EA and Maxis Scramble To Get SimCity Functional

simcity-promo-01-fireGood news for SimCity fans: EA and Maxis are working tirelessly to get everyone playing SimCity in as stable a manner as possible. The bad news is that their scrambling involves hurridly adding servers, patching issues that are causing performance instability and disabling what they consider to be non-critical features in order to address server issues.

Over the last day, Maxis has been deploying a hotfix to their servers and pushing down a new patch. A Maxis community manager posted the following to the game’s EA forums (emphasis mine):

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.

On the patch side of things, this is the official description of the v1.2 patch:

* Fix for crash caused most commonly occurring on servers experiencing lag. This crash would happen most often when claiming a new city when playing in a region.
* Fix for server select dialog not appearing on start-up if the server the player was last on is not available.
* Disabled Cheetah speed. Cheetah speed is is now the same as llama speed.
* Crash fix for finding closest points.
* Crash fixes in transport and pedestrian code.
* A fix cities having processing problems associated with helicopters.

While it’s all well and good that EA and Maxis are trying to fix the mess that they created, it may be too little, too late. EA hasn’t exactly done too much to endear themselves to gamers and playing catch up isn’t going to make things better.

Last year, we went through the same server overload at launch with Diablo III. However, Diablo III wasn’t buggier than the floor under the bed of a cheap motel. All it really had was the Error 37 log-on issue. The problem is that EA saw that and never prepared for the worst case scenario when Maxis put always online DRM (disguised as a world affected by the cities built around you).

While the Diablo III launch was a fiasco, at least Blizzard didn’t have issues with the inability to preload, troubles unlocking the download of the game when the game actually launched, game-crippling performance issues and the need to disable “non-critical” features just to make the game stable enough to play. When the history of gaming looks back at massive developer and publisher blunders, EA will have a very large chapter in that book. This will likely be one of the biggest controversies in EA’s long list of controversies but that may be largely because of how preventable is was.

Just as an interesting aside, as of writing, Amazon has pulled the game from its virtual shelves. A game has to be truly in a bad way for a company to not even want to sell it.


About Steve Murray

Steve is the founder and editor of The Lowdown Blog and et geekera. On The Lowdown Blog, he often writes about motorsports, hockey, politics and pop culture. Over on et geekera, Steve writes about geek interests and lifestyle. Steve is on Twitter at @TheSteveMurray.

Posted on March 8, 2013, in Games and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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