The epic hype and publicity surrounding the launch of Titanfall was expected and enjoyed; the server problems that had fans raging were not. And just when we were planning on publishing this blog post, EA’s servers went down for a second time!
The question is – was this server meltdown going to cost publishers EA millions as it did with the SimCity server debacle? Maybe not – it is 2014’s biggest release, debuting not unexpectedly at Number One in the UK charts while it also sparked Xbox One sales to nearly double!
But a server fail? Twice in a week? Come on guys – sort it out!!!
Let’s get one thing straight: we love Titanfall! And the impact it is having on the FPS genre is a game-changer for sure. Although our post last week was about Titanfail and the history, evolution and now revolution of FPS games, this one is inspired by all the gamers out there who were royally peed off by the server issues and who therefore took to twitter to voice their frustrations.
As a game meant only as online multiplayer, EA’s server problems that were encountered upon release were sure to bring lots of backlash from fans. It also gave birth to the soon-to-be extremely popular #TitanFail hashtag that has taken Twitter by storm upon Titanfall’s release a little over a week ago. But was TitanFail used just for the servers? You’ll see later in this post that it wasn’t – perhaps surprisingly, people were complaining about other aspects of the game too!
Microsoft was quick to point out that the issues had nothing to do with the game itself, and rather were all related to Xbox Live and servers issues. They also tweeted advice on how to get the game up and running, and tried keeping gamers in the loop regarding the problems they were encountering. Credit also to the official Titanfall twitter handle and EA, particularly this second time around – they have been responsive, apologetic and informative.
That, however, is not enough to tone down disgruntled fans who, just like us, had been eagerly awaiting the release of Titanfall, one of the most highly anticipated games of the year.
We’re no strangers to problematic game releases. Remember the debacle that was SimCity? EA was heavily criticized for creating an online-only game (that between you and me, did not need to be an online-only game in the least) that constantly crashed due to game server issues. Or maybe Battlefield 4, which was released ridden with way too many bugs and glitches?
We’re no strangers to such issues – especially considering how many people were trying to play Titanfall at the same time, it is understandable that this happened, but again, this is something that Microsoft should have expected would happen with a game as anticipated as this one.
And in this day and age, every mistake can drown you in a whole world of complaints – in Titanfall’s case, their main problem was how easily its name could be turned into a not-so-pleasant hashtag. But it’s a good hashtag and it really took off – and led to complaints of all kinds, and not just related to the problems of the launch days.
Over a week later, the TitanFail hashtag is still going strong, with gamers using it for all kinds of complaints before the second server meltdown:
— Ryan Daws (@Gadget_Ry) March 20, 2014
— Gam3r_0wn3d (@Gam3r_0wn3d) March 20, 2014
Titans can’t even crush a car, tree, wall or building. Does it even have shadows or anti-aliasing? #Titanfail
— Doom CMYK (@Doom_CMYK) March 19, 2014
Why cant my titan knock over a tree? #titanfail
— John A Cook (@JohnACook) March 15, 2014
Titanfall tutorial should be called #Titanfail it’s boooooooooooring
— Tyrone Rodriguez (@tyronerodriguez) March 15, 2014
While Microsoft seemed to manage the problem pretty well and were prompt about it, there’s no stopping the Internet when it gets going.
In some cases, even a negative hashtag can help a product gain more momentum. But in Titanfall’s case, it can safely be said that it had enough momentum already, with it being one of the most highly anticipated games of the year. At the end of the day, their problems weren’t nearly as big as was the case with other games (i.e. SimCity and Battlefield 4) – but on social media that rarely matters.
So, if there’s a lesson to be learned from this, well, let’s just put it this way: don’t make anymore mistakes, and make sure your game is actually ready to be released when you said it would and you might be able to avoid unpleasant hashtags.
Our final thoughts on this are perhaps they knew all along that the servers wouldn’t be able to cope. Perhaps they wanted this to happen. By having too many millions of people trying to play Titanfall online, it was a victim of its own success. It’s actually a very good thing – if you can get your servers up-and-running again then the triple-hype (pre-launch, launch, then post-launch server frustration) rollercoaster actually means more publicity, more people want to see what the fuss is about, and more sales.
We think they’ve (just about) played a blinder with this one.