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QuakeLive hits 100,000 registrations in 6 hours, falls over

By on February 25, 2009
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Quake Live launched yesterday and has had over 100,000 registrations in the first six hours.

When I joined, the queue to get onto the servers was 5,000. It peaked at around 20,000 and then the servers gave up the ghost (not great news for GNi, the hosting provider).

It’s not that surprising that Quake Live is so popular. Let’s hope they can get over their teething problems quickly.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve:
  • Derek

    Not sure what you mean by outages… if you read the interview in the link I provided you’ll see that id made a decision not to “buy” more capacity. Only so much can be done with one server. (I’m not saying they have only one.)

    I think you may be missing the point. This has nothing to do with a hosting company’s capabilities but it is more about a business decision not to let cost run wild while not monetizing free to play clients.

    I know a little about GNi (why I posted here) so I do know they have large farms of server sand host a ton of games. But that is immaterial to the business decision to use them.

    Again, I totally agree with Marty of id here. Launching a free to play game requires some very serious controls to prevent spending from killing a product while balancing quality for players.

    I’m not knocking you for your post, it does appear that capacity was the problem before you hear from id directly that is was more a choice not to get too big too fast.

    I think since this initial post though, that has changed, queues are all but gone and the only down time I have seen playing is for scheduled maintenance lately.

    Still, that many players is impressive and I think id has a shot at doing something very cool here.

  • Thanks, that’s hugely valuable feedback.

    I was imagining that GNi had farms that they could turn on and off (like the Content Delivery Networks do). If they charge for availability, not jsut usage, then the outages make much more sense.

  • Derek

    Just to follow up on the reason (I hate assumptions) directly from id on why they did not “scale”.

    “You don’t want to significantly over-purchase/lease the hardware (as it’s extremely expensive – particularly for a free title), but you want “enough” and a solution that is scalable. All that said, being able to support every person that wants to play is our top priority and we are working on solving this on all fronts – hardware, software, and db – as well as scalability and optimizations.”

    From Marty Stratton directly…

    It is easy to assume, hardware fails, software failes, etc… but in many cases it just doesn’t make good business sense to let a free to play game go too wild before having a way to monitize that interest.

    My opinion (from reading the interview from id) is that this was a smart call as there is a need to monitize in small steps before growing a free to play game to big. This is not a PC title where you get $49 up front and thus no income with 100% expense and with expense greater than budgeted for… well you have to make some choices I think.

    Anyway, this is kind of old news now… but thought I’d chime in give my $0.02

  • Derek

    That’s of course assuming there were hardware capacity issues… not software. So assumptions aside, the launch looks like it was much bigger than anticipated and probably is an indicator that Quake even after 10 years has new live in this format.

  • Well, my theory was that the hosting provider ought to be able to scale (and that id would expect them to be able to). GNi must have known that this was a showcase launch, and should have pulled out all the stops.

    So while I’m sure you’re right that in the short term they will get more hosting revenue, in the long term other developers and publishers might think twice about going with them.

    Of course, GNi can argue that they have “learned from their mistakes”.

  • Derek

    Not sure how that is bad news for the hosting provider… sounds like the game did alot better than expected at launch and will need more “hosting” soon. 🙂

  • Things seem to have calmed right down now. The queue right now is just under 5,000, which is not as long as it sounds – I’ve been playing on and off and it’s not much more than a five to ten minute wait.

    I think the most interesting thing here is that having large queues on launch day and (so far) only one major crash is quite an achievement for an online game that is so obviously meeting and far exceeding its player volume targets. That id (who, let’s remember, has zero experience in web-based MMO type technology) has managed to launch such a tecnically ambitious project so smoothly is really quite something – your average 360 AAA release doesn’t come anywhere near it.

    The game itself is sound as well, though sadly I seem to suck at it even more now than I did ten years ago.

  • From Twitter on 26 Feb: We currently have 8,500 players online and over 290,000 registered accounts.