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Maxis EA always-online

Updated @ 8:59 a.m. Pacific to add that Maxis will disable some in-game features.

SimCity is on fire. Not the in-game simulation, but its always-online infrastructure, which can’t handle player demand.

Connection issues continue to plague developer Maxis’s latest entry in the long-running SimCity franchise, which requires a constant connection to the Internet. Now the developer and publisher Electronic Arts are addressing the issue head on in a post on the SimCity forums.


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GamesBeat has repeatedly contacted EA and is waiting for a response.

“This has been an exciting and challenging week for the team here at Maxis, the culmination years of planning and development,” Maxis senior producer Kip Katsarelis wrote on the message board. “We are hitting a number of problems with our server architecture, which has seen players encountering bugs and long wait times to enter servers.”

While asking for patience, the message did not contain an apology.

In addition to long waits, SimCity often fails to load once it does connect. If it crashes, players report that SimCity doesn’t save their progress. EA already shut down the servers at least once to install updates, but the problems persist.

Maxis plans to add extra servers over “the coming two days” to relieve some of the stress on the existing service. While I’ve never run an online-gaming service, it’s strange to me that they didn’t have the extra servers ready on day one — just in case things didn’t go as planned.

The developer will also shut off what it calls “non-critical gameplay features” like leaderboards, achievements, and region filters, according to a post on the forums from the game’s community manager. Maxis claims this won’t affect “your core experience.”

“This is, obviously, not the situation we wanted our launch week and we want you to know that we are putting everything we have [into] resolving these issues,” wrote Katsarelis. “We ask our fans to be patient as our team works diligently to fix the issues. We share your passion for SimCity and thank you for your support and understand.”

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