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SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment

SimCity Update #4 is penned by EA Maxis SVP Lucy Bradshaw, who is "happy to report that the core problem with getting in and having a great SimCity experience is almost behind us," saying they have "reduced game crashes by 92% from day one." She admits she's not able to offer the "all clear" for the game she'd hoped to, but seems optimistic that they've turned the corner from the game's rocky launch. There's also a new tweet on the SimCity account quickly walking back from this tweet they posted over the weekend which said: "We have no intention of offlining SimCity any time soon but we'll look into that as part of our earning back your trust efforts." It seems there is a disagreement among the operators of their twitter account, because the new update states this isn't actually possible: "The game was designed for MP, we sim the entire region on the server so this is just not possible."

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58. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 14:50 Digitalfiend
 
While I don't think it would be trivial for EA/Maxis to provide the server-side portion of the game to customers, it certainly *should* be possible with a bit of work.

I have no idea what they are using for a backing store on the server-side for per-user instance data (I thought it was something like Amazon S3) but if the programmers followed well established coding patterns and practices, it wouldn't be too difficult for them to swap out the backing store, assuming no reliance on platform/infrastructure-specific APIs or features (e.g. Amazon S3/EC2, etc.) Things like achievements and other social metrics might not transfer over as easily but, with a bit of work, there should be no reason that EA couldn't allow customers to setup their own private dedicated servers (minus certain features.) The game client would simply connect to the local server instance instead of using EA's servers.

Hell, it may even be as simple as providing the server files with the disclaimer that they must be hosted on Amazon's platform due to reliance on specific features (or whatever PaaS/IaaS vendor EA has gone with.)

Yes, modifying the server-files to support private hosting by customers would require an investment from EA/Maxis but after the less than stellar launch and the apparent success (sales-wise) of the game, they could at least do this as a show of good faith. They could even wait a year before releasing the modified server files, which would probably generate an additional round of increased sales while still discouraging pirating during the initial release period.

The again, EA has no need to do this because gamers clearly don't have a problem with the always on requirement or complete dependence on the availability of EA's servers. Gamers seem quite happy to take one up the rear. If gamers did care, they wouldn't have opened their wallets. Sometimes gamers are their own worst enemy.
 
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