EA disabling 'non-critical' SimCity features to address server woes

Publisher deploying hotfix to all servers that includes various "improvements" and disables gameplay features like leaderboards, achievements, and region filters.

In an effort to address ongoing server issues, Electronic Arts is preparing to deploy a SimCity hotfix that disables some "non-critical" features and also provides "various improvements."

"We are continuing to do everything we can to address the server issues. In the meantime, so that we can give you as good an experience as possible, we are in the process of deploying a hotfix to all servers," wrote an EA community manager in the SimCity forums.

"This includes various improvements and also disables a few non-critical gameplay features (leaderboards, achievements, and region filters). Disabling these features will in no way affect your core gameplay experience."

EA said it will continue to update the community as more information becomes available. "Getting you playing is our absolute highest priority," the company said.

SimCity launched Tuesday in North America and was beset by various server issues that in some instances have kept gamers from logging in. EA said yesterday that it is "confident" that such issues will be resolved for the game's United Kingdom launch tomorrow.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

419 comments
megakick
megakick

So glad I didn't buy SimCity day one,  $59.99 for OPEN BETA? NO THANX...

starduke
starduke

The Smart thing to do would've been to release a patch to get rid of the always online DRM. But, EA isn't really all that smart, for putting it out in the first place.

Higurashinoni
Higurashinoni

You want people to have a good experience playing this game, EA? Sell SimCity to another company. For the love of God, stop butchering one of my favorite series with brainless business decisions.

flammable_zeus
flammable_zeus

The online-only requirement is the biggest non-critical feature that SimCity has, yet they leave that enabled?

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

This is why online all the time doesn't work...

mischiefmeerkat
mischiefmeerkat

I have no sympathy for people who bought this game and got ripped off. We all knew EA was a greedy, dishonest, cheat of a company.

We all knew that somehow EA would backstab it's own customers. 

Hopefully this will be the folly that sinks them, and makes room for better companies

rpgguide
rpgguide

This game is like Simcity Lite and should have been called SimTown 

axelx666
axelx666

sooo is this good?

because it just seems like they are wrecking more of the game..

they should've titled it SIMWORLD if they wanted a multiplayer online game..

Fragzoon
Fragzoon

So they make an offline game becomes an always online game... 

then disable online features? 

Good god it is like playing a single player Simcity 3000 all over again!It seemed to me they screwed this up by doing the online features in the first place... irony... I'd rather Simcity 2013 expands on the ability of single player able to create and control multiple cities... I personally hate the dependency on others in this type of game... I want to make my own city/es

LtReviews
LtReviews

If they are going to disable a "non-critical feature" they should disable the always online requirement...

IceCweam
IceCweam

EA needs to do a serious beta extension. They took r jobs! I mean they took r money! 

LifelikeThunder
LifelikeThunder

It's not like this wasn't expected. They should never have focused on online game play  social blabla features and other crap and just made a city building game. 

June-GS
June-GS

I'm well aware that EA has never exactly been the most awesome company in the world, but it has at least been quite sensible in most things it does. But for the past few months, it has been doing some of the most STUPID things I've ever heard of. Remember the recent idiotic decisions about Visceral's DS3? And now they just screwed another good studio, Maxis. Stop bothering your creators and developers, EA. Let them do what they do best! That's what publishers like DC, Marvel, Image and many others have learned years ago!

I swear, it's like somebody retarded is running the show there. Seriously, EA board and shareholders, someone needs to get fired there. And fast! Do it while you still can.

MaskRisen
MaskRisen

So instead of upgrading servers, you limit services that you launch with the game. You offered an online service and failed to meet the demand? That's bad business EA. That's why I'm boycotting  EA . Next minute you know to address this issue they will over a "service" to ensure players get priority to play. All for a small fee of course.

Buzzkil
Buzzkil

Everyone please go to the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau websites and file complaints.  Many complaints have already been filed by consumers who want a refund for SimCity.  If enough of us file complaints, we will get our refunds!  Every complaint from the Better Business Bureau is sent to EA and they must replay to the BBB within 10 days. Its as close to the top your gonna get without a lawyer.

ivan_osorio
ivan_osorio

Ironically, the only fix that is needed is the ability to play offline. And of course they are not going to do THAT.

LordPhatD
LordPhatD

And this is why always on DRM works so well...

blackothh
blackothh

LOL........keep sinking the boats and soon there will be none left


ill tell you what is not a critical feature in my gaming realm, EA isnt critical, and a sim city game with always online DRM is even less critical.

DrKill09
DrKill09

You know what "feature" isn't critical?  REQUIRING A CONSTANT INTERNET CONNECTION! 

EA, this is your biggest disaster since APB.

Ice-Cube
Ice-Cube

You missed disabling "Cheetah" speed......

MrDouglas
MrDouglas

I would imagine having the Online Leaderboards in a functional state to be a fairly critical part of the service for those who care about those things. Personally I don't but I can certainly see the appeal of being on top of the Online Leaderboard, especially during the game's first few weeks, bragging rights and all that. Too bad this is now considered to be a "non-critical" feature.

Slash_out
Slash_out

How about delievring a hotfix that disable always on DRM and let those that want to be online connect manually. 

THIS will work and fix the problem.

MXVIII
MXVIII

lol...wasnt leaderboards, and achievements the whole reason this game was online only in the first place. Now it doesnt affect core gameplay, yet back when they were justifying always online, it WAS part of the core gameplay? 

b09h
b09h

burn in hell EA, you totally deserve everything bad happened to you and hope you will suffer much more in the future

Drillobred
Drillobred

Didn't Diablo 3 teach publishers anything. An always connected future will eventually arrive but hardware tech isn't quite there yet , I think EA should have been patient but then again would they listen? 

PDXmauler97
PDXmauler97

I want this game to be good sooooooo badly!

TitanPolaris
TitanPolaris

SO EA you TAKE AWAY more options for the game to SAVE FACE!?! EPIC FAIL!!! What are trying to do EA thinking that after you fix those problems with your servers you would sneak them in AS DLC!?! PATHETIC!!

sunyatanada76
sunyatanada76

We got you figured out EA, time to get your shit together or else you will be long gone. Most of us are done with you and will party on your demise.

Rattlesnake_8
Rattlesnake_8

The worst part is the biggest complaint about this game before release was having to be online to play.. turns out EA should have listened. 

draco934
draco934

..........these asshats obviously didn't learn their lesson with the "From Dust" DRM debacle......

TwilightPhoenix
TwilightPhoenix

To those angry that EA is disabling features, don't worry!  Give them a month or so and the features will be back for the low price of $9.99 as DLC!

but_chik13
but_chik13

Fucking EA strikes again. they do love shooting themselves in the foot, they should just close the fucking company down and do something else like...make pencils, or something really really hard to fuck up. they're as useless as an asshole on the forehead. 

KillerBill316
KillerBill316

I do feel sorry for people who bought this game, but I did see this coming. I was looking forward to this game, don't get me wrong. But as soon as I heard that this game was going online-only, I immediately disregarded this game for all the typical reasons. I did try to warn people, but you know, this is just a comment section on an EA game, which typically goes FTL. Really though, good luck to those who fell for this tragedy.

Happy_Robot
Happy_Robot

I hope Europeans are reading these articles, and don't buy this game.  I want the European launch to fail.

McCool69
McCool69

According to some reviews the 'hotfixes' (in other words removing lots of features) have changed the game a lot from what was reviewed. So much in fact that the scores are being reduced as we speak. Check this one that cut the score from 9.5 to 4(!):

Given this currently horrendous state of both accessibility and playability, and acknowledging the fact that even the drastic changes EA has made to the game in its attempts to address them haven't worked, it is hard to continue to recommend SimCity. The experience currently on offer is now significantly altered from what was reviewed.

http://www.polygon.com/game/simcity-2013/2630

I am so happy sites have started doing this - delivering reviewers an experience that are far from what the average gamer will get should surely be punished in reviews!

S4E
S4E

@Gravity_Slave It's a very bad direction to go, and unfortunately, it seems to be an industry standard or becoming one, these days.

I was looking forward to this game, but "fortunately" read all the stuff before buying. Now, unless something changes drastically, I'll be skipping it all together, sadly.

Sardinar
Sardinar

@axelx666 Nothing is good but the solution.

Cypress131
Cypress131

@MaskRisen Upgrading the servers would have taken much longer. In the meantime of finding better server hardware or fixing bugs, they disable those features to help with server load. Once the servers are upgraded they'll re-enable them.

This is actually the correct step to take from a developer's point of view.

MXVIII
MXVIII

@DrKill09    eh to be fair APB wasnt their disaster. APB was published through the EA partners program, which means Real Time Worlds got no funding or directional input from EA. 

nu1mlock
nu1mlock

@Imperiacommando Maybe I'm their bitch too then. (looks at BF1942 (was free), BF3, Burnout Paradise, Red Alert 3, Crysis 2, Crysis 3, Darkspore, Dead Space 2, Dead Space 3, Gatlin Gears, Kingdoms of Amalur, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3, Medal of Honor (was free), NFS Hot Persuit, NFS Most Wanted, SimCity and Swtor - and those are only the EA games I have on Origin)

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

@Drillobred They learned exactly what the consumers taught them, the name of a franchise will sell a product that everyone hates the business model of simply because of the name.

The question shouldn't be, "didn't D3 teach publishers anything?" but rather, "didn't D3 teach consumers anything?"

TheHappyDrunk
TheHappyDrunk

@Drillobred Of course it didn't. If disasters like this actually taught publishers and developers anything, they would have stopped after viewing Ubisoft's last three years worth of always-broken... I mean always-online PC releases.

TheHappyDrunk
TheHappyDrunk

@PDXmauler97 I wish we could answer that, but that would require being able to play the game first, and we ALL know how that's turning out.

TheHappyDrunk
TheHappyDrunk

@draco934 Not necessarily EA's titles, but other lessons they obviously missed: Assassin's Creed 2 (PC), Diablo 3, any MMO's launch week, and pretty much any UPlay title.

They also missed lessons from GOOD implementations of DRM: Operation Flashpoint would turn some players suspected of pirating into birds. Serious Sam 3 had an unbeatable boss in unauthorized copies. Those were creative ways of handling piracy that didn't screw over paying customers. Start taking notes EA!

PDXmauler97
PDXmauler97

@TheHappyDrunk My game has been working fine so ive been enjoying it. Im pissed that enjoyment hasn't gotten to everyone who bought this. 

PLEASE dont return the game, it will get better

nu1mlock
nu1mlock

@Imperiacommando I'm not THAT interested in those, but if I know myself, I'll still be purchasing them too. I've got too much time on my hands not to. :P