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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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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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