Apps End User gaming internet

Electronic Arts infrastructure fails under weight of demand for FIFA2013

I had to pop into town yesterday to buy FIFA 2013 for my 12 year old. It was the price I had to pay for his cooperation with the BT case study filming when he got back from school. It cost an arm and a leg – somewhere in the region of £85 including 5,000 Microsoft points.

There would have been a lot of people getting around town without arms and legs because there must have been hundreds of the games  piled up behind the counter at Game Station, all on pre-order. In fact if you hadn’t pre-ordered it  you would have been out of luck as they were all spoken for.

My lad got home from school and immediately got down to business with the XBox. That’s when things started to go wrong. He traded 3,200 Microsoft points for 5,200 FIFA points. However the FIFA points did not appear. These are expensive virtual tokens (massive gross margin I’d imagine) and whilst I was sure that we would resolve the issue – @EA support has been great in the past – on this occasion the support was totally unobtainable.

I began to tweet my dissatisfaction – that’s usually a good way of getting a response (unless you are @eastcoastuk). Every minute I spent on hold I tweeted the fact with increasing levels of annoyance. Looking at the @EA twitter account I could see they had over 1 million followers. I gave up after 20 minutes.

Later the lad found out online that EA had had to switch off their points system because it had been overwhelmed. This was another Olympic ticketing/Ticketmaster moment. The next morning the system is still down for maintenance.

It surprises me that in this day and age of scalable online computing resources that businesses let themselves down like this. I often hear complaints in our house that the FIFA servers are down or too busy.

As I write the @EA twitter follower count is down to 999,901 – clearly a few disgruntled folks out there.

Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

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