You’re a video game developer. You’re a Triple-A video game developer, to be specific. You have a major game release coming up. It’s a game that will require an online connection to play. What should you be doing?
Hint: It’s not spend millions of dollars on more useless advertising that no one will see, no one will hear and those who will are already aware of your game and have made their decision on it come release day.
How often do we see games get released and several people can’t get online to play it because of server issues or server overload? Think Diablo 3, GTA Online and the recent Destiny expansion, Destiny: Rise of Iron. You buy the game on release day, maybe you pre-ordered it. You get home all excited and pop that sucker into your console or computer’s CD drive, or if you could care less about physical possessions, that bitch finished downloading. You boot up the game and…ERROR! Huh? What? All right, that’s probably a glitch…restart…boot it back up…ERROR! …What the fuck?!
It’s one of the most frustrating feelings you’ll ever have as a gamer. You bought a game with your hard earned money, popped it in and the game tells you that you cannot play the game. It’s the first day of the game’s release, why the fuck can’t I play the game?! What the flying fuck is going on here?! What kind of witch doctor-y bullshit is this?!
In the end, it’s usually due to server overload. The developers for some reason thought that after shelling out millions of dollars for advertising their potential game of the year or potential piece of shit, that after all that advertising, not that many people would be playing their game, especially on the day of release. Who knew that a really hyped up game after a year or more of endless advertising would have a large player base ready to go?
Even more frustrating to me was Destiny: Rise of Iron. This game has entered its third year and has thousands upon thousands of people playing it. Rise of Iron starts up at 6am ET and I get the queue message and I’m in 190,000th in said queue. Bungie, it’s year 3 of the game and your servers still aren’t prepared for at least 200,000 players?! Then there’s a game like GTA Online. It was announced not long after the game came out that it made over a billion dollars in sales. So when the online portion came out a couple weeks after the game was released, it was an absolute mess. How in god’s name did Rockstar not prepare for arguably the biggest game in history finally having a legitimate online mode to it? This isn’t some indie title, this is Grand Theft Fucking Auto!
Obviously not every game developer will guess correctly on how much they need to initially beef up their servers for their game, but if you’re running major titles, at least make it seem like you tried. The fact that the recent WoW expansion, WoW: Legion is being currently heralded as one of the first times Blizzard was properly set up Day 1 for something upon release tells a great story about how companies clearly cut as many corners as they can to reap the benefits.
At the end of the day, we shouldn’t be anticipating server problems when a games come out. The fact that I said to my friends “Watch, GTA Online will not be fully functional for about a week or so.” and I was pretty much right on the money when it launched, that shouldn’t be the case! I should be wrong on these things, I’m not a professional, why can I call a server not being buffed up enough, but the actual developers who made the fucking game can’t?!
I don’t pay good money to stare at error screens and get constantly kicked out of the game I’m playing. I pay good money to play the fucking game.
Can we remember this from now on, developers? Cool? Cool.