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Codemasters Shuts Down GRID Online Multiplayer

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the sorry-about-your-luck dept.

Games 162

crookedvulture writes "This is why gamers make such a fuss about being able to host their own dedicated servers. Codemasters has shut down the online multiplayer component of three-year-old racing game GRID because a third party declined to renew its contract to host PC and PlayStation 3 servers for the game. Folks with the Xbox 360 version will still be able to play online, but Codemasters doesn't offer much in the way of an apology for everyone else. Perhaps it's time for game publishers unwilling to release dedicated servers to be required to maintain their own multiplayer servers for a set number of years after a title's launch."

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Well, that sucks. (1)

Bookkid900 (2254064) | more than 3 years ago | (#36503952)

It will be a matter of time until someone creates a patch to allow people to connect to other servers... If other games, such as MC/Terraria, can become popular while requiring people to host their own server then I do not see why not.

Re:Well, that sucks. (1)

Sinthet (2081954) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504014)

Kinda like what happened with phantasy star online, though that had a considerable lifespan all on its own. Still, releasing dedicated servers would certainly simplify things for hardcore/nostalgic players, while not really harming the company in any way.

Re:Well, that sucks. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36504524)

releasing dedicated servers would certainly simplify things for hardcore/nostalgic players, while not really harming the company in any way.

Other than the enormous cost involved in creating that server application, plus the cost of developing an update for the client allowing it to connect to that server. Not to mention the expectation from the fanbase that this new server would have at least some level of support. For all of which Codemasters would be paid exactly zero dollars. I find all of this complaining every time a game shuts down its servers to be a bit ridiculous, you can't expect to get free online play forever for a $60 game, and 95% of games these days it really doesn't matter, since a year after release there are so few people playing online anymore that you can't get a match going even if the server is up.

Re:Well, that sucks. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504574)

What enormous cost? They already have game server software, just not released to the public. The client should have been designed with this in mind from the word go. The fanbase would be happy to get a dedicated server at all, much less be looking for support.

Re:Well, that sucks. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36505548)

Let me ask a question then: What platform are their dedicated servers running on? Are you assuming it's the same platform as your client? That's not a valid assumption. What if the dedicated servers are running Linux or Mac OS or OS/2? What if they're designed for systems with no less than 24GB of RAM?

Without facts you have no way to base your assertion that an end-user -can- run a dedicated server for this game. It might be impossible without significant change to the code.

Re:Well, that sucks. (1)

MooUK (905450) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504582)

Why can't I expect free online play forever? I have it with many other older games.

Re:Well, that sucks. (1)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504848)

If it's popular enough you can, because someone always figures out how to get around any roadblocks to 3rd party servers, and then keeps them running forever. Hell, you can still play the original Tribes, and official servers haven't been up for that in years.

Re:Well, that sucks. (1)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#36505088)

I can still play Warcraft II online if I can get an IPX stack that still works. I can still play Quake II, I can still play tons of stuff. You're either being deliberately dense, or have only been playing games for the last 14 months.

Gamers, get angry? Gamers, get organized. (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#36505340)

So, if people are so angry, they should organize more. Organizing is the skill required in the game called "make it change". For example, games can be made based on the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Threshold_pledge_system [wikipedia.org] . Gamers have to be better organized in getting control of their code, having a group that organizes contract negotioations between users and companies, etc. Enough foolin' around, time to get some swords and guns and change things. Or pens and keyboards, whatever works best.

Re:Gamers, get angry? Gamers, get organized. (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36505706)

I think the solution is to require software companies to put their code into escrow.

The instant they stop supporting it, the code in escrow is released to the public.

They get copyright protection and control over their game as long as they give it attention, when they don't give it any attention, they relinquish control.

Everyone wins. They get the protection of copyright (which when used fairly ISN'T a bad thing, but its invariably abused), and we get to know we're not buying something that the vendor can obsolete on demand based on a whim or ... more likely, greed.

It really should be something like that for all copyrighted items, you only control them as long as you make them available to people in some reasonable form you keep copyright control and determine how it gets distributed. We would need to define a few things like 'reasonable form' which is probably where we'd get fucked but thats another story, heh.

Codemasters are a has been. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36503992)

They are not the company they used to have been. Where are the code-masters that made the Dizzy games and other good classics? All they have been doing recently is milking the late Colin McRaes name and making sub par racing games. I'm not surprised they got lulzseced.

Re:Codemasters are a has been. (1)

MikeDirnt69 (1105185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504142)

Even code masters have bosses :/

Re:Codemasters are a has been. (1)

NotQuiteInsane (981960) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504700)

Yeah, seconded. As a wonderful example of this...

Like most games, the Colin McRae Rally series include cheat codes. Sometimes it's fun to play with these cheats -- the PSone version had the cheatcode "blancmange", which turned your chosen car into a large, lime-green jelly. In some ways it was more fun to play with the cheats than without!

Codemasters decided to capitalise on this.

By generating a random "installation key" every time you install the game, and generate the cheat codes from that key. To get the cheat codes, you have to call a premium rate phone line (£2/minute if memory serves, minimum call length 5 minutes). If you reinstall the game or want to install it on your laptop... you get to pay again.

The words "taking the piss" spring to mind.

Re:Codemasters are a has been. (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504780)

Some point to Mr. McRaes death as the turning point, but instead I point towards Codemasters' purchase by an equity group just a few months earlier as the beginning of the end.

Even if they aren't taking offline... (3, Insightful)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 3 years ago | (#36503998)

They are usually abandoned. I know in the case of Call of Duty, after a new release in the line comes out, exploits stop being patched in the predecessors. This happens in many other games as well the servers are left on, but are never patched or touched again.

Re:Even if they aren't taking offline... (2)

haystor (102186) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504242)

I must have missed the part where Call of Duty was actually patching the exploits.

Re:Even if they aren't taking offline... (5, Interesting)

poly_pusher (1004145) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504484)

Interestingly, this problem is reduced by allowing players to have their own servers. I've had a variety of servers for different games. Somebody comes in and appears to be hacking, they're gone. Racism; gone. Disrespectful; gone.

Punkbuster-type services and exploit patches are useful and absolutely necessary but the easiest way to avoid those problems is to get familiar with a clan or group that has their own servers and admin's that are there frequently enough to do something about it. Even with a game that is frequently updated, the exploits will never cease. Like for instance, throwing c4 30 feet in bad company 2... That's an actively patched game and that exploit has been around for at least 6 months...

At least I know why I'm paying for on Live now (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504028)

Well, that $5 a month finally gets me SOMETHING over PSN and Steam.

Re:At least I know why I'm paying for on Live now (1)

flowwolf (1824892) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504426)

I wouldn't be surprised if, in regards to shutting down game servers, XBL has shut down the most games. Many games that came out at launch on the 360 don't have servers anymore. Chromehounds being a noteworthy one.

Re:At least I know why I'm paying for on Live now (1)

tacroy (813477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504920)

Actaully, I don't think the xbox shadowrun servers ARE down? At least not last time I played it. The PC dedicated servers are though. I wouldn't expect them to go down either, since xbox live does not use a traditional dedicated server but instead is mainly a routing service that allows the users xbox's to host. Many people view that as a weakness, but it certainly is a strength if you want to play an older game. There HAVE been a few exceptions.with chromehounds one of the biggest (R.I.P) but that was because of the extensive non-ms hosting that the persistent world used. The other big one was halo 2, but that wasn't even a 360 title and was only running on a emulated backwards compatable version of the service.

Re:At least I know why I'm paying for on Live now (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504570)

That's because MS is hosting the servers. Of course, when MS feels like they don't want to host them anymore, they will go away, like with Shadowrun.

Re:At least I know why I'm paying for on Live now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36504876)

Or the entire lineup of original XB games.

Re:At least I know why I'm paying for on Live now (1)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#36505600)

The only really big shutdowns aside from a very, VERY slim few games (with how many games have been out, I would say many of the launch titles getting taken offline few), the only time when taking games offline ever comes into play is when EA does it (EA, as far as I know, is the only company that uses their own servers instead of the M$ servers).

More regulation? (2, Interesting)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504046)

Perhaps it's time for game publishers unwilling to release dedicated servers to be required to maintain their own multiplayer servers for a set number of years after a title's launch.

How about... no?

Re:More regulation? (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504222)

It's a shame slashdot lost my quote tags. Maybe I typo'd them. Anyway, I don't understand how I could be trolling just by responding to a suggestion in the summary.

Re:More regulation? (1)

daedae (1089329) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504494)

The problem is that set number of years will always be too short for some group of gamers, and in fact the ones who are still playing in the long tail are the ones most likely to be vocally upset about support being dropped.

Re:More regulation? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504640)

So release the server software to the public and be done with it. That used to be very common, the problem is game companies would rather force people to upgrade.

Re:More regulation? (1)

daedae (1089329) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504656)

Well of course that's a much better solution, and I wouldn't be that surprised if somebody reverse-engineered the PC version at least to replace that. I was just pointing out the problem with the summary's suggested solution.

Re:More regulation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36505020)

Exactly! Am pissed that SMAC/X w/un-offical carbon patch won't work on OS X 10.7 Lion. WTF?!!! The game's only 11 years old!

Re:More regulation? (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 3 years ago | (#36505262)

They have, by failure to act in setting up an alternative or allowing their users to do so without beaching the click-wrap license, deliberately made their product unfit for the purpose it was sold for.

While there should be some limits on the length of applicability of this, I don't see why they shouldn't be required to release the server code so their existing players can host it somewhere or perhaps offer a partial refund for those who are still actively playing the game.

Or they could simply be made to state, in readably sized text on the back cover of the game box and other promotional materials, that they guarantee the servers will run until a certain time (if things are taken down before then, users get a refund pro-rated from date of purchase, if they are taken down after then, then people were warned and can't complain). Then people can choose at the time of purchase whether they thing this is long enough to get their moneys worth out of the game. No need to legislate a time period: just make them promise something and hold them to what-ever the something is that they promise.

Re:More regulation? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36505722)

They have, by failure to act in setting up an alternative or allowing their users to do so without beaching the click-wrap license, deliberately made their product unfit for the purpose it was sold for.

Is this ignoring their EULA which disclaims them from the very thing you are whining about?

And this is the problem... (0)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504054)

.. with DRM and intellectual property these companies will get what they want because the theory of educated discriminating buyer is incorrect, and also is not how human beings work. Free market theory is based on a misunderstanding of human beings and human reason. The whole idea of "Freely chosen" transactions is a myth because advertising, ignorance and propaganda.

As we've clearly seen people won't defend their rights because the informed are outnumbered by the uninformed, incompetent and illiterate.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYmi0DLzBdQ [youtube.com]

Re:And this is the problem... (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504440)

On the other hand, who do you think is all-knowledgable enough to make all those decisions for us ? Some government agency ? Companies ? The church ?

The free market was never advocated as an instantaneously perfect solution to all problems. It probably is the overall best one in the long run. The one issue is ensuring the market remains free, and neither sellers nor buyers take advantage of relative strength by changing contracts terms unilaterally. OK, That's 2 issues, there may be more.

I'm wondering if this one does not fall into the "false advertising" category. Are they still selling the game with "online" on he box ? What are reasonable expectations of a game's useful life ?

Re:And this is the problem... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504572)

The problem is the free market is an abstraction, the real issue is that money buys laws so corporations can redefine reality to suit their liking at the whim of our corrupt system.

The government is just an abstract term, the problem is _ideology of the people themselves_ in business and government who subscribe to this procorporate cocksucking. Has nothing to do with some abstract bogey man.

Unfortunately there are right and wrong answers to these questions. First - people should be able to own their software #1, #2 any software that is broken/disabled/jacked like these guys just did get sued or have their rights to their properties revoked as some kind of penalty. Playing legal footsie and buying laws is the real issue which has nothing to do with anti-government american ideology and more to do with the ideology of the people who come to inhabit these institutions.

Problem is everyone thinks there opinion/interests when corporations don't really even deserve a seat at the table because of the millions of times more power and influence they have then the average person. There are tonnes of academics/philosophers that could easily deal with these issues in a fair way that doesn't deny the rights of creative people but at the same doesn't deny the customers rights at the same time. Problem is corporations and greedy game makers want to have their cake and eat it to.

Re:And this is the problem... (2)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504766)

So your solution is committees of academics/philosophers ? You do realize those same academics have shown they'll take big corps' money (I'm sure philosophers would too, if anybody offered). Ever heard of Lyssenko ?

Your solution lacks a big element: accountability. I'm assuming you're young, possibly still a student, with faith in god-like infallible father figures. There are nowhere near enough of those. The next best solution is elected politicians.

Re:And this is the problem... (1)

Kielistic (1273232) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504976)

Experts in the field is who I would listen to advice from. In this case people who have been gaming for years and have seen and understand why this practice is bad for consumers. They also have a solution that was often practiced in days of yore. Release the software that is necessary to use the product that has been purchased.

Supposedly there is some kind of representational democracy in the united states. Perhaps that should be put to use? Do you not think most people will agree that once a product is purchased it should continue to function without the grace of the producer?

Re:And this is the problem... (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#36505236)

Who gets to select the experts, and boot them ?
Do they have to say "this is bad for the game's buyers" (do you need to be an expert for that ? on the other hand, your definition of "experts" seems to be "gamers", which is more than iffy) Or judge whether or not customers were mislead ? place a x-year hosting minimum on all games offering online play (I assume that means a bunch of money in escrow pre game launch, so all games with not that much money not launched ? isn't that worse for customers ?) what about patches/fixes ? mandatory too ? should that cover all software, or just online ?

Re:And this is the problem... (1)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504540)

I must have missed the part where the still working XBOX 360 version doesn't have DRM?

False Advertising? (4, Interesting)

Zeek40 (1017978) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504062)

Can someonen go after them for false advertising? It says it's a multiplayer game right there on the box. How long does that obligate them to back up that claim?

Re:False Advertising? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36504136)

I highly doubt it. This was a good faith claim they made at the time they advertised. If you can show they were planning to quickly abandon supporting multiplayer at the time they were advertising this feature you'd have chance. They aren't legally responsible for updating out of date boxes at retail vendors now.

Re:False Advertising? (2)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504436)

They aren't legally responsible for updating out of date boxes at retail vendors now.

This has a corollary: they are legally responsible for updating the description on digital game stores that they publish on.

Anyone know if the Steam game page for this game is advertising multiplayer?

Re:False Advertising? (1)

Elbart (1233584) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504530)

Anyone know if the Steam game page for this game is advertising multiplayer?

Well, just look at it.

Re:False Advertising? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36504630)

yes [steampowered.com]
about 75% of the way down, on the right side of the page: "Multi-player"
Also, in the game summary: "Jump behind the wheel of exhilarating racing cars in the most aggressive, spectacular wheel-to-wheel races you've ever experienced - then prove yourself online."

Re:False Advertising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36505398)

In practice, this probably means that if you bought the game right now, you could argue you were misled by false advertising, and get a refund of your purchase. That's about it. I'm sure the game description in the Steam store will be amended soon, unless of course the game is removed altogether.

Re:False Advertising? (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#36505346)

Well, just look at it.

Can't, steampowered.com is blocked where I work.

Re:False Advertising? (1)

MooUK (905450) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504620)

As of this post, yes it is.

Re:False Advertising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36504144)

I remember being burned by this with EA's Battlefield 2. As a result I've stayed away from their games ever since. If I owned Grid, I'd be doing the same to Codemasters.

The part that irritated me most was that they still sold the game in stores, even though the multiplayer portion was non functional.

I do believe game companies should have a minimum number of years to support a game, and it should be clearly labeled on the box when the "due date" is.

Re:False Advertising? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504406)

I don't understand what you mean. I still play Battlefield 2. There are actually a lot of servers still online and lots that are full as well. Not like Battlefield 2142 where there's maybe one full server.

Re:False Advertising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36504146)

Is this game that good (never played it, honestly curious)? To me, 3 years seems like a pretty long time. IME, players tend to have mostly drifted on to something newer in the genre or a sequel. I certainly wouldn't see much need past 5 years, though on the other hand it would seem only fair to release server code if their going to stop supporting it themselves.

Re:False Advertising? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504198)

5 years?
Are you 10?
I still play doom 2 online. I play 20+ year old games on my android phone via emulators.

Re:False Advertising? (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504410)

It maybe true that a lot of people that they won't play it again 3 years later (on the other hand, there may also be a lot of people, probably not as many, buying it for the first time 3 years later because it's on sale) but what annoys people is that it is an arbitrary decision to simply take it away from players. If they had allowed dedicated servers, this wouldn't be an issue. Sure, it'll get gradually harder and harder to find like-minded individuals who are still playing the game 10 years from now, but if that's what you want, why should Codemasters put a sudden stop to it?

Re:False Advertising? (1)

flowwolf (1824892) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504476)

5 years isn't long at all for a game. The only reason they would have you believe it is old and mouldy is so that you rush out to buy the new $70 title. This is why I don't subscribe to the console world any longer. Developers have created a market where long term support for games isn't expected at all. You are a classic example of this perception.

Re:False Advertising? (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504654)

In this case, there's no Grid 2 to chase players onto. Disappointing, really, I'd love to see one, and Dirt 3 doesn't count as a Grid sequel.

Yes. (1)

bashibazouk (582054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36505426)

It is good for a really nice arcade racer. The only knock against it is the painfully long load times entering AND exiting a race. There is just not much on the market that directly competes. The GT5/Forza are too sim for a lot of people and other franchises have some sort of gimmick. I haven't played it in a long time due to the fore mentioned load times though. Online will not be missed by me.

Re:False Advertising? (1)

Stormtrooper42 (1850242) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504246)

Good question.

Though they could argue that it's written multiplayer, and not internet game. And the LAN part still works (I think).
And they have more money to spend on lawyers than the average gamer.


Now, Codemasters, I have to admit I considered buying Dirt 3. Forget it.

Re:False Advertising? (2)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504302)

Probably no. I would expect buried somewhere in the EULA or even on the box is some blurb about being able to discontinue service whenever they feel like it (usually with 30 days notice or something similar).

Re:False Advertising? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504450)

I would respond to that with "The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999"
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1999/2083/schedule/2/made [legislation.gov.uk]
SCHEDULE 2
INDICATIVE AND NON-EXHAUSTIVE LIST OF TERMS WHICH MAY BE REGARDED AS UNFAIR
[...]
(c)making an agreement binding on the consumer whereas provision of services by the seller or supplier is subject to a condition whose realisation depends on his own will alone;

(d)permitting the seller or supplier to retain sums paid by the consumer where the latter decides not to conclude or perform the contract, without providing for the consumer to receive compensation of an equivalent amount from the seller or supplier where the latter is the party cancelling the contract;

Re:False Advertising? (1)

chemosh6969 (632048) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504354)

Obviously not. By that logic, that would mean they'd have to keep a server running until the end of the world simply because the box says there's multiplayer.

Re:False Advertising? (1)

Zeek40 (1017978) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504568)

They definitley have some obligation to support it. There is most certainly some duration of time greater than 1 second but less than "eternity" that they need to back up that claim, I was attempting to ask if anyone knew of prior case law that could suggest what that duration is.

Re:False Advertising? (1)

chemosh6969 (632048) | more than 3 years ago | (#36505022)

Did you read any of the fine print for multiplayer? They usually say they can change things at any time. There isn't any law that forces a business to support something like a server for a minimum length of time. That would be dumb to force on a business and smaller places would be hesitant to do it if there was a chance their game, or whatever, wasn't popular. Oops, too bad, you still have to fund the servers, making a loss until you go out of business just to satisfy the 3 people using it. Don't forget you still have to have the staff around to make sure it doesn't go offline for whatever reason. Oh, those 3 people stopped playing? Well, since we're still forced to keep it up for a couple more years, the owners will no doubt be glad to mortgage their house just to keep it going since someone new might sign up and if it's not running, we'll get sued.

Re:False Advertising? (1)

Zeek40 (1017978) | more than 3 years ago | (#36505306)

Yes, I've read the fine print, but I don't believe that it's binding because of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations Act of 1999. That particular "we don't actually have to uphold our end of the bargain on multiplayer" seems like exactly the type of unfair contract it was intended to prevent. It's not individually negotiated, it unbalances the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved, and it seems to violate good faith.

Re:False Advertising? (1)

chemosh6969 (632048) | more than 3 years ago | (#36505542)

1. They had multiplayer running for 3 years. 2. That's a UK law and this is taking place in the US. 3. We don't have laws that force companies to offer services, similar to this, until they run out of money and go bankrupt. Check out this list, most notably number 8 http://www.marketingminefield.co.uk/articles/top-10-internet-startup-failures.html [marketingminefield.co.uk] Here's a business that went under in less than two months. They stopped providing their service yet weren't sued for breaking laws that don't exist. The laws that you're saying codemasters should be charged with don't exist.

Re:False Advertising? (1)

Zeek40 (1017978) | more than 3 years ago | (#36505712)

1. Yes, that's what I'm getting at. Does three years satisfy their end of the bargain on multiplayer?

2. Codemasters, the company that developed the game is a UK company and this is taking place worldwide.

3. That's not what I'm suggesting they should do.

Kibu.com: Did they charge money for their service? If not, of course no one sued them for stopping service because there would literally be $0.00 in damages.

Re:False Advertising? (1)

chemosh6969 (632048) | more than 3 years ago | (#36505834)

And how much did PS3 users pay for multiplayer?

Re:False Advertising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36504564)

This is explicitly mentioned in the terms of the contract. In fact, this is standard of not just MMOs but almost all games with any online functionality. They say flat out that they can turn of their service whenever they want. A few agree to opening up the service when they stop supporting it or other end of life solutions. It is up to people who buy to be aware of the conditions of the service they are buying. Instead of seeking legal actions to compel them to do something they have no obligation to do, simply take a fucking moment to evaluate the potential purchase. If it isn't worth the price, don't buy it.

I'm so frustrated by people who abdicate their own personal responsibility and their own duty to themselves to think. Getting a corrupt legal system to 'solve' the problem for you by getting some guys in suits backed with guys with guns to force people to keep working on a game is ridiculous. Not only is that entirely evil, but it wouldn't be an optimal solution for you anyhow. There is a far better peaceful solution for you and nearly everyone else involved. It simply takes a larger initial investment of conscious thought.

Re:False Advertising? (1, Flamebait)

Zeek40 (1017978) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504816)

It's good to see some courageous Anonymous Coward finally standing up for the rights of those unfortunate, wealthy, international corporations when consumers attempt to get them to uphold their end of the bargain.

Host own servers? (4, Interesting)

haeger (85819) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504120)

Sounds like a good thing if you don't do it like "Alien vs Predator" where it's bloody annoying to find anyone to connect to. You've got a lot of servers to choose from in friendly match, all with 1-3 players, and it takes forever for any game to start.
Ranked matches are even more annoying where you're stuck in a queue for a very long time until someone starts a server, and if the guy running the server isn't winning near the end of the match he'll just leave, and everyone is forced out.

Seems like making a good multiplayer is hard.

I actually have GRID for PS3. Too bad I didn't get to play online.

Re:Host own servers? (2)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504362)

What game companies need to do is do it in stages:

Stage 1: This lasts from mid beta until about a month after the game is released. Have a bunch of servers spun up ready to handle the capacity.

Stage 2: This lasts from a month to a year. Resize the servers to what load the players are doing.

Stage 3: A year to two years: Publish the API the game uses for the servers, as well as skeleton source code for servers. Patch the game with the option to use third party servers.

Stage 4: 2-3 years out from game release. Keep a few servers up, but try to get the main load phased to user run servers.

Stage 5: 3 years out from game release and all expansions: "Throw the switch", publish source code, disable the original game maker servers, and only have the option for user machines. The user community is now essentially on its own, and the game can continue with an indefinite lifespan.

Re:Host own servers? (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504668)

So long as the API is published, I don't see why games companies should have to publish source code - there can be some very nice stuff in that there source code that they don't want competitors to see (such as large realm balancing across physical nodes etc - don't want to give the competition a heads up on how you manage to maintain the loads that you do).

Re:Host own servers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36505014)

Source code is completely irrelevant and probably comes from GNUtard hippie shit as usual, but the rest is correct.

Re:Host own servers? (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#36505252)

Bingo. If the game company has the same API, then the backend code of load distribution can remain unpublished, while an implementation can be handed out that would work well on a single box.

Maybe this could be a niche for a dedicated business -- a company whose job it is to have servers for nonsupported games, perhaps with a small subscription fee to keep the lights on. This way, if someone wants to play a game long since not supported, but still quite playable (NWN 1 comes to mind), support is still around for it.

Re:Host own servers? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504694)

if you're hosting your own server.. why aren't you playing with your friends on your own server. OTOH, does it have lan play at all? can it be played over a network bridge?

Re:Host own servers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36505578)

I actually have GRID for PS3. Too bad I didn't get to play online.

And how long have you had it and never tried to play it online?

Not to worry.... (2)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504126)

...I'm sure a sequel is just around the corner. So you'll still be able to play online just as soon as you fork over another $50/$60 for Grid II!

Re:Not to worry.... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504552)

Pretty sure Grid 2 was out ages ago.

Re:Not to worry.... (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504826)

Wikipedia didn't seem to think so. But frankly, I don't care.

But multiplayer is just a bonus... (1)

haystor (102186) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504186)

They've already thought of this. Many of them have wording somewhere to the effect that it is a single player game and multiplayer is just a bonus thrown in. So when the multiplayer is killed off, the gamer hasn't actually lost the game. Never mind that is why the game was actually purchased.

Re:But multiplayer is just a bonus... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504616)

I purchased it for the driving. The career mode is fun. I think I tried multiplayer one time, then went right back to career mode. It's fun enough even just racing against the clock in most driving games.

Re:But multiplayer is just a bonus... (1)

haystor (102186) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504822)

I was speaking more toward the general trend which is to no longer release the dedicated server software. The big FPS games lately allow renting the use of a dedicated server. We're moving backwards 9v9 with smaller teams, fewer hosting options, no mapping tools, and no mods.

Having played GRiD and DiRT (1)

McNihil (612243) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504210)

online... it wasn't that good in online mode so I am not surprised that they are ditching it. Having something that works well has a lot of maintenance and running costs and is generally a money drain on the game. Having low numbers of players will make the economics even more poignant to that fact.

And to everyone thinking that you want to run a server at home... no really you don't... seriously you do not have time for it unless you actually get payed for it.

Re:Having played GRiD and DiRT (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504358)

Yes, you do want to host your own game servers. I did it for years, CS, Ghost Recon, etc. Once the machine is setup there is no work to it. It can go down for patches whenever since no one is paying. Nothing like the PITA of dealing with paying customers.

Re:Having played GRiD and DiRT (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504460)

I certainly wouldn't want to run a server at home, but I would bet that there are a handful of hard-core racing sim enthusiasts who would do exactly that, putting all the time and expense in for no reason other than their love of the game. Why should a publisher prevent that? And if those people don't exist, so what? From the publisher perspective, they are still in the same place.

Re:Having played GRiD and DiRT (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504532)

What time and expense?
Do you have an old desktop or laptop and can spare $10/month for power? Congratulations, you too can have a game server at your house. Laptops are really great for this because they use relatively little power and lots of people either have old ones or one with a broken screen can be had for a song.

Re:Having played GRiD and DiRT (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504854)

What time and expense?

Don't tell me, tell the GP.

Re:Having played GRiD and DiRT (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36505470)

I used to host game servers for clans - back for CS and the likes .. i never did mind it really - always got enough donations to cover hardware and colo costs.. but then i pawned off the in game management off on someone else.. i never had to field/deal with the actual end users.. just got to play with people i knew and let them deal with the other players..

and if there was a game worth doing it - AND i had the TIME to PLAY i'd do it again.. but getting older and having a kid.. time for games just disappears.. that is for video games.. board games though.. they are fun.

Hosting game servers really isn't that bad - its managing the community in the game that is what makes people want to rip their hair out.

May have a solution... (4, Interesting)

Scott Kevill (1080991) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504300)

I need to look into this further, but I may be able to provide a solution. GameRanger has "rescued" many other orphaned multiplayer PC games in the past.

Or perhaps (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504360)

Perhaps it's time for game publishers unwilling to release dedicated servers to be required to maintain their own multiplayer servers for a set number of years after a title's launch

How about just not buying games that don't state how long they will run their multiplayer servers.

It's a game, no one is going to be harmed because idiot consumers keep buying crap. So why regulate that aspect of it? If the players actually give a shit they won't buy games which don't have such a guarantee (or player runnable dedicated servers) and companies not offering them will go broke.

There have been plenty of games I wanted to play but didn't buy (or pirate for the people assuming that) because I didn't like something about it - the required net connection DRM* of Ruse being the prime recentish example (man I loved that in beta).

And you know what, my life really hasn't suffered for not being able to play a few particular video games.

* I don't actually care too much about DRM in general - just the stuff that makes things needlessly difficult for me.

Re:Or perhaps (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36505260)

How about just not buying games that don't state how long they will run their multiplayer servers.

That is equivalent to not buying any multiplayer games at all.

Set number of years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36504376)

When I read that I thought 3 years would be fair. Then I realized TFA says its a 3 year old game. Yeah it sucks, and the company should make it right, but I think 3 years is about right. If I was running the company I would bring up a server or release the server software. I wish Sony would do this with SWG pre fail version.

Re:Set number of years? (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 3 years ago | (#36505322)

That should be skewed by when the last unit was officially sold. Someone who bought the game 12 months ago has had considerably less time to use that part of it then someone who bought it on release day.

Not surprised (1)

JohnyDog (129809) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504384)

GRID PC is a really nice game but it's one of the games which were abandoned the moment they went gold. Very little support was given, the developer and publisher kept promising patches and fixes that they never delivered, so it comes as no surprise that multiplayer servers had such short lifespan, actually it's 2 years more than i would give it. And it isn't really big loss, because the multiplayer was broken from start, it was really painful to navigate through the menu system to connect to a server, and when you did, often the request would just time out and you'd be thrown at the beggining of the whole process. Ranked servers sometimes counted your progress, sometimes not, no idea why. On servers with enabled player collisions, half of the people would try to grief by driving in opposite way, trying to crash other players, on servers with collisions off cheating was widespread, in every race there was always someone using speed hacks where you would see the cars simply teleporting long distances forward. There was very little point to multiplayer, so everybody playing it pretty much just stick with the singleplayer mode which was really nice.

peg-leg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36504434)

and they wonder why we pirate games......

how about not buying those game? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36504446)

I only buy MP games that also support local servers. If you buy ones that only support MP through someone else's server, then you are voting for a world where your MP functionality can be taken from you at any time.

Compelling argument for the Cloud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36504676)

So, what I take from this is that almost all new online games should be hosted on the Cloud purely for the sake of scaling. Dormant user's account information can be backed up and offlined, while the number of game servers is dynamically lowered. The operating costs scale along with the activity/interest in the game, and at some point (hopefully) the ROI would be enough to float some server instances when the game becomes niche/obsolete.

I played Asheron's Call 1 for about 6 years, the core technology was MS SQL. I had always wished they had a way to scale the number of servers dynamically so stupid shit like "portal storms" wouldn't happen. (200 people max per sub-server, anything more and the main server would randomly teleport people out of that sub-server)

I see no reason a similar solution wouldn't also be applicable to more modern online games.

Why the editorial? (1)

Mud_Monster (715829) | more than 3 years ago | (#36504772)

Perhaps it's time for game publishers unwilling to release dedicated servers to be required to maintain their own multiplayer servers for a set number of years after a title's launch.

Why make this editorial statement? The consumer has a choice whether to buy or not to buy the game. Based on their experience with this game, I'm sure gamers will be less likely to buy Codemasters' games in the future knowing server support might be dropped within a few years. That's the consumer's choice, though. That's better than someone (probably government, but the author doesn't say) requiring publishers to support their games for a length of time.

Spending money to hurt sales? (1)

coldsalmon (946941) | more than 3 years ago | (#36505026)

The first thing I thought when I read this was: "This will probably be true for all games in a few years. It's too bad that the market will never correct this because people do not consider this kind of thing when buying games." Then I realized that this is the first thing I think about when I buy a multiplayer game, and that this is one of the main reasons that I play indie games instead of mainstream games. Unlike most Slashdotters, I do not think that I am smarter than everyone else (though I seem to think that I am more self-aware than most Slashdotters), so market pressure may indeed cause publishers to include dedicated servers. It depends on whether the long-term sales increase from providing a dedicated server will trump the cost savings from administering a huge monolithic server at the publisher's expense. Wait a second, I just realized that running a proprietary server at the publisher's expense will both cost them money AND hurt sales. As I said, I don't think that I am smarter than everyone else, but this one seems pretty simple to me.

Servers do not matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36505334)

When the last xbox360 dies, so does all the games released to it. RIP

Conversely... (1)

ProfanityHead (198878) | more than 3 years ago | (#36505710)

... my Quakeworld and Quake 3 Painkeep servers still chug along after 13 years.

The real question is.. (1)

matthiasvegh (1800634) | more than 3 years ago | (#36505870)

Does hamachi and other vpn solutions still work?
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