Despite a controversial US release earlier this week, SimCity has launched successfully in the UK – all be it with a number of features disabled.
Whilst gamers across the pond have suffered multiple issues with EA’s newest title, UK players have reported few issues following the title’s midnight launch, with the ability to log onto the SimCity servers and access the game.
However, this is likely a result of the publisher’s decision to offer an additional European server in order to alleviate high traffic, which has been highlighted as the source of the game’s problems, whilst also disabling some of SimCity’s "non-critical" system features, including the game’s cheetah gameplay speed.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for US users and additional players from the rest of Europe, as EA remains under fire for the game’s troublesome launch, which has left many users who pre-ordered the game unable to play.
Reports of server crashes and the inability to log in to EA’s Origin service, which is required in order to play the game, were widely reported following SimCity’s midnight launch in the US earlier in the week.
Players have criticised the publishers inclusion of ‘always-online’ DRM, which requires a constant internet connection to play – even the title’s single player mode. As a result of the technology, the game’s servers have struggled with high usage and resulted in a number of crashes and long queue times for users, many of whom have been unable to access the game at all.
The issues grew so bad that online retailer Amazon halted orders of SimCity in the US, stating: "Many customers are having issues connecting to the SimCity servers. EA is actively working to resolve these issues, but at this time we do not know when the issue will be fixed."
In the wake of server issues, EA has taken heavy fire over its handling of the situation, with users reportedly refused refunds of the product – and even threatened with bans over repeated requests.
On such user posted a screenshot of their conversation with an EA customer advisor, which has since gone viral. The advisor appears to threaten the user in question with a ban for demanding a refund, despite an earlier EA statement detailing that disgruntled users could in fact request them as a result of the problems.
EA has since moved to calm the situation by issuing a further statement.
"We will not ban players for requesting refunds,” a statement confirmed. “Please review our returns and cancellations policy. All physical products purchased through our Origin Store come with a 14-day unconditional guarantee. If you don’t like it, you can return it within 14 days of its delivery for a prompt refund – no questions asked.”
Unfortunately, those users who pre-order the game digitally via EA’s digital store Origin aren’t so lucky, with EA stating: "As a general policy, EA does not offer refunds on any products downloaded through Origin.”
SimCity had been viewed as one of the biggest PC launches this year, with the newest addition being the first entry following the cult franchise’s ten-year hiatus. Whilst critics have largely celebrated the title, user’s have quickly taken to the review sites such as Metacritic in order to vent their frustrations, which has resulted in a devastatingly low user score.
It is hoped that EA will be able to salvage the situation as soon as possible, and that a critically celebrated title won’t be marred by such a poor launch.