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After launch mess, EA pledges free game for SimCity players

The chief of Sims creator and EA subsidiary Maxis indicates that a few good things are coming to weary residents of SimCity, who've experienced disconnections, lengthy queues, and other woes since the game's launch.

Are things finally improving in SimCity? Leave us a comment about your gameplay experiences.

SimCity's launch may be long remembered as a complete disaster, but in a new update, Lucy Bradshaw, General Manager of Sims creator and EA subsidiary Maxis, aimed to alleviate the sour mood by promising to fix the connectivity calamity and deliver a free game as a peace offering.

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

There's no further information about what type of games SimCity players can choose from (I hope they're AAA quality), but it seems likely that people could choose from a predetermined selection of titles on Electronic Arts' Origin digital game store. Bradshaw said in the note that the employees of Maxis feel bad about what happened, and she acknowledges that the free-game offer may come off as "a little contrived -- kind of like buying a present for a friend after you did something crummy." But, she says, "We're hoping you won't stay mad and that we'll be friends again when SimCity is running at 100 percent."

The offer may calm down stressed out gamers who purchased SimCity and couldn't get a refund on Origin, as the storefront doesn't allow returns of digital game downloads.

Bradshaw goes on to explain that the situation facing SimCity since its launch has "improved significantly" as the company continues to enhance network infrastructure and add servers.

"So what went wrong? The short answer is: a lot more people logged on than we expected," said Bradshaw. "More people played and played in ways we never saw in the beta. OK, we agree, that was dumb, but we are committed to fixing it. In the last 48 hours we increased server capacity by 120 percent. It's working -- the number of people who have gotten in and built cities has improved dramatically. The number of disrupted experiences has dropped by roughly 80 percent."

Ever since its launch on March 5, many gamers trying to play SimCity experienced disconnections, lengthy queues, and other server-related woes. The primary issue revolves around EA's requirement for an always-on Internet connection to play (even in single player mode), and the total error of EA not preparing enough servers to support heavy traffic after the highly anticipated game launched around the world.