It happens almost every time, doesn’t it? Some publisher releases a game with a massive online component and then throws their hands up in horror as more players than they ever expected bring down the servers. EA’s SimCity is just the latest bungled launch in a grand tradition that goes back a long time. Lucy Bradshaw, the Senior Vice President at Maxis, has admitted that it was “dumb” not to expect so many players in a new blog post on the developer’s website:
The server issues which began at launch have improved significantly as we added more capacity. But some people are still experiencing response and stability problems that we’re working fast to address.
So what went wrong? The short answer is: a lot more people logged on than we expected. More people played and played in ways we never saw in the beta.
OK, we agree, that was dumb, but we are committed to fixing it. In the last 48 hours we increased server capacity by 120 percent. It’s working – the number of people who have gotten in and built cities has improved dramatically. The number of disrupted experiences has dropped by roughly 80 percent.
So we’re close to fixed, but not quite there. I’m hoping to post another update this weekend to let everyone know that the launch issues are behind us.
To make up for their mistake, EA plans to offer a free game download to all SimCity players. The game (likely a list of games, and each player will get to pick one) hasn’t been chosen yet, but SimCity players will learn more in an email set to be delivered on March 18.