Electronic Arts and developer Maxis announced on their blog that “SimCity” owners can get one of eight games free to make up for the technical problems, including server issues, that plagued the launch. “SimCity” is an “always online” game, meaning users need an active Internet connection in order to play the game. Unfortunately, during the launch of “SimCity,” EA servers were unable to handle the large amount of new gamers, effectively shutting out thousands who purchased the game on March 5.

In the blog post “For Our Patient and Amazing Mayors - A Free PC Download From Origin,” EA apologizes for the issues during the “SimCity” launch, saying, “Our SimCity Mayors are incredibly important to the team at Maxis. We sincerely apologize for the difficulties at launch and hope to make it up to you with a free PC game download from Origin.”

“SimCity” users must register their game by March 25 to be eligible for one of the free games: either “Mass Effect 3,” “Battlefield 3,” “Dead Space 3,” “SimCity 4 Deluxe,” “Medal of Honor Warfighter,” “Need For Speed Most Wanted,” “Bejeweled 3” or “Plant Vs. Zombies.”

“SimCity” users worldwide can get one of the games beginning on March 22,  and will have until March 30, 11:59 p.m. PDT, to choose.

Discussing “SimCity,” Maxis said, “Our studio values dictate that we innovate and create something that is quirky, complex and challenging. Sometimes this bites us in the butt, but our servers are green and we’re seeing record numbers of players all online and having a great time.” Maxis and EA thanked the players for sticking with “SimCity,” saying they were “humbled by your patience and passion for the game.”

While the free game may ease some frustration, many players want an offline version of “SimCity” and despite some promise of an offline version, based on mods or disconnecting the Internet connection, it appears “SimCity” will remain an “always online” experience.

So, how do you get your free game?

1. Register "SimCity" on Origin by March 25.

2. After registering, users will get an email about how to log in to Origin's site.

3. After authenticating their copy of "SimCity," users will see a "Featured Today" pop-up window that will have a free-game redemption link.

4. Using that link, "SimCity" players can select a game and the pop-up window will disappear from Origin.

The free-game portal will become active on March 20 in the United States, March 21 in Europe and March 22 in Asia and South America. Underage users will have "SimCity 4: Deluxe Edition" and "Bejeweled 3" added to their My Library instantly.