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GameSpy's New Owners Begin Disabling Multiplayer Without Warning

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the how-kind-of-them dept.

PC Games (Games) 247

New submitter OldTimeRadio writes "Over the last month, both game publishers and gaming communities alike were surprised to find their GameSpy multiplayer support suddenly disabled by GLU Mobile, who purchased GameSpy from IGN this August. Many games, including Neverwinter Nights 1 & 2, Microsoft Flight Simulator X, Swat 4, Sniper Elite, Hidden and Dangerous 2, Wings of War, Star Wars: Battlefront are no longer able to find (and in some cases even host) multiplayer games. While games like Neverwinter Nights are still able to directly connect to servers if players know the IP address, less-fortunate gamers expressed outrage on GLU Mobile's 'Powered by GameSpy' Facebook page. In an open letter to their Sniper Elite gaming community today, UK game developer Rebellion explained it was helpless to change the situation: 'A few weeks ago, the online multiplayer servers for Sniper Elite were suddenly switched off by Glu, the third-party service we had been paying to maintain them. This decision by Glu was not taken in consultation with us and was beyond our control. We have been talking to them since to try and get the servers turned back on. 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. We also do not have the option to take the multiplayer to a different provider. Because the game relies on Glu and Gamespy's middleware, the entire multiplayer aspect of the game would have to be redeveloped by us, again, at the cost of many tens of thousands of pounds.""

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$2.7 million in stock? (5, Insightful)

BirdParrot (2790575) | about 2 years ago | (#42221219)

I always thought GameSpy was bigger brand than this. So much you learn from gaming.

Re:$2.7 million in stock? (4, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#42221281)

If walmart suddenly closed its 20 smallest stores would it suddenly not be a major company?

The problem with gamespy is that most PC games have shifted to steam or their own publishers dedicated multiplayer (e.g. through origin or Uplay). At this point gamespy multiplayer is mostly legacy stuff, and there aren't a lot of options for them in the marketplace.

Re:$2.7 million in stock? (2)

DragonTHC (208439) | about 2 years ago | (#42221767)

gamespy is still used by a lot of older games, with no alternative.

I discovered this the hard way when I just got battlefield 2 for the 10th anniversary of 1942.

It was always a kludgy system. They've shut down more service offerings over the past 10 years than I think have opened.

Cant you write a protocol wrapper? (2)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 2 years ago | (#42222081)

Have a gamespy proxy, that pretends to be gamespy, but can convert each and every packet to the new server system.

It should be possible, have local firewall redirect to a proxy translator to a new server.

Possible?

Re:Cant you write a protocol wrapper? (2)

rsmith-mac (639075) | about 2 years ago | (#42222117)

A wrapper wouldn't make a ton of sense. But just writing your own implementation of the Gamespy master server would be relatively easy. For most games it's implemented as a simple heartbeat system, with servers periodically reporting to the master, and clients then querying the master for a list of servers.

Re:$2.7 million in stock? (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 2 years ago | (#42221613)

I always thought GameSpy was bigger brand than this.

Maybe 10 years ago, but lately? I'm surprised they're still in business. I would have thought they went the way of TEN by now.

Twitterization? (2)

Threni (635302) | about 2 years ago | (#42221241)

Twatted? Is there a term for when a company decides to make more money at the expense of all of their customers? If not, now seem as good a time as any to coin one!

Re:Twitterization? (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#42221325)

Perhaps the developers should not have used a single source proprietary solution that basically placed their wellbeing in the hands of a third party. This is what is known is willing dropping your drawers and hoping there won't be an assraping.

Re:Twitterization? (2, Interesting)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about 2 years ago | (#42221497)

The same goes for users willingly buying games with online DRM such as Steam or Origin (the EA DRM system). That's also asking to be fucked over.

Re:Twitterization? (4, Interesting)

somersault (912633) | about 2 years ago | (#42221557)

I'll give you being wary of EA/Origin, but Valve/Steam haven't shown any signs of being douches so far, so I give them the benefit of the doubt. I'm pretty sure all Source based games have the option to connect directly to a server if you have the IP at least, and with other games these days you basically know that you're not getting eternal support. I find it crazy that so many people are willing to buy a new Call Of Duty every year or two when it's basically the same game just with new maps, but that's the way of it these days.. when I started online gaming, I got years of fun out of free Half-Life mods and free maps. I still have a lot of respect for Valve and the way they foster community.

Re:Twitterization? (5, Insightful)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 2 years ago | (#42221707)

Valve/Steam haven't shown any signs of being douches so far,

Neither did GameSpy (originally known as QuakeSpy [wikipedia.org] ) prior to its acquisition by GLU Mobile. My question is didn't they have a contract in place to prevent this? If not, why not? If I am developing my product around a third parties ecosystem I am making damn sure they can't just pull the rug out on a whim. I'm sure there are details missing to this story. I can't believe GLU would be able to down these services without notifying the affected partners.

Re:Twitterization? (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | about 2 years ago | (#42221805)

gamespy has been owned by a few different companies. IGN being the former.

Re:Twitterization? (3, Informative)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 2 years ago | (#42222041)

The link I referenced has the full list. The point is Valve could sell out at any time and the new owner might not be as nice. At least they are a private company so there isn't any danger of a hostile takeover.

GLU Mobile is having a bad [venturebeat.com] 4thQ [nasdaq.com] and this stinks to me of a plot to extort money off of their affiliates.

Re:Twitterization? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221723)

"I'm pretty sure all Source based games have the option to connect directly to a server "

Why?

Just because you're a fuckwit who has poured money into Steam and therefore, since you see yourself as NOT a fuckwit, it can't have been a fuckwit decision?

Take it from me: you're a fuckwit.

Re:Twitterization? (5, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | about 2 years ago | (#42221979)

Why?

Because the Quake engine had it, Half-Life (based on Quake Engine) had it, and the Source engine has it. I used to use it to connect to LAN and internet games alike. All of Valve's games have been based on continual evolution of this engine. Valve always let you access the console in PC versions of your games. Maybe the console versions too, I'm not sure there. They also actively encourage modding of their games.

Just because you're a fuckwit who has poured money into Steam and therefore, since you see yourself as NOT a fuckwit, it can't have been a fuckwit decision?

Money doesn't mean that much to me at this point in my life, and so doesn't really come into what I think of Steam.

I see Steam as more of a delivery mechanism. Pretty much all games on Steam have been designed to be able to run separately. If you really want to, you can strip out the DRM and run them standalone.

Take it from me: you're a fuckwit.

I'm not sure you're qualified to make that assumption in this context. Anyone who has been paying the slightest attention to the PC gaming scene over the last 20 years can see that Valve have been one of the best companies out there in terms of making good games, and encouraging the community to modify them to make them even better.

Re:Twitterization? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221743)

Steam not being douches? And what about when they say "accept our new licence agreement, the one where you we decide that you can't sue us no matter what, our we take back all the games you bought from us and all your games you bought elsewhere and which use our DRM" ?

Not allowing me to buy any new game from them if I don't accept their new licence is faire. Stealing the game I already bought because I don't like the idea of being assrape by a company is not. Steam are not only douches, they are crooks.

Re:Twitterization? (2)

TwoOfBob (2790593) | about 2 years ago | (#42221939)

It's called track record.

Re:Twitterization? (0)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 years ago | (#42222249)

"Valve promised that they'll unlock all the 'requires server to install' bits when/if they go under!"

Yeah right. You think they'll spend the extra money/time it takes to do that for every game if everyone is scrambling for their own careers and/or raiding the supply closet? For any game? The fact that they made such a verbal promise is proof of bad faith (or wishful idealism on their part).

Re:Twitterization? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221621)

If we could just get people to realize this !

I see people get screwed constantly. My employment entains helping people off this shity solutions. Although we deal with hardware. What amazes me is people are so addicted to it they will argue indifference. However then they complain. If your going to do stuff that is not in your own best interest at least don't fool yourself. Admit your doing it. Then bitch about it and avoid it to the extent you can even if 99% of the time you go for the ass rap****.

Re:Twitterization? (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | about 2 years ago | (#42221797)

A lot of developers have no choice but to choose middleware for their games. The alternative would cost way more, which for a budget tends to be a larger piece of the pie than middleware.

At least with steam, Valve have promised to unlock all the doors should they ever go out of business.

Re:Twitterization? (1)

lymond01 (314120) | about 2 years ago | (#42221853)

I would imagine that going with a single source solution is what allowed them to afford it. "If you just use us, we'll keep your servers up until we don't, and we won't charge you an arm and a leg."

Re:Twitterization? (1)

rk (6314) | about 2 years ago | (#42221559)

Yes, it's called "economics".

Re:Twitterization? (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 years ago | (#42221615)

You've either been IBM'ed or Microsoft'ed.

Twitter isn't even remotely the first to do something like this.

Do like the Tribes 2 community (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221255)

write your own master servers, and modify the client to work with your own authentication mechanism

http://tribesnext.com

Re:Do like the Tribes 2 community (2)

queazocotal (915608) | about 2 years ago | (#42221287)

Which you can't do without ripping out the library that talks to the original host, as you won't have a licence for it.
So, you now need to reimplement both client libraries, and servers, at a time when you can't test your mods against the original, because they've shut down the servers.
This is not going to be cheap.

Call Anonymous for help, steal source code (-1, Troll)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 2 years ago | (#42222137)

Just get ANON to hack into these F'ers , steal the source, they porn, internal mail, and publish it , make a clone in a day.

Oh and then trash their source code servers, and then modify the backup restoration scripts to corrupt the backup when restore is attempted.

Re:Do like the Tribes 2 community (4, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#42221337)

That's the problem. gamespy is mainly legacy stuff, Sniper elite is from about 2005, neverwinter nights is a lot older than that. There's just no money in writing all new multiplayer + patching for a 7 or 8 year old game unless it's an MMO type product. It's not that you can't do it, it's that 7 or 8 years on with no warning there isn't a whole lot of value in allocating 3 programmers for 3 or 4 months onto the problem.

Everything new is going to be done with your own publisher servers, the console platform publishers or with Steam, I think the last big game to use gamespy for multiplayer was borderlands, or at least that's the last big one I can think of. Borderlands 2 looks like it integrates steamworks for PC multiplayer.

Re:Do like the Tribes 2 community (0)

BirdParrot (2790575) | about 2 years ago | (#42221401)

Sorry but this really shows how wrong you are in the subject. Flight Simulator X is only like 1-2 year old game. More or less micropayment type too. It's definitely not an old game.

Re:Do like the Tribes 2 community (2)

damnbunni (1215350) | about 2 years ago | (#42221433)

Flight Simulator X came out over six years ago. October 13, 2006.

Re:Do like the Tribes 2 community (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221481)

What are you talking about... its much older than that. I purchased it years ago when it just came out

Releasedate(s)October 10, 2006 (Mexico)October 13, 2006 (Europe)October 17, 2006 (U.S.)October 26, 2006 (Australia)

Re:Do like the Tribes 2 community (2)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 years ago | (#42221941)

Sorry but you are thinking of Microsofts current sorry excuse for a flight simulator called simply "Microsoft Flight".

Re:Do like the Tribes 2 community (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#42222181)

Other people can pick apart the Flight simulator X topic specifically, but I said mainly for a reason. I'm sure you still *can* use gamespy and if you hate using Steamworks (and believe me, I would have the utmost sympathy if you do) and don't have a big publisher you do just write your own. My point was that it's a rapidly shrinking market for gamespy, which is probably why IGN sold it.

Re:Do like the Tribes 2 community (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221525)

Why not let the fans fix it? Is the source really worth that much?

Re:Do like the Tribes 2 community (2)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 years ago | (#42221771)

Why not let the fans fix it? Is the source really worth that much?

Probably not, but releasing code is not free. Do they own all the code, if not where did they license it from, what does the license say, who needs to sign off on this, are we taking a risk that someone will sue over some patent or rogue developer who copied code without permission, can someone find exploits or multi player cheats in the code and whatever. Particularly the artwork is almost certainly not free, so it'd be an engine release where you need the original licensed game to be legal. So after all that work, people still have to fix the code and nobody's going to be that very grateful for having to rewrite a big chunk just to get it back to working order. I think you'd probably end up with less bad PR just saying that was it, no more multi player than stringing people along with false hope.

Sound in Doom source ports (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#42221911)

The source port of Doom was missing sound because the original Linux version used a non-free component licensed from a third party. Fans rewrote that.

Re:Do like the Tribes 2 community (4, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#42222247)

Is the source really worth that much?

Short answer yes.

Long answer: Letting the fans 'fix' it may not be a solution. It's not just a game bug, it's a whole system missing, who is going to run and pay for the servers? Do you want the experience of playing your game to involve downloading some sketchy patch from some sketchy place and connecting to some sketchy server? Letting fans work on it means it could take years to resolve if at all. You may be reusing major portions of your code, you may not own the license to it etc. Take neverwinter nights, which is aurora toolkit. I spoke specifically with two bioware guys a couple of weeks ago about how it would be nice if that toolkit was still available for teaching game design with (because it will run on anything and you can use existing game assets and a few other things), and I basically got a non answer (if you can find it on a shelf go to it, which is fair enough, but I was hoping for something more useful). My suspicion is that the source for the games would have an interplay license on it, and interplay has less employees than there are people commenting on this thread, so trying to come up with a plan to give away the source for free could take ages, assuming you ever could. And notice the baulders gate enhanced edition that just came out? If you gave away the source for free it would make a re-release or a port to new platforms much harder to commercialize if you want to do that sort of thing. (Neverwinter nights for iPad for example).

For something like star wars battlefront, the company that made it doesn't even exist. The source is probably in a lucasarts archive somewhere, but they may not even have the people to review the code to be sure they aren't giving away something that was licensed but maybe didn't make the credits (say from a shop on the corner or that they bought a generic package). The art assets.... again, hard to say.

It's not that you can't, and for some games that's probably a good idea, god knows in the teaching game development and design side of things we would love more games with source, but it's something you really need to plan for in advance.

Kickstarter or Open Source (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 2 years ago | (#42221685)

Depends on the cost but they could do a kickstarter to transition the games to something else. If there is absolutely no money left then they should open source these games.

Uh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221257)

Last is the new first.

Sounds to me like... (4, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | about 2 years ago | (#42221267)

Rebellion (and others) hitched their wagon to some proprietary technology without having long term contracts in place. Shame on them.

Re:Sounds to me like... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221349)

sounds to me like this GLU company will have a hard time selling their tech to new game developers.

Re:Sounds to me like... (1)

luther349 (645380) | about 2 years ago | (#42221393)

glu will probably just use it for there own games. steam has took over for everything else.

Re:Sounds to me like... (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about 2 years ago | (#42221511)

7 years is already a pretty long term contract for a mediocre FPS shooter. They aren't going to make any more money on Sniper game sales, as Sniper 2 was released this year.

Re:Sounds to me like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221625)

I can still play Doom, and there are open public quake3 master servers. In this regard 7 years is short and a rip off.

Theres the argument that some of these games need dedicated servers and windows live was making this argument for titles like the Shadowrun FPS. But that doesnt mean the server side can't be hosted by us.

Re:Sounds to me like... (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about 2 years ago | (#42221793)

Well, those aren't really "mediocre FPS shooters" :)

And the original Doom wasn't even client/server, it was LAN peer-to-peer with IPX and modem support only (and was really painful over the Internet with any sort of latency compared to modern games...) Though there have of course been many adds ons and ports that changed that, most not by id...

And id released the Quake 3 source code over 7 years ago, so people can do whatever with it, including fixing security holes, creating new trackers, etc. There's no cost to id.

Anyway, sure, it's awesome when a developer has the foresight and talent to design games that can exist without any central servers, but for various reasons (probably security more than anything) many don't. But the fact that people were playing it for 7 years means they people who bought it think they made a pretty good game so I'd hardly call it a rip-off. I'd prefer a good game that has a 7 year playable lifespan than a crappy one you give up on (or finish) after 10 hours and never look back...

So the copyright is worthless, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221791)

But then again, the copyright still is controlled.

And if you were to infringe on that copyright, up to $3/4 million will be charged as "losses" due to it.

Apparently, it's still worth a lot.

Or nothing.

But the choice of which it is is being made ad-hoc.

Re:Sounds to me like... (5, Informative)

msauve (701917) | about 2 years ago | (#42221913)

A wiser company might have included well defined renewal terms, perhaps an inflation adjusted flat rate plus adders for number of users and bandwidth utilization.

They say the cost is "far in excess" of what they were previously paying, but "tens of thousands of pounds a year" is far less than a single employee costs, so it's not unreasonable to think that perhaps it wasn't a profitable proposition for GLU/Gamespy. Perhaps there were terms of the type described, the success of the game caused the user/bandwidth adders to increase, and this is just a case of trying to redirect customer anger because Rebellion doesn't want to foot the bill for an older game, despite its success.

You call it "mediocre," but it won game of the year, has good ratings, was successful enough to spawn a sequel, and has enough of a continuing user base to get angered by this event, requiring in a public response by the publisher. None of which support the adjective "mediocre".

in the future... (4, Funny)

cynop (2023642) | about 2 years ago | (#42221289)

I suppose in the future, developers will think twice before using gamespy.

Re:in the future... (1)

meerling (1487879) | about 2 years ago | (#42221411)

Especially since they've just proven they have no problem with publicly screwing over their user-base without any notice what-so-ever.
Hey, I bet if they'd have just come out and said, "We're going to shutdown that service in 2 weeks, you might want to post your sever ips for your users." they'd still get yelled at by users, but at least it wouldn't harm them professionally.

Re:in the future... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221421)

Hopefully in the future developers will think twice before depending on someone else without stronger contract terms.

Re:in the future... (1)

guruevi (827432) | about 2 years ago | (#42221947)

Hopefully in the future developers will think twice before depending on someone else period.

This will happen within 5-10 years when the "cloud" market disappears. Companies will lose millions because Dropbox or Salesforce suddenly decides to shut down.

Re:in the future... (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 2 years ago | (#42222193)

Cloning dropbox shouldnt be that hard, its just a large public file server with de-duplication.

You could probably make a api clone that works on a linux/samba server.

Syncing content, well, thats just what rsync does. Not that hard.

Ended FSX Matchmaking (2)

Pricetx (1986510) | about 2 years ago | (#42221291)

Unfortunately, this move has ended the matchmaking capability of Microsoft Flight Simulator X, the last title of the series before Microsoft fired ACES Studio, this seems a great shame, as the game still had well over 100 people using the service at any given moment, and Microsoft is unlikely to foot the bill for a premium service considering their abandoned support of the title. Thankfully there is also a direct connect system whereby a user enters an IP address, but this just isn't as effective for the community at large. I'll be the first to admit that from the get-go there were many bugs with the system, with GameSpy and ACES passing the blame between each other, and eventually getting nowhere, but it allowed thousands of like-minded enthusiasts to meet and form lasting relationships, and feel it will be sorely missed.

Re:Ended FSX Matchmaking (1)

Bureaucromancer (1303477) | about 2 years ago | (#42221545)

http://www.vatsim.net/ [vatsim.net] FS is really about the one thing this isn't a problem for.

I think we've all learned something here today (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221295)

"Because the game relies on Glu and Gamespy's middleware"

See, this is your problem right here. Not the middleware part per.se, but the idea that the middleware is ALSO locked to a service outside of your control should have disqualified it immediately. You wouldn't use a video codec for which you don't have have a Free source code decoder, right?!

Oh... well, I guess we've learned TWO things here today.

Re:I think we've all learned something here today (5, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#42221341)

Three things, if you include an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.

Re:I think we've all learned something here today (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#42221971)

Three things, if you include an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.

Which is exactly the problem. A Christian's fanatical devotion should be to God.

Re:I think we've all learned something here today (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42222209)

To God, and not to flawed human ideas about God. Like, for example, ideas humans put in the human-published book called the Bible (or any other from-the-hands-of-a-human book). Or like when a very human preacher tries to tell you what he thinks God wants you to do.

Re:I think we've all learned something here today (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42222133)

I'll come in again.

Re:I think we've all learned something here today (1)

Altrag (195300) | about 2 years ago | (#42221591)

Is there a free middleware that would do similar things?

If the answer is 'no' (or if whatever there is isn't large enough to be useful,) then a developer has the choice of either using a closed service with a solid history or rolling their own and entering a very costly "not invented here" cycle with all of the attendant bugs and crap to deal with that could have been avoided.

Nobody's going to use a fly-by-night company to host important parts of their project to be sure.. but GameSpy and IGN have been around for years and years and nobody could have foreseen such problems 5-10 years ago!

And even an open system can die out in that time frame. Just because anyone -can- maintain an open system doesn't mean anyone -will-. And if the game devs aren't willing to drop a few thousand into updating their 5 year old games to work around GS, what are the chances that they'd be willing to install and maintain new servers themselves indefinitely when there's basically no ROI by that point?

Re:I think we've all learned something here today (1)

Hsien-Ko (1090623) | about 2 years ago | (#42221961)

dpmaster is serving well for the many Free id tech-based games out there.

The answer is "no" (2)

tlambert (566799) | about 2 years ago | (#42222251)

Is there a free middleware that would do similar things?

If the answer is 'no' (or if whatever there is isn't large enough to be useful,) then a developer has the choice of either using a closed service with a solid history or rolling their own and entering a very costly "not invented here" cycle with all of the attendant bugs and crap to deal with that could have been avoided.

Nobody's going to use a fly-by-night company to host important parts of their project to be sure.. but GameSpy and IGN have been around for years and years and nobody could have foreseen such problems 5-10 years ago!

The answer is "no". The GameSpy platform provided several things:

(1) Matchmaking
(2) Centralized storage of user generated content
(3) Cross-platform support
(4) Player statistics/leaderboards
(5) Discussion communities
(6) Centralized identity for multiple games
(7) Third party hosting
(8) Scalability

#1 is not actually that valuable, unless you are into PVP games; I'm not, but I could see it being an issue for a lot of the slop games that are out there.

#6 is more valuable to the players than it is to the game companies, since they'd want to tie you into playing them with no portal to other detinations, but it's a tolerable trade-off.

The rest of them add value, and aren't easily replicated. There certainly aren't open APIs for this stuff, as a single package, and a company that wanted to monetize as much as possible be silly to offer such a package for direct licensing, without them at least owning the comunities and the centralized identities for marketing purposes.

screwed by a provider... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221305)

Who could have called that happening?

Well, besides cortchety old Richard Stallman. Nobody listens to him.

Re:screwed by a provider... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221537)

The smelly old man with the beard? I just gave him my spare change...

Reverse Psychology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221611)

Rubbing it in our faces huh? You can stop it Richard. We all know it is you.

Re:screwed by a provider... (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 years ago | (#42221631)

Of course, his opinion is that any corporation is out to screw you so it's like using a broken clock to predict the time. Unless of course you think all corporations are evil and you should go live in some hippie commune that make everything they need themselves.

Re:screwed by a provider... (2)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 years ago | (#42221887)

Not all corporations are evil, just the publicly traded ones. Keeping the shareholders happy becomes the #1 priority for the CEO (and everyone under him). They don't worry about unhappy customers leaving for the competition, because they can just buy the competition.

Vendor Lock In - Open Source (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 2 years ago | (#42221333)

If your going to use a another company infrastructure make sure your contracts have an exit plan. This reminds me of Gree killing OpenFeint. I wonder if there is a connection.

What about other games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221339)

Tons of games use gamespy for multiplayer. This is devastating.

mod 04 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221399)

BUWLA, o*r BSD transfer, Netscape

Not just gamespy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221427)

It seems like a huge major shuffling of media sources has gone around behind the scenes, even apple itunes 11, youtube, and windows 8 have all been raped and dumbed down.

What strikes me is the company is called GLU Mobile.

It seems to me that we are being prepped for our new "Mobile" interfaces, everything has to be focus'd and geared towards phones now. Everything is becoming crippleware because it needs to support the cheep dime a dozen phones circulating the market.

I hate to say it but stuff like gamespy should still be focus'd towards PC enthusiasts. I hope they learn their lesson and loose their business aquizition.

But it is most likely just to aquire the "IP" and trademarks of gamespy and they dont really care about the service, just owning the name.

They being at least in this case GLU mobile, which I wouldnt be suprised if it was just a front for others.

Re:Not just gamespy (5, Insightful)

BradleyUffner (103496) | about 2 years ago | (#42221483)

It seems like a huge major shuffling of media sources has gone around behind the scenes, even apple itunes 11, youtube, and windows 8 have all been raped and dumbed down.

Maybe now that Console games are starting to get dumbed down and crippled to run on phones the console players will finally understand the frustration PC Gamers have been going through for the last 10 years or so.

Re:Not just gamespy (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | about 2 years ago | (#42222009)

wishing for mod points...

ExxonMobil (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#42221995)

It seems to me that we are being prepped for our new "Mobile" interfaces, everything has to be focus'd and geared towards phones now.

Heck, even oil giant Exxon has gone mobile [wikipedia.org] .

Let this be a lesson to devs (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221463)

Never develop your programs based on a service that can die at any point. Even if it is millions of years.
Be it the "Cloud" or middleware like this, never do it. Ever.

The ability to be able to just take your multiplayer away from a game-host and to another, or even replace it with a decentralized version, is much better than a part of the game that then becomes impossible to play without serious changes to the back-end or an emulated server that would technically probably break the law since you would be replicating Gamespy servers. (I'm not sure, would that be?)

Also, ALWAYS develop a game with local play in mind. That should be the first thing to develop, care about game hosting later.
Not only does it make it considerably easier to develop it, it also lets you easily rip out old code and place in new code to deal with internet-hosted games.

Oh well.

Re:Let this be a lesson to devs (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about 2 years ago | (#42221635)

Unless you want to say, develop the most profitable game of all time, which is online only. Obviously is makes no sense to design a single player game first if you aren't creating a single player game.

Honestly, the big games are all about money (most are created by large public companies, so no surprise there!), and unless there is a subscription or in-game transactions, there isn't much money in keeping free servers running indefinitely.

Re:Let this be a lesson to devs (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42221957)

So let the players host servers, the way nearly all games worked when I was really into that sort of thing.

Re:Let this be a lesson to devs (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | about 2 years ago | (#42221981)

Unless you want to say, develop the most profitable game of all time, which is online only. Obviously is makes no sense to design a single player game first if you aren't creating a single player game.

Honestly, the big games are all about money (most are created by large public companies, so no surprise there!), and unless there is a subscription or in-game transactions, there isn't much money in keeping free servers running indefinitely.

Lets see, most profitable game of all time? World of Warcraft? Was that developed as a multiplayer game first? Not really. Its based on an old RTS game. While there was a multiplayer component in the original 1996 game, it wasn't the primary target and it was completely playable and enjoyable as a single player game.

So I'm going to argue that the most profitable game of all time was designed as a single player game first, since todays World of Warcraft is really an 'expansion' from that original 1996 RTS 'Warcraft: Orcs and Humans'.

Re:Let this be a lesson to devs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42222125)

That's a pretty disingenuous argument. A sequel is not an expansion. World of Warcraft isn't "based on" previous Warcraft games in any sense that applies to this discussion, it just uses the same IP. And it was absolutely, inarguably developed as a multiplayer game first, last, and always.

LAN or same-screen? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#42222067)

Never develop your programs based on a service that can die at any point.

Such as the Internet? Or electricity? (See Dies the Fire or NBC's Revolution or even the real world during armed conflict.)

Also, ALWAYS develop a game with local play in mind.

By this do you mean LAN multiplayer or same-screen multiplayer with two to four gamepads plugged into one PC? Now that Steam has the Big Picture launcher, more people will be setting up gaming PCs in the living room, which could be great for games in inherently same-screen multiplayer genres such as party games, fighting games, and cooperative platformers.

gee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221495)

Gee, it's almost like if you put your hosting in the hands of a third-party, you're hostage to arbitrary price increases.

Huh, who could have imagined that?

Games that rely on external MP servers are doomed. (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | about 2 years ago | (#42221555)

Games that rely on external MP servers are doomed. There is no incentive for a publisher to keep the multiplayer service up and running beyond the point at which it becomes an ongoing expense, and not an incentive for new purchasers of the game.

Once a game is obsolete, or superseded by a new one, the cost of maintaining a server is no longer something that a company wants to bear. If the company is purchased at some point, especially by the kinds of video game concerns that operate in this day and age, there is almost no chance of an old game retaining support.

Tribes 2 suffered this fate, but due to an extremely loyal fanbase, was patched and is now back in operation. Bitching to a company that clearly doesn't care won't help (because YOU AREN'T BUYING THEIR NEW GAMES!) so it falls upon the community, if it exists, to pick up the slack.

However, let this be a lesson to people who heavily invest their time and energy into multiplayer games as a hobby: DON'T TRUST GAME COMPANIES TO TAKE CARE OF YOU ONCE THEY HAVE YOUR MONEY! They are in it to make a sheckel, not to make you happy. Once they have their geld they're done with you.

Perhaps this is a good time for people to reflect on the idea of open-source gaming, because at least you can always start a new master server as a last resort.

Re:Games that rely on external MP servers are doom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221855)

Perhaps this is a good time for people to reflect on the idea of open-source gaming, because at least you can always start a new master server as a last resort.

Or possibly consider investing all that time and energy in a different hobby. You'll notice that the cross stitching community is never in an uproar about DRM and failed middleware. They have something to show for their effort because they make something. Just sayin'.

Kickstarter (1)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | about 2 years ago | (#42221567)

Well, probably using kickstarter is the way to get funding to redevolop your hosting software.

Tens of thousands of pounds is well inside the range that you can get from kickstarter. Some game developers got a million or two. So give it a try.

Re:Kickstarter (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 2 years ago | (#42221711)

They are not going to get a million without rewards. What is the reward? Copies of the game? The people who want this already own the game.

Here's a free clue, rebellion (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221581)

"We also do not have the option to take the multiplayer to a different provider."

SO PATCH THE FUCKING THING SO PEOPLE CAN RUN THEIR OWN SERVERS, FUCKWITS!!!!!

No charge, idiots.

Re:Here's a free clue, rebellion (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221737)

"We also do not have the option to take the multiplayer to a different provider."

SO PATCH THE FUCKING THING SO PEOPLE CAN RUN THEIR OWN SERVERS, FUCKWITS!!!!!

No charge, idiots.

Yes, it must obvioiusly be just turning off the check next to Gamespy, and turning on the one next to Private servers.

you cunt

OK, where did I claim that, twatface? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221905)

Go on, where did I say "it's only turning off the check next to gamespy"?
I don't CARE what it takes to allow anyone to be a server.

They have the copyrights? They have the responsibility.

Or they can give the punters their money back ("Oh, you've had use of the game"? Well, you've had use of the money. PAY BACK)

See, if they'd had copyright at a SENSIBLE level, they'd not have this problem.

But they whined (well, you shilled too, but hey, you've always been a shithead), they got. Now they pay for it.

I don't give a flying fuck what it costs them. They own the copyright. They are responsible for the loss.

Re:OK, where did I claim that, twatface? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42222071)

spoken like a true nigger

Good (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#42221623)

Gamespy is a curse chunk of shit bloatware that has scarred the PC gaming landscape since the win 9x days. Let their new owners piss their customers off, and maybe we will all win.

gamespy Seriously ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221629)

lol > implying that any game that uses gamespy is worth playing

last time something tried to install gamespy on one of my machines was like .... 5 years ago

Killed fast (1)

Jetra (2622687) | about 2 years ago | (#42221745)

And with one push of a button, one company effective killed a community Jack Thompson has been trying for years.

Tens of thousands (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42221867)

Either way it sounds like they just need a few elephants, that would fulfill the tens of thousands of pounds.

GameRanger is a life saver (1)

Pubstar (2525396) | about 2 years ago | (#42221873)

Back when there were tons of problems with Borderlands multiplayer after launch (due to shitty GameSpy), my friends I shifted to GameRanger [gameranger.com] . Sadly it doesn't seem like too many games that are on that list are listed on the GameRanger supported game list, but it still is worth checking out.

Hey, why not? (1)

Puls4r (724907) | about 2 years ago | (#42221885)

Of course, there's no problem with relying on third parties to provide access to games that you've purchased. I mean, STEAM will be around forever to allow us to play all those games that phone home. Right?

Tunngle ftw (1)

hurfy (735314) | about 2 years ago | (#42221973)

Lost a game we have been playing weekly for years myself altho it has been a couple months now for Flatout2 :(
But, not going with gamespy may have turned out even worse as the publisher went away years ago. No idea who has been paying up to this point if anyone.

Gamepsy has the infrastructure for this already and many of these games aren't even a blip on their radar. Seems like the good will just keeping them up might be worth it. How much can it really cost them to do matchmaking for a game with a couple hundred players max? Article mentioned a huge price increase so someone was paying on that game but i wonder if many of these were simply left running as suggested above. Gamespy may have been providing some freebies that new owners aren't willing to.

Some people are trying to connect thru Tunngle or another LAN simulator, including a number of us playing Flatout2.

PS...who does the message of the day thing and what are they smoking...."My Aunt MAUREEN was a military advisor to IKE & TINA TURNER!!" wtf?

I love a good social media trainwreck... (2)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | about 2 years ago | (#42222027)

Gamespy's Facebook page is particularly amusing, as someone keep parroting the line back to angry gamers that, despite Gamespy's logos being plastered all over the game, they aren't responsible for continuing to provide the online service, and gamers should 'reach out' the the game publishers... and then there's the not-so-subtle pot shot at publishers for being stingey and 'choosing not to support' the games.

It's hilarious - while it may be techically accurate - 95% won't understand, or care to understand, the difference, and will continue to blame Gamespy. The publishers, of course, will be only to happy to let Gamespy take the fall.

Having shredded Gamespy's goodwill, I have only one thing to ask: Would you say that was $2.8m well spent, Glu?

Re:I love a good social media trainwreck... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42222205)

You noticed that too, eh? Couple of things: It looks like someone from GLU Mobile is responsible for making those comments. If you read through them all, it's definitely from GLU Mobile's point of view...including that crap about "reaching out". So while GLU Mobile literally trashes the GameSpy brand, guess how IGN got paid for GameSpy from GLU? 600,000 shares of GLU Mobile! LOL, that's right. You can Google it. What a cluster!

Gamespy middleware (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 years ago | (#42222225)

Any market for a 3rd party middleware that can be used with other services?

Anyone got API docs, or want to reverse-engineer the Gamespy middleware?

Perhaps a couple gamedevs could concentrate on that instead of rewriting their game :-)

Get a SLA (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 years ago | (#42222269)

How can you as a developer choose to rely on a third party organization for your livelihood, AND fail to choose to get a signed SLA, contract period, and guarantee of renewal for a certain period at price $X, before agreeing to start purchasing from a service provider?

You are shooting yourself in the foot. Don't bet your livelihood on a vendor, you don't have a solid agreement with.

Don't buy from a vendor, if their going away will have significant cost, unless you protect yourself against that cost.... either by insuring against it, or having a signed contract, that the Vendor will have to repay you the cost.

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