LOL, hilarious. They didn't offer pre-loads because the simcity team was patching up to the last second.
They would have been better off to let pre-loads go with the gold version, then do a day 0 patch. Since its always online anyway, it would still force everyone to update to play, only it would have let the majority of bandwidth be spread out, rather than concentrated.
Valve learned this long ago which is why they started pre-loads in the first place.