If nothing else, give Electronics Arts
(EA) credit for acknowledging how "dumb" it was to not be fully prepared for the demand its SimCity
game would attract, given that the publisher is insisting on a DRM scheme
that requires an always-on Internet connection. Unfortunately, that's not where the boneheaded decisions end, that's just the beginning. To make matters worse, EA offered frustrated gamers a refund, only to renege on that promise
. If you're a publisher wondering how not to launch a product, just follow EA's lead on this one.
All that said, EA is at least attempting to make nice with angry gamers, first with a candid explanation of what went wrong, followed by a free game offer.
"So what went wrong? The short answer is: a lot more people logged on than we expected," Lucy Bradshaw, General Manage of EA's Maxis Label, stated in a blog post on Friday. "More people played and played in ways we never saw in the beta.
OK, we agree, that was dumb, but we are committed to fixing it. In the last 48 hours we increased server capacity by 120 percent. It’s working – the number of people who have gotten in and built cities has improved dramatically. The number of disrupted experiences has dropped by roughly 80 percent."
To get back in gamers' "good graces," EA said it is offering a free PC download game from its portfolio. SimCity players who activated their game will receive an email on March 18 telling them how they can redeem their free gift.
"I know that’s a little contrived – kind of like buying a present for a friend after you did something crummy. But we feel bad about what happened. We’re hoping you won’t stay mad and that we’ll be friends again when SimCity is running at 100 percent," Bradshaw continued.
So, what's the verdict -- does the free game offer make up for the SimCity launch SNAFU, or are EA's antics beyond forgiveness?