A recent interview conducted with Maxis’ Lucy Bradshaw by VentureBeat reveals the reasons behind the immensely bungled up launch of SimCity. It appears that EA Games and Maxis had severely underestimated the potential popularity of the game.
According to Bradshaw, the servers have reached peaks that were literally double their highest estimates. Bradshaw also said that the company did not expect “a huge surge in pre-orders within the last week” and lengthy game sessions once players were able to connect.
We did not expect out of the gate was the length of time each player played: seven hours average at launch. Which is cool but again meant we had players on for long amounts of time and this affected our peaks. The ways in which they navigated the game, which being a sandbox style game is not predictive. These just led to results that we did not experience in our Betas.
The Betas were apparently another problem. EA and Maxis only held very restrictive, in-house tests, whereas if they’d held even one open beta they would have immediately spotted the trouble coming up ahead.