Gears 5’s early access launch was plagued with server issues, appears stable now

Gears 5 is set to officially release on Sept. 10, but owners of the Ultimate Edition or players who have Xbox Live Game Pass Ultimate were supposed to get access to the game early on Thursday night. At least that was the idea. Instead, Gears 5’s soft-launch didn’t go all that smoothly, and server issues kept many players offline for most of the night.

The early access launch of the game in the United States began at 9 p.m. for each time zone on Thursday, Sept. 5. This staggered release, which should have given players access to the game at various different times throughout the day, should have helped servers keep up, but ultimately it wasn’t enough. When the game did go live, players were unable to find matches for multiplayer modes, join lobbies with friends or in some cases, even play the game’s campaign.

Shortly after the launch, developer The Coalition tweeted that it was aware some players were having issues and that it was working on a fix. Throughout the night, the developer provided several more updates to fans, and to the game. The in-game updates seemed to help correct many of the issues players were experiencing.

The Coalition posted its final launch night update at 3:25 a.m. ET and let players know that the game’s latest patch seemed to have resulted in a “dramatic improvement to service stability,” and that the team would be, “monitoring the impact of this change to determine if additional updates are needed.”

Since this last update, it appears that more players have been able to get online, and that servers are more stable. Polygon staff were able to regularly join multiplayer games as of this morning. We’ve reached out to The Coalition for comment.

The overall time that players were having trouble accessing the game may have been short, but there were some side-effects. Players who picked up Game Pass Ultimate or bought the Ultimate Edition of the game specifically to get it early didn’t get quite as much time as they had been promised.

More importantly, the Ultimate Edition of the game also came with certain boosts that gave players experience bonuses for a limited time. These bonuses started for players the moment they logged in, so if they couldn’t find matches to play in that time is simply gone. Additional boosts can be purchased from the Gears 5 in-game store for Iron, the game’s real-money currency, so the bonus that players have lost in the time they couldn’t play does have value.

While things seem more stable for the moment, the game’s wider launch on Sept. 10 is sure to be significantly bigger than its Ultimate Edition and Game Pass Ultimate crowd. But hopefully these brief issues surrounding the early launch will help make things a little smoother.

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