Tuesday, October 1 marks the launching of the online version of Grand Theft Auto. The only way to get the game is by purchasing the GTA 5 console video game as the online game comes with it for free. Gamers online will be able to interact simultaneously with 16 other players in the virtual environment. They will also be able to create individual personalized avatars. But with more than 15 million games sold so far, Rockstar North, the creator of the game, is afraid the launch of Grand Theft Auto online could crash servers.
Keza MacDonald, UK games editor for IGN.com, the video game and entertainment site, estimates about two million people will log on within the first 24 hours GTA is online. “Rockstar has never done an online game before of this scale,” he said, adding that their network infrastructure is unproven and there may be some problems.
Sales of the game were reported to be larger than they expected and Rockstar North is scrambling and working around the clock to add more servers, according to the company’s blog. Gamers are being warned of the potential for the online launch of Grand Theft Auto to slow down systems or to cause servers to crash altogether.
Past online launches of other popular video games have proved that Rockstar’s warnings are valid. When Sim City went on sale last March, players waited up to 30 minutes for play to begin and then experienced slow performance. The owners of the game, Electronic Arts, blamed the delay on the requirement for players to log into the server before playing and more people logged in at once than the tests anticipated. To compensate, the company gave an apology and free titles to those who were affected.
When Diablo 3 launched, the strain on servers was so immense, they had to take the website offline and then tweeted the term “#error37” for players to use with the login code, but players were still told to wait to log in.
Rockstar plans to monitor the launch closely and do whatever it takes to keep things running smoothly for players. The company is encouraging players to report any problems they have along with their overall thoughts and feelings about the online experience. Its GTA Online Team is telling gamers to email them at GTAOnline@rockstargames.com or visit the games Web-based Social Club Forums. The company wants to make the GTA online experience to be the best possible for users and is calling the possible crashes, hold-ups, and bugs “typical growing pains of an online game.”
The GTA online version includes 500 missions and plenty of other leisure time activities for players without leaving out any of the crime, jobs, sports, races, and customization which players are used to having. Players can earn cash flow and reputation.
If the numbers are correct and tomorrow two million hungry gamers log on to play the online version of Grand Theft Auto, then unless Rockstar’s ready, the launch could crash even those extra servers.
By: Lisa Nance