Even though the SimCity servers are working much better than they were a week ago, the damage is still done. Gamers still feel burned by developer Maxis and publisher Electronic Arts who failed to effectively launch their highly anticipated game. Specifically, the games always-on connection requirements crippled servers, and resulted in everything from long wait times to cities disappearing.
However, amidst complaints about the ineffectiveness of always-on requirements, and SimCity's launch failure, Maxis remained steadfast in their claims an Internet connection was the only way SimCity could work properly.
An anonymous developer with close ties to the game tells Rock Paper Shotgun that switching SimCity to a wholly single player experience — stripping the game of its always-on requirements — would require minimal effort. This claim, of course, is in direct opposition with the lines Maxis has been feeding gamers since SimCity launched.
The source explains just what SimCity's servers are doing:
“The servers are not handling any of the computation done to simulate the city you are playing. They are still acting as servers, doing some amount of computation to route messages of various types between both players and cities. As well, they’re doing cloud storage of save games, interfacing with Origin, and all of that. But for the game itself? No, they’re not doing anything. I have no idea why they’re claiming otherwise. It’s possible that Bradshaw misunderstood or was misinformed, but otherwise I’m clueless.”
They also claim "it wouldn't take very much engineering to give [players] a limited single-play game without all the nifty region stuff." In fact, some gamers, like Minecraft creator Markus Persson have been able to play SimCity offline without any problems.
Perhaps Maxis feels that the "nifty region stuff" to which the source refers is an integral component of the game, and therefore finding a way to apply that idea to a single player experience would be challenging. At this point, the damage has been done, so it really doesn't matter SimCity can be taken offline or not. And it doesn't even matter that EA is offering a free game.
Besides, Maxis has taken strides to improve SimCity's online experience, including a substantial update and a new server status page. The page will alert players as to each server's status — whether they are available, full, or if there is a waiting room.
Basically the page takes the guess work out of signing into SimCity only to find the West 1 server, for example, is full. Still, full servers, or having to sign in to a server, for a game that could easily be a single player only experience is the major problem.
Do you think that Maxis could easily take SimCity offline, but they are avoiding doing so? Can SimCity ever recover from the failed launch?
Source: Rock Paper Shotgun