When Great Games are Struck Down by Server Struggles

Dead Island falls victim to post-launch popularity…

Joey Davidsonby Joey Davidson

Dead Island

Why does a game's success dictate how broken it is out of the box?

Consider some of the more popular games to release since console's have featured multiplayer matchmaking. Look at, for instance, Battlefield 1943 when it dropped for the PSN and XBLA platforms. The game was unplayable for days on end. EA and DICE had to increase server capacity in order to accommodate for the amount of players looking to enjoy their new games.

NHL 10, NHL 11 and NHL 12 (that's right, even the just days old game) have all suffered from server capacity woes. Another set of EA products held back by a lack of anticipation. What, they didn't think the most critically acclaimed sports series in years would draw in a strong player base on launch day?

How about Gears of War 2? That game launched to a mass of folks psyched to hop directly into multiplayer and get their rolling shotgun on. Guess what… broken on day one. Gears 2's multiplayer was a bitch for days before folks could get in and enjoy a fight. And even after that, the game still suffered from issues of lag and hosting problems.

Gears 3 is due soon. Our own Erik Norris absolutely loved the game; he straight up slapped it with a 10 out of 10. The multiplayer has been working fine for him so far; however, do you think Epic and Microsoft have prepared for the inevitable shit storm of players this thing will get? I don't.

I mean, I hope they have. But I assume the multiplayer aspect of the experience will be borked as soon as 12:15 AM hits and players get home from their midnight launches.

The most recent game to suffer the fate of popularity and success? Dead Island. Erik and I snagged the game together with one other friend for the Xbox 360. We made a play-date for the same evening (awwwwwww). Got home, fired it up and ran into a wall of connection errors. Only two of us could play at once.

Go figure. Deep Silver, the game's publisher, announced today that the title had moved more than 1,000,000 retail copies in its first week. Surprise! Too bad they didn't build up enough server capacity for all the excitement.

How is this okay? Shouldn't publishers and developers be well aware of the problems that their games will experience at launch? Why not bolster themselves with more server capacity before the game ships for retail?

I'll give Dead Island a pass based on the simple fact that this game is likely going above and beyond the publisher's expectations. But, my god, if Gears 3 is plagued by server issues, I will rush straight out to Home Depot for a pile of torches and pitchforks.

Nothing sucks more than getting home to broken multiplayer misfortune.