Sony On Driveclub: You Can’t Test For 50,000 Players In A Beta

Sony Computer Entertainment America’s President and CEO Shawn Layden has spoken to IGN about the botched Driveclub launch and gave a rather flimsy excuse.

In the development cycle, we try to do all things. In the development cycle, we try to test against every possibility. We have a [Quality Assurance] team, we have a QA plan. You do a beta test, you scope against that. But now, in a connected world, you can’t effectively test in your house or in your beta group what it means to have 50,000, 100,000, 200,000 users hit your service. And the guys [at the studio] are struggling with that. It’s throwing up things they had not anticipated.

You can’t test for 50,000 players in a beta. Shawn, let me draw your attention to the stats from the Destiny beta.

destiny

As you can see Destiny had over 850,000 players logged on simultaneously, quite a few more than then the 50,000 that you say you cannot test for, and 400% more than your maximum suggestion of 200,000 players. I’m pretty sure Evolution could have had 50,000 players connected to the Driveclub servers if they had created an open beta rather than locking it behind closed doors.

Shawn also said Evolution are hard at work on fixing the game but “it is going slowly.” A new patch went live today which includes a load of fixes plus support for the first expansion pack which will be free.

Source: IGN

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46 Comments

  1. The 1.07 update adds the photo mode and 3 new tracks, as well as the fixes and support for the free DLC they’re giving us next week, as well as some fixes and other tweaks and improvements.

    And makes corner penalties a lot more forgiving. Which is good.

    • Well that’s good! I blooming hate those corner penalties most of the time I’ve already been penalised by coming off the track!

      • It looks like just sneakily cutting across a corner now won’t trigger it about 90% of the time. That last 10% will do it, but the time it slows you down is massively reduced, hardly making a difference to your speed.

        If you’re completely off the road for several seconds, you might just get the full penalty.

        Collision penalties are unchanged, as far as I can see. You’ll still get one for slamming sideways into the side of the track at 200mph on a corner.

        Also, you can manually trigger resetting to the track. Which is handy if you’re in first place, someone smashes into the back of your car, and you’re spinning around as all the other cars crash through you to put you in last place. Just press the touchpad and reset. The left side of the touchpad. The right side starts the photo mode.

      • Track re-set sounds handy. I thought they’d tampered with the collision penalties a bit already since launch. I’m sure I remember it being a lot harsher than it has been lately.

      • This whole penalty system just seems ridiculous to me, losing speed through lack of traction/tyre damage could be penalty enough without this arbitrary points deduction & don’t get me started on grazing AI cars when they cut you up

        A loss of speed or similar wouldn’t keep reminding you you’re in a game like the flashing points deduction banner does, & that’s will impact your placing, track times, challenge times… Plenty penalty enough

      • It is needed though.

        The last Hennessey time trial I actually got my best time (and beat the target) by slamming into the first corner at full speed and taking the penalty. It was quicker than anything I could do by slowing down properly.

  2. Hate to be that guy but 75% more than 200,000 is 350,000.

    • I meant 200,000 is 25% of 800,000. But I’ve fixed it, ta :D

  3. The moment I read this earlier on today I thought “hang on a moment, that’s utter tripe and a piss-poor excuse at best!”. Destiny has been a bit of a shining light when it comes to running online tests with scores of people enjoying the fun.

    If that comprehensive beta meant more delay and more money thrown at it, then so be it. You don’t invest 95% then suddenly think “ah, fu** it… that’ll be fine” or we end up with situations like AC Unity and Driveclub.

    It would appear that devs have a lot to learn still when it comes to networking, QA, bug testing and launches. I wouldn’t mind so much if they were small indie devs but they’re not!

    • Good call.
      Plus, what about MAG? That game relied exclusively on connectivity and that worked fine from my recollection.
      From what he’s saying, he’s glossing over it and trying to put an excuse behind their colossal fuck up rather than holding their hands up and admitting they did a wrong. The game wasn’t ready. Simple as. Their servers weren’t ready and the game wasn’t ready.
      Sony are doing well, really well. They’ve won over customer relations up until this point but crap excuses like this will make them lose customer confindence.
      Moves like this will hurt them hugely in the long run.

    • Yeah, Destiny coming out so close to DriveClub doesn’t help his argument at all. It’s a very obvious example of why he’s full of it!

  4. Still doesn’t work properly now & only a tiny tiny fraction of purchasers are still playing.

    A private beta would have highlighted some of their atrocious netcode issues & a public beta followed by a very, very public beta eg all PS+ users would have highlighted the rest of their bottlenecks

    Appalling decisions have been made

    And that’s without mentioning going right back to the beginning & Studio Liverpool & WipEout PS4 being folded in favour of putting more weight behind this mess.

    Shame because it could have been a pretty fine game as the actual racing is ok

    • If they had done a beta test with even 50,000 testers it would have given them a rough idea of the loads on the servers. Then they could multiply the results by how many they need to, to give them a absolute minimum level of the loads on the servers.

    • After hearing from a few players yesterday that the patch had improved their connection issues and had been able to have long sessions without the Red Sentence of Disconnection appearing, gave it a whirl last night after updating with said patch.
      Boom! First race disconnection during lap 2, I just thought “Ooh smart stuff” and proceeded to the end of the race achieving yet more club XP points down the ‘eau-de-toilette’
      Meh!

  5. But the issue was network code to start with was it not? And dodgy network code will not be fine with 8 players and not with 50,000.

    Thus it just was not tested properly…

    • Actually, that’s exactly the sort of thing that any bit of software can do. It works fine with 8 people trying to break it at once. It works fine with 100 people. Or a 1000. Or 50000. And then 50001 people will break it.

      It could be any of a huge number of things they could have done differently. Or it could be some other bit of software they’re using. They might be using some database software that gets a bit flakey once you hit some limit you’re not aware of.

      And at least if it can’t connect to the servers, you’ve still got a game you can play. Unlike Destiny which wasn’t as perfect as some people are trying to claim. Driveclub had issues for a couple of weeks, and the servers have been mostly behaving ever since. Destiny had (less common) issues for a lot longer. And then all it would say is “It’s covered in bees!” and stop you playing any game at all.

      • Destiny was by no means perfect but the above comment is a literal lie. They could have test with those numbers. Hell, all the pre-order folk would’ve surely relished the added bonus of enjoying the beta that could have been exclusive to them. :-\

      • *tested

  6. Hopefully the free DLC Tours will help me boost to level 50. Seems like I’ve been on level 48 for ages.

  7. I’m glad someone said this – I have been saying for ages that they should have done a load test like Bungie did (where they literally asked as many people as possible to get on at once) & it baffles me that for such an interconnected game, they didn’t anticipate that there could be issues when more than a couple of people are logged in.

    Madness.

  8. “But now, in a connected world, you can’t effectively test in your house or in your beta group what it means to have 50,000, 100,000, 200,000 users hit your service.” Ahhhh, bless him. He’s only telling us something that someone told him in a conference call and he was too inexperienced or too timid to challenge it, or a bit of both. Bless him. I bet he’s a really nice guy.

    • Haha, this is alwmost worse than the rest of the criticism he’s getting. “He’s not lying to us to cover up, he’s just an idiot”

  9. What’s most unbelievable is not that he gave this excuse, but that he thought anyone would believe it.

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