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North American SimCity Launch Disaster

The North American launch of SimCity has turned into a disaster. Some fans cannot download the game and are being told that it will be unavailable until 3/7.

Ari Margo

Update 4/5/13 12:02 PM PST: SimCity – One Month Later.

Update 3/8/13 8:55 PM PST: EA Issues Apology for SimCity Launch Issues, Offers Free Game.

Update 3/6/13 11:33 PM PST: Here’s a server status update from EA.

SimCity - Servers are down. Attempting to reconnect.

Update 3/6/13 3:55 PM PST: I was able to play a bit today. Unfortunately the servers have been on and off for patches and updates. So far, I haven’t been able to play consistently for any significant amount of time. I also lost some progress when the servers were brought down for a patch. In addition, attempting to rejoin my server has produced a “SimCity Server Busy, waiting to login” message followed by a 19 minute wait until it tries to connect again. I also ran into an issue where a friend of mine on the same server would not appear on my friends list, but that issue appears to have been resolved.

For somewhat up to date information on server status, visit: EA Answer HQ.

SimCity - Server Busy

Update 3/6/13 9:14 AM PST: Huzzah! My game finally unlocked. Hopefully everyone that purchased the game in the territories where it has launched is able to play now. If you’re still having issues with the game being grayed out in Origin or if it still says, “This Game is Unreleased,” please let us know in the comments below.

Update 3/5/13 11:15 PM PST: It’s now been over 24 hours since SimCity launched in North America and I’m still unable to play here in California. I’m also receiving reports of unstable servers from people actually playing the game. A friend of mine just told me, “About 10 minutes into every game I try it crashes.” That certainly doesn’t sound good. I’ve also observed people on several social networks complaining about long waits to access the game’s servers, cities disappearing or getting deleted, and other stability problems. I urge anyone experiencing these issues to post on the EA Answer HQ.

Update 3/5/13 7:31 PM PST: Here’s an update on the “Available March 7, 2013 4:01PM” issue for players in Southern California from Ocean Quigley (Creative Director and Art Director of SimCity):

@oceanquigley: “Those of you in Southern California with a March 7th release; Origin’s geolocation is failing, doesn’t know you’re in US. It’s being patched”

As of now, no ETA for the patch has been announced. I hope it’s before March 7th!

Update 3/5/13 6:15 PM PST: For those of you lucky mayors actually able to play the game, @SimCity just tweeted some great news:

“Heads up, Mayors — we’ve opened up two new #SimCity servers: North America West 2 and Europe East 2. Happy building!”

Update 3/5/13 5:32 PM PST: I just got off the phone with EA Customer Support. It is a known issue that certain players cannot download or play SimCity and that they are still receiving the “Available March 7th, 2013 4:01PM” and “This Game is Unreleased” messages. From what I understand, they are hoping to have this issue resolved today, but in the worst case scenario, the game may actually remain unplayable for those players until March 7th. It is being worked on right now, but for now, all we can really do is wait and see. If you’re still experiencing either of these issues, please add your information to this thread on the EA Answer HQ.

SimCity Closed Beta 2

Update 3/5/13 2:25 PM PST: Here’s another tweet from @SimCity:

“Some servers are seeing a lot of traffic. Good news: you can choose any of our servers to play on. If one is busy, hop on another to play.”

Update 3/5/13 1:56 PM PST: I have finally been able to get through to a customer support representative, but so far have been unable to resolve my issue. Meanwhile, it seems most of the big names at Maxis have something to say about the launch issues. Here’s a tweet from Guillaume Pierre (Lead Gameplay Scripter and a Designer on SimCity):

@MaxisGuillaume: Sorry about the delay some of you had getting into @simcity… Reports of goats taking over the @OriginInsider servers are true.

Update 3/5/13 1:26 PM PST: And here’s a tweet from Ocean Quigley (Creative Director and Art Director of SimCity):

@oceanquigley: Hi everybody, sorry that Origin is preventing you from playing #SimCity. It’s extremely vexing.

Update 3/5/13 1:12 PM PST: Here’s another tweet from Dan Moskowitz (Lead Gameplay Engineer of SimCity):

@moskow23: Extremely frustrated that Origin problems are preventing some of you from playing #SimCity. The folks at Maxis are just as annoyed as you.

Update 3/5/13 1:05 PM PST: Still waiting for customer support from EA (going on two hours now). Meanwhile, @OriginInsider has provided two more tweets:

“Due to the high demand for SimCity, Origin has experienced delays impacting a small percentage of users. We’re working non-stop to resolve.

We’re making changes to prevent further issues, and are confident that Origin will be stable for international launches later this week.”

Update 3/5/13 12:27 PM PST: What was initially described as a 15-20 minute wait for customer service has now gone on for more than an hour. It appears EA’s customer service channels are completely overwhelmed. The “call me” option on Origin isn’t even available at the moment. I’ve been staring at a 5-10 minute wait time for about 45 minutes now.

Origin - Waiting for Advisor

Update 3/5/13 11:47 AM PST: Here’s another tweet from @OriginInsider:

“We are experiencing overwhelming demand which is keeping some users from accessing their games. We’re working as fast as we can to resolve.”

Update 3/5/13 11:12 AM PST: At this point it seems as though the majority of players can now play the game. My case is still ongoing however. Here is some new information for players who live in territories where the game has launched but are still seeing SimCity as “not yet released” on Origin from a post on the EA Answers HQ:

Hi everyone,

We are still investigating the SimCity ‘not yet released’ issue which a small number of players are encountering. We have identified two possible reasons why you are not able to play SimCity:

  1. The game is not released in your country yet:  Countries currently live are Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Russia
  2. Your credit card payment might have failed to authorize or was unable to be charged: If you are in a region where the game has released, this is the most likely cause of your not being able to play the game. You should contact customer services directly via help.ea.com to resolve this.

We have also identified a very small number of North American players for which neither case applies and are investigating directly with Origin to resolve. We will continue to post updates in this thread as more information becomes available.

Thanks for your patience,

Your AHQ Team

Update 3/5/13 2:33 AM PST: At this point more than two hours have passed since @OriginInsider posted that we would have our game within two hours. I can only hope that this issue is resolved soon. For now, I’m going to have to sign off for the night. To those of you that can play, I hope you’re enjoying SimCity! To everyone that’s waiting to play, I feel your pain! Goodnight everybody!

Update 3/5/13 2:23 AM PST: There is now a post on the EA Answers HQ SimCity page where they are requesting information from users (like myself) who live in territories where the game has launched but are still seeing SimCity as “not yet released” on Origin. If your copy of SimCity says “Available March 7, 2013 4:01PM,” then you should go post in that thread.

They also recommend that everyone that cannot access the game try the following before posting:

Please make sure that you are living in a country where the game is released. These countries are:

  • North America
  • Hungary
  • Singapore
  • Hong Kong
  • Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand

If your game icon is greyed out, please try the following:

  • Refresh the Origin Games Library
  • Log out and close Origin
  • Restart Origin and log back in

Update 3/5/13 1:01 AM PST: Here’s another tweet from @OriginInsider:

“Update: We are continuing to distribute SimCity as quickly as possible. You should receive your game within the next one and a half hours.”

Update 3/5/13 12:36 AM PST: Here’s another tweet from @OriginInsider:

“We are continuing to distribute SimCity as quickly as possible. You should receive your game within the next two hours.”

Update 3/5/13 12:17 AM PST: I sent a tweet to Dan Moskowitz (Lead Gameplay Engineer of SimCity) and asked him if there was any update for North American fans with Pre-Orders who were getting the “Available March 7, 2013 4:01PM” message. Here is his reply:

@moskow23: “@kythlyn I know that Origin is looking into that exact issue right now. More than that, I don’t have details. Hang tight!”

Update 3/4/13 11:54 PM PST: Here’s a tweet from @OriginInsider:

“We have resolved issues affecting SimCity downloads. Due to server load it may take up to three hours for your game to unlock.”

Update 3/4/13 11:33 PM PST: Just got confirmation of a live stream in process, so it appears some people are in fact able to play SimCity right now. Others are still unable to download the game.

Update 3/4/13 11:00 PM PST: Some players have completed their downloads. I am still waiting for confirmation that anyone is actually playing the game. My Pre-Order is still not available to download.

Update 3/4/13 10:27 PM PST: I’m getting reports of players starting to download the game. My North American Digital Deluxe Edition Pre-Order still shows “Available March 7, 2013 4:01PM.”

And here’s a tweet from @OriginInsider:

“Origin is currently experiencing some delays due to heavy traffic. We’re just as excited to play SimCity as you are! Hang tight…”

Update 3/4/13 10:20 PM PST: Here is a tweet from @SimCity:

“Origin tells us to refresh your My Games Library if you’re having issues with #SimCity. Still have issues? Post here: http://bit.ly/XT8IN0

SimCity: Meteor Strike

Original Post:

Every time a big game is about to come out, we can’t help but to wonder. Is this going to be Diablo III all over again? And so here we are again, and it’s now an hour since the official North American launch of SimCity. As far as I can tell from a variety of social feeds, no one is playing. I was right there, counting the minutes like any eager fan would. At 9:01PM, the official SimCity page on Facebook posted this:

“SimCity is here! We’re now live in North America. Are you ready to reticulate some splines, Mayors?

Like & Share if you can’t wait to play SimCity!”

Immediately the fans started posting their replies. They weren’t happy.

SimCity - March 7th?

Now, an hour later, despite having received an e-mail from EA and Origin confirming that my game is now available to download, SimCity is still unplayable. To make matters worse, the spot in Origin where it says that SimCity is an unreleased game has been replaced by, “Available March 7th, 2013 4:01PM.”

This can’t be right… can it?

This was really an opportunity for EA to make some progress towards repairing their tarnished brand name. Instead, fans will be pointing the blame directly at them and Origin.

Hopefully this issue will be corrected promptly. As of the time of this posting, I still can’t download the game, and I can only describe the launch as a disappointing failure.

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  • Novelidea

    Well there’s a surprise. Should have been on Steam.

  • Wyrd guy1

    I received a confirmation email and i cant even see simcity in the “My games” tab. they should honestly just leave things like this up to steam.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BKSTaxMan Brandon Shelton

    Ok, Origin. You got me. In all my excitement to have this game ASAP and not stand in some freezing cold Gamestop line or some such, I actually gave in against my better judgement and pre-ordered on your pitiful excuse for a Steam clone.

    Never again.

  • ramp

    guys just hit the refresh button on the upper left in my games!

  • http://gamerhorizon.com/ Ari Margo

    Been doing that for the last two hours. Unfortunately it has not resolved the issue. :/

  • UpGrade01

    has there been and office statement from EA about this. I mean really EA?!?! get your crap together!!! this should have been your top priority…”make sure launch goes smoothly” How come it seems like the people that have the MOST power in a company are dumbest people?

  • Telgar

    This is why you don’t preorder games, or pay for online only DRM. Saddly none of you fools that preordered will probably learn your lesson, otherwise you would have known better years ago when this horrible DRM was first introduced…

  • http://www.facebook.com/marc.bianchi.10 Marc Bianchi

    Disaster? Not quite, but more sensationalist headlines are good. It’s more like, “Game that’s online only has launch issues like every other online only game. More at 11.” I’ve got my popcorn ready for when shit really hits the fan though.

    A disaster would be D3 launch revisited, and this isn’t near as bad yet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/marc.bianchi.10 Marc Bianchi

    Pre-ordering is fine if you bother to do your research on the game and the company isn’t flat out lying (which is a rarity. They embellish, but they don’t flat out lie very often). The problem is that your average gamer is a fucking retard and buys into hype without bothering to do any research at all, and eats up all the pre-order bonuses without questioning what affect they have for future games.

    I agree on the always online DRM though. I refuse to support any non-MMO that uses that type of DRM, it’s fucking terrible.

  • http://gamerhorizon.com/ Ari Margo

    This honestly feels a lot like the Diablo III launch to me. I remember staying up ’til midnight, getting ready to play and then dealing with the frustrating hours that followed. Tonight, it’s 4 hours and 24 minutes since SimCity supposedly launched, and I’m still unable to play it. I’m glad that some people have managed to start playing it now though. The “disaster” is in how the fans will react to this. Especially those that wanted to give EA the benefit of the doubt, despite their track record. We’re going to be seeing furious user reviews all over the internet, no doubt about it. The social networks have been filled with mostly negative comments for hours. I really hope EA can fix this and keep the servers up and running smoothly in the coming weeks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/marc.bianchi.10 Marc Bianchi

    Fair enough. I personally don’t rush to “disaster” status, but it can be pretty subjective.

    Though who didn’t see issues like this coming from a mile away : P

  • http://gamerhorizon.com/ Ari Margo

    We saw them coming, but we covered our eyes and ears anyway. :D

  • http://gamerhorizon.com/ Ari Margo
  • http://www.facebook.com/marc.bianchi.10 Marc Bianchi

    Ah Francis, he’s always good for some chuckles (yes I know he’s a comedian) : )

  • token420

    There should be a Francis mod for SimCity that allows you to deploy a Francis “monster” who then begins to smash buildings and rip all posters of all walls.

  • http://virtualgamemuseum.webs.com/ “Louis”

    All I can say is, that’s messed up…

  • http://virtualgamemuseum.webs.com/ “Louis”

    Even as Boogie2988(not as Francis) is really upset, imagine you bought the game for full price, then you can’t play it on day 1, that’s never acceptable.