GameSpy's New Owner Shuts Down Classic Multiplayer

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GameSpy's New Owner Shuts Down Classic Multiplayer

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Affected titles allegedly include Star Wars: Battlefront, and Sniper Elite.

Since its acquisition by freemium game publisher Glu Mobile, GameSpy has been shutting down multiplayer servers, according to reports from frustrated gamers and developers. Among the games affected, according to a Slashdot correspondent, are Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2, Star Wars: Battlefront, Sniper Elite, Hidden and Dangerous 2, Wings of War, Microsoft Flight Simulator X, and SWAT 4. Some games are still able to directly connect if the player knows the IP address, but otherwise multiplayer has been disabled for these classic games.

According to Rebellion, maker of Sniper Elite, the decision was made without its input and it has little means of rectifying the situation. "We have been talking to [Glu Mobile/GameSpy] since to try and get the servers turned back on," said the developer in an official statement. "We have been informed that in order to do so would cost us tens of thousands of pounds a year - far in excess of how much we were paying previously." So the servers will stay off.

GameSpy has yet to comment on the closures, beyond saying - in the case of Star Wars: Battlefront - that, as LucasArts was no longer supporting the title "we're obligated to disable the service per our Agreement with them." However a look at GameSpy's Facebook page shows a lot of disgruntled gamers are out there. They really don't understand what's going on, and want their games back.

"Hi," said Michal Danyi on the GameSpot Facebook page, "Server List for Hidden and Dangerous 2 also down so it's possible pay you for again support this game? I can pay you how much will be want. or as we may be able to work out?"

But payment may well be part of the problem; as Rebellion said in its statement, the new GameSpy strategy seems to be to bludgeon these old titles with fee demands far in excess of anything the developer can pay. It might be hoping that one or two will cave and pay up, but the more likely result is that most, if not all, will accept the server closure as a fait accompli; effectively clearing out what Glu might see as the GameSpy dead wood.

Source: PC Gamer

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And this is why we can't have nice things. Greed, that's all it is, and nothing more, and once again it's the gamer and small-time developer that loses out...

EDIT: And something I never get to say but now have the chance to do so... FIRST!

Gamespy has always been garbage but this seems like a step in a suicidal direction. Now they are not only providing a poorly done service, but they are now canceling services and alienating devs and players alike which will cost them more business in the future as better services are everywhere(I can't imagine there actually being a service worse than the one gamespy delivers that actually charges money).

If the game developers can manage it, it may be time to move on to a different multi-player service, like Steam. In the case of some really old games that aren't being produced, updated, or managed by any company, not sure there is anything that can be done, unless someone picks the game up and decides to help gamers find their game again.

snekadid:
Gamespy has always been garbage but this seems like a step in a suicidal direction. Now they are not only providing a poorly done service, but they are now canceling services and alienating devs and players alike which will cost them more business in the future as better services are everywhere(I can't imagine there actually being a service worse than the one gamespy delivers that actually charges money).

I agree. If I were a game developer, I think I would be thinking twice about using GameSpy to handle multi-player for my game given this kind of behavior. Not a good way to do business at all.

that's why i use gameranger... and i think some of the affected games are on the list

The probable reason why theese servers were shut down is because nobody plays multiplayer on theese games anymore as all of the mentioned titles are any combination of old, unloved or succeeded.

gigastar:
The probable reason why theese servers were shut down is because nobody plays multiplayer on theese games anymore as all of the mentioned titles are any combination of old, unloved or succeeded.

I can tell you for certain that a good amount of people do in fact play Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2 online yet. They have quite a larger community dedicated to it.

gigastar:
The probable reason why theese servers were shut down is because nobody plays multiplayer on theese games anymore as all of the mentioned titles are any combination of old, unloved or succeeded.

Which is why there's an outcry in the first place. Nobody plays them.

snekadid:
Gamespy has always been garbage but this seems like a step in a suicidal direction. Now they are not only providing a poorly done service, but they are now canceling services and alienating devs and players alike which will cost them more business in the future as better services are everywhere(I can't imagine there actually being a service worse than the one gamespy delivers that actually charges money).

As crap as GameSpy was, a lot of developers back in the early millennium cut deals with GameSpy and made their software dependant of its multiplayer services. It's such a shame to see games such as Battlefront, Sniper Elite and, unbelievably, SWAT 4 (you bastards!) lose out on online play. Devastating. I hope there's some sort of contingency plan to get those games back online. While they're dated titles, they are unique and there's nothing close to them in terms of features and design in the world of gaming these days.

I'm pretty sure the Total War games are affected by this, at least ones from Medieval 2 and older, and there is a multiplayer community still playing it.

Bvenged:
As crap as GameSpy was, a lot of developers back in the early millennium cut deals with GameSpy and made their software dependant of its multiplayer services.

Aaaaand here is the lesson. One that we will sadly eventually witness again with the current Online platforms. If you tie any part of your program to a third-party service, with no stand-alone alternative, then they will eventually pull the plug and your program will suffer.

No "ifs" here, the cost of perpetually offering a service is, in practice, infinite money. No company can support that, even if they wanted to, so all services are doomed to cease at some point in time.

Sadly, many developers/publishers know this, and just treat games as disposable products meant to be used and then discarded in favor of the newer ones, which is a shame for genuinely good games (Specially when the "replacements" fail to live up to the originals).

Today I can pick up any literary classic and read it again, or listen to some legendary music album, or re-watch some ancient movie. I hope for the day games are granted the same respect as creative endeavors, both by creators and audience.

Damn no more Neverwinter Nights, talk about end of an era.

gigastar:
The probable reason why theese servers were shut down is because nobody plays multiplayer on theese games anymore as all of the mentioned titles are any combination of old, unloved or succeeded.

A more accurate description would be that no one plays these games on Gamespy anymore.

I still play SWAT 4, it still has a little Gamespy logo in the server browser, can't I say I've played on a Spy owned server in years. Ditto for Halo CE.

This is a more serious problem for games with persistent worlds, which the new Gamespy is evidently trying to gouge money out of, server rental isn't tens of thousands of dollars, especially not for private users. Gamespy appear to be trying to re-focus into an Xbox Live style system of only allowing new-ish games and ignoring any kind of income from smaller/older titles.

It's going to bite them in the arse, the major publishers run their own infrastructure now, so they won't be signing deals with Gamespy. By the time they realise this someone else will have filled the gaps they're creating right now by pushing out old games, either by hacks or official patches.

Heh... I still have a lifetime subscription to Gamespy Arcade that I haven't used in years. I won it in a tournament for Age of Empires II!

Most of these games still have Direct IP functionality, so it's not the end of the world.

It's gonna be annoying to some, sure, but I know for a fact that there's people out there working on community-developed server browsers, and indeed GameRanger already supports many of the games hit by this.

All told, I don't think this is gonna be a major hurdle for most of the people who still play these games, myself included.

What it will do, is screw anyone who was on the verge of getting into these games, and/or people who were thinking about coming back to them.

Speaking for NWN and SWAT 4, the former mostly sees players joining persistent-world games and privately hosted campaigns. (All hail the Dungeon Master feature!)
The latter will likely be hit harder given how many players still join random servers, playing with people they don't know.

Well I seriously doubt GameSpy will get much business now. It looks like they are in their rights to shut these down, but doing so is very bad PR, they have to see that.

Well...at least Battlefront 2 is in the clear. Still, I get the feeling that Gamespy will be receiving a lot of hate mail for this move.

And that, folks, is why you should never ever ever buy games that don't support LAN and/or release public server files.

Like (oh, surprise) Call of Duty post-Kotick.

Another idiotic and baffling stupid decision made by those in the industry to add to the ever growing list. At this rate the list will soon be long enough to encircle the Earth.

So that's why I couldn't get on SWAT 4's multiplayer today.

Fuck you, Glu Mobile. You pricks.

Battlefront 2 is safe, though? I actually jumped onto a server with a few friends a month or two ago. I hadn't played that game in yeeeaars, and struggled mightily (people were doing this tactic of dropping a bomb right on you. My friends and I were like, "What is happening?!?"). But yeah, there was a whole community there of people who still play that game regularly.

This is annoying and rage is justified but I understand why it's happening, running a server costs money and these games aren't drawing in new players anymore. As long as Gamespy allows fan servers or for another company to take over I'd imagine that it'll work itself out within a month.

Gamespy have been around for a really long time, at one point they were my go-to website for game info. I have also used Gamespy Arcade occasionally for a few games, so I'm a little sad at this, but I don't think they have really been relevant for some time now.

Towowo:

gigastar:
The probable reason why theese servers were shut down is because nobody plays multiplayer on theese games anymore as all of the mentioned titles are any combination of old, unloved or succeeded.

I can tell you for certain that a good amount of people do in fact play Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2 online yet. They have quite a larger community dedicated to it.

In the case of the first NWN, it server will most likely never die, in any foreseeable future, has no RPG with multiplayer, you can actually host your own MMO server, if you so wish, with complete mod tool (it actually the game dev tool =p), has yet to come replace it. It also multiplaform, simply due to how it was coded (you can take your windows install disk and simply use it install on Linux with some modification and it will run natively).

GameSpy still existed? I thought they kinda died out mid-late 2000's. Apparently not.

Yeah, just checked. The original Sword of the Star's (also known as: The only good one) multi-player has been shut down too. I know for a fact that people still played it, and the mod community was pretty active as well. Haven't gotten the chance to see if the LAN mode still works, but here's hoping.

Hazzard:
I'm pretty sure the Total War games are affected by this, at least ones from Medieval 2 and older, and there is a multiplayer community still playing it.

You can play most of those through Steam, I think. I don;t know about Rome and Medieval, but Empire, Napoleon and Shogun 2 you can, at least.

I never played Medieval online because you needed a Gamespy account, but I think you can play it through Steam.

How much does it cost to run servers?

I remember seeing a dev video for Guild Wars 2 prior to its release where they stated that running a server these days is actually fairly inexpensive (hence part of why the GW2 business model works). Assuming that this is true, I can still totally understand the business logic of shutting down a service they were providing at a cost to themselves, but I don't see a need for them to be dicks about it with the quote from Rebellion, "We have been informed that in order to do so would cost us tens of thousands of pounds a year - far in excess of how much we were paying previously." I'd rather they had just been honest about simply wanting to get out of the business of hosting servers.

Another interesting note there, "paying previously". So companies were STILL paying Gamespy to host servers for old games?

It would also be interesting to see if Gamespy told the makers of these games that they were shutting down the servers beforehand. The implication here being that if the company had enough advance warning the onus will have been on them to set up their own servers/service. On the other hand, if there wasn't enough advance warning then it sounds almost like blackmail.

No more neverwinter night servers? Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu even if i havent been on it in ages.

No more battlefront multi unless with direct IP is also seriously lame.

Hope soulstorm/dawn of war servers stay up (they havent been mentioned in the article), i do like to go back to that series when the mood strikes me.

Not cool new gamespy, not cool at all.

WHAT!??, no more Neverwinter Nights!??

Now I'd seriously like to know wich other games are affected by this moronic decision, because as a hardcore PC gamer, I definitely have more than a few games with Gamespy's multiplayer service.

Oskuro:

Bvenged:
As crap as GameSpy was, a lot of developers back in the early millennium cut deals with GameSpy and made their software dependant of its multiplayer services.

Aaaaand here is the lesson. One that we will sadly eventually witness again with the current Online platforms. If you tie any part of your program to a third-party service, with no stand-alone alternative, then they will eventually pull the plug and your program will suffer.

No "ifs" here, the cost of perpetually offering a service is, in practice, infinite money. No company can support that, even if they wanted to, so all services are doomed to cease at some point in time.

Sadly, many developers/publishers know this, and just treat games as disposable products meant to be used and then discarded in favor of the newer ones, which is a shame for genuinely good games (Specially when the "replacements" fail to live up to the originals).

Today I can pick up any literary classic and read it again, or listen to some legendary music album, or re-watch some ancient movie. I hope for the day games are granted the same respect as creative endeavors, both by creators and audience.

Which is why we all need to push our governments to make laws that require such games to be patched and fixed to no longer requires the online once they no longer support them, especially for games that use the online just as DRM.

Zachary Amaranth:

gigastar:
The probable reason why theese servers were shut down is because nobody plays multiplayer on theese games anymore as all of the mentioned titles are any combination of old, unloved or succeeded.

Which is why there's an outcry in the first place. Nobody plays them.

There's an outcry because nobody plays them? The people who are pissed are the ones who play them, otherwise nobody would even NOTICE
I'm currently working on a NWN2 mod, and the NWN community is pretty big, I can tell you that.

rcs619:
Yeah, just checked. The original Sword of the Star's (also known as: The only good one) multi-player has been shut down too. I know for a fact that people still played it, and the mod community was pretty active as well. Haven't gotten the chance to see if the LAN mode still works, but here's hoping.

Of course the LAN mode would work. It doesn't require connection to a server, just other people's computers on a local network.

maxmanrules:

Zachary Amaranth:

gigastar:
The probable reason why theese servers were shut down is because nobody plays multiplayer on theese games anymore as all of the mentioned titles are any combination of old, unloved or succeeded.

Which is why there's an outcry in the first place. Nobody plays them.

There's an outcry because nobody plays them? The people who are pissed are the ones who play them, otherwise nobody would even NOTICE
I'm currently working on a NWN2 mod, and the NWN community is pretty big, I can tell you that.

Yeah, srsly though, Its a shame that they shut down some extremely good multiplayer games. I guess its good we got things like hamachi and tungle. good thing those game have LAN support. What are we gonna do when companies shut down services for games that don't have LAN support? Like most newer MP games. Guess were screwed unless someone can emulate the service for those games.

snekadid:
Gamespy has always been garbage but this seems like a step in a suicidal direction. Now they are not only providing a poorly done service, but they are now canceling services and alienating devs and players alike which will cost them more business in the future as better services are everywhere(I can't imagine there actually being a service worse than the one gamespy delivers that actually charges money).

I remember two of them. TEN and Kali.net were both subscription services in the day of dial up. You would directly call the server, and it would emulate a LAN for you. TEN was well 10 bucks and Kali.net was 20. Per month.

It sounds as terrible as it was.

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