The biggest concern heading into UFC Undisputed 3 was whether THQ would be able to deliver acceptable online performance. The UFC series had struggled mightily online with its first two entries which were hosted by GameSpy, the company transitioned to their own servers with WWE 12 to disastrous results, and now on release day UFC 3 is experiencing a variety of problems as the company feverishly attempts to address them.
As pointed out in my impressions yesterday and on Twitter multiple times prior to that, most online matches in UFC 3 had been plagued by crippling lag in the days leading up to release. That is typically a bad sign as server load was minimal at the time with only a handful of people actively online. Today though consumers are finding themselves unable to even enter online ranked or player matches, or if making that far are faced with severe lag, disconnects, “network failure” or “server is unavailable” messages.
THQ Statement: UFC Undisputed 3 is on a brand-new online platform that we have developed from the ground-up. As with all new launches, our development team is working around the clock to ensure a smooth performance. We have however recognized a couple of issues we wanted to ensure our team is addressing immediately:
Grayed Out Online Options – Some users may be experiencing grayed out online options for Ranked Matches, Leaderboards, and Content Sharing – unable to click-through to these menus for accessing. Our development team is currently bringing online all services and are working steadfast to address this specific issue. We will keep you notified as up to the minute as possible. Thank you for your patience on this.
With our new online platform and the high traffic load we anticipate hitting the online Octagon this week and the weeks ahead, we will be constantly tuning our servers to accomodate. In light of this, when you are attempting to access anything related to content sharing, fight camps, or leaderboards, you may experience 10-20% of the time a “server is unavailable” message. As we continue to improve our load balance, this will as well. Ranked play and custom matches should function near 100%. If in the event you encounter this message, please retry. We do not anticipate this issue being consistent with your experience, but will keep you updated and monitor the traffic and content sharing load in order to keep our server balance effective.
At the very least THQ has put clear effort into making the online experience better and are doing a good job communicating with fans right now. Neither was true with UFC 2010. Moving to their own servers was a costly (but necessary) move and the unprecedented for a sports title beta was intended to better prepare for the challenges being faced currently.
Ultimately none of that will matter to consumers however. Online will either work well or it won’t. THQ is in a position where they absolutely can’t afford another failure online with UFC or anywhere with their core franchises. Improvements will need to be swift and provide stability.