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    EA “confident” it can avoid repeat of SimCity launch debacle

    EA “confident” it can avoid repeat of SimCity launch debacle

    Hoping for smoother sailing with Europe, Japan, Australia, and UK launch.

    by Kyle Orland - Mar 7 2013, 12:51am CST

    While a staggered worldwide launch for EA's new SimCity wasn't enough to prevent substantial launch problems in North America yesterday, the publisher is projecting confidence that it will have the issues fixed in time for the launch in Europe, Australia, and Japan on Thursday and the UK on Friday.

    "Due to the high demand for SimCity, Origin has experienced delays impacting a small percentage of users. We’re working non-stop to resolve," the company tweeted on the official Origin Twitter account yesterday. "We’re making changes to prevent further issues, and are confident that Origin will be stable for international launches later this week," it tweeted further.

    EA does seem to be making every effort to reduce widely reported server wait times and stability issues with the game. Two new game servers were launched yesterday afternoon, and the companyrolled out a new server update today that it says should resolve problems with city loading, trading, and tutorial freezes.

    The SimCity Twitter account is suggesting that players running into problems loading their cities switch to other servers, but it fails to mention that existing saved games and cities-in-progress are inextricably tied to the server they were created on (though that issue is directly addressed in an official FAQ regarding server waiting rooms).

    Meanwhile, complaints about the game's "sometimes online" features continue. One popular thread on Reddit discusses the loss of a successful city and $2 million of in-game money thanks to server synchronization errors. A flood of 174 one-star reviews on Amazon have dragged down the game's average rating at the online retailer, with many reviewers complaining about not being able to log in. Complaints continue to fill up threads on EA's official forums as well.

    Polygon decided to officially lower its prerelease review score of 9.5/10 down to an 8/10 after encountering disconnection errors and city corruption post-launch. Dorkly's getting in on the act witha timely comic making fun of the launch situation.

    All these problems may well become a distant memory, but for now, forcing the traditionally single-player SimCity into an online infrastructure hasn't been the painless process EA promised.

    • Lee HutchinsonSenior Reviews Editor

    • You show me a game with an online component whose launch hasn't been a total ******* debacle of biblical proportions, and I'll show you Santa Claus. Neither of those things exist. Heavily online-focused games have had lol-tastic catastrophic launches dating back to Ultima Online. ****, even before that.

      The primary problem is that it's impossible to accurately judge launch day loads, and even if it were possible it's economically unfeasible to scale an infrastructure to handle launch loads and ALSO to handle regular production loads. You either sink too much money into launch infrastructure and are left holding unneeded equipment, or you screw up the launch and things eventually fall in line with the infrastructure you DO have.

      "The cloud" and outside elastic compute resources are most decidedly *NOT* a viable solution, either, at least not for almost every single game out there.


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