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Amazon yanks SimCity download from store

EA server woes lead to well over 800 one-star reviews – so far

Amazon has stopped selling the downloadable version of SimCity after hundreds of incensed gamers gave the just-launched game one-star reviews.

The SimCity – Standard Edition was removed from Amazon's virtual shelves on Thursday. The always-online game has been mostly unplayable since it launched on Tuesday because of problems with EA's servers.

"Currently unavailable, we don't know when or if this item will be available again," Amazon's product page reads.

Amazon has also published an "important note" which tells fans of the urban-planning simulator that many customers have had issues connecting to the SimCity servers.

This latest version of SimCity needs a stable internet connection to work, unlike previous titles in the series.

EA says this is necessary even for single-player games because the processing for inter-city modelling is done in EA's server farm. Critics of the system have said it is merely a hyper-cynical form of digital rights management.

Amazon downloadable SimCity reviews

Incensed wannabe mayors have taken to Amazon to vent their frustration (click to enlarge)

It is much more difficult to pirate a game if it's built partially around a client-server architecture. But if your servers fail, customers who have stumped-up hard cash for your title can be left out in the cold.

"I find it incredibly mind boggling that I spent $60 on something that I can't even log into to play," Amazon reviewer 'Kyle' wrote on the product page. "My first city that I spent some time on was lost forever due to server issues at EA. Oh, and forget trying to get a quick game in when your server (where your save resides) is either full or busy. I only wanted to play a quick game, completely solo, and am forced to wait and wait and wait and wait. And don't believe the 20-30 min timer. Sometimes even that is incorrect."

"Until EA either removes the DRM completely or allows offline play and saves, this game is nothing more than an example on how a company can both rip off AND alienate its fanbase," Kyle wrote.

Kyle gave the game one star, and 394 out of 408 people found his review helpful. His review is one of the 866 (and counting) one-star reviews the game has garnered since it launched on Tuesday.

The tone of Kyle's review matches up with most of the other one-star reviews, though his language is not nearly as inflammatory.

At the time of writing neither Amazon or EA had responded to El Reg's requests for comment.

"While we continue to do everything we can to fix server issues, we're currently in the process of deploying a Hotfix to all servers. This includes various improvements," EA wrote at 7:48am Pacific Time, on Thursday. ®

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