Amazon ceases sales of SimCity as EA shuts down in-game features

5:08 PM, Mar 7, 2013   |    comments
Online retailer stops sales of EA's 'SimCity' computer game due to customer dissatisfaction.
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Electronic Arts' latest Maxis-developed computer game, SimCity, has only been out for two days and already online retailer is no longer selling it.  While in most cases that means they are sold out, that's not the case here.  In fact, Amazon *chose* to stop selling the much-anticipated game not because of inventory, but rather due to customer dissatisfaction.

On the item page for SimCity, Amazon states that the game is "Currently unavailable" and that they "don't know when or if this item will be available again."

Furthermore, the retailer has this notification for would-be buyers:

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.

Since its release on March 5, SimCity has been plagued with server-related issues.  SimCity utilizes EA's Origin Digital Rights Management (DRM) to prevent unauthorized use of the game software and, because of that, requires an always-on internet connection and constant communication with the Origin server.  Due to high demand and strain on the Origin system, this constant communication that the game requires has been nearly impossible to establish -- effectively rendering the newly-released game unplayable.

Problems like these are prompting buyers of the game to ask for refunds with EA allegedly threatening to ban those asking for their money back from Origin services altogether, according to the British news site Metro.

To remedy the situation (at least, in the short-term), Electronic Arts has volunteered to remove a number of "non-critical" gameplay features.  These now-moot features include leaderboards, achievements, and region filters.  The company has also reportedly removed the game's "cheetah" speed -- the fastest way the game can be played -- and replacing it with "llama", which is the slowest available.  While these temporary fixes might eventually make things better for the new SimCity, the damage to the brand and to EA have already been done.

As Chad, an user and owner of a copy of SimCity, stated on the game's Customer Reviews page puts it: "Just take $60 and burn it. The resulting fire is more reliable."


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