The Battlefield 1943 servers returned today after an extraordinary month of network errors had prevented a significant amount of people from playing their purchased game.
It wasn't that players couldn't simply play multiplayer matches: multiplayer is the game, so BF1943 wasn't playable at all.
Having been contacted by readers about the issue, I bought the game earlier this week to test it for myself. My 1200 Microsoft Point purchase (Ł10.20/$15) was, sure enough, unplayable.
The error I received was the same as everyone else's: "Network ERROR. LOGIN FAILED." No matter how many times I retried I could not access the game's main menu.
This problem affected both platforms - PS3 and Xbox 360 - of the game. And while it didn't block out everybody, it blocked out enough people to cause a stir on the EA Answer HQ website.
A thread was started there on 10th May by a frustrated user who had been trying for five days to access the game. On 13th May, community manager "eadennis" posted to say the issue was under investigation.
The same line was reposted multiple times until weeks later, on 29th May, another community manager called "eanils" posted to say there would be maintenance on Thursday, 30th May to "further investigate the issue".
That day came and went with no change to the situation, and it was at this point I was contacted by someone from that forum thread hoping to get the matter more exposure.
I contacted EA PR and have been repeatedly assured a statement that hasn't yet materialised. Then, as if by magic, the problem was solved - though I still have no statement.
Another EA community manager, "eachems", posted confirmation that:
"Just moments ago, our Software Engineers were able to get this sorted, and you should not experience this issue any more.
"Please let us know otherwise.
"Thank you all for your patience and understanding while we were looking into this."
I can't see a sorry anywhere, which brings me on to the question of compensation - what will EA do? I'll try and find out.
The other question is what caused this? One commenter in the EA Answers HQ thread claimed to have been on the phone to EA Support, which confirmed the BF1943 outage was a result of an "attack" at the beginning of the month.
DICE reported a DDOS attack on the Battlefield 3 game infrastructure on 8th May - a problem that was apparently "stabilised" on 16th May. as reported on 8th May by DICE on the Battlefield 3 forum.
"I haven't stopped playing '43 since 2010."Etienne
"I still love the game [BF1943]," Eurogamer tipster Etienne told me, "and will always love the game. I feel as if a company this size should be held more accountable for the servers because they actually have the revenue and resources to dedicate to fixing this problem.
"As opposed to the flood of EA vitriol on the forums, I am very grateful that a company this large published this game because I don't think it would still be up and running if it was not owned by such a large corporation."
Etienne said there was "a small but completely devoted" community playing Battlefield 1943, a game released in 2009 to solid reviews.
"Me, my daughter and all the people I see regularly play three-to-seven days a week. It is an easy game to jump into for 20-30 minutes or binge on for several hours. It doesn't take as much time to get onto a server as something like [Battlefield: Bad Company 2] or [Battlefield 3].
"I played Bad Company 2 about a year before B3 launched. I played B3 and 1943' simultaneously after B3 launched but about six months later, B3 fatigue set it and I've only gone back sporadically a couple of times and never for more than a couple of days. I haven't stopped playing '43 since 2010."
Besides this extended outage, Etienne said Battlefield 1943 had been more or less "completely stable" for almost three years.