Playerunknown's Battlegrounds server problems are because it's too popular for its own good
The pressures of popularity
Server problems have been a recurrent issue for Playerunknown's Battlegrounds [official site] on its journey through early access, but recently it's been particularly bumpy. I've struggled to connect at all some days and some players have suffered server crashes. The issue, the developers say, is that the game has grown far quicker than they had anticipated so player numbers are higher than the game was built to cope with. Expecting 1 million players at any one time, they've instead hit peak concurrent player counts over 1.6 million. Servers have become overloaded. Oh, the pains of popularity! Fixes are in the works, the devs say, and they're trying to better anticipate future demand.
"First of all, we would like to sincerely apologize to everyone for the recent server issues which resulted in long waits and any inconveniences," the Plunkbat gang said in today's announcement. They continued:
"Our development team has been continuously upgrading the service architecture to address the increasing concurrent player numbers and tackle any emerging issues. Despite our daily efforts, there were some unexpected issues during peak times and we were unable to resolve some of the issues as fast as we would have wanted to.
"We anticipated about 1 million concurrent users in the beginning of our Early Access period and that is when our lobby server was initially designed. Since the end of June, our concurrent player base saw a rapid increase so we started designing a new server architecture. However, the number of users increased faster than our development speed which resulted in more connection and server issues recently.
"It has become increasingly difficult to manage servers during peak times. To alleviate the above, our development team will prepare our servers far more in advance so that they can handle a much larger number of concurrent players. This is something that we plan to continuously improve on."
They also explain that the recent crashes on the Asian server were caused by a related problem. Their cloud service ran out of capacity, see, so they drafted servers from a different provider, one which they hadn't adequately tested and which ended up overloading.
Plunkbat is still in early access, I remind myself. Poor performance and a few notable unfinished features aside, it's largely complete enough to have become the main game I play. These server problems absolutely have sucked but they're the sort of teething problem that an early access period should feel out and be allowed time to correct. While Plunkbat has found stonking sales success, money isn't an instant cure-all for technical issues. As much as I'd be delighted if these problems vanished overnight, I'm being patient. If I can wait this long for bicycles and vaulting, a few days of muttering as the latest server woes shake out is nothing.