EA Will Give A Free PC Game To Anyone Who Bought SimCity

Anyone who bought SimCity will get a free video game, EA said tonight in a blog post.

Apologizing for the crippling server issues that have rendered the new simulation game near-unplayable for the past week, Maxis general manage Lucy Bradshaw said that anyone with an copy of SimCity activated before March 18 will get a free PC game from EA's catalogue.

Here's the full blog post:

Here's a quick update on the problems we were experiencing with SimCity — and a little something extra for people who bought the game.
The server issues which began at launch have improved significantly as we added more capacity. But some people are still experiencing response and stability problems that we're working fast to address.
So what went wrong? 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.
OK, we agree, that was dumb, but we are committed to fixing it. In the last 48 hours we increased server capacity by 120 per cent. It's working — the number of people who have gotten in and built cities has improved dramatically. The number of disrupted experiences has dropped by roughly 80 per cent.
So we're close to fixed, but not quite there. I'm hoping to post another update this weekend to let everyone know that the launch issues are behind us.

Something Special for Your Trouble

The good news is that SimCity is a solid hit in all major markets. 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.
And to get us back in your good graces, we're going to offer you a free PC download game from the EA portfolio. On March 18, SimCity players who have activated their game will receive an email telling them how to redeem their free game.
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 per cent.
SimCity is a GREAT game and the people who made it are incredibly proud. Hang in there — we'll be providing more updates throughout the weekend.


    While it doesn't fix the whole mess, it's a nice gesture.

    But watch people find a way to piss and moan about a free game.

      Pretty easily. They're not getting the free game now, nor do they know what kind of game they can choose (can they choose $50-$100 games? or is it a lucky dip from the reject pile).

        My point, illustrated.

          Doesn't mean though that their points aren't valid.

          Yeah, because after getting your teeth punched out by someone, having them buy you a pint makes it all better.


            Yeah, because being unable to play a game on it's release is the same as getting your teeth punched out.


            Your comment suggests how seriously you view this problem. I bought in on release, just taking the shrink wrap off now. I've been so busy I haven't had a chance to look at it. It will work out over time. I'm happy to pay for a product that is supported with continuous development . I work for a software company (can you guess which one?). Managing this complexity on release is not easy, especially when peoples expectations of quality are analogous to a closed-state product. Relax. Companies like EA and Blizzard will learn from this. Hindsight is an incredibly powerful tool isn't it?

          If something went balls up, wouldn't you prefer that the original problem be fixed as opposed to being given a peace offering? Look, it's a very strong possibility that EA will continue to shove this forced online DRM crap in all of their games making every release a pain in the butt. I highly doubt a free game is going to make up for all the frustration. You know what'd be even more awesome? If they gifted a game that also requires on online connection and whose servers may shut down in a few years time. I say the complaining is pretty justified. People don't want a free game, they want the original problem fixed.

            The only thing that needs to be fixed is how many people are buying ripoffs like this.

      Its remind's me of this maccas play thing, the free game download piece that you can get is just a shit flash game that you wouldn't spit on. I know its free, but the way they put it like ive won some awesome prize really just pisses me off.

        I read that they didnt have this many people on the beta, If they made it open beta maybe they would of seen true numbers :\

          Estimating the number of players based on a beta trial would be a universal mistake.. Some very high up people are bound to be losing their jobs over this.

        Exactly the same situation I was in. Pulled the monopoly sticker of the coke, got all excited spent half an hour trying to redeem it when all it was was a pile of crap burger shooting bullshit.

      Gotta love how she calls SimCity a great game and the players have been positive.

      What a fucking joke.

      Sim City is the most recently released game from EA. Every game I wanted from EA I bought already.

      EA are offering to give punters games they don't want? How generous.

      EA is offering to give punters games that are old enough to be worth less than what they paid for Sim City? How generous.

      EA has had nearly a week to fix this - and they had a lot more than that to prevent this happening in the first place.

      Consumers don't want hollow peace-offerings. Consumers want EA to fix the problems.

      Consumers want to play THIS game that THEY chose to buy. Not to be offered an alternative they did not otherwise choose.

      If EA isn't up to the task of publishing games, perhaps they should leave it to companies that are?

    I hear they have a few extra copies of Medel of honor warfighter

    You know what, the fact they have been in constant communication with their consumers and now acknowledging and also trying to mend the broken hearts out there with a free game, is alright in my books.

      This isn't some accidental mistake that they are making amends for, this is them trying to save face after PURPOSEFULLY screwing over the entire sim city fan base.

      They chose to ruin the game with DRM.

      They chose to make it always online DRM and force multiplayer BS to it.

      They CHOSE NOT to make enough servers despite knowing the massive amount of people wanting to play (easily indicated by pre orders).

      They chose not to let people pre download and Install the game.

      They KNEW this was going to happen, it happened to D3 but jesus at least they fixed their shit in time, D3 was playable within a day for most, this Pos still isn't.

      And now they say a "Free game", yeah I'm sure all those people who are super pissed at EA are going to give 2 shits about one of their crummy titles worth less than $5.

      So to me its not alright, they are trying to make themselves seem like the victims or the good guys doing such an awesome thing for their customers. When in fact its their fault, they did this on purpose, they just didn't expect such a huge backlash from it. EA is the games company equivalent of refusing to recall a faulty car and instead just paying the law suit because its cheaper. They are a blight on the industry and I can't wish for their demise to come soon enough.

      So I'm just thankful i learned my lesson from D3 and refused to buy it on principle.

        There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding... if you ever play the game you'll realize how heavily reliant it is on online features, there's no way this game in it's current state could run offline. Personally I'm really enjoying it and I love the social aspects of the game. I might be on my own here but I'm actually not fussed about all the issues, the pros more than make up for the cons IMO.

          I'll just quickly add that I fully agree with your comment about EA not letting people pre-install. There's no justifiable excuse for that.

          in some ways i agree but in others i don't. You can already privatise a region and run them all yourselves which is basically a single player game. So there could have been an offline mode

            Definitely a valid point. I should have stated I would prefer to have an option in regards to always online however it doesn't seem so much DRM to me, it seems to be a pretty fundamental part of the game.

              I'd say the social side is something SimCity fans have wanted for a while. I remember wanting it back when I first played SimCity. It seemed like the perfect idea. In the modern game industry it makes perfect sense for multiplayer to be a huge part of the game. However what they've done here is twist and manipulate that into a mask for a rather hostile DRM system that nobody would agree to otherwise.
              They're essentially exploiting the fact that online play is a good idea for the game. If they somehow manage to get away with this I expect we'll see more tacked on social features in EA games to justify an always on requirement.

                Mate, I'm a Sim City fan but I don't care much for online multiplayer anything these days. That ship sailed for me 10 years ago, there's nothing new.

              Yes it doesn't run offline in its current state but again they MADE it that way. They came up with thier bullshit excuse that not even a high end gaming machine could handle it. Which is 100% bullshit, its just the only valid excuse they could make for thier customer raping DRM plans.

              The game was built from the ground up to screw customers over, if the game really did need a mini super computer to do the calculations then the cost alone to EA"s back end would be $100's per single customer to fucking build, let alone run. It is without a doubt a 100% LIE as they would be loseing insane amounts of money.

              The point was EA went OUT OF THEIR WAY to make this game fit their DRM, they literally built the whole game around it. IT did nothing but ruin the entire experience so far for proablay 90 odd % of its users.

              This isn't an accident, they knew it would piss people off, they jsut didn't care. Just like my car maker example, they seemed to think that the ends justifed the means and they dont. They need to be bitch slapped by some lawyers or something because the behavior is disgraceful i dont care if there is anything they can be legally sued over. They jsut need to be taught a lesson and im still outragged, so much in fact tha ti will never buy an EA product again, ever. I will specifically go out of my way to pirate every last one of them. Even if ea's involvement is only in name i dont care, something needs to change in the games industry because people seem far too willing to let these companys bend them over and take a good ass fucking, to be put bluntly.

              Excuse spelling mistakes im angry in physical pain and tired. /end rant.

                Was the always online thing common knowledge from the get go? Yup.
                Has every online only game ever had a rocky launch? Pretty much.
                Did you buy it anyway? Sounds like it.
                Do you have a leg to stand on? Can't see one.

                  He clearly stated he didn't buy this game. And while every online game has rocky launches, none have been broken and almost unplayable for up to a week at a time.
                  And while it was stated from the start it was an online game, it should've been more so a reason for EA to get their fucking shit straight and have it ready day one.

        They were completely open that the game required an always on connection

        They could only guesstimate at the number of release day sales

        I agree that preloading should of been allowed, but apparently being one of the lucky ones I bought it on release and haven't had an issue. Regardless, maybe it's time for you to sack up and stop acting like a child

    Free game thats good.
    Origin thats bad.
    But free game thats good.
    But EA thats bad.

      Haha, I remember a few months EA had that survey mishap with the free games giveaway. Needing Origin stopped me claiming that deal.

        what is peoples problems with fucking Origin, it works, it doesn't cause any issues, you can play game on it, all games work, even Simcity if you wait, so what is peoples fucking problem? is it because its not steam? fucking deal with it, there is nothing wrong with Origin

          I choose to use Steam. I don't want extra game launchers running on my PC. EA chooses not to publish games on Steam, that's their choice, but it means I won't be buying them.

            why should EA go to steam, theirs no obligation for them to do that, maybe they don't wanna use steam

              Fine then they can let the game run by itself, no origin, no steam. People who use Steam don't want extra hassle. Do things like the old days I say.

                What exactly is the "hassle" of having more than 1 program running on your computer that just authenticates your games and then sits quietly in the background?

                Just admit you're stubbornly loyal to Steam and/or you're obsessed about sticking to 1 neat game library.

                  The hassle would be in those programs using up resources which means worse performance in games. I doubt it's that significant though. My game's aren't slow when I've got Steam and Origin running, on a 2 year old mid-range laptop.

                  Last edited 10/03/13 10:58 am

                  The hassle is that there is in no way a goddamn need for these authentication programs unless you're running some kind of persistent hackable MMO account with valued items. Games both single and multiplayer didn't need this crap 15 years ago and most of them still don't. When it comes to game library collation and contact with online 'friends' I've got Steam for that and I don't see why I should just load up more of the same program just because the publisher wants me to.

                  Also there is no way I am loyal to Steam. Steam is also one of the hated forms of DRM I wish gaming could just do without, but right now it functions properly enough for its purpose. I put up with Steam and don't want to put up with another.

              Of course there's no obligation for them to release on Steam. And there is no obligation for me to use Origin. So I won't.

          Stupid question is stupid. It's because it's made by EA (okay, there's more to it than that but I feel that's the gist of it).
          I like Origin. It works fine for me and I love how it handles updates and how it has twitch.tv streaming built into it (something I'm surprised steam doesn't have yet). They just need to work on their sales (which have been getting better recently).

          Maybe because it started life as one of the most bloody obnoxious pieces of thinly veiled DRM ever? I guess if you have a short memory you won't remember this. Or if you're an EA apologist.

            Didn't people have problems with Steam when it first came out too?

              Yep, but frankly Steam was better DRM than some of the catastrophic attempts companies were making at the time, that rendered CDs unreadable by drives from some manufacturers or that that wouldn't acknowledge you were the legitimate owner.

    Free game better work without an internet connection...

      Well you'll need an internet connection to download it...

    In all honesty, I have to congratulate them on this. At least they owned up and giving away 'something'. More than what the Blizzard team did. I for once have to give EA a clap.

      Diablo was running fine by day 2. Sim City isnt.

        No it wasn't.....I specifically remember people having trouble up to a week or two after. Then of course there was the server maintenance forcing people to quit out even when they were playing single player every week.

    Right. I'm sure they'll be games from the, "Shit that isn't selling so much," catalogue.

    Free copy of Madden/Tiger Woods/FIFA 06? OH BOY!

      Or maybe free Crysis 3. That'd be sweet. Less likely than Labor winning in September, though.

    Or they could refund those who are genuinely disappointed with the game and do not want anything to do with it, instead of trying to hush them with a free game..

      They have been refunding both physical and digital copies. Pretty sad considering how good the game is and how EA will punish the devs for it though. So in the long run it's more likely to hurt Maxis than EA.

      I don't know many people who actually are disappointed with the game. The server instability, sure, but the game itself is regarded by most people as pretty stellar.

        Well when I say disappointed in the game, I should've been more specific and said the way it was implemented was a real disappointment, I still know of people who can't connect at all =/

        It's pretty sad that EA went and did this, at the most they could've beta tested with a wider audience first and made sure there was plenty of servers for the initial launch, whilst culling them off as the user based dropped off from playing it, thus being a lesser demand.

        I still find it absurd I have seen people saying that the Diablo III launch was worse.. I don't see how it was worse :S

          Well, some gamers would never let rationality and calm assessment get in the way of a good pitchfork-wielding entitlement-powered mob mentality, unfortunately.

    I've never seen such an amicable, personal address from EA. +1 kudos to them!

    "OK, we agree, that was dumb"

    Done. Forgiven. That's all it takes for me, really.

      Wow, really? Most people would at least want the mistake fixed before forgiving them.

        It's people like Robotquest here that give EA the reason to justify pushing out a broken product continuously.

          The point is, though, that EA did not intend for these problems to happen :/

          I cannot imagine any developer actively spending their time & money in figuring out ways to make games that do not work, just to f*ck with you - that's absurd!

            I would certainly hope not, but the way I see it by people just accepting a sorry with a free game, rather than asking that EA make sure the game they bought was fixed and working as intended, is making it look like the problem can be fixed with a free game.

            When it shouldn't be, to me such an apology should really be the last thing they should offer if they can't actually fix the issue. Yes it was a nice gesture of them, I am not doubting that, but a free game to hush them for the moment whilst things are fixed, eh I don't think that's really appropriate.

        It is fixed... I've had no issues with the game at all.

        Yes, but they have fixed the issues. Not to mention that people actually owning their mistakes is absurdly rare.

    Well I have been able to play sim city, and its pretty dam awesome, always online is a big negative, but overall the game is beautiful, runs well and curved roads. Sucks that you cant mod terrain, and the so called city packs, I have no idea where the content is. As for free game, well thats a plus, it will be a new game, probably battlefield 3, so they can gamble on you buying dlc.

    I have one question, how does a company as large as EA manage to release a product with such a dud backend service. I work in IT at a medium size University and there's no way we would release a product and supporting service where the appropriate analysis into performance requirements etc hadn't been done and accompanying load and performance testing wasn't carried out. So again how does a company with the amount of resources and backing as EA manage to screw up so bad!!! Was it just poor project management that allowed time constraints and pressure from higher up in the chain that drove the product to be released before it was truly ready? And if that is the case then why can't they just admit to what went wrong instead of trying to distract with free gifts of unkown quality.

      Ignorance and Penny-pinching :/

    have fun playing spore with more DRM :P

    A necessary goodwill gesture on EA's part, but what concerns me is there isn't any suggestion that they've learned from the experience, or that they won't do make the same "dumb" mistakes in the future.

    I'd much rather an indication of how they'll prevent this happening in the future as opposed to compensation for the current SNAFU (ideally, ideas that include getting Origin out of the equation, but let's face it, we're stuck with that stinker).

      Even Ubisoft said they learned from customer feedback, and actually listened by taking off their incredibly stupid DRM. EA just seems to go out of its way to have people who represent them put their foot in their mouths, and make the stupidest decisions with regards to game features/design. It's inexplicable.

    I haven't bought SimCity (and don't plan to) but I've watched this debacle with interest.

    Giving a free game is fine for people who stick it out, however they should be offering a full refund AND some sort of recompense to people who are sick of their false advertising and want to move on.

    On a more general note, I just don't understand the constant obsession with "always connected and interactive and social blah blah". A game like SimCity is about building up your own city... I'd have no interest in my city being connected to someone else's, let alone possibly dependent upon such a connection. Why can't developers realise that we don't all want multiplayer in everything and that some things are better offline?

      Because EA employs monkeys to make serious decisions for their published titles. Saves on costs, y'see? Peanuts in pay, peanuts!

    Quite clearly this game will be a download on Origin only with no transferable components including no apologies for not getting it. Also being digital it will literally cost EA nothing: They are giving you that free toy in the cereal box.

    so, are they giving refunds yet?

      If you bought it at a store, take it there. If you bought it from Origin, well it could be a little tricky.

      Also I think nobody is expecting EA to give out a title younger than 1 year, they could surprise everyone and do it, but this is EA we're talking about.

      Digital and retail copies are both getting refunds... Considering the game is not only brilliant but also working fine now I struggle to understand why anyone would want a refund though.

    Can't play the game you bought? Here! Have a different game you didn't want to buy! :D

    Yeah.. good one EA. Actually giving 'em the game they bought might be better.

    It's a great gesture on their behalf. At least they've compensated the players in some way.

    I'm still disappointed with what Sim City turned out to be. The minute it goes playable offline I'll buy it.

    I hope you all realize that it's not a gesture of apology, if it were the cut-off date would be whenever the servers went back up (or a couple days after), it's just a marketing ploy that will net them extra sales between now and march 18 while also getting to publicize it in a way that makes the company look like they are being nice and apologetic to their consumers thus humanizing the whole issue, it's manipulative and shady so I don't think it's a good idea to praise them for it.

    take your game and enjoy it sure, just don't for a second think they are doing it because they are genuinely sorry for the troubles they put you through (I'm not saying none of them are genuine, I'd be genuinely sorry if my game fucked up this much, but EA as a company could honestly care less, people respond better to a bad experience "made up for" then a good experience, so they're golden)

    *edit* oh and what's the bet they use the free game as a way to net people into using their origin service as well, it's amazing what you can disguise as an apology these days.

    Last edited 10/03/13 9:08 am

      Conspiracy theory much? Next you'll be saying they are reptilians who are part of the Illuminati who plan to take over the world by hiding chem-trails in your crop circles :/

        Hyper your delusional if you think zorid is wrong. You can eaisly tell from the way this press release is worded, from that fact that its an undisclosed game. From all of it, its just a way for EA to try and look like the good guys when they screwed over 10000's of people just to ram archaic drm down their throats.

        These problems weren't an unforseen accident, they knew they were going to happend they just didn't care. So to act all "ohhh im sorry we tried our best we didn't know honest" and the only things that pops into my head is a smirking little brat of a child who just chased the cat with a hose and pretended he didn't know what he was doing was wrong and Its disgraceful.

          I disagree entirely on the concept that they are out to get us. That to me sounds delusional.

            they aren't out to get us, they are out to get our money, that's the whole point of the thing, I'm not saying EA employees don't want to make a great game for people to play, but you'd have to be oblivious to not see this for the manipulative marketing that it is.

            a genuine apology doesn't come in the form of an incentive for more purchases or a game that requires their service, it comes in the form of two little words from the mouth of someone who means it.

            Your tinfoil hat is clearly faulty, hyper. They're controlling your mind so you think they're not out to get you. Or something. I don't know. Chem-trails.

    Nice offer, but I wont be buying into this great looking game until they bring in some kind of offline mode. Even though I'm actually quite keen to get into the social aspects and will be playing it online, I won't buy something if I know there's a chance in the future that enough people still stop playing and EA will decide to cut off the servers, leaving everyone with NO game.

    Guys, I've got a really bad feeling about this....
    Think about it... They give people an extra incentive to buy the game by essentially teasing that if you buy and activate your game in the next 8 days they will give you a free game, though they havent announced weather you're going to be able to pick any game of your choosing, or weather they pick out a bargain bin piece of shit for you... Just be aware, this could all turn out to be the worlds most well disguised douche move in the history of ever.

    Mannnnnnn people love to bitch about stuff on the internet, don't they?

      No they don't :P

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