Maxis general manager explains what went wrong with the SimCity launch and offers an apology.
Okay… Yes. Let’s be honest with each other — and with the devs. The SimCity launch has been a bit of a disaster. Not for everyone, mind you… Some people have managed to play the game just fine, our own Gary Gannon being one of them. But, the simple fact is: Maxis was not properly prepared for the problems that come with launching a constantly online game. And they know it.
In a recent update on ea.com, Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw gave a mini-update as to what’s happening with the game. Basically, the issue comes down to: what Maxis saw — and prepared for as a result — in the beta wasn’t what happened when the game went live. The game saw a spike of sales closer to launch and far more people tried to log on than they figured they’d have based upon the beta.
These new people also played in way that the beta testers did not. (No… I’m not certain as to what that means either. My best guess is that more people were actually trying to friend people as soon as they got into game. Or perhaps they were building faster.)
What’s being done to fix it?
According to a Polygon interview with Bradshaw, the entire studio has been working 24/7, taking shifts since the SimCity launch issues first started. The team has been deploying additional servers to bear the load, but that will only fix a part of the problem.
Another issue that the team identified — according to the Polygon interview — is with how the game’s GlassBox engine has been managing the large amount of data. Bradshaw has stated that this issue has also been addressed and as a result connectivity issues have decreased 80%. According to Bradshaw, Maxis is not going to say that’s good and call it a day.
Free game! And a request.
Okay, so we all know Maxis and EA screwed up here, and they know it too. So, they want to make it up to us. On March 18th, anyone who has bought and activated SimCity will be sent an email telling them how to acquire a free game from the EA library.
What games will be offered hasn’t been specified as of yet.
Bradshaw also had this to add when Polygon asked her what she’d say to SimCity fans who can’t play the game yet:
Stick with us.
Some of you have been fans of Maxis and SimCity for more than 20 years, through good times and challenging times like now. We love what we do and once this is behind us we hope that you’ll see a great game created by passionate people.
Is this enough?
The truth is, we as gamers can get pretty bitter when we feel like we’re being screwed. But some — if not most of us — just like to see that someone somewhere is trying to make it right. So, the question is. Is this enough to make the mistakes of the SimCity launch right?
It seems like even Maxis feels it may not be as they tweeted this earlier today:
As I announced last night we’re giving away a free game and are considering other ways to make it up to you.
— SimCity (@simcity) March 9, 2013
The question is. What else can they do?