Payday 3 Launch: A Cautionary Tale for 'Always Online' Games

  • Oliver Michael
  • 24 Sep 2023
Payday 3 Launch: A Cautionary Tale for 'Always Online' Games Image

The tumultuous launch of Payday 3 earlier this week offers a stark warning to the gaming industry about the pitfalls of 'always online' games. The game, which necessitates players to sustain a server connection even for solo or private matches, has been beleaguered by server-related issues, causing significant outrage among the player community.

The heart of the issue lies in the unstable server performance, which has forced players to wait in long queues just to indulge in a solo play experience. The frustrations of the community are evidenced in the game's Steam reviews - a disheartening 31% positive rating after nearly 19,000 reviews. Players have voiced their dissatisfaction, with many lamenting the lack of an offline mode and critiquing the decision to make the game 'always online'.

The developers have been tracking these issues, acknowledging 'slow matchmaking' and later a 'matchmaking outage' via the official Payday X (formerly Twitter) account. Although they have shown some progress, stating that players have been able to create lobbies again, they also conceded that a few issues persist. Gamers, however, are far from placated, with many still expressing their discontent over the inability to play the game or the absence of an offline mode.

Despite the server issues, the game has also received praise for its enjoyable levels and robust shooting mechanics. Alice B, in her review, noted that the game was let down by its matchmaking, but not because it didn't function. She asserted that the randomness in matchmaking, devoid of the control that its predecessor provided, was a significant flaw. This indicates that Payday 3 could have been a well-received game if not for its 'always online' condition.

To sum up, the rocky launch of Payday 3 serves as a crucial warning for game developers about the potential downsides of 'always online' games. While it can certainly provide a more connected and interactive experience, it also comes with risks, primarily related to server performance and player satisfaction. It's important to balance these factors and consider the potential implications of such a design decision, especially in terms of player experience and game reception.

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