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Grand Theft Auto V Online launches, crashes

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Grand Theft Auto V
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Grand Theft Auto V

Since the launch of Grand Theft Auto V, fans have been eagerly waiting to start exploring the game's new multiplayer mode. Early Tuesday morning, that mode launched -- but most players are still waiting to play it.

As seems to happen with so many major online game launches, Rockstar and Take Two were unprepared for the massive influx of players, causing the game's servers to be overwhelmed and preventing most players from being able to log in and explore the compelling new mode.

To access GTA Online, players must first download and install a 59MB update. But when most relaunch the game, they're seeing the message "The Rockstar cloud servers are unavailable right now." That means that while players can create a temporary character, they can't create a permanent one and most likely can't get into the game.

"We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience while we work to resolve this," Rockstar announced on its support page, which is keeping a running list of the online game's errors.

Not surprisingly, fans were quick to voice their displeasure, with GTA Online becoming a trending topic on Twitter.

"Shame that no one can jump into GTA Online, surely rockstar [sic] would have expected high strains on their servers due to the $1billion sales," wrote user Carl360.

GTA Online is nothing if not ambitious. If they can make it in, players will enter a persistent online world where they can join gangs, pull off heists, and race races with up to 16 other players. While it isn't quite a massively-multiplayer game, the entire project is connected with its own dynamically changing economy -- and the whole shebang is provided free of charge.

While annual franchises like Call of Duty and semi-annual ones like Battlefield generally have a good estimate of the number of players who will be piling onto their servers, GTA V joins a long line of disappointing online launches for games that should have known better.

Diablo III fans had to wait days before they could play after Blizzard woefully misjudged fan demand. EA found itself in the same boat with the awful launch of SimCity and Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Already a critical and commercial smash, GTA V has faced some problems in its single-player game, too. A bug causing cars to vanish from player-controlled garages marred the experience for many gamers, though Rockstar is currently working on a fix.

And to be fair, Rockstar did see the multiplayer issues coming. In a post last week, the developers acknowledged that the launch might not go very smoothly.

"One thing we are already aware of, and are trying to alleviate as fast as we can, is the unanticipated additional pressure on the servers due to a significantly higher number of players than we were anticipating at this point," they wrote. "We are working around the clock to buy and add more servers, but this increased scale is only going to make the first few days even more temperamental than such things usually are. "

While the delays are frustrating, at least GTA V’s single-player mode is big enough to keep most players busy while they wait. Odds are there are plenty of activities in the single-player that you haven't experienced yet. If nothing else, that might distract you for a while until the issues are resolved.

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