SimCity buyers to get free game as compensation

It's no secret that the launch of the new SimCity didn't go as planned, no thanks to EA's overbearing copy protection and overloaded servers. I don't think I've ever seen quite so many one-star reviews for a single product on Amazon.

Anyway, EA is scrambling to quell the flood of negative publicity, and it's taken an unusual step: giving its customers a free game. Maxis General Manager Lucy Bradshaw announced the offer last Friday on EA's official blog:

And to get us back in your good graces, we're going to offer you a free PC download game from the EA portfolio. On March 18, SimCity players who have activated their game will receive an email telling them how to redeem their free game.

Given that, you know, a lot of folks who bought SimCity couldn't actually play the darned thing, getting a functional game as compensation sounds fair—assuming anything in the EA library is up for grabs. Some might be happier with a refund, though, and it looks like that may not be easy to get. Hmm.

As for faithful fans still hoping to play SimCity, Bradshaw posted another update on Sunday to say EA's server issues are almost resolved:

I'm happy to report that the core problem with getting in and having a great SimCity experience is almost behind us. 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.

However, Bradshaw goes on to note that EA needs "a few more days of data before we can assure you that the problem is completely solved and the game is running at 100 percent."

Ah, good old EA. PC gaming wouldn't be quite the same without you.

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