GTA Online looks set to become one of the all-time great broken launches, with a massive patch on Friday failing to improve the experience for millions of players. Many of those who managed to get through the initial tutorial missions have had their characters deleted.
"We have received reports from some players who experienced losing characters, progress, items, and/or in-game cash during the first few days after release," developer Rockstar says on its support site. "We are working diligently to identify and correct the causes for these losses, as well as to establish how best to restore any lost progress and value."
That 'value' has included for some players real-life money they used to buy in-game currency early on, before Rockstar suspended in-game payments last week. "We are in the process of determining the options for addressing the issues for those players who have been affected. Please stay tuned for further updates," the company said.
Some of the issues with saving progress seem to be related to the distinction between GTA V, the single-player game, and GTA Online, the multiplayer mode.
How to save safely
"When exiting GTA Online, please pause the game and choose to return to Single Player. This will trigger a save and ensure that progress since the last auto-save is recorded," Rockstar advises. "If you purchase items and immediately power the console off or exit through console system menus, those items may not be saved.
"If you are trying to access GTA Online and Rockstar Cloud Servers are unavailable, please exit to GTA V Story Mode and try entering GTA Online again through the Pause menu in Story Mode. We will be issuing a title update that will fix this issue as soon as possible."
Rockstar warned before it went live that the game's unprecedented success -- making $900m in a single day -- meant there would be enormous demand for its online multiplayer, with more players likely to connect than perhaps any game in history. Its failure to support everyone who wants to play is all the more galling given how much fun it is -- my colleague Luke certainly enjoyed it:
I played some GTA Online the other day. It took ages to load, then crashed, then froze, and THEN was great fun.— Luke Westaway (@lukewestaway) October 7, 2013
Have you managed to play at all? Have you lost any characters? What's the weirdest thing that's happened? Blow off steam in the comments, or on our always-online Facebook page.