Age of Empires 3: Definitive Edition – How to Fix: Crashes, Failed to Join Game, Initialization Failed


Jon Torres

Writer and Storywriter


In Age of Empires 3 there were many issues that have been resolved over time. The developers have done a good job of updating and patching the game.

Age of Empires 3: Definitive Edition – How to Fix: Crashes, Failed to Join Game, Initialization Failed

However, there are three error which are fairly common and can happen to this day. They’re three different bugs in nature but there are easy fixes for them.

So, today we will cover how to fix crashes, failed to join game, and initialization failed in Age of Empires 3: Definitive Edition.

How to Fix Crashes, Failed to Join Game, Initialization Failed – Age of Empires 3

aoe 3 initialization failed

Since they’re different in nature, they all require different things to get fixed. We will start with crashes and cover each of them individually.

This is how to fix crashes in Age of Empires 3: Definitive Edition:

IMPORTANT: Like most games AOE 3 has the usual crashing errors. The fixes are applicable to any other game.

Launch Windowed

  1. Right-click AOE 3 .exe file.
  2. Go to Properties > Shortcut.
  3. In Run, switch it to minimized, and click Apply.
  4. Start the game.
aoe 3 minimized

Run as Administrator

  1. Right-click AOE 3.
  2. Click Run as Administrator.
run as admin aoe 3

If these do not work, update your graphics card drivers and your Windows. With that said, let’s get to how to fix failed to join game:

IMPORTANT: This doesn’t happen often, only to some matches. If you want to join particularly those matches than a VPN is a must.


  1. Download a VPN software – Windscribe is a free one.
  2. Install it and change your location to another location, relatively close to your region. Make sure AOE 3 is not running.
  3. Start the game and join the match.

Unfortunately, there is not a different fix to this issue yet. You must download a VPN service software. There is nothing from the developers suggesting this issue will be fixed.

Let’s tackle the last error. If you have problems launching, you might need to fix initialization failed:

Turn on DirectPlay

  1. Go to Control Panel > Programs and Features.
  2. Click on Turn Windows features on and off.
  3. Scroll down and find Legacy Components.
  4. Open the files.
  5. Make sure to have DirectPlay checked and click OK.
  6. Start the game.
windows features aoe 3

As I said, these are the most common issues you will get in Age of Empires 3: Definitive Edition. These fixes have been widely known in the community because of the errors’ presence.

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