Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Billing as the weakest link

So Square Enix found and fixed the bug in the Final Fantasy XIV beta and decided to start the open beta today. Which would be good news if you could actually get into the open beta, which you can't: Square Enix failed to give their account and billing server enough hardware / bandwith, and if you try to sign up for the open beta you only get a "server overloaded, try again later" error message.

Actually that happens quite a lot. Not just for betas, but also right after release, there have been numerous cases where the game servers were up and running, but only very few people could play, because the server for making accounts and entering credit card details had broken down.

All those players wanting to get into a new game as early as possible are somewhat similar to a Denial of Service attack. But that onslaught is predictable. If a game company shipped a million copies of their game, they must install the hardware to handle a million players wanting to open an account. Or they must manage account creation and billing differently, so you can already make a character and play, and have 30 days time for the administrative stuff. Square Enix is obviously failing here, and I'm pretty sure they won't be the last ones.

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