EA: Online Problems For Record-Setting Battlefield 3 Almost Fixed

Battlefield 3's launch was plagued with online issues, blocking gamers from going online with the popular multiplayer shooter, booting others and causing wide-spread server issues. But in an interview this morning with Kotaku, Electronic Arts says that after shipping 10 million copies of the game and having more than 2.2 million players log in to play, they think most of the online problems are behind them now.

"We are happy to report that PS3 and PC players experienced server stability all weekend, and Xbox 360 servers are at 95 per cent and climbing," an Electronic Arts spokesperson said in response to Kotaku's emailed questions. "There were a number of different factors that impacted server connectivity across the platforms. Regardless of the cause or platform, our Online teams are standing by to identify the issues and addressed them as they arise. We will not rest until we're at 100 per cent."

The PC version of the game ran into issues with its use of Punkbuster anti-cheat software, a problem that EA tells Kotaku has since been fixed.

"Punkbuster is not new to EA games, nor is it limited to PC titles," the spokesperson wrote. "We are always evaluating technology partners in order to deliver the best possible consumer experience, but Punkbuster provides the a great balance between effectiveness and user friendliness."

The Xbox 360 version of the game seems hardest hit, with EA acknowledging early this morning that problems still exist for some gamers trying to get into Battlefield 3 matches on the Microsoft console.

"There are a number of different factors impacting server connectivity on Xbox 360," the spokesperson said. "It is a particularly complex server architecture and we continue to work with Microsoft to improve connectivity. Our Online teams are standing by 24/7, identifying issues and addressing them as they arise. We are gamers, too, and understand how frustrating it is not to be able to play the game without interruption. We appreciate their patience and promise, it will be worth the wait."

Part of the issues seemed to be caused by the high number of people going online to play Electronic Arts' game. More than 2.2 million people logged in to play Battlefield 3 in the first 24 hours and over the weekend, we were told.

"Peak Simultaneous Users set a new single title record for EA," they said.

While acknowledging the rocky kick-off for their game, Electronic Arts refuted any suggestion that their new Origin online service was a central part of the problem.

"Origin is still a new service platform that, even in these early days, is off to a great start," the spokesperson said. "In the first 48 hours of launch, a small amount of Battlefield 3 PC players using Origin experienced an authentication issue. This is a known issue which has now stabilised. We continue to monitor the situation and are standing by to quickly resolve any future issues that might arise."

Electronic Arts said solving the problems that were causing online issues for Battlefield 3 players has been a company-wide, global effort. That means that teams from The Executive Leadership team, DICE studio, IT, Online Services, Operations, Origin, Customer Support, QA, Marketing, PR and external partners have all been working together around the clock

"At a high level, the tech process has been: identify, hypothesise, reproduce, fix, test, publish, verify and communicate," they said.

While the solution seems to have cleared things up within the first weekend of the game's release, I asked Electronic Arts why it happened in the first place. After all, the company were tracking their high pre-order numbers and ran an extensive beta that led to a myriad of last-minute fixes.

"The game is spectacularly popular," they said, in response. "We've shipped 10 million units, sell-through is good and we are already receiving re-orders. The key feature for most players is the incredible (multiplayer) experience. With such huge interest in the game, demand outstripped even our best expectations coming out of the beta. This is an evolving process that we are committed to improving. Even with a successful beta, systems under load will reveal new opportunities for optimisation and improvement. When we see those opportunities, we would rather move immediately and create short-term inconvenience (maintenance period) to improve the long-term experience for all players."

With a mostly hitch-free weekend, according to Electronic Arts, the team now things they're over the hump in terms of Battlefield 3 problems.

"We've turned a corner," the spokesperson said. "We had a great weekend with solid server stability on PS3 and PC. Xbox 360 servers are at 95 per cent, as a small percentage of people are experiencing intermittent volatility which we are addressing. We believe that the major issues are behind us, but our Online teams will not be happy until we're at 100 per cent. We continue to work on solving for each issue."

Do they plan on trying to do anything to make up for those early issues with the game? No.

"We are always looking at ways to generate customer satisfaction and our number one road to their happiness is to get everyone playing smoothly and ensure 100 per cent stability.," they said. "We are gamers, too, and we understand that no gift will match the experience of getting in the game and playing with friends."

How has your Battlefield 3 online experience been? Let us know in comments.


Comments

    People gave Rage a bashing for having technical problems at launch, yet BF3 appears to have more problems and people are willing to forgive EA?

      EA is getting a pretty thorough beasting on the Battlelog forums but it's abated for a bit.

      It wasn't every user, I didn't experience any of these problems and ended up having a bloody great release night and weekend. I only wish there were more co-op missions, and perhaps a bit of a boost to the guided anti-tank missile on the jet, at the moment it's doing about 15% damage which is pretty shitty.

    "“We are always looking at ways to generate customer satisfaction"

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA!

      They have to make it as no one is going to give it willingly to EA :P

    Will launch Bf3 and it Will encounter a serious problem and have to close. that was on Sunday night so ill load it up again this arvo and see now we go.

    That's with a brand new laptop that can play settings on high. Will report back how i go this arvo.

    This article was 95% fluff.

    Having said that, I had a fantastic Xbox session yesterday. Got into a great conquest server and then switched over to a TDM server. Best Battlefield connections I've ever had.

    That sounds like a fairly comprehensive reply to a fairly straight forward set of questions, along with the usual corporate polish everyone expects.

    The good news out of all this is that they've fixed PC/PS3 gaming, and are close to fixing Xbox gaming. That'd be pretty awesome - it will then mean that the game can/will be assessed on the online gameplay on each platform, especially once the initial month's interest has passed.

    If the servers are stable, and it's still got a huge playerbase in the middle of December, I'd say that indicates that it is a very solid game and an enjoyable one as well.

    Have not had a single technical problem on my xbox and have been playing it like a robot since release.

    Still having issues now and then. Random server crashes while the gf is having problems when loading a new map.

    Lol, I certainly didn't experience server stability all weekend. There is definitely some kind of memory leak in the server code. Everyone notice how almost without fail the savage rubber banding almost always kicks in on Tehran Highway and then persists until the next map where the server will almost always crash out?

    Tycho of Penny Arcade's take: http://penny-arcade.com/2011/10/31

    (Comment, not a comic)

    The issues are not fixed for the PS3, i regularly get a 1-2 hour session and then it will crash every 10 minutes after that.
    So it's either run & gun like mad and then get stopped in my tracks or rage quit.....plus the incredibly low amount of Australian servers i keep finding means i have to play in the other parts of the world.....hello lagfests

    What a big pile of steaming poo. The PS3 version is still plagued with issues mainly the input lag and communication issues. I was playing last night and couldn't even communicate with anyone. The voice communication is all cracked up.

    Still a complete trainwreck for me on ps3, I get "lost the connection to EA online" error then it just hangs.Cannot even play single player.If it's not fixed by Thursday I'm returning it to the shop.EA website is unhelpful, just tells you to call their helpline at $2.48 a minute.

    I say they've got til Nov 8 to fix the ability to actually play together with more than 4 people, or pretty much everyone I know is leaving for MW3.

    Yes, we know that BF3 is theoretically better...but fighting the matchmaking system and needing to weasel our way into games together is ruining our fun.

    Sure in about 2 mths, BF3 might be awesome, but by then I'm afraid most folks I know will have walked.

    I dont have problems being kicked out, its the lack of Aussie servers that sucks.

    is the xbox server working yet i was playin bf3 last night fine n today after work i went to get on n its saying failed to join check network connection? thats only for multiplayer i can play coop? any1 know wat seems to be the problem?

    At first I had a good weekend but now it wont connect to any server not even on battle field 2. I don't see the point to Beta if they can't fix a few things like this server problems timing an lagging when being shot and killed when in cover.

    I just bought the game tonight and I have had about 45to seconds of gameplay in two hours. The servers are crap. I already pre ordered mw3 a few months ago and I am definitly looking foward to it. By the way im on xbox 360

    Battle Field 3 feels like an epic fail to me. Its no way as much fun as Battle Field 2 when I'v played the hit count either doesnt work or the developers made a big stuff up. sometimes i shoot people at point blank range with a sniper to the gut or head an im the one who dies an i know i hit them coz of that little cross in the crosshair. also does the same thing with shotguns and rocket launchers. I do know one thing this game is far from being a COD killer (Another thing why did they take mortar strike away from snipers!)
    I think ill stay with BF2

    no co-op yet could only play it the once even today multiplayer seems fine bar the the sometimes lag hope they get their s$#t together soon
    Love the game so far

    On PS3 the input lag is much worse - about 250-300 miliseconds! And I've tested several PS3s.

    Try playing here in Australia. We currently have 8 servers, YEP 8, which you can not access and when you do manage to get on you get booted at half game. we had 60 servers at 6pm, all of which were at capacity. then at about 8pm "BOOM" every one gets kicked and 50 servers disapear. Second night in a row. This issue and many others have been going on since release day.

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