Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

EA Ending Online Support For Dozens of Games

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the your-fun-is-no-longer-profitable dept.

The Internet 329

Last month Gamespy announced it would be shutting down at the end of May. Many game makers relied upon Gamespy for all of the multiplayer and online services related to their games, and there was a scramble to transition those games away from Gamespy. Now, Electronic Arts has decided it's not worth the trouble for older titles. They're terminating online support for a huge number of games. The game list includes: Battlefield 2, Crysis 1 & 2, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, Neverwinter Nights 1 & 2, and Star Wars: Battlefront 1 & 2. EA said, "As games get replaced with newer titles, the number of players still enjoying the older games dwindles to a level - typically fewer than 1 per cent of all peak online players across all EA titles - where it's no longer feasible to continue the behind-the-scenes work involved with keeping these games up and running."

cancel ×

329 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Lol... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979639)

I can still play quake 2 online whenever I want :)

Re:Lol... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979669)

That's why non-MMO multiplayer games should always allow users to run their own servers. I still play the original Unreal and Quake 3 online because of this.

Re:Lol... (-1, Troll)

Xicor (2738029) | about 5 months ago | (#46979829)

the only reason why MMO games DONT let players run their own servers is that they make no money from them. im sure blizzard wouldnt mind letting people have private servers as long as they still paid for the content and the subscription... but generally speaking, they are stealing.

Re:Lol... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979857)

The biggest problem I can see with running an MMO server is most people do not have the hardware or bandwidth to do it.

Re:Lol... (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 5 months ago | (#46980333)

The biggest problem I can see with running an MMO server is that server and game designs aren't using the optimal division of matter-energy over space-time. Network perspective can provide endpoint identity authentication; DHT can locate, subscribe to and enlist world servers; And network consensus can detect and correct game-state based "cheating" at the cost additional logic batch processing (which you're doing anyway for client side prediction). Recording signed input streams, starting state and output state snapshots and flagging them as "invalid batches" of gamestate if desynchronization occurs, and resolving conflicts and providing redundancy by multiple nodes processing the deterministic output again are all existing distributed technologies not currently leveraged by MMOs.

In other words: Most people don't have the hardware or bandwith to run the entire Folding@Home system, but they don't need to, that's not how distributed computing and decentralization works.

There are other big problems with the current business method of selling ice to eskimos: Doing a bunch of work for free and then trying to monetize that effort via selling infinitely reproducible bits. However, this being the 1st generation of the world wide information networks, the market will soon correct for this absurd lack of understanding in economics 101 (infinite supply = zero price; regardless of creation cost). You have an infinite monopoly over your effort before you expend it, not afterwards. That's why mechanics get payment agreements up front for the work they get paid for once, then they "give their work away for free" since it's already been paid for, and they don't care how many folks benefit from the labor they only do once. Since mechanics market what is actually scarce -- the ability to create new work -- they don't have to use planned obsolescence [archive.org] like dealerships, manufacturers, and game publishers like to do in today's unfree "free market". As more developers decide to work like the Mechanics and FLOSS devs do, the MMO problem will solve itself. I mean, who wants to put such a large chunk of their life into creating art that is needlessly doomed to die? Culture won't abide this too much longer. Think about it: Without copyright you have to create more works to make more money...

Until then, realize the truth: You can not buy a game that does not come with its server. A client is only part of the game.

Re:Lol... (4, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | about 5 months ago | (#46979859)

No they aren't stealing. They paid for the game upfront. There is no theft involved.

Re:Lol... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46980051)

Well, even if they didn't pay for the game and just pirated it, it still wouldn't be theft. No one loses anything if you just make a copy.

Re:Lol... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46980095)

They didn't pay for the right to host the game, any more than I paid Linus Torvalds for the right to own Linux.

Re:Lol... (2)

BilI_the_Engineer (3618871) | about 5 months ago | (#46980347)

I do not need some special "right" to host a game using my own equipment; that's absurd.

Besides, how is it theft? I doubt even our insane legal system considers it theft to host it yourself, but I wouldn't be all that surprised if I was wrong.

Re:Lol... (4, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 5 months ago | (#46979951)

the only reason why MMO games DONT let players run their own servers is that they make no money from them. im sure blizzard wouldnt mind letting people have private servers as long as they still paid for the content and the subscription... but generally speaking, they are stealing.

You can't steal an intangible, you fucking idiot. I know that's not very diplomatic, but for fucks sakes, this is "News for Nerds", not the bloody short bus.

Re:Lol... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46980071)

short bus

If anybody wants to throw money at purchasing shortbus.org and repointing it at Slashdot, I'm in.

Re: Lol... (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 5 months ago | (#46980261)

Now that's just plainly overly generalized; "theft of services" is an entirely real thing and may not involve anything tangible; the most obvious business example is refusing to pay a consultant. In the case of private MMO servers, this isn't happening: the client, protocol, and server content are already paid for, after all, so what is done is definitely infringement, but there are definitely still kinds of intangible theft.

Re:Lol... (4, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 5 months ago | (#46979985)

So buying a game and not continually paying the company to be able to continue playing the game is stealing?

Imagine how much I'm stealing by not buying the game in the first place! Not as in pirating it but as in refusing to deal with a game where I need to pay for a subscription just for the "privilege" of playing the game I purchased.

Re:Lol... (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 5 months ago | (#46980013)

All of these complaint posts are ignorant. Several of the games there have no DLC (BF1942, BF2, MOHAA, etc). They also allow dedicated servers.

Would be nice if those most vocal about complaining about abuses would actually take the 3 seconds to see if an abuse is happening, but then this is the internet and ignorant outrage reigns supreme.

Re:Lol... (5, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 5 months ago | (#46979987)

What a combination of naivete and FUD... the mind boggles!

First of all, the case law on this topic was in fact Blizzard v. BNetD [eff.org] , where Blizzard objected to people running their own servers despite the fact that there was no content or subscription associated with it. That pretty much blows your claim that "Blizzard wouldn't mind" out of the water. Second, it is entirely unreasonable, and perhaps even slanderous, to claim that "generally speaking" people must have committed copyright infringement based solely on the fact that they wanted to host their own multiplayer games!

Re:Lol... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 5 months ago | (#46980027)

It could very well be the case that running a private server requires running leaked code from blizzard servers, or else reverse engineering some code (which is almost always verboten according the client EULA).

Re:Lol... (5, Insightful)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | about 5 months ago | (#46979989)

I've seen way too many internets-enabled things get orphaned and made inoperable when various service providers decide to end support. Some not even all that old.

They either need to guarantee some period of service (which will also call attention to the fact that support will one day be lost along with the ability to use whatever program or device), or allow users some alternative for when they do retire something.

I think it is unreasonable to demand that products be supported in perpetuity, but companies need to also understand it isn't right to orphan and render software or devices unusable. They need to open it up, remove DRM with a patch, or do whatever it takes to allow products people pay for to continue to be used. Or state very clearly (not in the fine print) that said device or software will likely cease to work past some date, but is guaranteed to work until that date.

There is precedence for this in DVD digital downloads. They clearly state the download is available until some time or other, and the buyer knows when that date is (if they read the package).

Re:Lol... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 5 months ago | (#46980005)

Bf1942 and MOHAA DO let you run your own servers. Thats not the issue: How do you find those dedicated servers?

damn EA.. i hate you (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979647)

damn EA.. i hate you

Re: damn EA.. i hate you (5, Interesting)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about 5 months ago | (#46979689)

Amen. If they are going to end support, they should release the source to both game and servers, that way the community could continue to host servers and the ranking system of they want.

I agree that play has dwindled to almost nothings. Some hugely popular games like JKA have fewer than a dozen players on at any one time over dozens of servers sitting almost empty, but fun times are still had. One the other hand, there are still a lot of people playing Tribes and Tribes 2 mods, so community support for some games could be quite large. I would think it would be that way for Battlefield 2.

Re: damn EA.. i hate you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979739)

Amen. If they are going to end support, they should release the source to both game and servers, that way the community could continue to host servers and the ranking system of they want.

LOL, what about EA's past actions would make you believe it would ever do something like that?

Re: damn EA.. i hate you (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 5 months ago | (#46979863)

They almost certainly won't... but he didn't say they would, he said they *should*.

Re: damn EA.. i hate you (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46980241)

Amen. If they are going to end support, they should release the source to both game and servers, that way the community could continue to host servers and the ranking system of they want.

LOL, what about EA's past actions would make you believe it would ever do something like that?

He didn't state that EA would release the source intentionally.

When it comes to mismanaging and screwing up I have a lot of faith in EA's abilities.

Re: damn EA.. i hate you (4, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | about 5 months ago | (#46979777)

This is where I see a niche market. A company that provides multiplayer access for legacy games... stuff like older C&C games, NWN, and many other games that are still playable, but may not be worth it financially to keep the servers up.

Given the choice, I'd go with a paid subscription model because one is paying for the servers, not the game, so the multiplayer access is for all the games. One could also add stuff like the NWN/NWN2 vault for easy download of player-made content as well as FPS maps/scripts.

However, I don't know if a sub model is viable, so what might work is getting newer indy games to use it, perhaps adding a couple dollars to the price of the game in order for it to use the multiplayer functionality for a couple years.

Maybe this might be something for gog.com to make? GogNet anyone?

Re: damn EA.. i hate you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979963)

That's just asking for this to happen again. Own the game. Own the servers.

Re: damn EA.. i hate you (4, Interesting)

jones_supa (887896) | about 5 months ago | (#46980079)

Maybe this might be something for gog.com to make? GogNet anyone?

That's quite cool idea, actually.

Re: damn EA.. i hate you (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 5 months ago | (#46980153)

Remember when we used to be able to run our own servers, and the server software was included with the games? Personally, I really don't like the current trend of requiring some game company or console maker to provide the infrastructure needed to run multiplayer games. I can still go back and play a game of Quake 3 with friends, and we don't need a third party to keep some servers running to allow us to do this.

Re: damn EA.. i hate you (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979787)

Amen. If they are going to end support, they should release the source to both game and servers, that way the community could continue to host servers and the ranking system of they want.

Or they can just give you freetards the middle finger since you'll keep buying their games despite the constant buttburt from having your asses reamed.

Re: damn EA.. i hate you (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 5 months ago | (#46980041)

Some of those games I can understand the outrage for, but BF1942 and MOHAA are roughly as old as Windows XP. Its time to lay it to rest :(

Re: damn EA.. i hate you (5, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 5 months ago | (#46980067)

Amen. If they are going to end support, they should release the source to both game and servers, that way the community could continue to host servers and the ranking system of they want.

They should be forced by law to release that source code. The only reason the public granted them copyright in the first place was so that the work could eventually become Public Domain. If they're going to lock it away instead, then they've violated the social contract and no longer deserve the privilege of holding a monopoly on it.

Re: damn EA.. i hate you (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 months ago | (#46980127)

That's the biggest reason I stopped gaming -- ALL the game companies turned into customer-hating monsters. Fuck all of them.

Re:damn EA.. i hate you (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 5 months ago | (#46980061)

You should switch to nethack.

Re:damn EA.. i hate you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46980085)

Agreed. EA can eat a big, fat, dirty dick.

Release the server side code (5, Insightful)

CaseCrash (1120869) | about 5 months ago | (#46979659)

Well then can we get the code for the server-side so we can run our own private servers to play the games we bought?

People thought they had bought these games (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979673)

When you "buy" an online game, you're really just paying to use it until the company gets tired of it.
I prefer games I can keep playing without needing anyone's permission or intervention.

Re:People thought they had bought these games (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979703)

Except these are offline games with a multiplayer component, which is rendered useless without the servers to host it. This is very different to the licensed MMORPG-type games.

They would laugh at the question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979705)

...but it's getting tiresome for them to say "NO"

After all, it's EA: knowing the source code of one of their servers would most likely let you reverse engineer the newer ones...

Re:They would laugh at the question... (2)

jones_supa (887896) | about 5 months ago | (#46980099)

Why would you need the source code?

Or a refund... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979721)

They should have to provide some way where customers of those games can still play. Otherwise If there was no life span in the EULA I should be able to get my money back.

Re:Or a refund... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46980167)

You Slashtards really live on another planet. Refunds for games that are probably a decade old if not more? Just stick to FTP games and stop your crying.

Re:Release the server side code (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979727)

Well then can we get the code for the server-side so we can run our own private servers to play the games we bought?

You should have though of that when you bought the game.

That is one of the reasons I don't buy games that depends on a server I don't have control over.

Re:Release the server side code (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 5 months ago | (#46979745)

Aside from "That less than 1% of players then MIGHT NOT BUY NEW GAMES!!" are there any actual downsides to EA to do that? Would they have to spend time and money updating the code, bug checking it, making sure it wouldn't create big security holes for EA or anyone running their own server?

While EA does plenty of stupid things that don't even seem to be attributable to greed, I'd be a bit skeptical that even they are dumb enough to slap their customers in the face like this without any reason whatsoever. Seems like the good PR generated by allowing people to run their own servers would more than make up for potential lost sales due to people playing 15 year old games. I mean, it's been 8 years since neverwinter nights 2 came out, is there even talk of a third?

Re:Release the server side code (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 5 months ago | (#46979821)

Never underestimate the tendency of a large corporation to do something mean and stupid just to save a few pennies. Someone is probably going to get a bonus for shutting off some servers and doing some creative accounting.

Chances are that no extra effort has to be undertaken to keep these games online beyond "do nothing" and "just let it be".

Re:Release the server side code (1)

David_Hart (1184661) | about 5 months ago | (#46980017)

Never underestimate the tendency of a large corporation to do something mean and stupid just to save a few pennies. Someone is probably going to get a bonus for shutting off some servers and doing some creative accounting.

Chances are that no extra effort has to be undertaken to keep these games online beyond "do nothing" and "just let it be".

The problem is that "do nothing" still has associated costs. EA may be planning on upgrading or moving their data center, they could be moving towards new servers or clusters that require less power, cooling, cheaper to run etc. The cost of moving or migrating the legacy game servers becomes costly and a nightmare. On top of that, they need to keep the servers patched, monitored, etc. The point is that "do nothing" still requires overhead (electricity, cooling, maintenance, etc) that costs more than they are taking in. By any business logic, these should have been shut down years ago. EA is just finally getting around to some Spring cleaning.

Re:Release the server side code (1)

Xenx (2211586) | about 5 months ago | (#46980029)

Except, the games were developed with Gamespy for online play. Gamespy isn't their service, so they don't control the fact that it's going away. So yes, there is work required to re-implement online play. I don't like the choice to end support, but I don't fault them for making it.

Re:Release the server side code (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 5 months ago | (#46979827)

Likely they don't own the copyrights to all of the code assuming they even have the source code to begin with. Most games use tons of binary-only, third-party middleware.

Re:Release the server side code (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about 5 months ago | (#46979953)

In this particular case, they might have to re-write the entire server code from scratch, depending on whether the server was written by EA or by gamespy. Even if it was written by EA, and they still have the source, it might need modification to run outside the gamespy system.

Re:Release the server side code (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 5 months ago | (#46980057)

It would cost money to release the code, because they'd have to clean it up. There is a lot of code-reuse in games, especially those that are part of franchises. Releasing even older code means giving access to potential insider information, like naming conventions, or even exposing possible bugs exploits that could very well have carried over to more current games.

The backlash on this stuff is actually kind of interesting to me, though. I see a lot of people basically complaining about this 'in principle' with only very rare individuals actually effected.

Re:Release the server side code (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979795)

Do any of these games require additional resources for server play? I'm not 100% sure but I'm fairly sure that MoH had independent servers. I never played the other titles mentioned in the summary.

Re:Release the server side code (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979833)

Awfully privileged attitude you have for someone who's been blatantly scammed. "Please sir, may I have some more" is NOT how you respond to being robbed, unless you want it to happen again?

You want things to change, stop buying the shit for a start. That'll get their attention. Begging for the "server-side code so we can run our own private servers to play the games we bought" (just read that aloud to yourself, see if you don't want to punch your own reflection in the mirror) isn't going to do fuck all.

Re:Release the server side code (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46980019)

Many games DO have the server side code available. And there are already services out there to continue the functionality that Gamespy did:
http://www.vg247.com/2014/05/07/star-wars-battlefront-2-multiplayer-to-survive-gamespy-shutdown/
So yes, you can keep playing, in many cases.

Re:Release the server side code (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 5 months ago | (#46980083)

Or with only 1% of the load just let it run on some virtual machine / way fewer machines.

Re:Release the server side code (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 5 months ago | (#46980103)

Actually forget about the "or."

If you make multiplayer games _DO_ run servers and _DO_ run them forever.

If you can't make it happen make sure someone like Valve will make sure it do happen.

Third-Party Support (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979665)

There's nothing stopping third-party support for online services, which is what Battlefront 2 is transitioning to.

Re:Third-Party Support (1)

odie5533 (989896) | about 5 months ago | (#46980187)

Not all games support LAN multiplayer, or they support LAN multiplayer for a limited set of features. I assume the likes of Dracula - Undead Awakening for the Wii, Dragon Sakura for Nintendo DS, Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers for PlayStation 2, and Need for Speed: Undercover for Nintendo DS will never see online play again.

That's ok, all their games suck anyway. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979683)

This final fuckoff to people stupid enough to have given EA money in the past might be a blessing in disguise.

As Expected (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979691)

If you're upset by this, you can only blame yourself. You knew you had no control over the game servers to begin with, and that EA could care less about games that no longer provide them steady revenue. You want control over your online multiplayer experience, buy a game where you can run your own server.

Re:As Expected (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 5 months ago | (#46979943)

Some games, like NWN/NWN2 or older C&C versions were bought before the companies were bought out by EA.

I wish EA would go private like Dell, so it wasn't beholden to the lash of next quarter's earnings to shareholders. Then, it could do some cool stuff with all the IP it is sitting on.

Wing Commander re-releases, done as the Origin-style "interactive movies", using a full studio come to mind. Or single player games that when you finished them and put in a code, you got sent a T-shirt or a plaque, and that was paid for in the game's price.

IMHO, were EA not having to focus on next quarter's earnings above all else, it would just be good business to keep legacy servers going, even if the server for an old game was just a VM or two on a cast-off 1U Compaq in a server closet somewhere. Long term, EA would make more money (the long tail effect,) and also have good will.

If they programmed it correctly (0)

phantomfive (622387) | about 5 months ago | (#46979693)

If they programmed it correctly, migration to a new server would involve "rsync *.tar.gz . && tar xfz *.tar.gz" or something similar. There is no reason that needs to be complicated, so maintenance time should be minimal.

Of course, EA isn't known for quality programming, but if they aren't going to support it, they should release the server code so people who want to can still play it.

Of course, EA isn't known for being nice, or doing anything that doesn't involve trying to make money.

Re:If they programmed it correctly (4, Insightful)

wiggles (30088) | about 5 months ago | (#46979841)

> If they programmed it correctly

As a server admin, if this is your standard for correct server side programming, I've never seen a correctly programmed application in my entire 30 year career.

In my experience, server application migrations rarely function flawlessly across OS versions. Most of the time, major application modifications need to be made.

I agree with you on the server code, however. If they're going to abandon it, they might as well open source it.

Re:If they programmed it correctly (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 5 months ago | (#46979911)

As a server admin, if this is your standard for correct server side programming, I've never seen a correctly programmed application in my entire 30 year career.

It's not surprising. Programmers make lousy interfaces for customers, they make even worse interfaces for other programmers. One of the most terrifying things about moving to a new company is downloading the source tree and trying to get it to build. Sometimes you get weird things like, "did 'make' fail? Just type it again a few times until it succeeds." WTF.

It doesn't have to be that way. Maybe from win95 to win2000, where everyone finally agreed to use TCP/IP instead of IPX, but now if you limit yourself to POSIX, there should be no problem migrating server code.

Re:If they programmed it correctly (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979849)

Except that they are shutting down because gamespy is shutting down. They made the games with gamespy based matchmaking, so they would either need to change the games to use a different matchmaking service or get the source for the servers from gamespy (lol yea right).

Re:If they programmed it correctly (3, Insightful)

dougmc (70836) | about 5 months ago | (#46979981)

If they programmed it correctly, migration to a new server would involve "rsync *.tar.gz . && tar xfz *.tar.gz" or something similar. There is no reason that needs to be complicated, so maintenance time should be minimal.

Yeah, good luck finding *anything* that's that simple.

Even moving the simplest possible website (just static files, nothing dynamic) to a new host is more work than that. (You could move the content itself with rsync or tar (though not with the command lines you gave), but the new server needs to be configured, the web server still needs to be set up, etc.)

If your definition of "programmed correctly" is that migration to a new host is as simple as you think it is, let me give you a hint ... by that definition, almost nothing of any value is programmed correctly. And modern systems, with clustered setups with failover across multiple nodes, multiple databases, connections to billing systems and the like are several orders of magnitude more complicated than you seem to think they should be.

In any event, this is moot. It's Gamespy that's shutting down, not some server that EA runs that's currently sitting under somebody's desk. In order to fix this, EA would need to dig the source for their old games out of storage, make sure they can still build it (for a game that hasn't been touched in a decade by them, this is real concern), pay a programmer to replace the bits that Gamespy uses to use something else, build it, run it through some minimal testing and release it. All this for a game that may not have made EA any money in years, and it needs to be repeated for a large number of older games.

It's a business decision. To update every game ever made by them would cost a bunch, so EA is wisely deciding to only support the more recent games or the games with sufficient demand. We could argue that they're not using the ideal criteria in deciding what should be updated, but ultimately they do have to draw the line somewhere.

My guess is that Gamespy has had very little development done in a long time and mostly just sits in a room of servers somewhere mostly running on autopilot -- costing money in hosting and power costs. I'm not sure how it is about making money -- do game publishers pay to use it? Advertising? In any event, if it's costing money but not making money, they probably told the developers if they didn't pay up they'd shut it down, and the developers didn't pay up sufficiently, so ... shut it down.

Re:If they programmed it correctly (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 5 months ago | (#46980139)

Even moving the simplest possible website (just static files, nothing dynamic) to a new host is more work than that. (You could move the content itself with rsync or tar (though not with the command lines you gave), but the new server needs to be configured, the web server still needs to be set up, etc.)

And how long exactly should setting up config files (etc) take?

Re:If they programmed it correctly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46980007)

In your world, no application ever used anything licensed from a third party?

Game programming tends to make heavy use of licensed libraries -- why reinvent the wheel when you can buy it from someone else? So, even if you can migrate to a new server with a one-liner, you may be legally obligated to pay $N per year to some middleware company for the right to run that server. Depending on the terms of the contract, that $N might have been a drop in the bucket when your game was released, and might be very painful years later when you have no more paying customers for that game.

Yes, using only open source software means no licensing fees. Sadly, there aren't open-source equivalents for a lot of these things...

(Take a look at the credits screens at the start of your favorite big-name game sometime. You likely see the logo of the company that developed it, the publisher and also "Bink Video! Gamespy chat client! Pando Media Downloader! Umbra shadows! Microsoft DirectX libraries! ..." There are often a dozen corporate logos splashed across there, because really, if I'm writing a game, I don't want to write an integrated chat client -- it's been done, and the amount of money it takes to pay my own engineers to write and test one is more than what it takes to just license one; it's faster, easier, and cheaper, until the day years later when almost nobody is playing the game, and I have to piss off one goofball on slashdot.)

Re:If they programmed it correctly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46980163)

If they programmed it correctly, migration to a new server would involve "rsync *.tar.gz . && tar xfz *.tar.gz" or something similar. There is no reason that needs to be complicated, so maintenance time should be minimal.

I would say based on your comment, you've never either written or deployed such a thing.

Nothing beyond the most trivial of things deploys that way.

Their support was laughable anyway... (1)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | about 5 months ago | (#46979707)

Back when I was playing the Mass Effect series I needed support on a couple of occasions.
I attempted in vain to get assistance via the legitimate support channels.
I quickly found out their "support" isn't worth the time and effort and I was got more help via forums, etc;

Re:Their support was laughable anyway... (1)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | about 5 months ago | (#46979803)

Forums, if available, are usually the first place to go anyway. I can't remember the last time I actually called a vendor for support if I needed it. I think I was 14? so...20yrs ago.

Re:Their support was laughable anyway... (2)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | about 5 months ago | (#46979905)

The support I needed wasn't about the game really.
It was the problem many users had running the game once EA made ME a "phone home" game.
I think this was in ME 2?
I would start up the game, get to the login screen and it would show I was connected but would then throw a variety of errors...
I eventually figured out a sort of "dance in a circle backwards during a full moon on a Tuesday" workaround that some on the forums had suggested.
It was bullshit that I couldn't just play the game, that I paid for, because of their ridiculous "always on" krap.

Wait! (5, Funny)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 5 months ago | (#46979711)

Can I still play Skate or Die on my C64?

Re:Wait! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979753)

Can I still play Skate or Die on my C64?

No, Vic20 only.

Re:Wait! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979809)

Poseur Pete!

Re:Wait! (1)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | about 5 months ago | (#46979815)

OMG! I just played this the other day on my old skool Nintendo(NES)

Distinction between "support" and "play". (1)

ron_ivi (607351) | about 5 months ago | (#46979831)

Sure - but if you call them asking for technical support, they're likely to not be too helpful.

Re:Wait! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979845)

Do you need online support for it?

Pretty much decided... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979731)

Screw EA after their Sim City debacle. I'll only be buying their titles at bargain basement prices on steam (i.e. $10) if that from now on.

They have _zero_ percent chance I will spend $50+ on any title they publish ever again, period.

Re:Pretty much decided... (1)

BenJeremy (181303) | about 5 months ago | (#46979929)

Sim City got the "offline" treatment (thanks to a huge backlash and insanely poor sales), but you can be sure the servers would have gotten retired within a few months of "Sim City 2015" being released.

The problem is any time "Revenue Stream" is mentioned in a corporate board room, the immediate reply is "do it and shove it down our customer's throats".

For EA, that revenue stream is in the form of yearly editions of games with few new, compelling features, other than a new price tag and servers that remain on for another year or two.

Some are offline already (5, Informative)

Aphadon (3402087) | about 5 months ago | (#46979747)

The official servers for at least Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2 have been offline since last year, so this recent announcement won't impact them. Community run servers have taken over for those games (e.g. http://www.nwnlist.com./ [www.nwnlist.com]

translation (5, Insightful)

nimbius (983462) | about 5 months ago | (#46979759)

"Thank you for playing our fine line of rental games. If you wish to continue playing, please upgrade to our latest game and continue paying your subscription fees in a timely manner."

--Regards,
Electronic Asshats

Re:translation (1)

towermac (752159) | about 5 months ago | (#46979853)

You've nailed it. This is simply to make people buy the newer games.

They keep support alive only long enough so as to not attract the attention of the FTC.

Re:translation (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 5 months ago | (#46980169)

You've nailed it. This is simply to make people buy the newer games.

Not buying it. If BF1942 has been online all this time, its kind of hard to accept your statement.

Its because GameSpy went offline, and they dont think its worth the effort to patch those games. That too may be a problem for some of the more recent games, but some of the complaints about this are ridiculous.

Every title is doomed. (3, Insightful)

grub (11606) | about 5 months ago | (#46979775)


"As games get replaced with newer titles, the number of players still enjoying the older games dwindles to a level - typically fewer than 1 per cent of all peak online players across all EA titles

So every EA online game will die when the figure on a spreadsheet drops below a certain threshold. Why not open source the server software rather than abandon it?

Re:Every title is doomed. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979861)

Open sourcing the server software will compete with future sales of new games they might sell? JUST A THOUGHT....

There is not much "business" case for giving things away for free.

However, a boycott of their games for their crappy "practices" might make them reconsider perhaps? Boycott schmoycott, at the end of the day nobody is going to care and they will do what the bean counters say looks best on the balance sheet.

Could they at least make the last patches developed available on an FTP server somewhere so we can at least patch the game?
Games that require online activation, how about some sort of patch that removes that online key-server requirement. Since you already said "almost nobody plays it anymore", what's the harm there? Oh wait, no business case...

Those early quake days weren't so bad...

Re:Every title is doomed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979885)

Why should their new games have to compete against the back catalog?

Re:Every title is doomed. (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 5 months ago | (#46979901)

What makes you think they are abandoning the software? Chances are the software core is the same for older and brand new games, with the differences being the rules system and assets - the system holding it all together at the EA end is more to do with scalability, speed, user management etc. Whats more likely here is that they are seeing too few users to justify a single supporting cluster per game, which would include front end servers, interconnects, database servers etc. From their point of view, its better to shift that cluster to a newer game which is struggling to support its initial peak.

Re:Every title is doomed. (1)

captjc (453680) | about 5 months ago | (#46980111)

No, The problem is that all their games relied on Gamespy. Now that Gamespy is going bye-bye, EA has to make the choice to either remove all the Gamespy crap from all of these game and patch everything or to just say, "it is too much work for absolutely no payoff". Now, for Battlefront 2 and Crysis this is a big deal because you can still purchase these games (Steam and Origin). The others as far as I know aren't still being sold and there is no real reason to still support them other then supporting the few people who still play them.

Seriously now (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about 5 months ago | (#46979779)

I'm far from an EA fanboy. In fact, I hate them as much as the next guy, but...

How many of those games actually have a very active online community that's getting annihilated by this move?

That's right, none. Kids these days are pretty fickle and will move to the next online game and drop the last one, making it a barren wasteland online, as quickly as Carmen switched love affairs.

Glad I didn't pay in the first place. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979791)

Glad I pirated those and never bought them.

When you guys are feeling screwed, I feel like I enjoyed them for free so losing online (which I never had) isn't a big deal.

Still a new WIN for me.

Adios MOHAA (1)

Fr33z0r (621949) | about 5 months ago | (#46979817)

Ouch, there are some seminal titles in there. MOHAA is one of the most influential games I could name.

Re:Adios MOHAA (1)

uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) | about 5 months ago | (#46979879)

Could you name it?

If you're on Slashdot, you should know better... (3, Insightful)

uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) | about 5 months ago | (#46979877)

...better than to buy or play and EA games. They were cool back when it was Larry Bird vs. Dr. J 1-on-1, or Pinball Construction Set. EA has sucked for so many years now, I'm baffled that any nerd or geek would ever give them money for a game. And that's WITHOUT getting in to all the labor offenses.

Re:If you're on Slashdot, you should know better.. (1)

captjc (453680) | about 5 months ago | (#46980191)

Because SW Jedi Knight, SW Battlefront, KotOR, Crysis, Mass Effect, SimCity, The Sims, Dragon Age, and Red Alert are all fun games.

Bitch and moan about their business practices all you want, they still make games people want to play.

Always on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46979977)

That's why those of us with more than two neurons to rub together are rightfully concerned with the latest fad of forcing even the single-player experience to exist online (see: Diablo III). What happens to these games when the publisher decides that they've made all the money they are going to make, and finds it is no longer profitable to continue "online support?"

Shut down after Gamespy, or because of it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46980025)

What I'm wondering is this: is EA actually shutting these down in RESPONSE to Gamespy shutting down servers, or did these games run on Gamespot's servers? I know, for instance, that Nintendo is shutting down the servers for the original DS and Wii, but that's because they used Gamespot as their server provider for those systems.

The players brought this on themselves (2)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 5 months ago | (#46980043)

They bought EA games. Aren't there enough reasons not to buy EA already?

(p7us one InformatIve) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46980101)

SubjectsInCommentsAreStupid (0)

lesincompetent (2836253) | about 5 months ago | (#46980125)

Any solid grounds for a class action? I know you give away this right when you "accept" the EULA but... i didn't buy a rental game.
Can't you hordes of blithering wandering lawyers come up with something here?

YouAreACuntAndIFuckedYourMom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46980281)

Mod parent up! The class action is an excellent idea.

Oh God No! (1)

thedonger (1317951) | about 5 months ago | (#46980199)

I hope they don't drop support for the Adventure Construction Kit. That is the greatest game of all time.

Yay well done (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46980239)

Well done EA, you greedy parasitic fucks.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?