SimCity’s launch in North America, Canada, Russia, and parts of Asia is off to a nightmare start, with many players unable to download, install, or run the game.

Even those that have managed to launch SimCity are reporting 30 minute queues to get on to a server to play what is ostensibly a singleplayer title.

The Origin forums are awash with posts about error codes, the game not showing up in EA's client, and install failures.

Reddit users are also reporting in-game stability problems.

Both digital and retail copies of the game appear to be affected.

For reasons unknown, EA did not allow those to who pre-ordered the game to pre-load it ahead of launch, as is usually the case with popular titles.

In one thread, a SimCity community manager simply wrote that this “didn’t come together for SimCity unfortunately”.

"If you regrettably feel that we left you down, you can of course request a refund for your order, though we are currently still in the process of resolving this issue," they added.

"As we usually offer pre-loading for our games on Origin, it likely has to do with the SimCity team working to polish the game until the very last second," wrote another.

EA has posted updates on Origin’s official Twitter account stating that “overwhelming demand” was to blame.

“We’re working as fast as we can to resolve,” it wrote.

When the game's always-online requirement was announced, Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw claimed it would give players the choice to play connected or solo.

“I think that’s why we have to be really, really good about the service that we provide. Electronic Arts is investing quite a bit in making sure we’re locked and loaded,” she said.

“If you’ve seen some of our recent launches they’ve been really quite flawless. Battlefield had huge amounts of players and stayed extremely stable, and think SWTOR was one of the most absolutely stable MMO launches."

SimCity launches in Australia tomorrow.

SimCity servers buckle under launch stress