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SimCity Problems: Maxis Admits Being 'Dumb'
The makers of the new SimCity game have admitted they were "dumb" for not anticipating the type of demand which shut out gamers this week.
The newly-released PC title has infuriated many fans who have been unable to get online to play due to server problems.
"A lot more people logged on than we expected," said Lucy Bradshaw, head of games developer Maxis in a blog post.
"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."
Later in the blog she told gamers: "We're hoping you won't stay mad and that we'll be friends again."
The long-running franchise, first released in 1989, lets gamers build a virtual city - but in the latest instalment they must be connected to the internet.
But the botched launch has seen many players experiencing long delays logging on, as well as crashes.
Online retailer Amazon briefly stopped selling the game on Friday due to overwhelmingly bad feedback on the site.
A swift backlash on social networks has prompted the game's makers to take urgent action.
Electronic Arts (EA), which owns Maxis, has added extra servers to cope with demand, put in patches to stop the game crashing, and disabled some features in the game to speed things up.
In its latest update it says the number of "disrupted experiences" has dropped by about 80% but that some people are still having problems.
"We're close to fixed, but not quite there," said Maxis General Manager Lucy Bradshaw. "I'm hoping to post another update this weekend to let everyone know that the launch issues are behind us."
"The consensus among critics and players is that this is fundamentally a great game," she added.
Looking to appease angry fans, EA also said it would also be offering those affected a free downloadable game from its archive.
The online connectivity is nothing new for today's games and the feature allows users to link their cities up with others to create larger regions. It is also designed as a way to prevent piracy of the game.
However, because there is no option to play 'offline', even those wanting to play in single-player mode have experienced problems.
Early SimCity reviews were positive, with critics calling it a "fully realised evolution of the franchise" and "wonderfully complex".