On Tuesday, EA released the highly anticipated newest iteration of SimCity, a game that fans have been waiting years for, eagerly counting down the days until they could flex their god-like creation muscles and craft fresh societies as they see fit. Except SimCity 5 can’t be played offline, unleashing a torrent of complaints about crashing games and slow and wholly unavailable servers. Consumerist’s Worst Company In America 2012, everybody.
It started with struggles to download the game from the Origin servers, notes Forbes, and the complaints over the issue of finding a server with enough room to actually play the dang thing are widespread.
We’ve since heard from several readers who have personal stories about their disappointing experiences with the new game right from the launch on Tuesday, including Consumerist reader Joseph.
He writes that SimCity has always been a single-player game, allowing one to build a city and play god at their leisure. Because every game wants to be social now, EA decided to turn the game into an “always on” situation, where it can’t be played offline.
And when the game crashes, as it seems to be doing for many readers?
“You may have to wait hours to get back on to even play, where of course you have to start over,” writes Joseph. “My son bought the game, and lost his last two saves, and now says he can’t even get on to play.”
And then there are all the reports of crashing, losing games and unavailable servers spread across the Internet like so many disappointed, disgruntled leaves: On the Amazon page for the game; EA’s Facebook page for SimCity; the dedicated SimCity forum and the EA Answer HQ as well (which is where EA was directing complaints it received on Facebook).
There’s even a Change.org petition started to urge the game’s publisher Maxis to “Create a 100% offline single player mode in SimCity 2013, remove the Origin requirement from it, and bring back popular features from SimCity 4.”
Early this morning, EA posted the following on their Facebook page, which seems to be its preferred method of addressing the issue:
We are aggressively undergoing maintenance on the servers and adding capacity to meet demand. Performance will fluctuate during this process. Our fans are important to us, and we thank you for your continued patience.
There’s also a dedicated SimCity Twitter account issuing similar updates about which servers are up, which are down, and hey everybody, be patient.
It’s easy to see by hopping around on the Internet that the prevailing feeling of this game launch is disappointment, anger and just plain frustration. EA had been trumpeting its new approach to customer service, and now would be as good as any to show that it’s dedicated to that by providing a fix that will stick, and soon.
We’ll continue to update everyone as things progress, but if you see any changes for the better or just want to let us know your two cents regarding your experience with the game, shoot us an email at email@example.com with the subject line SIMCITY.