To say that the launch of SimCity has gone disastrously for EA and the many gamers who have been eagerly anticipating the game is perhaps being kind, things have not gone well so far, especially not with the American launch earlier in the week. However in the past hour I have been able to download, install and start playing the game. I doubt that we are in peak time for users, it will be most interesting to see how things are going this evening and over the weekend.
You know things haven’t gone well when the amazon.com page for SimCity has a nice warning message about server connectivity issues, and for a time yesterday the digital download of the game was listed as unavailable. As reported on Eurogamer, people have been trying to claim refunds from EA for their Origin purchases and being refused.
It paints a very bad picture for EA and their desire for an always online game which has historically been a singleplayer experience. The server issues are reminiscent of what we saw with Diablo 3, although again in that instance I was lucky enough to connect on my first attempt. At the heart of the problem though is that we are being tied into connected worlds when they are not necessarily always going to work ok, or even be what gamers want to experience. While I fully support the desire for there to be a connected online part of SimCity, I feel strongly that there should be a separate offline mode where don’t need to worry about servers being overloaded or taken down for maintenance. It is an all round shoddy situation and I hope that EA are paying attention to the problems and think about introducing an element of offline play.
Personally though my first time experience with the game has been positive and free from the many issues and concerns that are still going around. In a desire to create a game where I can play by myself before testing out the online connected cities, I have created a small region, set it to private and taken over two of the three cities before quitting the game to write this. If it is possible to do this, and technically play the game solo I have to say that there should be an offline option so that people don’t have to fear the connection issues, or even to have to worry about EA turning off all the servers in a couple of years when they release the inevitable follow-up.
For now, I am going to continue playing Tomb Raider, but I will be back in the coming days with some more in-depth impressions of the game and then my Verdict.