SimCity servers appear to be coping as game hits UK

UPDATE: EA is suspending its SimCity online marketing campaign following server issue outrage - report

UPDATE 2: EA has reportedly requested its affiliate partners temporarily stop promoting SimCity following the fan outrage over its server issues.

An e-mail directed at affiliates of EA's LinkShare program was obtained by Polygon. It said that EA Origin had "deactivated all SimCity text links and creative and we ask you to please remove any copy promoting SimCity from your website for the time-being."

"To be clear we are continuing to payout commissions on all SimCity sales that are referred, however we are requesting that you please stop actively promoting the game," the e-mail continued. "We will notify you as soon as the SimCity marketing campaigns have been resumed and our promotional links are once again live in the Linkshare interface."

UPDATE: It looks like the servers have collapsed again.

Several of you sounded off in the comments section reporting having connection issues over the last couple of hours.

"'The servers seem to be coping' was before America woke up today. They're not coping now. Most servers busy or going down with disconnects, and it's set to get worse tonight," said badwhippet.

"I've been trying to log in for an hour. FAIL EA. FAIL. Had my money but cant play a single player game on launch day? HELLO?" wrote joshcharlesforrest1.

"Game is telling me there are plenty of servers available but have been trying to connect for an hour," lamented Mildew.

EA has acknowledged these issues exist and it's working on a fix. "We are currently aware that some servers are not performing optimally and are actively working on them," wrote community manager LadyCoconut on the SimCity forums.

Regarding European refunds, EA noted on its EU returns page that players have a 14 day "cooling off period" starting from their date of purchase to return games for a full refund, but only if they're unopened, or in the case of digital fare, undownloaded.

Of course this won't help most people as how would you know if the game worked properly or not until after you downloaded it?

Original story: The SimCity debacle may be nearing its end: the game has launched in the UK and it appears - for now - to be working.

The always-online city simulation launched on these shores this morning and players, including some Eurogamer staff, have found they are able to connect to EA's servers.

EA had said it was "confident" SimCity would be in a fit state for its international launch after gamer outrage over the shambolic US launch on Tuesday.

"Good news, Mayors -- we just added a brand new #SimCity server: Europe East 3," read a tweet from the official SimCity account this morning. "Hop on and start building."

Overnight mega online shop Amazon briefly pulled the game from sale, noting the server issues. Earlier EA released a patch that temporarily cut off some features including leaderboards, achievements and Cheetah Speed to reduce data stress on the servers and, effectively, free up space so developer Maxis could let more people into the game.

Eurogamer's Tom Champion was able to play the game at midnight last night without problems. Christian Donlan is playing as you read this.

EA has denied that those planning to force through a refund with their banks would see their Origin accounts banned. Good news? The mega publisher confirmed it does not offer refunds to those who bought the digital version of the game.

A Norwegian Eurogamer reader who was denied a refund got in touch to tell us of his experience with an EA customer service representative.

Yesterday Tom Reiertsen contacted EA Help to request a refund for the game, which he purchased through Origin, but was denied.

After he threatened to claim a refund charge on his credit card by reporting the transaction as fraud he was told it may affect the status of his Origin account. A transcript of the chat is below:

  • info: You are now ready to chat with Brian.
  • you: Hi
  • you: I would like to request a refund for the game SimCity that I bought on Origin. I cannot play the game because of consistent server issues. I deem the Product not working and by Norwegian Consumer laws I request a full refund and that the game is removed from my Origin Account.
  • you: Hello?
  • Brian: Hi. Thank you for contacting EA help, how may I help you?
  • you: I would like to request a refund for the game SimCity that I bought on Origin. I cannot play the game because of consistent server issues. I deem the Product not working and by Norwegian Consumer laws I request a full refund and that the game is removed from my Origin Account.
  • Brian: I am very sorry to hear that, do you have a digital or physical copy?
  • you: I have a digital copy
  • Brian: And you have already downloaded the game?
  • you: Yes, I preordered the game on 06.03.2013 and it was preloaded yesterday
  • you: I have been unable to play it because of server issues.
  • Brian: I apologize but we are unable to offer a refund on digital downloads. This is part of the terms of service found at the following link http://www.ea.com/terms-of-service Section 5, 9 discusses the refunds. You can find specific details by pressing CONTROL + F and searching for the key word "Refund". We are working on the servers and they are getting more stable. The game just released so I appreciate your patience. am sorry that we can not issue this refund. Is there anything else I could help you with today?
  • you: I am sorry, but this is unacceptable. Are you aware that you are in Clear violations of Norwegian Consumer laws? It is illegal to sell or advertise a defective Product Norway and not offer refunds if it is broken
  • you: What is the address and phone number of Your Norwegian Offices? I am going to report this to the consumer affairs Office, and would like this information for my report.
  • Brian: Norway 21 08 17 06 +47 21 08 17 06 Norwegian: 8AM-5PM GMT, Monday through Friday. That is all of the information I have for you at this time.
  • Brian: Because you have already downloaded the game we are not able to refund you for the product. But the servers will be fixed soon. I can promise you that.
  • you: Also, I will claim the charge on my credit card as fraud and have my bank follow through on this.
  • you: Your assurance of the server issues is of no concern to me, I have zero tolerance for issues like this.
  • Brian: If you do that it is possible that action will be taken against your origin account.
  • you: You have taken my Money an not delivered the promised Product.
  • Brian: I am very sorry, but the product will be fixed.
  • you: Is that a threat? What kind of action, I have other games there that is not affected.
  • you: Are you actually saying that you will Block my other games If i report this sale as fraud?
  • you: I want to be assured that my other Origin games will not be affected
  • Brian: If you claim a fraud charge against origin you face a chance of your account having action taking against it. I am very sorry, but you can not claim a charge back against that.
  • you: Of course I can, if you sell me a Product that is not working, it is clearly fraud. I will let this rest for a week, if the Product is yet not delivered to me in working order, I will claim that this is a fraudulent transaction.
  • Brian: If you do that your account will face action. Please have patience and give it sometime.
  • Brian: Thank you for contacting EA. Is there anything else I can help you with today?
  • you: No, thank you for nothing. I am disgusted that you can even think of threatening to Block my Origin account over this when it is you who are clearly in the wrong. Appalling.

EA now faces difficult questions about its preparation for the US launch. Customers have called on Maxis to explain why it didn't have a sufficient number of servers available to cope with the huge influx of players this week.

Senior producer Kip Katsarelis again took to the EA forum to provide an update on this most difficult of weeks and the "bumps along the way" it has experienced.

"Server capacity is our biggest obstacle. We launched in North America on Tuesday and our servers filled up within a matter of hours. What we saw was that players were having such a good time they didn't want to leave the game, which kept our servers packed and made it difficult for new players to join.

"We added more servers to accommodate the launch in Australia and Japan, and then more yesterday to accommodate the launch in Europe. As of right now, we are adding even more servers which will be going live over the next three days. And our plan is to continue to bring more servers online until we have enough to meet the demand, increase player capacity and let more people through the gates and into the game."

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