‘Anthem’ demo servers are facing technical issues and players aren’t happy

Updated to reflect problems are related to technical issues and not overloaded servers.

If you pre-ordered Anthem or you’re a member of one of Electronic Arts’ subscription services, you should have access to the special VIP demo of the game right now. However, technical issues are already keeping excited fans from getting their hands on the game. (And by the way, you can check out our hands-on preview of Anthem here.)

Users logging into Anthem are finding themselves hit by a “connection problem” message, leaving them without access to the always-online game. Digital Trends’ Computing Editor Matt Smith saw the message this morning, with the servers being too full to join, though he did eventually manage to load into the game.

#mood #AnthemVIPDEMO #anthem pic.twitter.com/7aK76P3N8P

— Matthew S. Smith (@Matt_on_tech) January 25, 2019

Other players took issue with the state of the servers as well, speculating that it might have been because so many free codes were given away online that many players who hadn’t pre-ordered or subscribed to a membership were still given access.

Anthem: Gives away thousands of demo codes to random users.

*servers get overloaded*

Anthem: pic.twitter.com/bTooT5FHuC

— FinFett (@FinFett) January 25, 2019

Come on @EA been waiting from the very beginning y’all servers are doo doo #anthem please

— Michelangelo (@xmichelangelox) January 25, 2019

Electronic Arts global community manager Jesse Anderson explained that the team would be scaling back the servers from the Anthem VIP demo in an effort to gradually let people into the game.

UPDATE on #AnthemGame VIP demo – we're scaling the servers to let more players in gradually to avoid crashing. We'll continue to scale until everyone is in.

— Jesse Anderson (@Darokaz) January 25, 2019

According to BioWare GM Casey Hudson, however, the issues aren’t actually related to server capacity at all, but a problem that didn’t appear in earlier internet tests. The issue seems to extend to other EA games aside from Anthem, as well.

Turns out to not be a server capacity issue. Seems to be a different issue that didn’t come up in previous scale testing. Teams are on it… https://t.co/nnDi2xK1s6

— Casey Hudson (@CaseyDHudson) January 25, 2019

Massive online games almost always experience some sort of hiccup during their infancy, and in the case of Anthem, the game isn’t even fully released yet. If something similar happens on February 22 as players are trying to get into the game they just spent $60 on, it might be a greater cause for concern, but Electronic Arts’ experience with online multiplayer should help it avoid disaster. That being said, it’s hard to forget the SimCity fiasco of 2013, which forced players looking to enjoy a single-player game without access to it because of a forced online connection.

Anthem will be facing some very stiff competition when it launches next month. Metro Exodus, Trials RisingJump ForceFar Cry New Dawn, and Crackdown 3 all launch the week before, and Devil May Cry 5 arrives in early March. Should BioWare succeed in its take on the Destiny formula, however, it’s still likely to attract a substantial audience.

Anthem will be available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on February 22. An open period for the demo will be held on February 1.

Updated on January 25, 2019: Added statement from Casey Hudson on nature of technical issues.

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