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Outriders – Good Game, Awful Launch

Outriders – Good Game, Awful Launch

Outriders release has now made it through the launch weekend, but not without some serious server issues. After a month long Outriders beta, many are left wondering when things will finally settle down for long enough periods of meaningful progress and grinding. I myself have made barely any post-demo progress due to PC stuttering, troubleshooting, and crashes. Eventually giving up and heading to my XBOX Series X was not enough to protect me from global server issues. Even throughout the Friday and Saturday after launch the servers were down for long periods of time. What does this mean for the game long term?

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Same Stuff Different Game

Virtually every major launch title that requires server stability and availability seems to go through the same issues. Without fail, too many people are trying to login at once, and servers go down. Even will rolling time zone launches, eventually the tide of logins catches up and buries the strained servers.

The frustration that myself and many other players had with Outriders was that the game had a month long beta, launched on a Thursday with a rolling launch, staggering even PC until noon eastern, and still on both Friday and Saturday, much of the day the game was literally unplayable.

For someone even remotely close to my life situation, this means zero progress while friends and colleagues wait until the waning hours of the day when things finally come back on or stabilize. I understand why folks say “we should expect this sort of thing”, but after 24-48 hours, my patience and understanding runs out.

Why It's Worse

The main reason that myself and many others are seemingly more frustrated by this launch than maybe other games in the past is simple: it’s a good game. And it isn’t just a good game alongside other good games, it’s a good game in the middle of a terrible time for timely launches or anything, and it’s a bit of a gaming draught.

This is also a game about progress, and nothing is more irritating than falling behind your group, clan, or friends list when a new game comes out. Not everyone wants to slum it with the buddy that is lagging behind, so groups can go through the awkward stages or waiting or moving on. Feeling left out is the last thing folks want to experience in a video game.

Beyond the reasons listed above, one can’t help but imagine that XBOX Game Pass played a significant role here. It’s a unique frustration to play a free demo for a month, spend actual money on the launch, and watch Game Pass topple the whole delicate launch server house of cards over like a bull in a china shop.

The Long-Short Term

One of my main concerns for this game, since the beginning, has been summed up with just one word: longevity. People Can Fly seemed not only content, but forthright with communication about this game not being an on-going live service experience, but a complete product at launch.

What this means is that the long term effect of a bad weekend launch could be detrimental to an already short window and shelf life of relevancy. Especially with so many players “trying the game out” with Game Pass, many might say “why bother” after a shaky weekend when logging in and staying logged in felt like a gamble of one’s time.

The silver lining here is that the game seems to be stabilizing and player numbers look very promising. As an encouraging point of comparison, this was in a tweet about Steam numbers… “It’s just hit a new Steam Peak Concurrent Players higher than the all time Borderlands peak Outriders – 124,812 | Borderlands 2 – 124,678 | Borderlands 3 – 93,820

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