EA disabling some SimCity features to help fix server issues

It's been an ... interesting launch week in the US for SimCity. The latest game in the urban planning simulation series from Electronic Arts. has been hit with online server problems ever since it launched on Tuesday. The game requires an Internet connection to play and as a result, many people who have tried to play SimCity have been unable to do so.

It's gotten so bad that today, EA issued a new hotfix patch for SimCity that actually removes some online features. In a post on the game's message board, a EA team member described the patch, saying, "This includes various improvements and also disables a few non-critical gameplay features (leaderboards, achievements and region filters). Disabling these features will in no way affect your core gameplay experience."

On Wednesday, SimCity's senior producer Kip Katsarelis posted up a message that said EA was launching more servers and issuing patches, adding, "Our live ops team is working 24/7 to resolve issues and ensure that bug fixes roll into the game as quickly as possible."

It's clear that EA was in no way prepared for the influx of players who signed onto the SimCity servers. It's also proved to be a debate point for gamers who have complained about the growing amount of PC games that require an Internet connection, even if the gamer wants to play a single player campaign or scenario.

Source: EA | Image via EA

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Way worse tho. At least I could play Diablo III on launch date. It's been two days and I still can't connect to a server

i couldnt play diablo for a week it was htat lagged and bugged and now i wasted the money and i dont even play it anymore

DRM game that requires Internet connection to play? Eh, even Ubisoft learnt from that mistake...won't buy this, that's for sure.

Praetor said,
DRM game that requires Internet connection to play? Eh, even Ubisoft learnt from that mistake...won't buy this, that's for sure.

Indeed. Wanted to buy this for my wife but the always online thing made me change my mind.
inb4 whiners saying : heh, everyone have interwebz connection now.
Nope, no netz at my in-laws.

So that explains why I'm now currently downlading a patch when I installed it earlier today and there was no patch.
It is unacceptable that these companies aren't ready with their servers on launch day. But then again, these days it's more about rushing the game as quickly as possible and then later releasing a patch to fix it, rather than fixing bugs before release.
I'm excited to play the game but all I've heard is complaints about the online aspect of this game.

I think EA will change their minds about SimCity and the DRM used. I think they're doing this atm because it is a widely popular game and they want users to purchase it. With the life of Sim City 4 being 10 years, i'm sure in 2-3 years, they will release offline files. I think they just want to make their money at the moment.

suprNOVA said,
I think EA will change their minds about SimCity and the DRM used. I think they're doing this atm because it is a widely popular game and they want users to purchase it. With the life of Sim City 4 being 10 years, i'm sure in 2-3 years, they will release offline files. I think they just want to make their money at the moment.

Which they would've made 10x more had they done this game right and not made it online only.

I doubt that, I think either way they done it, was going to lose people. If they made it offline and DRM free, then it would be available for download on all the usual sites in no time at all. They've done this launch wrong with the issues its having. But for PC market online connections all the time is one of few ways they can get people to buy. One of the reasons the console market is so popular now, is its a lot harder to pirate.

Wow, glad I didn't buy this. This smells of pure fiasco. Congrats to EA for dropping the big ole bomb on this one.

And I totally agree 1000% with the sentiments about the DRM. Seems these days, first concrete design choice set in stone is: put some ridiculous DRM in game.

ir0nw0lf said,
Wow, glad I didn't buy this. This smells of pure fiasco. Congrats to EA for dropping the big ole bomb on this one.

And I totally agree 1000% with the sentiments about the DRM. Seems these days, first concrete design choice set in stone is: put some ridiculous DRM in game.

Havent bought it either and the only reason being the always-online part.
The game is quite fun, I surely enjoyed the BETA. Hearing all the issues, I'm glad I haven't bought it yet. I'm still hoping EA changes its mind with always-online.

Why don't you you turn off this always-on DRM rubbish even for single player? And offer a boxed version without Origin while you are at it.

fix =/= workaround.

I am glad this turned out to be a massive disaster. The industry needs a clear lesson (again, unfortunately) in [always-on] DRM.

It is just going to get exponentially worse when all the UK gamers get on tomorrow. This won't be fixed for a long time.

You would think that after the fiasco of the Diablo 3 launch these companies would learn. I think they were prepared as far as they were willing to initially spend money to be prepared. I think they knew they would have to do this and that they don't really care about the gamers. As long as we keep forking over the money for their cra*** services they will keep doing it.

Us poor UK residents finally get it tomorrow... what do you reckon the chances are of the servers being ready for another influx of new players?

Also, can I just say that the "pre-loading" thing is a joke. All it seems to pre-load is the 200mb launcher, nothing else. Meaning I've still got several gigs to download tomorrow when it does finally go live.

EA = Everything Awful

Yea... I noticed that. The US users didn't even get a pre-load not that it would of helped much just as you had pointed out. I got a 3Mbit line. I was hoping I could download it all through origin while I went out and did some shopping but had to wait on the rest of the download via the launcher.

BTW the launcher doesn't give any indication on what it is downloading. It will just say "processing large file" the whole time.

Given the "rave reviews" that SimCity is getting, do you really want to put you hard-earned money down to support the kind of bull**** that EA is trying to pull?

It's like watching the Spore tragedy all over again.

Same thing happened on Diablo 3's launch, and pretty much every online-only game. Every time it's the same excuse "We never expected that many players". So um, when will you start expecting the right amount?

Dr_Asik said,
So um, when will you start expecting the right amount?

Who knows what the right amount is? No matter what predictive model you use, some of your numbers are going to be wrong.

Deranged said,

Who knows what the right amount is? No matter what predictive model you use, some of your numbers are going to be wrong.
Well you would think that after repeated launch experiences, they would start getting an idea of how many players are there at launch and what server capacity they need. You can't keep pleading ignorance indefinitely.

Dr_Asik said,
Well you would think that after repeated launch experiences, they would start getting an idea of how many players are there at launch and what server capacity they need. You can't keep pleading ignorance indefinitely.

That's why they hold betas and prefer preorders, to help predict how much capacity they'll need. But there's also how each server will react under load, which you can test and test but without real players you'll never have an exact number. There's also how long those players will be playing, which you'll never know until launch. You also can't just get too many servers or it'll destroy what you make off the game in the first place. To have a perfect predictive model you need perfect data, and that's not possible.

Edited by TheExperiment, Mar 9 2013, 8:20pm :

Deranged said,

That's why they hold betas and prefer preorders, to help predict how much capacity they'll need. But there's also how each server will react under load, which you can test and test but without real players you'll never have an exact number. There's also how long those players will be playing, which you'll never know until launch. You also can't just get too many servers or it'll destroy what you make off the game in the first place. To have a perfect predictive model you need perfect data, and that's not possible.
You don't need perfection, you just make a best guess based on past experience - and at this point the past experience is considerable - and then you err on the side of overestimating. If that means lost money on servers, it's still better than getting mediocre reviews.

Dr_Asik said,
You don't need perfection, you just make a best guess based on past experience - and at this point the past experience is considerable - and then you err on the side of overestimating. If that means lost money on servers, it's still better than getting mediocre reviews.

Past experience at other companies, sure. Neither Maxis nor EA have anything to do with Blizzard.

Majesticmerc said,
Given the "rave reviews" that SimCity is getting, do you really want to put you hard-earned money down to support the kind of bull**** that EA is trying to pull?

It's like watching the Spore tragedy all over again.

This is the exact reason EA won't ever stop implementing what they think can bring them more money. People will buy its favourite game no matter what. In a while we will have micro-transanction in order to move to the next level... Just wait for it.

It's actually pretty shocking... if you DO manage to get on, then come out of a game you end up losing your city as the server had gone down and hadn't saved it.
Or you can get onto a server, then try to create a game and it then drops you from the server.
I have barely been able to play the game

i was reading about this earlier. and you would think that EA knew there was going to be a huge strain on the servers as it is a very popular franchise, however, at least they are willing to disable a few features to get the game as a whole up and running rather than just leaving the servers disabled until they resolve the issues.