avatar
4 Years ago

Sometimes it's just good to be on this side of the pond. Let the North Americans sort out the issues.

Can't understand why they didn't sort out pre-loads, can only think they were too worried about piracy to bother thinking about the customers.

Scotten Avatar
4 Years ago

Surprise! Those who do need heed history are doomed to repeat it.

Neat looking game, but with the small city size and always-on Internet required: no thank you.

Gurning Chimp Avatar
4 Years ago



HARK! For I can hear the death knell of the Sim City franchise!

whohash Avatar
4 Years ago

Spent 60 mins waiting for ea contact for them to tell me refund were not being given???? sooo does this article have an credit or just another ea trick to try to keep my money?

Rumply Avatar
4 Years ago

3 and a half hours on wait for a chat representative to hear that the only refunds are given under the TOS, Section 7 which states in some countries if you purchased from EA and haven't started download yet, you can get a refund under the Cooloff period. Otherwise you are out of luck.

I think it is simply smoke and mirrors on EA's part.. technically you can get a refund under Section 7, if it applies to you in your country... so he wasn't lying... but the EA rep who said there would be refunds KNEW that the number of people who would follow his instructions and wait 3 hours in the chat queue were a fraction.. my guess is he was counting on most just to give up and sit through the crap till the servers settle down... or try to get refunds from retailers instead (which means they still get to keep the money). No.. this is PR.. not a real effort to make it right.

JohnnyGutz Avatar
4 Years ago

I don't want a refund. instead of a refund which would cost you 60 dollars + tax.. why don't you just send me the delux download code for free , EA :)? that would be better for the both of us