GTA 5 Online: Grand Theft Auto 5 Hists, Races, Death Matches, A Big Gift To Gamers

The widely acclaimed Grand Theft Auto V has sold in the region of 15m copies, making it the year’s biggest entertainment release. And mid-day today a bigger gift to gamers: Grand Theft Auto Online.

GTA V buyers can access the new mode for free, join gangs, and get involved in heists, races, death matches and other nefarious activities, all the time earning Reputation Points which unlock new goodies such as weapons and cars.

With the launch merely hours away the big question is, will it work? Rockstar itself has already admitted that server problems are likely. The main blow is the unanticipated additional pressure on the servers due to a significantly higher number of players than anticipated at this pointEven though new servers are being bought, this increased scale is only going to make the first few days even more temperamental than such things usually are.

Picture a ten-pin bowling scenario: the bowler is the server or the game, and the pins are the clients or players. As the ball hits, the first pin falls, and knocks on to the next and it all works. However, if any pin freezes in place for a split second, at random, it completely ruins your ability, as a bowler, to reliably and accurately go for strikes. Now apply that to a game as complex as GTA and you can see why a simple beta is never going to be enough – there are millions of pins.”

Although, developers do have a range of methods for load-testing server networks, pre-release testing also fails to account for the sheer unpredictability of the consumer swarm. Beta testers tend to understand and work within the confines of unfinished software. They’re often fans of the developer or the series, and they feel honored to be part of the testing process. Paying consumers will react very differently to a slow server or bugs in the system – they’ll re-start, they’ll log out and log back in – they’ll get angry. Furthermore, if they do get on, they will interact with the game in very different ways, testing its boundaries, trying weird stuff – doing things the developers didn’t expect. You can’t predict what 2m people are going to do.

 

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