Fall Guys went free-to-play yesterday, alongside a move to Epic Games Store exclusivity and delisting from Steam, and the change was a big success—so big that it wreaked havoc upon the game servers, which struggled (and, at times, failed) to deal with the sudden new load.
The first sign of trouble appeared yesterday morning, when developer Mediatonic said on Twitter (in typical Fall Guys fashion) that some players were unable to access matchmaking services following the free-to-play changeover.
am sorry but a lot of the frosting dried so this is taking some time to clean upi also added ants thinking they'd eat the frosting but it made the problem worseyour continued patience through this is appreciated!! https://t.co/GrN4BVLyA2June 21, 2022
A couple of hours after that, custom lobbies were temporarily disabled so developers could continue working on the game; by yesterday afternoon, things were apparently getting better but the studio warned that "there may be some teething issues whilst all bajillion of you try to play at once." Then earlier today, Mediatonic took the "daily" section of the in-game store down to correct some issues, which apparently caused some players to get booted from the game.
"When loads of people try to get back in at once it gets a lil spicy, but you will be let in eventually dw," the studio tweeted.
if you got booted from the game during this, you may have to try joining a few timeswhen loads of people try to get back in at once it gets a lil spicy, but you will be let in eventually dwJune 22, 2022
Server crushes are nothing new in the games business, but Mediatonic can be forgiven for not seeing this one coming. Fall Guys is a couple years old now—it was released in August 2020—and while it's clearly still a success, its days as a runaway phenom are past. The move off of Steam and into Epic Games Store exclusivity—Epic acquired Mediatonic in March 2021—could also have reasonably been expected to have a cooling effect. But that didn't happen: A Fall Guys rep told Kotaku that the game hit a record concurrent player count yesterday, which put "high loads on our servers and affected some of our matchmaking systems periodically throughout the day."
What's especially interesting is that this also happened on Steam. Fall Guys is no longer available for purchase there but remains accessible to anyone who already owns it, and those players have jumped back into the game in droves. According to Steamcharts, the peak concurrent player count over the past 24 hours was just a hair under 60,000, the highest it's been since October 2020 and nearly five times the peak concurrent player count in May 2022. And that's just Steam—it doesn't take into account existing players and newcomers on the Epic Games Store, plus console and mobile platforms.
That's a serious bounceback for a game that had largely fallen off the radar prior to yesterday. If Fall Guys can build on that surprise second win, it could conceivably become an even bigger success than it was in 2020.