The head of the studio behind the troubled new SimCity told Kotaku today that efforts to solve the game’s server woes will continue aggressively into the weekend. The statement, from Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw, indicates that some people are in fact playing the game but that EA has a long way to go to get things right:
Thousands of players across the world are playing and having a good experience — in fact, more than 700,000 cities have been built by our players in just 24 hours. But many are experiencing server instability and consequently, the rollout in North America has been challenging. It’s also now evident that players across Europe and Asia are experiencing the same frustration. Our priority now is to quickly and dramatically increase the number and stability of our servers and, with that, the number of players who can simultaneously access the game. We added servers today, and there will be several more added over the weekend. We’re working as hard as possible to make sure everyone gets to experience the amazing game we built in SimCity.
Bradshaw’s statement came in response to several specific questions we sent to representatives at EA, the game-publisher that contains Maxis. Sadly, as you’ll see, some questions, including a query about an offline mode, were not addressed.
1) Despite EA’s experience with online games and the precedent of Activision’s shaky Diablo III launch for that always-online game, EA’s now had an always-online game that players have been struggling to connect to for three days. How did this happen? How was EA not better prepared?
2) EA statements have indicated that server maintenance is ongoing. But as it stands right now you have paying customers who can’t play the game they paid for. What is EA doing to make that up to the customers?
3) SimCity uses its online connection to connect player cities and support online challenges, but it seems clear now that some sort of offline mode would appease many fans. Is EA going to enable this option for the game?
4) Part of the anger I see over this is the assumption that this is, ultimately a DRM step that is only hurting valid, paying customers. How does EA see the DRM aspect of this?
5) What changes is EA implementing to keep this from happening again?