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SimCity UK Release Hit By Server Problems As Anger With EA Grows

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The UK release of the new SimCity video game has been so badly marred by server problems, bugs and glitches it has forced one retailer to remove the game from sale.

EA and Maxis' 'SimCity' is the first new entry in the series in more than a decade.

Featuring 3D graphics, a highly complex simulation engine and new multiplayer options, it is said to be in some ways a huge step forward from previous titles - and early reviews were universal in their praise.

But the game was controversial prior to launch after EA's decision to require an internet connection at all times to play the game, as both a requirement for the new multiplayer features, which allow players to work together on city regions and share resources, and as an attempt to combat piracy.

And in the first few days after its 5 March US launch customers have been furious by its apparent failure to deliver on that promise, with long delays to both download and connect to the game.

Frequent server outages have also left early adopters unable to build cities, and caused many to lose hours of data due to sudden connection problems.

READ MORE: Review: The New SimCity Is Hugely Fun - And Hugely Addictive

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EA has promised to fix the problems which it has blamed on server hardware, and has attempted to free up server space by disabling "non key" features and patching its backend systems.

It has also provided players with frequent updates on its progress via the SimCity website.

But that has not quelled the anger of its vocal customers, and the constant technical headaches also forced Amazon to briefly remove the game from sale in the US.

The retail giant removed the download PC version of the game on 7 March for a few hours, and the listing for the game still carries a notice that "issues" with performance are making the game unplayable for many.

Meanwhile a leaked transcript of an online chat - supposedly between an EA support staff member and an angry customer, though that is not confirmed - has served to exacerbate the perception that EA are not doing enough to deal with the frustration.

Games reviewers have also not accepted EA's attempt to deal with the problem, with one website dropping its review score from an almost-perfect 9.5 out of ten to just four out of ten.

Others have been further incensed by SimCity senior producer Kip Katsarelis' comments in a blog post that the problems were caused by players "having such a good time".

"Server capacity is our biggest obstacle," he said. "We launched in North America on Tuesday and our servers filled up within a matter of hours. What we saw was that players were having such a good time they didn't want to leave the game, which kept our servers packed and made it difficult for new players to join."