Update: The servers are now online.
Considering the popularity of GTA Online, chances are many of you who are reading this now are doing so because you tried to log in to the game but were unable to. No, there isn't an issue with your game, your console or your internet connection. In fact, there isn't any issue at all - only routine server maintenance.
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But how routine is it, really? The tweet from Rockstar support went out yesterday, informing everyone that the maintenance will occur. This was followed up by another today when the GTA Online servers were taken down - in tandem with the Social Club. Now, server maintenance isn't anything special in a multiplayer game.
However, having your website affected by the server maintenance of the game is strange. GTA Online uses an atypical peer-to-peer system, saving Rockstar tons of resources that would have been spent on a massive server park strong enough to support the player base.
It also limits the control Rockstar has over the game servers, which is the main reason why solving the hacker issue has been so difficult. It also makes server maintenance pretty time-consuming. Most importantly, however, it makes hosting the website and Social Club on the same server impossible.
So why is the Social Club down along with the other platforms? Initially players only reported that the Xbox One and PS4 platforms went offline, but they were closely followed by the others and eventually the page tracking the status of the game servers was updated to show everything as down.
This is hardly the first time the servers underwent maintenance and some people are making the same mistaken assumption as last time, so we'll make it clear - this five hour maintenance has nothing to do with new content. There was nothing announced, nor was maintenance ever necessary in the past before DLC release.
GTA Online's use of a P2P server system stems from Rockstar underestimating the success of the multiplayer mode. Hopefully they'll incorporate everything they've learned form this game into their next, so that the online experiences of future Rockstar games won't be so rife with hackers.
The scheduled maintenance should last 5 hours, so keep your eyes on the status page so you can get back in the game as soon as the servers are back up and running.
Do you spend the time waiting for the Online servers to return in GTA 5's story mode, or do you play something else?