Last week, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Maxis, Lucy Bradshaw, took control of the SimCity twitter handle for one hour and answered many questions from fans about the disaster that was the SimCity launch.
The first issue she addressed was how none of the server congestion was foreseen during the beta testing. According to Bradshaw, the collected metrics from their beta testing was "fairly conservative" leading them to believe that they could handle the live operations come release day. An important note she made was that the problems were that of Maxis and not EA's because they own the franchise and that "EA does not force design upon [them]."
Now, here we are one week later, and things are starting to look brighter for SimCity. Currently, there are a total of twenty-four servers to choose from including a live test server. This is a vast difference from the starting nine they had when the game launched on March 5th. In addition to increasing the quantity of their servers, they have improved upon their quality as well. At some point, they have said that they will take down the original starting nine servers to match their performance with the new ones.
While the improvements have been well received, the developers did have to make a few temporary sacrifices to implement the changes as fast as they could. One of these losses included losing the cheetah speed mode. Although, the developers have said that once the stability issues have been resolved, they will work on getting back the lost features.
Bradshaw also stated in a blog post, via the SimCity website, that, in an effort to win players back, they were going to give anyone who activated the game prior to the posting a "free PC download game from the EA portfolio." Players who qualify for the free download will be e-mailed on March 18th with further details. She acknowledged that the gesture was "contrived" and it was "like buying a present for a friend after you did something crummy." Her comments may be true, but something is always better than nothing, and it is also a move that the company did not have to make. Still they feel and know they need to work hard to repair the damage that was done.
On a final note, it seems players and developers are making headway in moving past the events of last week. Maxis has learned its lesson to never underestimate its fan base ever again. As to what the real future of the game will hold, only time will tell. Too bad we can't speed up time in real life to cheetah.
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