The lights are on
Last month, the long-awaited Grand Theft Auto V released to critical acclaim and unprecedented commercial success. Fans are nearly unanimous in their love of Rockstar’s massive adventure, and they’ve been pouring dozens of hours into it for the last couple of weeks.
That said, there has been plenty of anger throughout the comments sections and message boards of the gaming world thanks to server problems that have led to a rocky launch for Grand Theft Auto Online. Set to begin on October 1, these first couple of days have been marred by connection issues that Rockstar warned about even before the game’s launch.
I understand being frustrated when technical issues get in the way of enjoying something right when you want to. I’ve spent hours trying to troubleshoot DNS errors on my PlayStation 3. I’ve dealt with freezes and signal drops while watching wrestling pay-per-views that I was greatly looking forward to. I’ve lost hours of progress thanks to hard freezes during co-op sessions of numerous games. Like several million of you, I spent $60 on Grand Theft Auto V, and the GTA Online experience is one of the many things I was excited about. I experienced some slight disappointment after work yesterday when I wasn’t able to hop online and cause some trouble, but there’s a big difference between being disappointed and hopping onto comments sections in an inconsolable rage.
When I started writing this article, I was planning on linking to a variety of these comments that I’ve seen on YouTube, Rockstar’s support site, and gameinformer.com. Then I remembered that you’re all on the Internet, and you’ve seen it all before. The tone, language, and insane anger that’s exploded thanks to this issue are nothing new to anyone who’s spent any time on a gaming site.
Being angry about a game not working on day one should be taken on a case-by-case basis. In the case of SimCity’s disastrous launch, gamers had a reason to be upset. They spent money on a game, and they couldn’t play any part of it. If you go to play a game that you just bought and you can’t do anything at all, then you’ve got a reason to be upset and demand your money back.
With Grand Theft Auto Online, I can’t help but view it as a tiny hiccup considering what’s readily available to play. It’s a franchise that has thrived in the past thanks to its robust single-player experience, and that experience is bigger than ever and working great right out of the box (mostly). I’ve had a blast for almost thirty hours in Los Santos, and the in-game checklist tells me I’m only at 50% completion. I know I’ll be spending dozens more hours swapping between Michael, Franklin, and Trevor, so my current inability to begin adding to my online character’s bankroll doesn’t feel like a pressing issue.
Rest assured, Rockstar is hard at work on resolving this issue. Their official site has been transparent and has done a great job of preparing for issues and explaining them when they happen, and they’re inviting feedback in an effort to make the GTA Online experience better as a whole.
So for now...chill out. That $60 you spent isn’t for nothing, as I’m willing to bet you haven’t done everything there is to do in Los Santos yet. In a gaming generation that frequently features six-hour campaigns that retail at full price, I don’t see any reason to vilify Rockstar for a bumpy launch. They’re doing what they can, and few games in history (if any) have ever had to deal with such a massive influx of players at the same time.
Take a breath. Play some more single player. Go eat a sandwich, go on a run, watch a movie, take a nap, or play any one of the other amazing games that have come out this year. Come back to GTA Online once the inevitable reports of smooth sailing come in, and enjoy pulling off heists with your crew then. Everything’s gonna be alright.
Email the author Dan Ryckert, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.