By Alexandra Burlacu | Mar 09, 2013 01:36 PM EST
SimCity fans may turn less loyal after Electronic Arts (EA) decided not to provide digital refunds for money lost due to server issues.
For those unfamiliar with the matter, SimCity had some server issues that locked players out of the game, causing them to lose the money they invested or, in some cases, even lose their virtual cities.
The server issues tested the patience of most users, but many expected some refunds from EA. In a series of tweets via its official Origin account, however, EA blatantly announced that ongoing server issues do not warrant refunds.
"In general we do not offer refunds on digital download games," explains the company, adding a link to its policy.
The decision even prompted rumors that players who asked for a refund will suffer consequences, but EA cleared things up and promised it will not ban players who ask for their money back. On the other hand, it won't give them their money back either.
EA only offers a 14-day "unconditional guarantee" on physical products purchased via its Origin store. This leaves players who downloaded the game directly to their computer with no options to recuperate their investment.
The whole matter is a bit confusing considering that earlier this week Origin's global community manager Marcel Hatam said on the EA forums that those affected by the server issues could request a refund. It seems that somewhere along the way EA changed its mind. The post in question was revised and now it simply points to the company's refund policy.
European customers, meanwhile, can benefit from a 14-day "Cooling Off Period," during which they can withdraw their online purchase provided that they do not download the software, they don't unseal the package and EA's services have not started before that time. Read the EA returns and cancellations policy here.
"In general games don't fail so hard like SC has," Twitter user John Creasy wrote in response to Origin's tweet. "Maybe you should do the right thing and start giving store credit or refunds."
In all fairness, SimCity players did put up $60 for the reboot. SimCity returned after a decade on Tuesday, March 5. The game now requires players to be connected to the Internet, but EA's servers were quickly overloaded and players could no longer access the game they paid for.
The company's very public failure even prompted Amazon to stop selling the PC download of SimCity on Thursday, March 7, particularly due to these server issues. Customers can still purchase the $49.99 PC hard copy of SimCity.
On Friday, March 8, EA announced that it increased server capacity by 120 percent to solve the issues and the number of players who got in and built cities saw a dramatic improvement. According to the company, the number of disrupted experiences already saw a roughly 80 percent drop. To make amends, EA is offering players a free PC download game from the EA portfolio.
"SimCity players who have activated their game will receive an email telling them how to redeem their free game," writes the company.
The free game might be a sign of good faith and an effort to get back in consumers' good graces, but for many players it will likely take more than this to forget about the money they lost.
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