Despite being a primarily single-player title, the new version of SimCity is saddled with a DRM scheme that requires an online connection to EA's servers. The game was released yesterday, and predictably, EA's servers are swamped. The situation is so bad that some folks haven't been able to even download the game. Others were able to complete the download but not unlock it to play. Then there are those who got through the installation process but are having problems connecting to online servers. Wait times are reportedly as long as 30 minutes just to get into the single-player game.
Kotaku has a series of posts detailing the problems associated with the game. While it appears that some users have been able to get online and play with few problems, they may be in the minority. SimCity's Metacritic page is filled with negative user reviews that have lowered the user score to a measly 2.5 out of 10. That's a stark contrast to the critic score, which sits at 90 out of 100.
Patches are being applied to EA's various regional servers to try to address the connection issues, and more machines have apparently been brought online to handle the load. It's unclear whether those efforts have resolved the issues many players—or would-be players—are facing, though.
While I can understanding publishers and developers wanting to protect their investments with anti-piracy measures, I'm shocked that the SimCity launch has been botched so spectacularly. It's the early adopters who are getting screwed here, and they're likely the biggest fans of the storied franchise. To make matters worse, a cracked version of the game will almost surely show up on BitTorrent sites before long.