Adding more and more servers to support the launch of its SimCity reboot appears to be helping EA turn a corner.
A new statement from studio head Lucy Bradshaw says ““the core problem with getting in and having a great SimCity experience is almost behind us”.
Although it might take another night or two before the game is 100 per cent running smoothly.
Early last week the new game’s launch was hampered by slow servers that struggled to cope with the number of players logging on.
SimCity requires always-connected web access as part of the game’s attempt to connect players (and track their data) through resource sharing and other new takes on multiplayer gaming.
On Friday, it seemed the addition of a European server would mean gamers this side of the Atlantic wouldn’t experience the same issues, but for many the situation was just as bad as in the US.
Over the weekend, Bradshaw took to Twitter to host a live chat responding to frustrating fans and critics.
“The server issues which began at launch have improved significantly as we added more capacity,” she said in an official statement.
“But some people are still experiencing response and stability problems that we’re working fast to address.
“So what went wrong? The short answer is: a lot more people logged on than we expected. 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.”
She said the firm was adding more server capacity and apologised to fans – the firm is even offering frustrated players a free PC game download as compensation.
And then this morning, a new update from Bradshaw says that the server additions mean “our players have been able to connect to their cities in the game for nearly 8 million hours of gameplay time and we’ve reduced game crashes by 92% from day one.
“A combination of optimizing our server architecture and response times, deploying these enhancements on both a series of new and the original servers and issuing a few critical client updates has achieved getting virtually everyone into the game and, once in, having a great time building cities and sharing regions.”
However “there are still some elements coming together. Tonight and tomorrow we’ll be monitoring each server and gameplay metrics to ensure that the service remains strong and game is playing great. We need a few more days of data before we can assure you that the problem is completely solved and the game is running at 100 per cent.”
Brandshaw said the developer feared connection issues would just put players off, but “the good news is that tens of thousands of new players are streaming into the game every day and the confidence our fans have shown is truly humbling. I can’t begin to explain the way a development team feels when something you’re proud of is threatened at launch. Our biggest fear was that people who love this franchise would be scared off by bad reviews about the connectivity issues.”