Games giant Electronics Arts has been forced to apologise for a disastrous launch of the latest version of town-planning title SimCity, offering a free game as a means of compensation.
Unlike all other versions of SimCity, the latest requires gamers to remain online while they play, as each city they construct sits on a chunk of virtual territory shared with other players.
But the launch suffered from too few servers and poor forward planning.
Since the game launched on 5th March, the online computers that co-ordinate play have been regularly overwhelmed. Gamers have reported long queues to play, bugs and other glitches.
Many gamers reported waiting 30 minutes or more before they could start to construct a city and said the game was sluggish once they were playing. Others said it often crashed or was slow to respond to changes.
The troubles led online store Amazon to briefly suspend sales of the download version of the game.
As compensation, all those who bought SimCity will be offered a free Electronics Arts PC game this month.
Emails detailing how to claim the free game would be sent out on 18 March, she added.
In a blog post, Lucy Bradshaw, general manager for SimCity, said "A lot more people logged on than we expected. More people played, and played in ways we never saw in the beta."
"OK, we agree that was dumb, but we are committed to fixing it," she added.