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Demand for free GTA 5 causes Epic Games services to buckle

Car crash.

After rumours and a rogue advert, GTA 5 is now finally available to claim for free on the Epic Games Store. Or it would be, if the launcher and website hadn't already buckled under demand.

At the time of writing, booting up the Epic Games Store launcher when connected to the internet will only get you an error message. Epic has tweeted to confirm the issues, which it attributed to high traffic. "We are aware that users may be encountering slow loading times, 500 errors, or launcher crashing at this time and we are actively working to scale", Epic explained. "We'll provide an update as soon as we can."

Along with the launcher, it seems Epic's website is also experiencing issues, as both the store and other pages are unavailable. I searched for 'how to open the Epic Games launcher offline' and got hit with a 505 message when loading the website. Not sure what I expected, really.

And here's the current state of my launcher.

Along with making it impossible to immediately claim GTA 5, it's a bit frustrating for those who were hoping to play other online games this afternoon using the launcher. This includes Fortnite, of course, which is currently inaccessible from the launcher - although it's still possible to get in via opening the files directly.

The Epic Games Store encountered similar launcher problems back in October last year, when Fortnite exploded its island in a spectacular season finale. More recently, Fortnite hosted its most popular event ever with 12.3m people tuning in to view Travis Scott - without any problems, that time. All of which gives you an idea of the level of strain free GTA 5 is currently putting on the system.