With Splatoon’s release only a few days away, one final Global Testfire appeared to be the perfect opportunity for Nintendo to attract audiences to the game and also have one final stress test. Unfortunately, the error codes which constantly appeared on most players screens indicated that the amount of traffic was too much for their servers, that the game was unplayable for the majority of its run.
The servers were open a few minutes earlier than expected, which allowed some players to squeeze in one round or two before the game couldn’t cope with the server stress. In what players had hoped would be an issue which would be resolved in a matter of minutes, the game remained unplayable for the rest of its expected run. Fans anticipating another Global Testfire took their disappointments to social media – some claimed the server issues were a turn-off to purchasing the game, whilst others acknowledged this does not reflect the final release.
Others took this as an opportunity to test out other features in the game which the 1 hour Global Testfire limits hadn’t allowed in the past. The controls were experimented in terms of sensitivity or turning on/off motion controls, managing to perfect their control scheme for when the servers would return. Others found it beneficial to use the time and played the loading screen mini-game, Squid Jump, to attempt to reach the maximum level.
Fortunately, with five minutes left until the Testfire was intended to close, the servers became functional again. Nintendo officially extended the deadline with an additional hour to make up for the inability to play the game earlier. Yet despite fans knowing that the servers could have some issues, or that Nintendo did extend the gameplay, there was still one underlying issue – the lack of communication from Nintendo.
The various tweets or other social media outrage were supposedly not enough to attract Nintendo’s attention. There was no input, no public apology, but rather silence from Nintendo’s behalf. If Nintendo intend to create a fluid and successful multiplayer-focued game, there needs to be a clearer outline of communication from Nintendo. If those did search further, they would’ve found the Nintendo Network Status Page alerting they were aware of the issue:
Due to a high amount of online traffic, network services may be intermittently unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience, and thank you for your patience.
Of course the majority of gamers had the intention to play the game, so they would have been waiting at their screens and not had the time to search for a response by Nintendo. Had their official social network pages copied the same message, there would’ve been less of a conflict. Maybe those who were deterred from purchasing the game wouldn’t have felt as such had they been communicated well be Nintendo.
Once the server was functional again, there were a few drop-out issues here and there. Whether this will be the overall quality of the release game or not is not clear as of now. The previous Testfires however did function perfectly. In fact, in my analysis of the previous Testfire, I noted how well the servers cooperated and there wasn’t a single issue. Hopefully by release, Nintendo will have tweaked and improved their system even more so that the gameplay does match my initial experience of Splatoon.
Splatoon is released both in stores and on the e-shop at May 29th 2015.