Sony Explains What Went Wrong With Driveclub

Sony Explains What Went Wrong With Driveclub

The long and winding road for Driveclub PlayStation Plus Edition is hopefully coming to an end. It was supposed to arrive last October, but months later, Sony says it will be available tomorrow. What happened? What took so long? At E3, we asked Sony for an explanation.

Technically, Driveclub PlayStation Plus Edition showed up on PlayStation Network yesterday — for a little while. Some people were able to pull up the game’s store page, but it quickly disappeared from the service. What the heck? Then, Sony tweeted this out:

Sigh. It never ends!

Driveclub launched on PlayStation 4 last fall, albeit with significant server problems. By most accounts, Sony has smoothed out the game into a pretty decent racing game, but it wasn’t a pretty sight for a long time. It was so bad, in fact, Sony had to delay Driveclub PlayStation Plus Edition because it wasn’t sure the game could handle an influx of more people playing the game.

Driveclub PlayStation Plus Edition has become the butt of endless jokes, a parody of itself. Designed to give PlayStation Plus subscribers a taste of Driveclub that went deeper than merely a demo (and a way to cheaply upgrade to the full version), it was quietly delayed over and over. Rather than promise a date to anyone, it was simply “postponed until further notice.” Not good.

Kotaku‘s Stephen Totilo spoke with Sony president of worldwide studios Shuhei Yoshida last week about a range of topics. Eventually, Driveclub came up.

“We are very embarrassed,” said Yoshida, “and we are sorry for that.”

Driveclub‘s multiplayer servers were a mess for a while, even for people who’d paid full price for the game. Those people became the priority, as Sony tried to figure out what had gone so wrong.

The servers worked during the game’s closed beta tests, and there were no problems when reviewers were given copies. Everything changed when the masses became involved, though.

“It’s just the number of people the server couldn’t handle,” he said. “The stress-testing was not designed correctly. So it was the oversight. So the team had to go back to the drawing board in terms of server code. And they have been re-factoring and re-engineering server-side to be able to have more people play the game at the same time.”

This wasn’t a bug, which might have been an easy fix. The game’s server architecture was crafted improperly, and it required Sony completely reevaluating how it handles multiplayer.

“The proof is in the pudding,” he said, pointing to the successful launch of Bloodborne.

Those games are pretty different, so I’m not sure how much that ultimately says.

In response to the Driveclub debacle, Sony established a new “central tech team” to review multiplayer code and closely examine how it will handle thousands and thousands of players.

“We are more stringent in terms of doing proper online beta testing to get more people to play,” he said. ” […] We went through a new kind of process.”

But even when it arrives tomorrow, there will be some limitations. Everyone can play offline, but online won’t be available to everyone. Instead, Sony will slowly start bringing “more and more players online while continuously ensuring that all game systems are running smoothly.”

Will it work? We’ll have to wait and see.


  • It’s an online driving game. People have done this before… why should they expect people to still consider them when everyone else seems to be providing strong experiences at launch?

    • I’m not really going to defend it, as it really turned out bad…

      It wasn’t just an online driving game though, the issue supposedly stemmed from the amount of requests each user was both receiving and send at any given moment. Requests for time updates, posting time updates, sending club invitations, challenges, etc… basically making sure that you had the most update data available.

      On top of that, the game checked to see if you were connected, or if you were connected would attempt to connect you every few seconds or so. The game effectively DDoS attacked itself.

      • Sorry not to be a dick but this is basic online features that Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon does with no issues, It was funny because Driveclub came out the same year as Horizon 2 and Horizon was short of being a masterpiece… Meanwhile Driveclub is still having issues nearly one year on.. Put a bullet in it and give us a decent Gran Turismo or a open world GT game…

  • I bought this a month or two back (i.e. not at launch), and I love it. I can’t speak for what it was like back then, but today it’s a fantastic racing game (assuming you’re after an arcade type game, not a more sim oriented game like Gran Turismo or Project Cars etc).

    It’s not perfect – AI is woeful (other cars basically just form a convoy and hog the racing line, and god help you if you get in their way), car damage is cosmetic only and pretty minor even at that (bit of scratched paint and cracked glass) and the car selection has some gaping holes (e.g. no Japanese cars at all, although I think they’re at least adding the Nissan GT-R and 370Z as DLC sometime soon).

    But those points aside, it’s a hell of a lot of fun and looks absolutely amazing.

    • Yeah, it had trouble at the start, but it is a really fun game now, the weather effects are absolutley brilliant.

    • No Japanese cars = no sale. No matter how pretty the weather is.

      Horizon 2 all day.

  • Too little too late I think. Ihad actually forgotten this version of the game was still coming and I am pretty sure that anyone interested in it would already have it. Still waiting for the end all racing game, project cars certainly wasn’t it.

  • No Logitec wheel support f u Sony! I’m not buying another driving game on Playstation

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