If you don’t involve yourself heavily in the game industry Twitter discussion, you might have missed the mess of a launch that SimCity, the latest game from Maxis/EA, has been and is currently suffering. It’s true, the poor game probably didn’t know what hit it — make no mistake, though, SimCity buyers are suffering a bit more.
From download authentication issues, to server login queues, to lost save files and hours of work thrown taken away by a connection error, the launch of EA’s always-online, Internet-mandatory, DRM-riddled mess-terpiece (copyright Landon Robinson, 2013) has been riddled with woes of all varieties.
Of course, all of these issues relate to the game’s requirement of a persistent Internet connection. However, leaving the issue at that would undermine the true problem: the game doesn’t just rely on the user having a connection, the entire game is dependent on the connection. After all, none of your saves are stored locally. None.
Your city is stored on one of several servers (separated by region), not unlike a modern MMO, where your character is glued to a massive world with other glued-on characters (until you move it). To look at it in a positive light, you could say it’s like a slightly-less-functional cloud service. Unless Origin has restrictions against it, what’s stopping you from playing SimCity on any computer you own? Aside from dysfunctional servers, nothing!
It’s been a solid two days since launch. Reviewers aren’t sure how to review the game, mayors can’t get into their cities and servers the world over are screeching in pain beneath the load of thousands and thousands of anticipatory players just dying to burn whole towns to the ground.
It could all be fixed tomorrow. It could also take a very long time to fix. There’s always the possibility of it always having problems, but that’s unlikely. Let’s hope for the former.
It’s a shame. SimCity is a blast to play… when it’s working. And so far, I’ve only had the good fortune to play it once, thankfully for about two hours or so.
But the reality of the situation is, SimCity has been built around the user having an internet connection, not a simple rule in the game’s script to check for a connection at runtime. No, SimCity needs Internet. It needs it something fierce.
The worst part is, I need SimCity too. I need it something fierce.