Nintendo pulled off something pretty impressive with Pokemon X and Y, and we need to give the company kudos for its efforts. It's all about the Player Search Systems (PSS). With Pokemon X and Y's online component, Nintendo managed to do something major developers and publishers can't seem to do anymore. It got the online component working perfectly at launch.
I know, it's hard and probably not fair to compare something like GTA Online or SimCity to Pokemon X and Y. Their online components are far more complicated and intensive. Yet, I couldn't help making the comparison around 11:50 pm CST on October 11, 2013. Both games had terrible problems at launch. The online multiplayer didn't work. There were bugs and glitches. That isn't even factoring in the people who couldn't even play because too many players were on at launch.
My Pokemon X experience went off without a hitch. I was playing for hours on Friday night into Saturday morning, and later during the day on October 12, 2013. Though my Passersby list was always packed and constantly filling up with new players and friends, the PSS was never overloaded. I was never kicked off. It just worked.
Moreover, I was actually able to do things with Pokemon X's PSS. All day and night, I was taking part in random battles and trades with both strangers and friends. I was interacting with people from Japan, Germany, France, Canada, and the United States. There were no errors or hiccups. I was never kicked offline. Sales figures haven't come in, but the PSS was jumping, and I'm sure there were probably thousands of people online at the same time as me. Yet it never hurt gameplay.
Even lag wasn't an issue. There was one situation where I was engaging in a random battle with a passerby from Canada, and it seemed to be going a little slow, but I think that was a player issue--mainly because it only happened a few times during the move-selection process. I never experienced any lag during an actual battle or trade.
It surprised me, which is sad. We shouldn't have to be surprised in this day and age because the online component of a game works perfectly at launch. I shouldn't feel like I have to reward Nintendo because my copy of Pokemon X is perfect as is, without any patches or alterations. It shouldn’t be a shock that a company was prepared for the number of people who would be playing a game at launch. Yet it's something other developers and publishers haven't been able to overcome. But, when Pokemon X and Y came out, the PSS was up, running, and ready for whatever players threw at it from the very beginning.
So well done Nintendo. The company may still be a few steps behind when it comes to offering an optimal online multiplayer experience in its games, but at least Pokemon X and Y's PSS was doing exactly what it was supposed to day one.