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Server issues lock Gran Turismo 7 owners out of single-player races

The virtual sun rises on another day that <em>GT7</em>'s servers remain offline.
Enlarge / The virtual sun rises on another day that GT7‘s servers remain offline.

A longer-than-expected server outage has meant that Gran Turismo 7 owners haven’t been able to access large portions of the single-player game for more than a day.

The scheduled server maintenance, timed around the release of the version 1.07 patch for the game, was initially planned to last just two hours starting at 6 am GMT (2 am Eastern) on Thursday morning. Six hours later, though, the official Gran Turismo Twitter account announced that “due to an issue found in Update 1.07, we will be extending the Server Maintenance period. We will notify everyone as soon as possible when this is likely to be completed. We apologize for this inconvenience and ask for your patience while we work to resolve the issue.”

As of this writing Friday morning, the server outage has extended to over 32 hours. While a version 1.08 patch is now available for download, the gameplay servers remain offline.

For many games, players would still be able to access single-player content while the developers worked on issues with multiplayer servers. For Gran Turismo 7, though, the vast majority of the single-player game is also inaccessible during the server outage. Only the Music Rally and World Circuit modes, plus unlocked solo races against the AI, are available offline. All portions of the game related to single-player progression—from license events and hot laps to missions and even car customization—are completely inaccessible.

Polyphony Digital’s Kazunori Yamauchi told Ars during a preview event that this persistent online connection was intended to serve as an anti-cheating tool. That was probably especially important to the developers because, as Ars’ Jonathan Gitlin put it in his review, “GT7 will try to tempt you to open your real wallet to buy in-game credits a little more frequently than you might like.”

Ars’ Sam Machkovech also worried about this eventuality in a comment on that review, warning that “there’s a good amount of the campaign that has no significant attachment to online connectivity, and the fact that this content doesn’t work when servers go down is maddening and insulting.”

What happened, Sony? You used to be cool

Requiring an online connection for single-player content is especially galling for a major PlayStation exclusive. Back in 2013, Sony scored a huge PR win by stressing how disc-based PS4 games wouldn’t perform any online checks before letting you play single-player content (contrasting with reports coming out of Microsoft). A tweet from Sony at the time captures the moment; it crows about the “thunderous, deafening applause” it received simply for saying that “PS4 disc-based games don’t need to be connected online to play.”

Nearly nine years later, though, Sony is no longer drawing that applause. Instead, hundreds of Gran Turismo 7 owners have been expressing their frustration by flooding Metacritic with 0/10 user reviews.

Gran Turismo 7 is far from the only game to require an online connection for single-player content these days. Back in 2017, Gran Turismo Sport was also extremely limited in offline mode, for instance.

But GT7‘s extended server outage shines a bright spotlight on the practice. It also raises long-term preservation questions regarding how future players will be able to access Gran Turismo 7 when Sony eventually decides to shut down the game’s servers for good.

For now, Gran Turismo 7 owners tired of waiting to play the game they bought are forced to look elsewhere for their racing fix. As EA and Codemasters have cheekily tweeted, Grid Legends “is a videogame with cars in it that you can play right now.” Imagine that!

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