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EA giving free game to SimCity players, hopes to fix launch issues by this weekend

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

The studio behind the new SimCity says it continues to work on server-related issues affecting the game, offering further insight into the game's current troubles in a message from Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw. And in an effort to get EA and Maxis back into players' "good graces," they'll be handing out a free PC game to those affected.

"The server issues which began at launch have improved significantly as we added more capacity," Bradshaw writes on EA's The Beat blog. "But some people are still experiencing response and stability problems that we're working fast to address.

"So what went wrong? The short answer is: a lot more people logged on than we expected. More people played and played in ways we never saw in the beta."

Bradshaw writes that the miscalculation was "dumb," but that Maxis remains "committed to fixing it." Increasing server capacity for SimCity is working, she writes, and "the number of people who have gotten in and built cities has improved dramatically."

As part of its mea culpa to SimCity players, those who have activated the game will get a free game — a free PC download game from the EA portfolio — on March 18, Bradshaw says.

"I know that's a little contrived — kind of like buying a present for a friend after you did something crummy," she writes. "But we feel bad about what happened. We're hoping you won't stay mad and that we'll be friends again when SimCity is running at 100 percent."

Bradshaw says Maxis is close to fixing SimCity's technical issues, "but not quite there."

"I'm hoping to post another update this weekend to let everyone know that the launch issues are behind us," she says.