Oh dear. It's safe to say the long-delayed DriveClub hasn't exactly got off to a flying start.
It finally launched yesterday in the US and today in Europe nearly a year after its original target release date, but early review scores have been across the board (we're still waiting for a review copy to deliver our verdict), ranging from 9.5/10 to 4/10. At the timing of writing, its Metacritic score sits at a middling 7.2, with common criticims citing an overall lack of substance beneath its beautiful bonnet. Not quite the universal acclaim Sony were hoping for such a hyped first party release, then, particularly when Forza Horizon 2 has been receiving near unaminious praise over on the neighbouring console. So much for DriveClub being "PS4's Forza killer".
But it just gets worse. Those hoping to take DriveClub for a test drive in the free-to-play Plus Edition today are in for a disappointment, as Sony has had to apply the brakes due to unforseen server strains, posponing its release for an unspecified period.
The announcement comes courtesy of FaceBook via a personal statement from Game Director Rustchynsky, aka 'Rushy':
With DRIVECLUB, we are dedicated to delivering a dynamic and socially connected racing game that everyone can enjoy, and along the way we're facing new challenges which we haven’t encountered as a development team before. We are seeing a lot of activity and new social behaviours right now, but unfortunately this is pushing the servers to their absolute limits.
We are sorry if you are having a hard time getting online as we know many of you are. Please be aware that the game will automatically keep trying to connect you. Once you're online, you should have no further problems during your session.
Everyone at the studio is now working hard to get new updates ready for the game servers to improve connectivity. We will be rolling out these updates day by day and will keep you informed.
In order to help all DRIVECLUB players who have the game already, we're temporarily holding back the PS Plus Edition and the My DRIVECLUB app to ease the load and traffic to the servers. This should give players a better chance of connecting to the game servers and, once the servers are operating well, we’ll be sure to let you know when the PS Plus Edition and My DRIVECLUB app will be available to download.
To our PS Plus fans, we're sorry you're having to wait longer to play, but we want to ensure that when you come on board, you get the best experience possible. Rest assured, if you've pre-ordered the full game upgrade from the PS Plus Edition, you will still get the full version of DRIVECLUB digitally, and if you can't get online you'll be able to get started offline like everybody else with single player mode as you start your DRIVECLUB tour. You’ll still be able to earn fame, unlock cars and get to grips with all of the options for playing and creating your own events and challenges – and everything you do will be synchronised with the servers when you do get connected, so you can set-up a bunch of challenges to send out to your friends as soon as you are able to join each other online.
We fully appreciate how frustrating this is for everyone. We want you to get online with your club because racing, challenging and having fun together is what the game is all about. We know that racing with your friends online is what you’ve been waiting for and we are doing everything we can to deliver that experience to you as soon as possible.
Sorry again for the difficult start. We’ll keep you regularly updated on our progress as we work round the clock to improve connectivity. We want everyone to know what's happening so please tag your DRIVECLUB friends or SHARE this message to let them know.
As the announcement states, you can still purchase the full digital verison right now, but it's certainly testing the patience of PS4 players considering that DriveClub has already been delayed for nearly a year, and many were likely planning to take the Plus Edition for a spin in order to make an informed decision on upgrading to the full version.
Exactly when DriveClub Plus Edition will be released is unknown, but it wouldn't be surprising if we don't see it until next week's PSN update, since Sony seem to stick their weekly release ritual.