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SimCity Pares Down Features to Meet Demand

A post to the EA Forums from SimCity senior producer Kip Katsarelis explains the measures they are taking to address launch issues with the new SimCity, which include a server hotfix and a version 1.2 patch, but apparently no refunds (contrary to an early statement that said these would be offered). Word is they have temporarily cut off some features to help their servers cope with demand:

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.

Earlier today, we 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 that we can let more people into the game. These are great features that we're proud of and we'll turn them back on soon, but our number one priority is to bring stability to our servers. This update also resolved some of the bugs and issues that have been frustrating players. You can read all about it at http://forum.ea.com/eaforum/posts/list/9341807.page

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87. Re: SimCity Pares Down Features to Meet Demand Mar 9, 2013, 21:42 JohnnyRotten
 
nin wrote on Mar 9, 2013, 21:08:
I don't doubt your information, but it's interesting maxis continues to insist an offline mode isn't possible. Not unlike how blizzard insists D3 can't be run offline, but oh, wait, for PS4 it's suddenly possible (but not for you godless pirating PC heathens).

The whole thing stinks to me. If either item I posted is true (can play without being connected, traffic sniffer shows next to no traffic), then the server requirement thing is just simply BS.

Even without confirmation, I don't believe it.

The TL;DNR version: processing horsepower costs money, if you need so much more then a desktop can deliver, then you cannot run many instances of the game per server, and the upfront server cost alone is ridiculously far past the (instance * $60) price point.

------------------------------------------

Long version: If the game takes more CPU or RAM than the average desktop machine, it'll take up the same resources on the server. Yes, the server can drop more physical CPU's in then a desktop. Yes, you can drop in more RAM then the average desktop. But we're not talking orders of magnitude here. The gap between desktop and server CPU/RAM is not generational.

If this game is so heavy on resources (CPU/RAM), how many instances of it could you really run on a server? How is this ever going to be cost effective for EA based on a single $60 purchase - of which only a portion would be available for servers costs (upfront and long term). CPU and RAM isn't cheap for any platform. High end servers that can take multiple CPU's and dense RAM configurations are very expensive even before you drop the component pieces (CPU/RAM/disk) in them.

No, it just doesn't add up. The bottom line is that if you need more processing power per player then the average desktop can deliver, there is no business or technical model that I can think of that makes this financial viable for a single $60 per player purchase.

I also can't see any argument about scales of efficiency in processing or memory that simply couldn't just be transplanted to the desktop. Nothing is efficient about this arrangement - outside the need for physical servers, you need an expensive internet pipe to them, a place to house them, staff to maintain them, etc, etc, etc.

This stinks to high heaven.
 
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