The SimCity Disaster Continues: EA Disables Features To Get Servers Working

The SimCity Disaster Continues: EA Disables Features To Get Servers Working

Hey, remember when video games came out and then you could actually play them? As we enter day 3 of the SimCity launch debacle, EA has decided to turn off “a few non-critical gameplay features” in order to let people play on the servers, which have been broken since the game launched on Monday night.

From their forums:

We are continuing to do everything we can to address the server issues. In the meantime, so that we can give you as good an experience as possible, we are in the process of deploying a hotfix to all servers. 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.

We will continue to let you know as we have more information. We know it has been said before, but we do appreciate your patience as we complete this latest update. Getting you playing is our absolute highest priority.

What a mess. Inexcusable.

SimCity Forum Post [EA Forums via Polygon]


  • The biggest problem I’ve had is the launcher crashing because it didn’t install properly.

    What I can’t get past is how much you guys are trying to get a lynch mob started about this. It’s a new MMO. It has it’s issues. Did I see you reporting on widespread issues like this on GW2? Nope! Because it wasn’t EA so it wasn’t cool to bash.

    • But they were acting like this about Diablo.

      These games are not being sold as MMOs… and are historically single player games.

      • EA stated from the beginning that they were turning into a multiplayer game, thus, not making it a single player game any more. So any argument that involves the “THIS IS A SINGLE PLAYER GAME” is invalid because it’s not a single player game any more. Yes, you can play by yourself but you can play by yourself when you’re playing a “traditional” MMO too.

        Second. If Kotaku did their research right, they’d be bashing the correct people. But fuck research. Bashing EA is cool and it gets readers.

        • Let me get this straight, you’re willing to pay a fair chunk of money for a a product that you CANT use? And when you can use it, you must be connected to the Internet? That’s incredibly stupid.

          There is a reason why every all ways on, requires Internet all the time games fail.

        • Sorry but playing single player in a traditionally single player game that has no reason to not have all of the required assets installed in your computer is extremely different to not playing with other people in an MMO. People being pissed for not being able to access their single player game is completely legitimate.

        • Well, no. When the game was officially announced at GDC 2012, the always-online requirement was not mentioned. When the game was added to the Origin catalogue later that day, the system requirements list did not mention an always-online requirement – and this page listed what the bonus content in the deluxe edition was going to be, so something as critical as the online requirement would without doubt have been set in stone well before then.

          Always-online was not mentioned until several weeks later, and only then in the context of requiring a connection to Origin, not to Simcity-specific servers.

        • I’m going to go an agree with you mostly there.
          The “always on” requirement was stated before the game went on sale (as far as I can see). The track record of this tech is well documented. And EA involvement has not been a secret.
          I totally agree with others that they indeed should be ticked off. Those that bought the game deserve to be able to play it.
          But when you start bagging EA for being EA, or bemoaning the “always on” tech, well you are getting off the mark a bit.
          For me, I weighed up the risks and decided to wait. I saw “always on”, EA with rollout track record and thought the risk of spending my money was too high.
          Those that did spend and who were informed (if you are on here, than I assume you were), then I suppose that risk didn’t play out so well.

          • Easy, fellas. @Crowknee isn’t off the mark, except where he mentions that bringing up the ‘always on’ debate isn’t relevant. It’s totally relevant, because we’re actually EXPERIENCING one of the major arguments against it.

            That aside? He’s technically correct (“the best kind of correct!”) about the information being available in advance, and people should have been making informed decisions. The fact that those decisions have now proven to be bad ones through no fault of the deciders is squarely on EA’s shoulders. They never advertised, “Oh by the way, because it’s always on, you probably won’t be able to play it for the first week of launch.”

            If we’re being exceedingly charitable, we can say they assumed we’d know this and that they genuinely believed/hoped they could handle it.

            If we’re being realistic, we can say that they hoped they could handle it, but didn’t want to admit it could be an issue to avoid turning off sales.

            If we’re being cynical, we can say that they knew it would be an issue and set themselves a budget ceiling for just how much they’d dedicate to launch, knowing that traffic would go back down to something financially reasonable to manage later and that the outcry could be PR-managed.

            Either way, all of this is being experienced because the publisher made a decision that the safety of their IP from pirates is more valuable to them than providing a good user experience – always-online DRM provides nothing of value to consumers that couldn’t have been provided by OPTIONAL multiplayer. In this case, always-online has done more harm than good, and the good it has done could have been replicated in a more benevolent, reasonable way with optional multiplayer.

            Essentially, they’re assholes.

    • If you can set up a private server in the game and literally play single player with no one having access to your region, it isn’t an MMO.

    • It’s because EA knew that launches like these would be problematic. They had the opportunity to learn from others mistakes since they weren’t the first one.

      Also, the GW2 release was handled pretty well. Arenanet allowed players to download the game client pre-release. They also had conducted numerous server stress tests, and even 3 day early access for those that pre-ordered the game. They even opened up their servers earlier than the advertised release date. There was no need to report on “widespread issues” since the issues surrounding GW2 weren’t so widespread in the first place.

      • Yeah. Didn’t get into the game that much, but Guild Wars 2 had one of the smoothest MMO launches I’ve ever seen. The game was ready for release, they limited the amount of copies sold to prevent overload on their servers, they anticipated the obvious problems like players requiring server transfers on day one, and while there were a few glitches here and there it went off pretty well.

    • The ANet team had built up quite a lot of community goodwill towards the Guild Wars brand through their pricing plan, their update schedule, and their frankly first-rate community management. Not enough to get a free pass on launch issues, but at least enough for a substantial discount.

      EA has given the finger to gamers at every opportunity and treated them as walking cash-sacs to be harvested for their valuable doubloons; they shouldn’t be surprised to find zero tolerance for their massive launch incompetence.

    • are you insane? SimCity is NOT an MMO, neither is Diablo 3. That’s why people are more pissed off about this than about MMO launches with server issues. Also, GW2’s big infrastructure issues lasted only about a day or so. After that it was only minor infrastructure issues that lasted only a few hours or less than 1 hour in some cases.

  • I like all these articles saying Sim City is an unplayable mess, yet they continue to take money for advertising the game.

    • I think you have it backwards.

      You SHOULD like that despite being paid to advertise the game, these articles aren’t pandering and downplaying the mess.

      Kotaku makes it’s money through advertising. It’s a necessary evil if you want the website to remain free.

      • A really good point. People seem to forget that everyone who works at Kotaku needs to get paid, and that payment comes in the form of advertising. As you say, it shows a certain amount of … integrity maybe… that they don’t sugar coat what is happening simply because they want to keep the money.

  • Sim City isnt an a true MMO though, its a multiplayer game.

    Most of the rage is generated because we simply cant even play this game “offline” or as a singleplayer game. Last night i managed to login and play for 5 minutes on the tutorial and was booted from the tutorial because i lost connection to the server! It was the tutorial, that has no multiplayer component to it at all!

    EA are trying to force this DRM/always online BS onto people and they cant even get it working correctly.

  • I can’t help but notice that a number of these increasingly negative SimCity articles are coming from US Kotaku, which in my opinion is a site that now displays increasing amounts of decreasing journalistic integrity. Especially with the number of stories which appear to be exactly like the angry rantings of your standard Internet forum.

    We know SimCity is having issues, some of us are trying to/actually have been playing it (and when you do get it to work, it’s a fantastic game), but there’s zero reason for US Kotaku to be publishing a story every five minutes about how much they think it sucks. We get it, you hate it; save the stories for any actual updates on the situation instead of these “get your torches and pitchforks” type of pieces.

    Maybe Mark Serrels can write a piece on this, maybe then we’ll get a balanced, well written article on the situation as it stands.

    • Well it sucks now, because it flat out failing to tell me when anything is down, not working, I am not connected. I understand that its to be expected that server fails will happen, but its not expected that the error messages will dance around it like nothing is happening most of the time. My favorite is attempting to reconnect that crashes the game. It probably saw I was Australian and went “Well f that, I am out of here”.

    • Well… There was a small announcement about EA disabling some features so people could actually connect. But yes, I do agree that these SimCity articles are getting annoying.

    • Huh? Most of the articles have been pretty even handed. There’s been the preview article titled “Simcity won and broke my heart” and then a follow up that said EA fixed the issue. There has been a “Tips for Playing Simcity” that had no connotations either way. Then there’s been about 4 articles giving updates on the server problems over the last 3 days (one was specifically aimed at Australians).

      • Most things that come from US Kotaku are rarely even handed these days, particularly from the likes of Jason Schreier, who seems to be the one submitting the majority of the types of articles I referred to earlier.

        I hope nobody takes this as a defence of EA, I freely admit that they dropped the ball at launch when they refused to admit that there were issues, but at least now they’ve owned up to it and are trying to fix it. I’d rather hear updates on the progress of a fix, not more of Jason Schreier’s “It’s still not working guys, let’s f**king riot!” (I may have paraphrased that last bit).

  • All these people having trouble connecting clearly just aren’t paying their server connection microtransactions.

    It’s like a peepshow, you’ll get to look at the game for a few minutes every time you put $2 in. Pay up people.

  • The irony is Guild Wars, an entire MMO running for free, was smooth as butter compared to this turd.

  • I believe some congratulations are in order. No other publisher besides EA has managed to torpedo as many franchises in recent memory.

    At this rate EA will have to sell off their IP’s like THQ, although in the case of THQ they were far less deserving of that misfortune.

    • No they won’t despite knowing full well this launch would be a miserable failure, PEOPLE STILL BOUGHT IT AND THIS SHIT KEEPS EA IN BUSINESS!!!

      • To the despair of right thinking people everywhere.

        I saw the always online requirement and stayed well away. And I LOVE city builders. EA’s stock falls lower and lower (figuratively), but they have some black magic that makes people buy their games.

        Thank goodness for Kickstarter and the like, of course the challenge is getting a good product out of a Kickstarted game, but it sure feels better than giving Moneyface McMoneybeards more money, especially when they’re not accountable to their customers, but their flippin shareholders.

  • Funny I remember when EA launched battlefield 3 and origin

    I had so much trouble even launching the game, it took 3 PC formats and 2 hotfixes on origin

    but the worst game was because EA’s support was getting smashed they didn’t admit they had a problem and would blame the pc’s
    I vowed never to go back to EA and the Origin Service and I’m happy i never have

  • What are my chances of getting a refund if I take this back? I bought it at EB and it’s essentially a faulty product as it simply doesn’t work.

    How about a change of game? I wouldn’t mind getting Tomb Raider or the new God of War if that’s out yet…

    • Under Australian law you’ve got a good chance with EB Games. (or JB). EA themselves dont seem to think they are accountable to the same laws though and I’ve seen rreports of them refusing refunds.

      The game isn’t just faulty (which it IS), it’s also unfit for purpose, as it’s purpose is to play it!

      • Ah that’s good to hear then. If the game is in the same state when I get home from work this arvo then I’m going to take it back I think.

        • Just be careful. I’ve heard of instances where people have complained openly and quite publically about EA, then they were visited by men in black trenchcoats in the middle of the night and were never seen again…

          • Haha yeah EA are such a shitty money hungry company that have ruined gaming, they deserve everyth

        • Considering you bought a retail copy you’ve actually got a leg to stand on when it comes to getting a refund (the #1 reason I don’t buy digital copies). There should be absolutely no reason they won’t give you a full refund (and not store credit).

    • Amazon apparently offered refunds (case by case or something) for ME 3, and that was on far less solid ground than this. Go nuts, you never know what you can get if you shout loud enough. Although I don’t condone shouting at the actual floor staff who can’t do anything.

    • Call Consumer Affairs (Vic) or the Office of Fair Trading (NSW, QLD) (don’t know the names in the other states) to make sure you know your rights. It is a faulty product, so you’ll probably be good to go. Put your complaint in writing to the manager of the store, too, and keep a copy.

  • Funny how its always EA’s fault to you people…. they just publish it
    Maxis are the ones who dropped the ball on severs (making it wholly multiplayer was their idea after all)
    All and i mean ALL! online only games have server issues at launch

  • It’s ridiculous. We pay a lot of money for a game, and cant play it. I’m sick of this sort of bull. If my internet drops out, I cant play it. and.. I’ve heard EA aren’t honouring refunds either, which is against Australian law. I really wish companies like this would get an official smack, or fined for this sort of behaviour instead of simply ‘getting away with it’ because it’s ‘just’ gamers that are being affected.

    If Telstra offered a new service, failed entirely to deliver it and then refused to refund customers money who had signed on they would be taken to task by thegovernment, not just a few websites and forums.

    I’m really pissed off with myself for falling for the hype and getting this game pre-ordered. I’ll certainly be more careful in future and wont be buying an EA title if it has an always connected requirement.

    • I’m really pissed off with myself for falling for the hype and getting this game pre-ordered. I’ll certainly be more careful in future and wont be buying an EA title if it has an always connected requirement.

      Don’t be too pissed at yourself. When it’s working the game is, from what I can tell, as good as it looks. It wasn’t that stupid to think EA would be able to handle this sort of crap either. They’re pushing an always on agenda, and they have near unlimited resources, so a few weeks ago I would have been sure both Origin and the SimCity servers would be able to handle launch server loads.
      The same goes for Diablo III. Blizzard of all people should know how to launch a highly anticipated title that requires a login.

  • It’s really a shame that people keep giving them money and putting up with this crap. If you stop buying it (and that doesn’t mean pirate it…), they’ll start listening.

    • It’s hard not to at least give it a shot (which requires handing over money) when they dangle a new game in a series that you’ve been playing since you were a kid and hold very dear to your heart in front of you.

      I got suckered into that.

      • I understand, but sometimes you’ve just gotta be strong. I had the same urge but forced myself to stand by my convictions. Had to do it with Crysis 3 as well. I justified Diablo 3 to myself but was proven to be wrong and learned from that crave mcsteak.

  • “Disabling these features will in no way affect your core gameplay experience.”

    So, people will still be stuck at login then?

  • How do I know it’s DRM that is the issue? Well, if it wasn’t, they would allow for single player offline. WTF would they require you to be connected to their server to play a single player game?? copyright.

    Surely they could’ve just allowed single player local saves that automatically back up to the cloud when internet connection is available…

    I was at my mates last night and spent over 2 hours trying to get on.. as far as i’m concerned, they released a massively faulty product as being connected to their servers is key to being able to play the game. It would’ve been best delaying the release to make it smooth. So much hate for EA right now.

    • “Surely they could’ve just allowed single player local saves that automatically back up to the cloud when internet connection is available…”

      You mean like Steam does? I dislike Steam, but it’s a vast, vast improvement over the shit other companies are pulling.

      • yes, but it means you can still go to any PC and have your saves without having to worry about online authentication.. agreed.

    • “Surely they could’ve just allowed single player local saves that automatically back up to the cloud when internet connection is available…”

      I think this is something that they could and should patch in as I know there’s been a number of complaints about people losing their cities.

      I think this whole thing wouldn’t be such an issue if EA hadn’t tried to Han Solo it from the beginning and try to tell everybody “Everything’s perfectly all right now. We’re fine. We’re all fine here now, thank you. How are you?”

  • I love the irony of reading this article and it being surrounded by ads for Sim City. Also can’t help but love the taglines “Be a part time architect” and the ‘Out Now!’ in bold capital letters. Is EA admitting you can only be a part time architect a subtle reference to the inability of players being able to login (or stay connected) and therefore be a ‘full time’ architect? Is ‘out now’ referring to the servers being overloaded and dropping out??

    Combining updates though adspace. Talk about truth in advertising!

  • “Second. If Kotaku did their research right, they’d be bashing the correct people. But fuck research. Bashing EA is cool and it gets readers.”

    Well, it’s obvious you haven’t done ‘your’ research. They are criticising the right people. EA has made numerous promises that the server issues will be rectified and have failed to deliver.

    Irrespective of the game being single player or multi-player, EA have failed to have robust and adequate infrastructure in place for the game at launch.

    Also, EA has a track record of treating its customers with contempt. Heck, if you did your research, you will find that if you register the key of your own boxed copy of a game you only have access to the downloadable version for 12-24 months depending on the source you read. After that period, the download option is removed.

    As a publisher, EA has become a train wreak in slow motion and this current fiasco with SimCity is only the latest in a number of stuff ups (the first one being the creation of the EA download manager which is now Origin).

    • Sorry, this post is meant to be a response to rade. But I forgot to put my details in so the error made my post a new discussion.

  • Let’s clear this up. Simcity Is not an MMO by design.

    It’s not Massive (16 players maximum per region is local ethernet connection sized)
    It has no need to be Multiplayer (the majority of people have zero interest in using the inter city relationship mechanics..which BTW do not even work for those who want to use them)
    … and with the servers down, it certainly isn’t Online

    Converting a game with solid single player mechanics and millions of loyal franchise followers with no reason to or desire to play with other and pretending it’s an MMO? Inventing fallacious reasons and empty “features” to justify the act? Features that add virtually nothing to the playing experience is not how MMO’s are made.

    Those who want social interaction should do more stuff…. like…oh…let’s say – meet a friend, go out, play a sport, play music, have a romantic meal, get to know new people in REAL LIFE. That’s what I do.
    Forcing every game I play to require “social elements” is massively annoying. I play games precisely TO GET AWAY FROM PEOPLE not to be harrassed by the treenage “abuse mongers” which seem to plague every online experience.
    Speaking to some 14 year old who uses the “F” word constantly, is abusive and is there just to test your patience isn’t “social”. Going out with friends, choosing your companions and activities in the REAL WORLD is social.

    Look EA.

    Forcing a round, single player game “peg” into a square and needless online requirement “hole” that is neither required or wanted by the majority of players – doesn’t make a game an MMO.

    It makes it a clustermess.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!