The Anthem demo launched earlier today, but six hours plus after launch many players who pre-ordered the game, with access as an incentive, still can’t play.
We expect this around any pre-launch or beta phase of an online game, but what is really winding folk up is that some players who didn’t pre-order the game are playing fine.
This is how it worked. For each person who pre-ordered Anthem, EA and Bioware allowed them to share a link with three free codes. These links could be sent out to friends who didn’t pre-order the game.
The servers went live earlier today but have been plagued with server problems, with many players who pre-ordered the demo either not being able to get past the lobby, or being greeted with the message: “Unfortunately, you don’t have access to the first Anthem Demo weekend. To play the demo, pre-order Anthem, or ask a friend to invite you.”
This includes us, yet we do have access already. It tells us in our EA account we have access, but it keeps throwing up this message. We’ve certainly not the only ones.
On various social media channels, including Reddit, there’s plenty of players getting annoyed because some have pre-ordered the game and can’t play, yet can see people on their friends list who they gave codes to playing!
As SlippyGeeee says on Reddit: “Feels as though I’m being punished for pre-ordering the game, whilst the people I gave a code to are playing? Lmfao what a shit show.”
Hickgamer has a good solution, which we’d definitely agree with: “FIVE HOURS AND STILL CAN’T CONNECT! REMOVE ALL ACCOUNTS USING FREE CODES TEMPORARILY SO THE ONES WHO PAID CAN ACTUALLY LOGIN!”
It seems like a PR and marketing disaster right now. The incentive for pre-ordering Anthem, alongside a Founder’s banner, was access to a three-day VIP demo. At no point in the last couple of months was it revealed that to access the demo you actually didn’t have to pre-order at all – you simply had to know someone who pre-ordered, or keep an eye out on social media channels for the numerous people who are giving away codes.
Our hunch is that there were some last minute decisions made and this wasn’t planned as well as it could have been. Perhaps pre-orders weren’t as large as expected, and EA and Bioware decided at the last minute to open it up to other players. We’ve seen spare codes all over the place that have been snapped up, and right now the servers aren’t ready for it.
We’d certainly expect the Anthem VIP demo to be extended as a result, but we’ve already seen people stating they’ll be canceling their pre-order based on the shambles today. That’s a big shame if that happens. Personally, though it’s frustrating, we hope players will stick with it passed this shambolic VIP demo opening day. As an online multiplayer game, Anthem is going to take time to evolve and we’re almost a month from its official launch.
Nevertheless, EA needs to sort it out asap, otherwise it risks players turning their backs on the action-RPG.