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Simcity is almost fixed and ready to play

EA will give players a free game
Mon Mar 11 2013, 09:55

CAPACITY CHALLENGED city building game Simcity won't be completely free of trouble for at least a couple more days, but its players will get a free game for their troubles.

That's according to EA's Maxis Studio general manager Lucy Bradshaw, who blogged about progress so far over the weekend.

"I'm happy to report that the core problem with getting in and having a great Simcity experience is almost behind us," she said on Sunday.

"Our players have been able to connect to their cities in the game for nearly 8 million hours of gameplay time and we've reduced game crashes by 92 percent from day one."

The problem is that those that haven't are already 'grab a pitchfork and let's go up there' mad about this.

But put down your pitchfork, douse that flaming torch. Maxis is pretty sorry about this already and has soothing words for your steaming ears.

"You bought the game with the understanding that we'd quickly fix the server issues. For that support - that incredible commitment from our fans -- we are deeply grateful," she adds.

"As the general manager of Maxis, I want you to know that we cherish your faith in us, and the love you've shown for this franchise. Thank you very much."

The fixes so far haven't been revolutionary. EA has added more servers to an online game that has a lot of players. This is called 'coping with capacity'. The initial number of servers will have been too small, so EA made a wise decision and added more servers.

Another trick performed by EA is one we'll call 'limiting the game experience'. Here it shut off a number of features that customers had paid for as part of the game. This put less strain on EA's already weak server farm. Bradshaw had hoped to issue the 'all clear' on Sunday, but she couldn't.

Apparently there are people still waiting at Simcity immigration to get in. And they are going to stay there, virtually, for at least a couple more days.

"A combination of optimizing our server architecture and response times, deploying these enhancements on both a series of new and the original servers and issuing a few critical client updates has achieved getting virtually everyone into the game," said mayor Bradshaw.

"I had hoped to issue an 'All-Clear' tonight, but there are still some elements coming together. We need a few more days of data before we can assure you that the problem is completely solved and the game is running at 100 percent."

Bradshaw said that tens of thousands of people get into the game every day. So that's something. So, you few, you everyone who isn't "virtually everyone", cool your boots, put down your placards. EA has feelings too.

"The good news is that tens of thousands of new players are streaming into the game every day and the confidence our fans have shown is truly humbling," said Bradshaw.

"I can't begin to explain the way a development team feels when something you're proud of is threatened at launch. Our biggest fear was that people who love this franchise would be scared off by bad reviews about the connectivity issues."

Potential gamers aren't saying anything that we would like our grandmothers to read, so we really can't report on them. Even Amazon has stopped selling digital copies.

However, EA is sweetening the blow with a giveaway, anyone that has been hurt in the Simcity stampede will get a free game.

"To get us back in your good graces, we're going to offer you a free PC download game from the EA portfolio. On March 18, Simcity players who have activated their game will receive an email telling them how to redeem their free game," said Bradshaw on Saturday.

"I know that's a little contrived - kind of like buying a present for a friend after you did something crummy. But we feel bad about what happened. We're hoping you won't stay mad and that we'll be friends again when Simcity is running at 100 percent." µ


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