Grand Theft Auto Online, the multiplayer gaming environment for billion-dollar title GTA5, could encounter launch day hiccups given a greater-than-predicted crowd eager to take part, developers Rockstar North has warned. The online arena, which will allow up to sixteen players to compete against each other simultaneously, could well be swamped with gamers after sales of Grand Theft Auto 5 surprised the studio with its early sales performance.
Rockstar said last week that it expected touch-and-go times during Grand Theft Auto Online's early days. The studio confirmed that it was trying to build out its server farm as a result, but warned that the sheer number of gamers likely to log on would still probably cause the system some issues.
"One thing we are already aware of, and are trying to alleviate as fast as we can, is the unanticipated additional pressure on the servers due to a significantly higher number of players than we were anticipating at this point" Rockstar wrote, "we are working around the clock to buy and add more servers, but this increased scale is only going to make the first few days even more temperamental than such things usually are."
Although Rockstar opted to stagger the release of GTA5 and the launch of GTA Online, that brief delay in-between has only given more time for sales to surge. The game took more than $800m in day-one sales and went on to break records in how fast it crossed the $1bn point.
Unsurprisingly, that high level of demand also left some players struggling. Sony has already been taken to task for the headaches some PlayStation 3 owners experienced trying to grab digital downloads through the PlayStation Network, forcing the company to defend the system it's building for the upcoming PlayStation 4.
Since every GTA5 buyer also gets bundled access to Grand Theft Auto Online, that's a sizable crowd of potential players waiting by the virtual doors tomorrow. Rockstar will monetize the online arena by offering to convert real money to in-game cash, though players without a real-world bankroll will be able to earn "GTA$" through completing races and other tasks.