SimCity Server Problems: Does Internet Gaming Work?
Earlier this month the first full SimCity simulation game was released. Unlike earlier versions, though, users require constant internet access. The internet has moved on over the last decade, as has gaming, with many offerings making use of the internet. As has often been the case, however, SimCity players have experienced problems due to the reliance on the internet and web servers. Some have had lengthy waits trying to access the server, with some reporting waits of up to thirty minutes. Others have reported that data has been lost, despite it being saved, meaning they have had to repeat parts of the game they had already played. This had led to many complaints, with some enquiring as to why the game has been developed in such a way that internet access is required constantly.
There are potential issues that can arise when gamers require internet access. If there are server problems then players cannot gain access while users individual internet connections can drop out for a whole host of reasons. You could argue that where people have paid for a game they should be able to play it, regardless of the strength of their internet connection.
Does this mean that, despite regular hype around it, gaming that relies on the internet does not work?
No, it doesn’t, for a number of reasons. There are, though, certain things that game developers could take into consideration.
In the case of SimCity, the problem appears to be a lack of server capacity, something they have alluded to themselves in promising to add additional servers. Games companies need to accurately assess demand, as well as required capacity, and ensure they have the servers required. Being caught short is not acceptable in the eyes of their customers. Something else that might be advisable is not to make every part of a game reliant on an internet connection, meaning that where someone loses their connection they are still able to play the game.
The frustrations of gamers is summed up in a quote from a customer mentioned on Cloud Pro:
“I don’t understand how every MMO/needs online game always [goes wrong] in the same way and then gives the same ‘oh man, we didn’t know people were actually going to want to play, sorry!’. The one game I’ve played where the regional stuff worked I got to build with friends and was supper fun but server [problems have destroyed it].”
It seems there is still work to do before this form of gaming completely satisfied the market they are trying to please.