Rockstar have finally managed to get GTA Online back up, after a weekend where the game was basically unplayable due to overwhelming numbers of new players. The Epic Games Store is giving GTA V away free at the moment, see. So many people came to claim it that Epic's own servers collapsed during at the start the giveaway, so I guess it's only fair that Epic players crash Rockstar's servers in return. Having spent some time sat staring at error messages hitting retry myself, I admire the ingenuity of the person who built a wee robot to keep hitting the spacebar for them.
"Due to extremely high player volumes, we are currently experiencing issues with access to Rockstar Games Services including the Rockstar Games Launcher and GTAV for PC," Rockstar Support tweeted over the weekend. They only acknowledged the issue on Sunday but it really was busted all weekend. Some people apparently did manage to get in, but it seems connections were hardly stable even then.
Trying to play GTA Online would likely you see stuck staring at the clouds of the loading screen, regularly getting prompts to give up or retry. Rather than sit there hitting space like a mug (i.e. me), Reddit user "Shipsik132" made a robot (click through for the full, annoyingly-not-landscape-mode video).
I assume it was mostly for a laugh and the likes, and I dig it. Shipsik132 explains that's "Arduino running a 9g servo taped to the table with aluminum tape for anyone wondering", saying it took five minutes to get up and running just using the servo's sample code.
Soon after midnight today, Rockstar finally declared everything fixed. And yup, this morning I could log in same as ever (i.e. slow, but working) to join a lobby where half the players were under Level 5. Weird.
It was a bummer to miss out playing on this weekend. The weekly bonuses included double payouts on Bunker sales and double speed on Bunker research, and I was looking forward to making megabucks. Or maybe I'd hop on my bike, turn on passive mode, and just cycle around the city watching the chaos of squillions of new players.
GTA V is still free on the Epic Games Store until Thursday. Folks who already owned it on Steam should note that there is a way to can claim the Criminal Enterprise Starter Pack that's included with the Epic freebie. The method involves fiddling with files but will get you those goodies for your old account. If you don't have a load of businesses and cars yet, the Starter Pack will give you some (mediocre) ones to get you going.
Disclosure: I have some pals at Rockstar. They do... stuff? Things. Business? idk.