Home / Software & Gaming / Starbreeze says third-party matchmaking service to blame for Payday 3 connection woes

Starbreeze says third-party matchmaking service to blame for Payday 3 connection woes

Launching an online-only game always carries some risk, particularly when it is a sequel to a game that could previously be played offline. Starbreeze learned that the hard way over the weekend, as Payday 3 has faced numerous struggles at launch. 

While Payday 1 & 2 were playable offline solo, or online with friends, Payday 3 is online only. This decision already stirred some controversy earlier in the year and the launch weekend has not changed anybody's mind. After releasing on Thursday last week, Payday 3 servers began to struggle, with many being unable to play the game as player counts began to rise.

Starbreeze is using a “third-party matchmaking partner” for Payday 3's online mode and the studio has said that the infrastructure has “not performed as tested and expected”. This is something we've seen with countless other online-only games in the past. Blizzard has been releasing multiplayer, online-based games for decades and still runs into issues even today.

Payday 3 peaked at over 218,000 players over the weekend and has garnered 1.3 million unique players since launch, in part thanks to its inclusion in Xbox Game Pass on console and PC. The online systems were simply not prepared to handle that level of demand. Starbreeze is working with its unnamed matchmaking service partner to fix the issues and get the game running smoothly for all and in the future, they may switch to a new partner instead.

I'm not sure how common it is for multiplayer titles to use third-party developers to handle matchmaking but for an online-only game, it seems like a crucial part of the product and should absolutely be the sort of thing the main developers have direct control over. The fact that it was shipped out to a completely different team strikes me as incredibly odd and a somewhat dubious business decision given the outcome here.

KitGuru Says: Typically, players will forgive an always-online requirement if there is a tangible benefit to it. That's how MMOs remain popular, it is why Destiny continues to succeed. It doesn't necessarily have to be a deal-breaker. In the case of Payday 3 though, the previous games could be played offline and the sequel hasn't done enough to make the need for an internet connection apparent. I do hope that offline play eventually arrives for this game, as well as private, player-hosted lobbies for quick heists with friends. 

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