It’s been an exciting week in all the bad ways exciting can be for customers who bought EA’s newest SimCity game, and then tried to play it. It hasn’t been working for a whole lot of people, leaving gamers frustrated and EA scrambling to add servers to accommodate everyone who wants to play. The latest out of SimCity land: More servers have been provided, a petition is in the works to remove always-on DRM from SimCity and other games and wait, can you get a refund?
Kotaku fired off a few questions to Maxis, the game’s publisher and part of EA, and got the below response:
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.
Which is all well and good, and a hearty high-five to the creators of those 700,000 cities — but what about an offline mode and getting rid of that always-on online stuff? How’s it going to make this all up to customers? No word there, folks. Keep holding your breath if you’d like, but EA didn’t earn its Worst Company In America 2012 title from Consumerist for nothing.
In response to that pesky “you’ve gotta be online to play” feature so widely denounced by SimCity customers, a petition on Change.org (via Reddit) is seeking to remove the “Always Online” DRM from the game and all future games. As of this writing it has over 38,000 supporters, and if the backlash we’ve witnessed is anything to go on, it’ll keep rising.
We’ve heard from Consumerist readers who have tried and been unsuccessful in obtaining refunds, as well as hearing the big buzz that someone was threatened with banishment from Origin for requesting one. Origin quickly cleared that up on Twitter with the below Tweet:
As well as another clarifying that they do not usually offer refunds:
But what about this guy? He posted a screengrab to Reddit where by all measures, it would appear that his request for a refund was successful. He gets an Internet high-five, too, as well as more than a few jealous side glances.
In case you weren’t quite convinced at this point that there are a lot of unhappy customers out there, a quick perusal of Amazon.com’s product reviews should do the trick. There are 2,189 one-star reviews, in stark contrast to the other ratings which each only have higher-starred reviews numbering below 100 in total.