GTA Online Has The Launch Day Blues


Grand Theft Auto V launched on September 17th and has since sold more copies than any other game in the history of the business. If you recall, the online portion of GTA V was omitted from the initial release and was scheduled to go live yesterday, 10/01/2013, and in a sense it did go live, but was anyone really able to use it? The majority of reports point to the no, or thumbs down column. Alongside the general unavailability of the service, there’s also unconfirmed reports that campaign save data had been corrupted after attempting to connect to GTA Online.

Gamers the world over were hitting up forums with frustration and misguided emo hate due to the service not being available for the lion’s share of the community who’d purchased the game. They were acting as if they were owed something, and they were, they were promised an expansive, organic online experience on October 1st. But was Grand Theft Auto Online the first to disappoint gamers on launch day? Not by a longshot.

There’s a long list of failed online launches before GTA Online, and the inventory will do nothing but continue to grow as more games employ a more online-centric model. One of the larger calamities in recent memory was the launch of the EA published and Maxis developed SimCity. If you recall, the game was built around an online-only infrastructure. Gamers that bought the title and tried to connect on launch day, and for some launch week, were unsuccessful in their attempts. Possibly the most comical part of the whole situation was the report players were getting when trying to connect to SimCity. It read, “SimCity’s servers will reopen again <parameter: string>which is standard syntax for ?.

Beyond that there’s a catalog of titles with failure to launch written all over them. Games from the likes of Blizzard (Diablo lll), Square Enix (FFXIV A Realm Reborn), and even Activision (most Call of Duty titles).

Ultimately we have to remember that an online server infrastructure is akin to a newborn, and are more alive than we give them credit for. We can’t really expect the launch of an online service with tens of millions of people trying to connect to it day one to “go off without a hitch”. Anyone that does is completely delusional. Babies have to learn to crawl before they walk, and walk before they run. If we open our eyes and realize that there’s a very organic nature to technology, maybe we’ll have a bit more empathy when there’s growing pains. GTA Online wasn’t born yesterday, or was it? So just relax, GTA Online will likely be available  <parameter: string>

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Dylan Zellmer

Dylan splits time between games journalism, designing video games, and playing them. Outside of his deep involvement in the games industry, he enjoys It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Shameless, A Song of Ice and Fire, fitness, and family.
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