A funny thing has happened over the past couple of years. I’ve been playing PC games that require Origin, EA’s online content provider, and my computer hasn’t blown up. That’s right, I didn’t come across any issues with one of the most hated things in all of PC gaming.
Then I tried to install SimCity from a disc. (Yes, that’s right, I like buying physical copies of games still.) But no matter what I did, the game was unable to install.
For the first few minutes, I ran into some expected problems. Origin’s servers were getting absolutely hammered, meaning my game library would be slow loading. Once that initial hump was passed, I activated my code, got confirmation that the game was registered to my account, and proceeded to—what do you mean the game can’t install? There’s nothing wrong with my disc drive. You’re reading the disc fine; I can see the files. So why can’t you install them?
Oh well, a minor inconvenience, I thought. I’ll just run the setup from the disc again and we’ll be on our—oh, you’re asking for an activation code. Odd, seeing as mine was already confirmed. But no worries, I must be optimistic. I can restart the acti—oh, Origin is saying my activation code has already been used. Of course it has, because I just used it. I’ll just install the game without going through the activation steps.
Wait, how the hell do I do that? The game’s nowhere to be found in my library. Maybe I’ll just have to find a way to download the game client. Or maybe I can contact EA’s live chat. Let’s see here.
330 minute wait? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Thankfully, the issue was resolved exactly 57 minutes after I purchased the game. Granted, it took me five minutes to get home from GameStop (where I waited with a bunch of rabid Tomb Raider fans at a midnight launch while holding in the urge to go to the bathroom for two hours), one minute to put the disc into the drive, and another minute to finally go to the bathroom. (Pro-tip: never attend a midnight launch after chugging a two-liter of Hawaiian Punch.)
But it took multiple Origin restarts and staying in contact with various people on Twitter and Reddit for this to happen, and that’s just inexcusable. All of this could have been avoided if players were simply able to preload the game. Server stress would have been undoubtedly mitigated, and we’d all instead be complaining about having to wait while everybody downloads a patch.
I’ve still yet to get into the game at the time of this writing, but here’s some comparison: I had absolutely zero issue installing Diablo III. None. Zilch. Getting into the game was, of course, a different story. But getting things up and running wasn’t a problem.
When your game’s installation is worse than Diablo III’s, it might be time to fix your distribution service.
Date: March 7, 2013