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EA refuses refunds for digital copies of SimCity after server issues

Angry SimCity fans are grabbing their pitchforks and torches in response to Electronic Arts's decision to not provide digital refunds.

In a series of tweets via its official Origin account, EA announced that ongoing server problems do not warrant refunds. "In general we do not offer refunds on digital download games," the company wrote, providing a link to its policy.

EA also cleared up a rumour that suggested consequences for users who asked for their money back: "We will not ban players for requesting refunds," a tweet said.

The game developer does offer a 14-day "unconditional guarantee" on any physical products sold through its Origin store, but the many players who downloaded the title directly to their computer have no options.

Last week, Marcel Hatam, global community manager for Origin, said on the EA forums that those who were annoyed by the server problems could request a refund. However, the post has since been revised and simply points users to the company's refund policy.

European customers are entitled to a 14-day "Cooling Off Period," during which they can withdraw their online purchase. That right is removed, though, if the software is downloaded, the package is unsealed, or EA's services have begun before that time.

Electronic Arts hasn't received much sympathy from SimCity players — who shelled out $60 (£45) for the reboot. Twitter user Josh Creasy responded to Origin's tweet, saying, "In General games don't fail so hard like SC has. Maybe you should do the right thing and start giving store credit or refunds."

"Shameful," user @foofieboosche wrote in agreement. "No updates for 2 days and then a reminder that you don't accept refunds on a service that can be easily turned off."

The trouble began on 5 March, when SimCity returned after a 10-year hiatus. The game requires that players be connected to the Internet to play, however, and EA's servers were quickly overloaded.

"This has been an exciting and challenging week for the team here at Maxis," senior producer Kip Katsarelis said in a statement Thursday. "We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and enthusiasm from our fans which has made it even more upsetting for us that technical issues have become more prominent in the last 24 hours."

Within that initial launch period, more than 38 million buildings were constructed, almost 7.5 million kilometers of roads laid down, 18 million-plus fires started, and more than 40 million pipes filled with pop, Katsarelis reported.

The company's very public misstep forced Amazon out of the digital sales game - the online retail giant stopped offering the PC download version of SimCity. Customers can still buy the PC hard copy for $49.99 (£38).