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SimCity studio adds new servers, as EA pulls ad campaign

The company has asked affiliates to stop promoting the game, after its disastrous reception.

SimCity studio Maxis has added three servers to try and remedy the issues that have rendered the game unplayable for many, according to an internal memo obtained by Polygon.

The problems have been so bad that Electronic Arts has stopped publicising the game, SlashGear reports. It's asked its affiliates to do the same, sending an email imploring them to "please stop actively promoting the game" until further notice.

Maxis' general manager Lucy Bradshaw outlined the problems in an email to staff. "I'll start by saying that I couldn't be more proud of SimCity and the Maxis team that made it and are supporting it," she wrote. She went on to say the game garnered "great reviews" and that "SimCity is a software achievement that everyone at Maxis is extremely proud of. I am also thankful for all of the hard work put in by our marketing, EA Global Publishing and Origin teams, which drove very strong Day One performance around the world.

"Then we launched it."

Bradshaw said the team is working "24/7" to fix the server issues that have plagued players all around the world.

She was remarkably candid when responding to the criticism the game has received. "I'd like to say that it's not fair -- that the game score shouldn't be punished for a server problem," she wrote. "But it is fair.

"SimCity is an online game and critics and consumers have every right to expect a smooth experience from beginning to end. I and the Maxis team take full responsibility to deliver on our promise."

Origin -- EA's online store -- has "deactivated all SimCity text links and creative", according to an email to affiliates. EA is asking affiliates to do the same, and yank all promotional materials concerning the game.

Though when I checked, there was a rather large link to the game right on Origin's home page, along with links to buy either a PC download, or a physical copy. Maybe it's just taking a while.

EA hasn't stopped promoting the game for good though. It says in the email it'll tell affiliates when to start shouting about the city-builder again. It'll also compensate them with commissions for all sales of the game that are referred.

SimCity has been an unmitigated disaster since launching this week, with Amazon suspending sales of the digital copy. It's added a disclaimer to the physical version too, warning of the problems you're likely to encounter. For a taster of how strong the reaction has been from disgruntled customers, check out some of the user reviews. Peeved players in the US -- who were denied a refund from EA -- have taken matters into their own hands, with one gamer creating a White House petition to reform the gaming industry's returns policy.

There's slightly better news for us Brits: we could be owed a refund, according to the experts we spoke to.

EA blames huge demand for overloading its servers, and leaving many gamers unable to build their own virtual cities.

What do you think of the SimCity debacle? Were you elbowed out of the overcrowded servers? Let me know in the comments, or hop on over to our Facebook page.