Payday 3‘s matchmaking servers were a mess in its first week. What went wrong? The maker of the game, Starbreeze Studios, blames an “unforeseen error” for the issues, and says it’s looking at ways to make the “always online” multiplayer shooter “less dependent on online services.”
The bank-robbing sim is the latest game to take over Steam alongside console releases, including a day-and-date launch on Xbox Game Pass. The sequel hit almost 90,000 concurrent players on Valve’s digital storefront on September 21, but things have been rocky ever since due to bugs, crashes, and constant server disconnects. Screenshots of the game’s now infamous “matchmaking error matchmaking error” screen began flooding social media. Starbreeze CEO Tobias Sjögren immediately apologized, but problems still persist.
On September 25, the studio put out an official press release to try and explain why the servers for a game that requires players to be connected to the internet at all times in order to play have been such a disaster. It turns out that while a technical issue made things bad right out of the gate, a faulty update on September 24 by a third-party online services partner broke things all over again.
“Matchmaking software encountered an unforeseen error, which made it unable to handle the massive influx of players,” Starbreeze wrote in an announcement today. “The issue caused an unrecoverable situation for Starbreeze’ third-party matchmaking partner. A new version of the matchmaking server software was gradually deployed across all regions leading to improved performance. However, a software update made by the partner during late Sunday again introduced instability to the matchmaking infrastructure. The partner continues to work to improve and stabilize Payday 3‘s online systems.”
The studio said that the matchmaking problems never manifested during the game’s technical betas or “early access” period, and it’s currently working on both short- and long-term fixes. That includes looking at ways to make Payday 3 “less dependent on online services.” It’s not exactly clear what that means, but players have been begging Starbreeze for an offline mode like those offered in past Payday games since the matchmaking issues began. Who knows how feasible that is post-launch, but Sjögren tweeted on Sunday that the team is currently “looking at [the] possibility.”
In the meantime, Payday 3 isn’t out of the woods yet, and it’s already getting slammed in the Steam reviews as you might expect. It currently has a rating of “mostly negative” with just 33 percent positive reviews out of nearly 25,000. “Starbreeze has created an incredible successor to their beloved Payday 2,” reads one. “Too bad you cant play it.”