At the time of writing, Gran Turismo 7’s online servers are still offline. As a result, GT7, one of the most anticipated games of the year, has been practically unplayable for over 24 hours just two weeks after it launched. Welcome to the current generation of gaming.
Server shutdown makes GT7 practically unplayable
In preparation for the launch of update 1.07, GT7’s online servers were taken offline for routine maintenance yesterday. This usually takes a couple of hours, causing minor inconvenience. However, after an “issue” was found in the update, the server maintenance period was extended. GT7 has remained offline ever since.
GT7's servers were shut down yesterday at 6am GMT. At the time of writing, this means the servers have been offline for 29 hours and counting.
Addressing the situation yesterday, a post on Gran Turismo’s official social media page promises to “notify everyone as soon as possible” when maintenance is expected to be completed. Communication is vital in situations like this, but with no further update on when the issue will be resolved at the time of writing, GT7 players are left in limbo.
In most racing games, server outages only affect the online multiplayer. But GT7 requires an online connection to play most of the single-player content.
What can you access in GT7 offline?
Frustratingly, this means you can’t make progress in the campaign. When the servers are down, you can’t complete GT Café menu books, buy cars, or earn credits in races. Bewilderingly, you can’t even access the photo mode or livery editor offline.
After the game takes an eternity to load while trying to connect online, World Circuits is the only location you can select on the main map when the servers are down. Here, you can pick from a small selection of cars and enter a single race, time trial, or drift trial. You can also only access cars from your garage in time trials.
GT7’s quirky Music Rally is also playable offline, but with only six music tracks at launch, it won’t entertain you for very long.
Frankly, there is no valid reason why GT7’s single-player content requires an online connection. The single-player campaign shouldn't be unplayable for over 24 hours because the servers are offline, plain and simple.
Series creator Kazunori Yamauchi has argued this decision was made to prevent cheating. Save files are stored on Polyphony Digital’s servers to stop them from being hacked. But this messy situation is unacceptable when people have coughed up £70 (or as much as £90 in the case of the 25th Anniversary Edition) for a first-party game that is currently unplayable.
This also raises the wider issue of game preservation. When a game reaches the end of its lifecycle, the online servers are usually switched off. If GT7’s servers are shut down permanently in the future, the game will be unplayable and hours of progress will be lost unless a patch enables offline play.
GT Sport, which also requires an online connection, could suffer the same fate, though it has considerably less single-player content than GT7.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the only controversy update 1.07 has caused. Tweaks to the game’s economy have nerfed credit rewards in single-player races. Consequently, it will take a lot longer to save up credits and buy your dream cars after the patch.
While grinding to afford the most desirable cars gives a sense of reward and progression, there’s an uncomfortable feeling that this progression system is designed to push players into buying cars with real money using microtransactions.
It’s sad to see GT7 in this state just two weeks after launch. All things considered, GT7 had a successful launch, with glowing reviews and strong sales, debuting at number one in the UK game charts. Sadly, this is now tainted.
It will be interesting to see how the situation is handled. Sony and Polyphony may offer a form of compensation such as free credits, but some frustrated players are already demanding refunds.
The damage to GT7’s reputation is getting worse the longer the game stays offline. Angry players are review-bombing GT7 on Metacritic, lowering the average user score to 3.5 at the time of writing.
Making light of the situation, Codemasters summed it up with a perfectly-timed tongue-in-cheek post on the GRID Legends Twitter account aimed at GT7:
In short, Polyphony needs to enable offline play for GT7’s campaign so this never happens again. GT7's current state shows why online requirements in single player-focused games need to end.