There have been conflicting reports this week about what you can do if you feel screwed by your inability to play the copy of SimCity you paid $60 for due to the server meltdowns. But there is one thing you should know: if you bought the game through Origin, you will not get a refund.
This saga has been a complicated one beyond the server problems themselves. First, an EA community manager said the following Tuesday morning on the forums: "If you regrettably feel that we let you down, you can of course request a refund for your order at [Origin's "contact us" page], though we're currently still in the process of resolving this issue." (That forum post has since been edited to remove that comment.) That does not say that you would definitely be able to get a refund, but it implies that it is possible.
But it is not. Origin policy states that there will be no refunds given for digital purchases unless there are, EA Support told Polygon, "special mitigating circumstances." The game's servers not working properly and preventing you, through no fault of your own, from playing does not count. You could perhaps get a refund, Polygon was told, if you only realized after purchase that your PC does not meet SimCity's minimum system requirements.
Making viral waves today was an image of one user's chat with customer service as he tried to get a refund. This person threatened to dispute the charge with his bank, and the rep to whom he was speaking said he would be banned from Origin if he did that. @OriginInsider later tweeted that you will not be banned for seeking a refund.
As outrage grows, Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw issued the following statement to Kotaku:
"Thousands of players across the world are playing and having a good experience – in fact, more than 700,000 cities have been built by our players in just 24 hours. But many are experiencing server instability and consequently, the rollout in North America has been challenging. It's also now evident that players across Europe and Asia are experiencing the same frustration," she admitted.
"Our priority now is to quickly and dramatically increase the number and stability of our servers and, with that, the number of players who can simultaneously access the game. We added servers today, and there will be several more added over the weekend. We're working as hard as possible to make sure everyone gets to experience the amazing game we built in SimCity."
Meanwhile, Amazon is no longer selling digital copies of SimCity, some social features of the game were disabled to try to improve performance, and several servers were taken down and patched yesterday. But issues persist. We will keep updating you on this drama as it continues to unfold.