Last week, Civilization VI added a new DLC pack, the first part of the New Frontier Pass that will supply Civ 6 players with new content through March 2021. Along with the release came a surprise: the base game of Civilization VI was released for free on the Epic Games Store. Naturally, that gained a lot of attention and a lot of downloads.
In the next few days, getting onto the game's multiplayer servers was a dicey prospect. Sometimes, entering a game lobby could take ten to fifteen minutes, and even when players made it in, they may not have been able to actually add other players and start the game. Epic's status page listed incidents with the servers on May 21st and May 22nd. Eventually, those issues were resolved, for most users. But one feature continued to be unavailable.
Play-by-Cloud is a game mode that replicates the old school play by email style, where users would play their turn in a hot seat game, save it, and email it to the next player, who would play their turn, email it, and so on. Play-by-Cloud makes this easier by keeping the file on Civilization's cloud servers and notifying users when it's their turn to play. Unlike regular multiplayer, a Play-by-Cloud game can last for weeks as players take their turn at their convenience.
In threads on the Civ Fanatics forum, as well as in the Steam Community, users complained of an inability to enter Play-by-Cloud games, either existing games from before last week's update or brand new ones. Attempting to start a new game resulted in an error that said "Error entering multiplayer session," with no other information provided. Bleeding Cool confirmed that entering a Play-by-Cloud game of Civilization VI appeared to be, and remains, impossible.
Bleeding Cool has learned that the reason Play-by-Cloud isn't working is that it was purposely disabled. A statement from a Civilization spokesman provided to Bleeding Cool tells us, "Due to a huge spike in users over the last couple of days, we temporarily disabled Play-by-Cloud services to improve online stability. We're in the process of determining the best solution to bring functionality back for all players and will share an update once complete."
So Civilization VI devs are aware of the issue and are working on restoring Play-by-Cloud, which is not broken, but purposely disabled in order to stabilize the servers following the demand caused by the release of the new content pack and the free offering of Vanilla Civ on the Epic Games Store. Hopefully, they're able to get the service back up and running soon, lest we all become far too productive without those turns to take.