'Sea of Thieves' Reached 1 Million Players in First 48 Hours

Obviously, this is causing some issues

Online pirate game Sea of Thieves launched this week and it's seeing an "unprecedented" number of players. More than one million people joined the game in its first 48 hours, developer Rare said in a launch status update video yesterday.

The number of people signing on to digitally pillage and plunder on the high seas is "massive" compared to the amount that participated in the game's beta tests, Rare said. At one point, the team's service engineer said players were logging on at a rate of 5,000 per minute.

Sea of Thieves is one of the first Microsoft exclusives offered under the Xbox Game Pass program, and that could be contributing to its high player numbers. Xbox Game Pass is a monthly subscription service that lets people play certain titles for free. That means members can try out Sea of Thieves without making a $60 purchase first.

Naturally, Sea of Thieves is experiencing some launch pains due to the high demand. Rare said it's aware of the problems some players are currently having, and it's working on them. "We felt this is a good opportunity to get out in front of you, as people have supported us – our community, our players – and really talk to you about what some of those issues are, what the team's doing," said Rare studio head Craig Duncan.

"This is the first update of this kind, but we want to be continually updating our community on a regular basis with what the top issues are, what are we seeing, what are the kind of actions we're taking," said Sea of Thieves executive producer Joe Neate.

Right now, the game's biggest issue is apparently server loads during peak time, which is around 9 p.m. in Europe. That's also when people in the eastern and western U.S. are also coming online in the late afternoon/early evening. As a temporary fix, Rare suggests joining a galleon crew if you originally tried queuing up solo. The game apparently matches people with crews first, then matches crews with servers. By joining a crew, players can bypass the server queue and join a session already in-progress.