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Sony's H1Z1 plagued by technical issues at launch

Zombie survival shooter is the latest big game to stumble badly at launch

Sony Online Entertainment's H1Z1 has become the latest in a string of recent games to launch with significant online performance issues.

The zombie survival MMO's problems became apparent almost immediately after it was released on January 15. Login problems were widely reported, as was the ability to actually see active servers. There were also performance issues for those that made it into the game, including low framerates, no voice chat, and slow responsiveness among the zombie NPCs, among others.

SOE president John Smedley's Twitter feed has been a blur of updates and apologies since then, with the H1Z1 team working throughout the weekend.

Posting on an exhaustive Reddit thread cataloguing the game's issues, Smedley also suggested that hackers may be responsible for some of H1Z1's problems, though it isn't clear exactly which.

"This is a situation we are extremely on top of," Smedley said. "When we first launch we get a good survey of what people want to do.. we watch them do it, then we ban them into the nether world of scumbaggery they belong in. You'll be seeing us ban and shut down the few things we see on a regular and very rapid response basis."

There has also been a backlash against a feature within the game that allows players to purchase "airdrops" within a game session. H1Z1 has been represented as a survival game, and a number of players have complained that the ability to purchase such items makes it 'pay to win'. In response, Sony Online Entertainment offered anyone who purchased the game before 10.30 on January 16 a full refund.

Since then, Smedley has reported that less than 1 per cent of players decided to make use of that offer.

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Latest comments (10)

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.2 years ago
"A delayed game is eventually good. A bad game is bad forever." - Shigeru Miyamoto (1996).

""F*** it. Ship it. We'll fix it next year....maybe. They'll buy it anyway." - The industry (2006).
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John Nejady Associate Producer, CCP Games2 years ago
Your link to the Reddit thread isn't working for me.
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Chris Eckersley FQA TRC Tester, SCEE Studio Liverpool2 years ago
The game is in Early Access (you should probably mention this in the article). It's in a pretty bad state, more so than some other Early Access games, but I think it's a bit premature to declare it "the latest big game to stumble badly at launch".
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Show all comments (10)
Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 2 years ago
@Chris
I think early access is the wrong move to make for most games. Many companies treat it as if it's the official launch of the game, and that is what makes it look really bad. Not to mention when you make it open to the public, the public is going to expect a certain quality regardless of early access or not. Especially if they payed for it.
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Daniel Trezub QA Analyst, GameLoft2 years ago
"They will buy it anyway" is the key phrase on this entire page.
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Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer 2 years ago
The weirdest part in this is, you'll pay money now, even though it's free on actual release...

And early access means it's an alpha/beta game, but that's something people don't seem to understand..
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Pin Wang CEO & Co-Founder, Substantial Games2 years ago
Agreed. This is exactly what Early Access is for!

We shouldn't lump SOE into the same group as these other guys if they are communicating this to the players properly, and if they continue to communicate which it seems they are.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 2 years ago
Login problems were widely reported, as was the ability to actually see active servers.
This has nothing to do with Early Access... Performance issues, sure, but server issues? Hell no. That's, once again, a company failing to understand demand.
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Andrew Wilson 3D Artist 2 years ago
"Players should anticipate an evolving feature set, bugs, incomplete content, missing features, and potentially game breaking issues."
Why would you buy a game that explicitly states this in the marketing and then complain about those exact problems?
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 2 years ago
@Andrew: maybe because some gamers seem to not be able to read past the "Ooh, it's got ZOMBEEZ in it and you shoot them!" part. Whatever happened to closed testing with people who can be told of and will be used to the issues early access games have and can not only deal with them, but correctly report them so they can be ironed out on the road to actual release dates?

Allowing the public to play games that aren't up to what they "expect" even though it's NOT indicative of the final product at all is a bad idea. Particularly in this age of a handful of dopes who SHOULD know the difference between an incomplete experience and a more polished final.

Of course, given that a bunch of so-called completed games have the "Faw down, go BOOM!" thing happening within their launch windows, maybe every new game needs to be called "Early Access" until that gets sorted out.

Ha and ha-ha.

I think.
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