#DRIVECLUB Might Ruin Betas and Early Access Games

#DRIVECLUB Might Ruin Betas and Early Access Games

#DRIVECLUB ’s early tests on the PS4 are a peculiar story indeed. The game was meant to be the big competitor to the Forza series. It was Sony’s big push into the racing genre, built around free-to-play ideals and social gaming philosophies. It was meant to come out close to the holiday season… back in 2013, but was delayed and delayed and delayed until finally it came out on October 7 th of this year.

Initial reception of #DRIVECLUB was mostly positive. While the game felt like a bit of a throwback to older arcade style racing games, it was decently fun and enjoyed by many. The beta went down well with smooth online connectivity and easy matchmaking. However, the full release didn’t go over nearly as well.

Currently, #DRIVECLUB is experiencing problems with their server load. Basically, they are operating in a “one-in-one-out” system. This means that, if the servers are full, no one can connect to the game without someone ending their online session. This has resulted at a near constant maximum server load since the game launched.

But this is a problem. You see #DRIVECLUB was built around the idea of being social. It’s right in the title of the game: “ Club .” The idea was that you were to put together your very own club of racers that can work together to complete challenges and take on missions, which would be awesome if you could ever get your club, or even your friend, online at the same time.

Moreover, the PlayStation Plus version of #DRIVECLUB has been delayed indefinitely. This was one of the big selling points of #DRIVECLUB actually. All PS Plus subscribers would receive a limited copy of the game for free. You could then expand the game through DLC purchases, or pick up the full version of the game digitally. Since you need PlayStation Plus to play online games on the PS4 anyway, this effectively means that every single person who would want to play an online social racing game would own some form of #DRIVECLUB .

But #DRIVECLUB has already proven to be unable to handle a server load, simply of people who have already pre-ordered and purchased the game without the free-to-play version being live. There is no way it could handle the entirety of the PlayStation Plus community scrabbling for slots in an online queue.

#DRIVECLUB Might Ruin Betas and Early Access Games

Which brings us to an interesting problem. This is a game that in its early version, its beta, was pretty decent. However, in its full release a key component was not planned for, and we saw the sad story we saw with games like SimCity and Diablo 3 : servers that weren’t able to handle the day one game load.

This is sort of the reverse of the early access problem we have been seeing on platforms like Steam. These games release in a half finishes mostly broken form and that makes people less interested in the final form. A broken early release reduces trust in the final release.

But #DRIVECLUB “released” in a mostly operational form when it hit beta. But now its full release is broken, and its final release, the PlayStation Plus edition, has been indefinitely delayed. It’s one of the first examples of a final product being worse than its beta or early access version.

So some fans, myself included, are reacting to this situation with a bit of paranoia. For example, I would certainly think twice about pre-ordering a game after playing a successful beta if there was even a chance that the servers wouldn’t handle the day one load, especially if online play was absolutely central to the game itself. I was already apprehensive when big titles like Diablo 3 and SimCity failed, and this just makes me feel like any game with a significant online component should not be bought until a couple weeks past its initial release, in order to see how it handles the load.

And that might be a problem. Grated not everyone feels like me, but if more and more gamers are trained to distrust online games, then this will lead to reduced day 1 sales, which will in turn lead to reduced popularity and success for online games in general. This could lead to less innovation in the online sector which can lead to stagnation in the online market.

What do you think? Has the failure of #DRIVECLUB turned you off to primarily online games? Let us know in the comments.

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