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Modern Warfare 2 Surpasses $1 Billion Mark; Dedicated Servers What? 258

Posted by Soulskill
from the our-bark-is-worse-than-our-boycott dept.
The Opposable Thumbs blog is running an interesting article contrasting everything Activision did "wrong" in creating and marketing Modern Warfare 2 with the game's unqualified success. Despite price hikes, somewhat shady review practices, exploit frustrations, and the dedicated server fiasco, the game has raked in over a billion dollars in sales. "There was only one way to review Modern Warfare 2: on the Xbox 360, in Santa Barbara, under the watchful eye of Activision. Accepting the paid trip, along with room and board, was the only way you were going to get a review before launch. Joystiq noted that this broke their ethics policy, but they went anyway. Who can say no to a review destined to bring in traffic? Shacknews refused to call their coverage a 'review' because of the ethical issues inherent in the situation, but that stance was unique. The vast majority of news outlets didn't disclose how the review was conducted, or added a disclaimer after the nature of the review was made public. This proved to Activision that if you're big enough, you can dictate the exact terms of any review, and no ethics policy will make news outlets turn you down."
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Modern Warfare 2 Surpasses $1 Billion Mark; Dedicated Servers What?

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  • MW2 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sopssa (1498795) *

    I think the game is great, especially multiplayer with its leveling, perks and the amount of customization you can do to your characters game style. Even those who complain about things are still playing it full force.

    It's also nice that you can just jump in to the game (without friends, or with them in same lobby - you always get to same side and see each others with different color on radar and name). No need to hunt for different servers which can be crappy. Yes, there are host migrations and other stupi

    • Re:MW2 (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Barny (103770) <bakadamage-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @02:29AM (#30816564) Homepage Journal

      Yeah, nothing beats the great game play, well, except for "double shotgun dude" running around a map and dropping a nuke to finnish it, makes for a great game, unless of course he is cut short on his rampage by the host dropping from game, that just RULES :)

      Back to TF2 for me, strategy + fun + dead stable == win.

      Oh and the $120AU price tag was criminal.

      • Re:MW2 (Score:4, Informative)

        by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @02:32AM (#30816574) Journal

        "double shotgun dude" running around a map

        Model 1887 was balanced a month ago.

        • by g0bshiTe (596213)
          Good I'm dead sick of running into Double Shotgun Guy and getting nailed by him from 60 yards.
      • Re:MW2 (Score:4, Informative)

        by caladine (1290184) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @04:04AM (#30816976)
        You forgot the aimbot hackers that are in 1 in 4 games. That, by far, is the most irritating part of the multi-player experience. While it's easy to tell (thank you kill-cam) it's just irritating after getting connection to host errors 3 games in a row.
        • Re:MW2 (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Ash Vince (602485) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @06:15AM (#30817538) Journal

          You forgot the aimbot hackers that are in 1 in 4 games. That, by far, is the most irritating part of the multi-player experience. While it's easy to tell (thank you kill-cam) it's just irritating after getting connection to host errors 3 games in a row.

          Not everyone who pulls of insane shots is using an aimbot. I have never played COD online, but I have played AA2 and AA3 a shitload. I have been banned from plenty of servers for dropping the admin at long range with a crap gun. If you always try for the insane shots, you quite often find you start pulling them off.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by haystor (102186)

            In CoD, after you die, you get to see the other guy shoot you in the kill cam. When they're aimbotting, there is no transition from one point to the next. The crosshairs instantly jump directly onto you when the shot is taken.

            The wallhacks which target people through walls are a bit harder to spot. The one I looked at on youtube puts a nice yellow box around every player. I suspect there are at least as many people using wall hacks as aimbots. You'll see on the kill cam where they're looking at the ent

            • Re:MW2 (Score:4, Interesting)

              by queazocotal (915608) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @08:14AM (#30818036)

              mouse + touchscreen-stylus?

            • by sopssa (1498795) *

              You see in some gamemodes, but theres a few where you can instant respawn (like domination) and don't see the kill cam.

              However, theres also some idiots who think someone is cheating because "they cant do that!" while in fact they're using the perks. It's even worse when they continue yelling "cheater! cheater!" for rest of the game, so yeah, not everyone actually is cheater even if people think so. There are lots of good players too and idiots who think they're cheaters.

            • by Ash Vince (602485)

              It isn't merely about people being really good, it's about doing the impossible. I defy you or anyone to move your mouse across 50% of the screen for an accurate headshot so quickly that it doesn't travel on any point in between. Now do it 25 times in a row - all headshots, no misses. Oh, and do it without regard to which weapon you're using.

              On AA2 and AA3 I am damn good at turning round and dropping people based purely on the sound of where they are firing from. If you miss me with your first shot, do not expect to get a second shot in before I spin and drop you. If you are on noisy ground like sand or metal, you will not even get that first shot off as I hear your footsteps first. This is not using an aimbot, this is 10 years of online gaming, a very loud damn good headset and enough coffee to give an elephant a heart attack :)

              Compared to som

              • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

                by Dinatius (731383)

                While I'm not disagreeing with you, there are absurdly good players at any game out there, there is also a wide range of people that actually do hack. In the case of the entire call of duty series there is a group that has turned it into a business of selling hacks. Here they are [callofdutyhacks.com].

                There are definitely people that call out good players as hackers, but it's usually pretty obvious to me who is a good player and who is a hacker. Quite a few them don't even have any problem admitting they are using hacks, commonl

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Kjella (173770)

            Used to be same in Unreal Tournament, I have a friend who was MEAN using the sniper rifle, going for headshots every time. He could get himself vote-kicked off any server in less than five minutes, two on the touchy ones. So he was already being misidentified as an aimbot, and once the instant-aimbots were banned a new generation turned up who were more like an extremely fast and accurate player with luck. There's no real way to win that battle.

        • by g0bshiTe (596213)
          The true horror is VAC-system (at least for this type game). I came by a hack, coming from a history of Administering game servers for MOHAA up through COD4 I'm not anti-hack, I am solidly against them getting used in servers that aren't listed as "Hack Servers" which in the old days you could find. So coming across this hack which spans about 7 games, most were games that use PB a few used VAC. I tried to submit this to VAC to be added, this was before Christmas, still awaiting a reply. In the mean time I
    • Re:MW2 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by levicivita (1487751) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @02:41AM (#30816628)
      Agree with you on the superiority of PC input control vs. consoles. I also agree that there is something to be said for being able to jump into a game without going through thousands of options. However I disagree with everything else you state. I say this as someone who though MW was one of the top 5 games of all time, and one of the top 3 multiplayer games of all time. For me MW2 has been an enormous disappointment and I refuse to purchase another Infinity Ward game in the future.
      1) The single player mode in MW2 is a marginally updated version of MW, more like an expansion pack. The textures have higher resolutions, and they have a few gimmicks like the ice climbing scene, but that's about it. There's no 'wow' moment like when you controlled the AC130 for the first time in MW (the Predator drone in MW2 is too similar to the AC130 to be considered innovative). There's no new groundbreaking revolutionary ideas.
      2) The multiplayer is entirely compromised due to hacking. I originally also thought that the lack of dedicated servers was not an issue, since I also never really played on the modded servers. However, as 50% of MW2 games end in a tactical nuke, I've learned that the key benefit for dedicated servers is that the server admin polices and bans cheaters. And if a server got overrun by cheaters you could just flee to another one that was better managed. Clearly the automatic anti-cheating provisions do not work - hackers can always side step whatever protection the game has, much like computer viruses constantly evolve and find new ways to side-step the anti-virus protection. What's happening is simple: they're looking for ways to monetize the multiplayer franchise (think WoW), and that starts with controlling it.
      In summary: single player is too short and not innovative enough, and multiplayer is overrun by cheaters and too restrictive for the end user. The COD franchise is being monetized ruthlessly by the parent company - good for their shareholders, bad for the gaming community. Interestingly, the PC community has responded the strongest to these issues (look up the GameSpot average user rating for COD6 on the PC - it is mediocre - and compare it to COD4). The console community has been much less capable of independent critical thought, partially because cheating is probably much less of a problem. Perhaps they're just trying to kill the PC version - they may think they can make more money off consoles.
      • Re:MW2 (Score:5, Interesting)

        by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @02:49AM (#30816662) Journal

        Yes, thats the best added benefit of dedicated servers. However, I haven't really seen such blatant cheating around. There's sometimes an occasional one, but then everyone bitches at him and he leaves. Maybe geographical location has something to do with it, I don't know (as the matchmaking gets those players closest to your physical location)

        However, as 50% of MW2 games end in a tactical nuke

        I disagree here tho. I've played MW2 hundreds of hours and I've seen tactical nuke two times, and on the other time the guy did it 10 seconds before round end and said on chat he though it would be a fun ending.

        That being said, I don't really play deathmatch or such where the cheaters most likely hang around. Domination, capture the flag and hardcore HQ are more fun.

    • Re:MW2 (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @02:52AM (#30816674)

      The client side model has allowed online play tobe infested with texture hacks and aimbots.
      There are even hacks to level up other clients to lvl 70 instantly, causing VAC to ban poor users who were unlucky enough to have connected to it.
      There are still plenty of glitches (change to care package and you run at warp speed, ruining capture the flag, and making you damn hard to hit)
      last patch did virtually nothing, and the last decent patch which stopped the aimbots was over a month ago.
      The client hosting model is utterly poor - it's crippled by bad latency detection where the host can run around like god where everyone else is rubber banding. Game lobbies can take 5 minutes to stabilise, and you can drop out at any point. If the lottery selected host leaves, then the host migration tends to fail, so stopping the game. Myself and friends have literally spent 15+ minutes trying to either connect to games as one or more of us gets suddenly dropped waiting to start.
      This is cookie cutter coding at it's finest - what works for the xbox doesn't work at all for the pc.
      The irony is that IWnet was touted as the next best thing and unhackable. Shame, as I see one blatent aimbotter every 5 games on average...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sopssa (1498795) *

        There are still plenty of glitches (change to care package and you run at warp speed, ruining capture the flag, and making you damn hard to hit)

        This was patched in yesterday's patch:

        Updates to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 have been released. The updates will be applied automatically when your Steam client is restarted. The major changes include:

        Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

        Care Package, Emergency Airdrop, and Sentry Gun marker grenades sprint speed normalized
        Sentry Guns: Improved placement detection, preventing cases of Sentry Guns inside geometry
        Model 1887: Bling using Akimbo and FMJ combination now has same range and damage as non-Bling Model 1887s
        Improved player collision removing cases of getting into geometry and 'elevators'
        Mouse latency tweaks for more mouse movement consistency
        Fixes to prevent various texture and XP hacks

        • Model 1887: Bling using Akimbo and FMJ combination now has same range and damage as non-Bling Model 1887s

          Then what's the point? You're blowing a perk on nothing. IW should just admit they were wrong about not having an open beta for this shit.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm a heavy PC gamer (level 70 prestige 2 on MW2), and played CoD4 competitively.

      There are only two problems with the IWnet scheme, especially from the competitive gaming perspective:

      1) Latency. This is simple, IWNet doesn't artifically impose any latency on the host of the game, meaning that whilst all others may experience high latency, the host has an effective ping of 0. This gives about .1-.2 seconds of advantage to the host, which is usually the difference between success and death in games like MW2.

      2

    • Re:MW2 (Score:4, Interesting)

      by AstrumPreliator (708436) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @03:36AM (#30816838)

      Even those who complain about things are still playing it full force.

      I just find this sad personally. I think it was a bad idea for them to not include things like modding and dedicated servers and I haven't bought or even rented the game for the console. Note that I always knew the game would be a blockbuster hit, I just disagree with the route they're taking. It saddens me that people who said they would not buy the game did anyway. People need to grow a backbone.

      It's also nice that you can just jump in to the game (without friends, or with them in same lobby - you always get to same side and see each others with different color on radar and name). No need to hunt for different servers which can be crappy. Yes, there are host migrations and other stupid things sometimes, but the easiness to just jump in to the game outweights them. I'm not a serious gamer and neither are majority of people.

      The ability to jump in and out of a game is always good. Personally I always found communities I enjoyed through trial and error and generally stuck around. Until just recently I even helped run a rather large one in my free time.

      I see it as a trade-off. With the type of system in Modern Warfare 2 you don't really get the same communal feeling as you do with dedicated servers, you just don't. I know the whole friends list thing tries to rectify this, but it's not really the same. However, it's very easy to start the game and start playing without having to deal with empty servers and poorly run communities. I personally value strong communities that I can help out. It's really just a matter of taste.

      This doesn't make sense. You aren't going to beat a great and popular movie that costs $15 with a mediocre or bad game that costs $60. The higher priced product also has to be good, which MW2 definitely is.

      To my understanding consoles have a licensing cost when you develop games for it where as the PC does not. I don't know how much truth there is to this, but a lot of people felt the extra $10 for console games was because of this and they questioned why the PC version needed a $10 price hike. However, I'm sure MW2 was ludicrously expensive to produce, so it may have been required.

      No they don't. Me and almost all of my friends play it on PC because of keyboard and mouse. And to tell the truth, I rather don't see so much tweaking and mods by the users and get all stupid doom and quake sounds or no gravity when I join the server. I like the game the way IW made it.

      This is where I'm going to disagree a lot. First of all you don't need to use a mouse and keyboard, you could have easily just used a controller on a 360 for the same experience. You prefer playing games with a mouse and keyboard, the same way that a lot - but by no means the majority - of people prefer to have custom content and the ability to generate it themselves. Just because you and your friends don't personally enjoy such things doesn't mean other people don't either. It's a personal preference and you really have no right saying what everyone should like.

      Second it's not just minor game tweaks[1]. It's a whole range of things. Custom maps[2], models, sounds, gametypes, small modifications, and total conversions. You may think nothing interesting comes from modding but I'd disagree. Counter-Strike, Team Fortress, Red Orchestra, Killing Floor and Insurgency to name a few. The first two morphed into commercial games with very, very large player bases, the two after also went commercial.

      I actually enjoy playing unmodified games as well. My all time favorite multiplayer FPS, Starsiege: Tribes, was exceedingly modifiable. People are still modifying it to this day. Even with all of the mods I still prefer playing base. However, I play a lot of custom maps and a few custom gametypes. Some of the best competition maps for that game were custom content. I'd also like t

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I think the game is great, especially multiplayer with its leveling, perks and the amount of customization you can do to your characters game style. Even those who complain about things are still playing it full force.

      Leveling *SUCKS*. It's almost not fun. Perks are broken. Completely. Spawn deaths from aircraft fire suck. Particularly when you're no where close to the Javelin or the Stinger in levels and your only choice to knock one of those things out of the sky is a missile that seems to lose against aircraft counter measures. Which brings me to weapon unlocks...

      Skill progression is great, don't get me wrong. But I'm really disgusted by an FPS game that demands I baby it so I can get the best weapons and gear.

    • There are also those of us who complain about things and AREN'T playing it in full force.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Next time you have to be female, 36c and agree to extensive cavity search to review the product.

  • by El_Muerte_TDS (592157) <<elmuerte> <at> <drunksnipers.com>> on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @02:29AM (#30816560) Homepage

    Buying the game gives as signal that you agree with Blizzard-Activision's actions. $1 Billion revenue says that Blizzard-Activision did an excellent job.
    The following screenshot is a clear indication a lot of people can't stick to their principles: http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/images/mw2_boycott.jpg [shamusyoung.com]

    • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @02:36AM (#30816600) Journal

      It shows that people just joined the bandwagon before they even tried the game or knew how the changes would work out. It's easy to click a button on a internet site that says "boycott!" and then go back to eat a pizza while watching the countdown timer for release date.

    • "The following screenshot is a clear indication a lot of people can't stick to their principles"

      It's not an indication they can't stick to their principles, we're talking about gamers here, they just wanted to draw attention to the fact that they wanted dedicated servers. Sure it says boycott but like immature gamers really meant it, anyone who is not retarded could have predicted the outcome.

      Fact is gaming companies are increasingly douchebags who on hit titles can get away with it because lets face it ,

      • by sopssa (1498795) *

        MW2 is a good game but that's not saying much, it's not hard to make a good FPS today since game developers have got the FPS down to a science.

        If it's not that hard, why aren't everyone making billions of dollars of single FPS games? Sounds like an easy way to get madly rich, if true.

        And if you actually compare MW2 to other games, you see it has a lot that other games are missing. Intense single player campaign, fun co-op missions to play with a friend, and a great multiplayer with lots of gamemodes and leveling and class building system. I would really like to see such in more games, but frankly there isn't any or they're done poorly.

        • "Intense single player campaign, fun co-op missions to play with a friend, and a great multiplayer with lots of gamemodes and leveling and class building system"

          Everything that has been in almost every FPS since doom, minus the class building system that didn't come till later (mods) like Quake and fps thereafter.

          I remember playing Doom 2 and Duke 3D co-op on lan and it was just as good as anything MW2 can throw at you. The only real difference is the graphics tech has changed a lot since then, the core ga

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by B1oodAnge1 (1485419)

          If it's not that hard, why aren't everyone making billions of dollars of single FPS games?

          Because not everyone has the millions of dollars required to convince all the retards that their game is groundbreaking and new.

          Good games don't make money, well marketed games make money.

          Unfortunately the two are nearly wholly unrelated.

          • by Kjella (173770)

            If Modern Warfare 2 had been another Daikatana, no amount of hype would have saved it. Everybody would like to bitch about something, for example right now I've been playing Dragon Age: Origins. Ok, so there's a dude in camp hawking DLC who should have had a dollar sign instead of a quest sign over him, but it's on an inconvienience level less than pretty much any bug and I've found none of those. So the angle isn't freeform but I never felt it very limiting. I seem to remember a time when bugs were like re

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by teh.f4ll3n (1351611)
        No-no-no! The majority of MW2 players are 13-15-year-olds (if I'm off here it's not by a mile), who simply don't understand the meaning of the word "boycott". They joind in thinking it would be a great idea for dedicated servers to be available, but when you actually explain what the word means they go "huh? i never agreed to that! I wanna play!".
    • What it says is that you are specifically not to be listened to. Had they actually boycotted it and not bought it, it probalby wouldn't have had to much of a negative impact on overall sales, but it would have at least given Activision pause. Companies always want to make more money and they'd have wondered "How much more could we have made, had we given people what they asked for."

      However what this does is send the message that even if people want something, you can safely ignore them, they'll buy your shi

      • That's basically what I did. I wanted MW2, more than most games this year (or last, rather). I didn't buy it and I don't play it. I want dedicated servers because I KNOW that cheating will be out of control without, and nothing ruins my game experience more than cheaters. Activision didn't give me what I wanted, so I didn't buy. Simple as that.

        Some of the recent changes in EvE are not to my liking so I canceled my sub and retired a 6 year old character. I might resub when they change it to suit my tastes ag

        • by jaraxle (1707)

          Just saying "I won't play" doesn't change it, what matters is that you don't pay.

          This is what gets me in just about every MMO that has balancing issues and players feel that their class is somehow disadvantaged compared to everyone else. I'm glad to hear that at least you try to stick to your principles, but for every person who actually cancels a subscription due to a game moving in a direction they don't agree with, there are at least 1000 others that will continue paying.

          Typically their mantra is "If you don't fix class X then I will stop playing my class X and play my class Y inste

    • The main problem with that is that such "boycott" calls become meaningless if they're joined by people who do not follow through with it. If you don't plan to do it, don't sign a petition. You actually hurt the cause more than you help it. Yes, it could well mean that half a million gamers cry boykott, but that won't make an impression of 400k of them later ignore their plea. What will game makers think? "Let them cry, as long as they buy..."

    • I expect there to be a large backlash with this game. Everyone I know that got it, didn't like it. Especially the PC players. The next Modern Warfare game will likely do half the numbers of this one, if not less.
    • by subsolar2 (147428)

      Buying the game gives as signal that you agree with Blizzard-Activision's actions. $1 Billion revenue says that Blizzard-Activision did an excellent job. The following screenshot is a clear indication a lot of people can't stick to their principles: http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/images/mw2_boycott.jpg [shamusyoung.com]

      To be fair steam sorts players by in-game first then online then offline, so the screen-shot is somewhat misleading. That said there were a fair number of people I know that said they would boycott it (including my son) that ended up buying the game. I have no idea what the percentage is, but probably two orders of magnitude less than the people that did say they would boycott and bought the game just because of the hype.

  • Doesn't say much (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OverlordQ (264228) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @02:30AM (#30816566) Journal

    After all, take a look at all the Madden games for console, people pay $60 for a game every year which is exactly the same except somebody replaced a few textures and swapped out the names. All this shows, in my opinion, is that people buy the hype.

    • by sopssa (1498795) *

      It's not about hype really. The bitching about yearly sports games is what I have wondered for long actually. The people who buy them want the new rosters and player stats and somewhat improved graphics and gameplay. I mean, there's only so much you can improve in a sports game thats based on real sports league. And actually the games have been improving over the years, just look at NHL 2005 compared to 2010.

      Sure, it's not a totally new game, but people don't complain that they don't drop NHL in real world

    • by ET3D (1169851)

      It's not the hype. It's just that the discriminating buyers are the minority. Most people want crap, or what "elitists" think is crap. Kind of like soap operas, which many people consider junk, yet are extremely popular. Or reality shows. Or big budget effect movies. Companies just do what most people are okay with. A minority of people want dedicated servers, so there's no big need to implement them. Having a patch a few days late doesn't matter to most, either, I'd bet. Most people are willing to live wit

  • by mykos (1627575) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @02:46AM (#30816646)

    But it doesn't mean their burgers are better.

    Just sayin'

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mykos (1627575)

      Not sure how this is offtopic. I'm commenting on the correlation between sales and quality in the topic title. It's unfortunate that I have to spell this out for someone.

  • "How Activision Used Modern Warfare 2 to Screw the Gaming Media (and PC Gamers) to the Wall."
  • by AwaxSlashdot (600672) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @04:04AM (#30816978) Homepage Journal
    CoD:MW2 had a budget of 200M$. From those 200, only 70 were spend on the development of the versions for all the different versions : PC, XB360 and PS3. 130 were used for marketing. It tells us that the actual game as less "value" than the way it is marketed.
    • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @06:51AM (#30817672) Journal

      That's merely Activision's decision tho. Infinity Ward had $70 million to develop the game (actually Activision tried to give them more, but they declined). Since it is actually a great game, Activision saw that it would be good to spend that on marketing. Putting $130 million in marketing budget of a crap game would not only be really risky, it would be outright stupid.

      What Activision wants to spend on marketing is irrelevant to game quality or Infinity Ward.

    • It tells us that the actual game as less "value" than the way it is marketed.

      And is it really without results that go beyond the mere technical qualities of the game? Many games are fun because you do them with your friends or classmates or workmates. So why don't they end up playing some other FPS or whatever? Because you sell them on the idea that MW2 is the game to play.

      Pound that marketing message into people's heads and eventually you will get it bouncing off each other "How about MW2?" "Yeah, heard about that - sounds cool" "Did you see that trailer?" "I've preordered already"

  • by trawg (308495) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @04:32AM (#30817110) Homepage

    I consider myself a hardcore PC gamer. I pretty much switched to playing multiplayer FPS games almost exclusively after Doom came out; I just love the genre and the competition of playing against real people. I loved it so much it ended up becoming my job; me and some friends founded a company to provide multiplayer gaming servers for other people in Australia (which went on to become the biggest online game service provider in Australia, blahblahbalhablah).

    As a Ye Olde Time PC gamer, I remember the days of games like Doom, Quake, Half-Life, and Unreal - when you could drop AUD$80 on a game and know that you were going to be able to play that game for years, because it had freely downloadable and publicly available dedicated servers, meaning anyone could run a server anywhere in the world, at any time, with any settings. Not only that, the games were generally moddable - which meant the game experience would always be changing.

    This model brought about things like Counter-Strike (probably the most successful multiplayer FPS ever), Desert Combat (directly responsible for the development of Battlefield 2), Day of Defeat (one of the first of manymanymany WW2 shooters). It brought about Team Fortress, which has since turned into Team Fortress 2 - another staggering success story. (Lucky Valve are still on the ball.)

    There's been a clear paradigm shift recently though. I feel that it began with Battlefield 2, and more games are following the new model. Yes, there's a clear focus on console gaming. But more significantly, I feel, is the focus on trying to really sell brands over and over again as fast as possible.

    With few exceptions (Blizzard, Valve), game developers and publishers don't want you to be playing the same game for three or four years. They want you to upgrade to the new hotness so they can get another chunk of cash out of you.

    I didn't buy MW2 - I'm completely and utterly uninterested in it if it doesn't have dedicated servers, and I put my money where my mouth is and didn't buy it even though I've heard its pretty awesome. But it's hard for me to come out and say what IW are doing is clearly wrong - because obviously it's commercially successful. I do feel it's not in the best interests of gamers - I think we'd get much more /value/ if they went back to the old model. But MW2 has set a precedent, and I'm sure MW3 is already on the drawing board and not very far away.

    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      >>I didn't buy MW2 - I'm completely and utterly uninterested in it if it doesn't have dedicated servers, and I put my money where my mouth is and didn't buy it even though I've heard its pretty awesome

      Ditto. Modding is what makes online games fun.

      I'm also utterly uninterested in online games without dedicated servers, especially when the new trend is to shut down the company servers as soon as a new version is out (http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2010/01/ea-shuts-down-25-game-servers-including-madd

    • by DarthVain (724186)

      You forgot about Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory! Not only was it perhaps my favorite FPS of all time, it was free!

      Counter-Strike was kinda interesting if only because so many freaking people played it at any one time. Never really played Battlefield 2.

      Anyway I think the difference is on focus. The old school games the developer wanted to blow your freaking ass out of the water with every new game is how awesome it was usually graphic centric, with some game play additions. They wanted to actively TOP their ol

  • You can shove the gaming press around

    That much has got to be pretty obvious to the whole industry already. Game journalism is corrupt and/or done by complete idiots.

    Obligatory penny arcade reference [penny-arcade.com]. There's more unquestioning repeating of press releases than there is in political journalism. In that case, there seemed to be more controversy that reporters were doing more than advertising.

    Look in any gaming magazine and you'll be hard pressed to find anything below 7/10, even for games that are terrible. The whole numbering scheme itself i

    • by DrXym (126579)
      That much has got to be pretty obvious to the whole industry already. Game journalism is corrupt and/or done by complete idiots.

      If you want to see how corrupt gaming journalists are, just wait for the Next Big Game to turn up and witness what happens. The bloggers breathlessly describe how awesome their all expenses paid trip to Next Big Game HQ was, the magazines shout about their Exclusive First Review of Next Big Game, and the gaming sites are plastered with huge tailored background images and side ban

    • You read reviews from the big three (I'm not even going to say who they are, but you know them, the sites with big flashy game banners), yes, you're getting bought and paid for advertising. Big surprise. But there are lots of other sites out there, including the one that I've been writing at for almost a decade that are different - no salary, no game-related ads, just people who love videogames and want to share a means of separating quality from crap with readers. Incidentally, Activision called us wit
  • by ZeroSerenity (923363) <gormac05@noSPaM.yahoo.com> on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @04:59AM (#30817234) Homepage Journal
    Namely is the game fun and entertaining? The answer to that is a resounding yes. If a game is the above it can be forgiven for lots of flaws and that is why the game has passed the $1 Billion mark in cash.
  • The main thing I miss about having dedicated servers is the lack of community. When I played Day of Defeat I could spend hours on one server playing with same people, having a good time and getting to know them. I knew if I connected to a certain server I'd have a good game. MW2 on the other hand is like a lucky dip. Yeah, sometimes it's great but you have no control over who you play with unless you go to the hassle of adding friends on Steam or whatever. Maybe it's just me.

  • by Aceticon (140883) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @05:44AM (#30817442)

    A little look at the user reviews in Amazon for the PC version (here [amazon.co.uk]) and by contrast the XBox version (here [amazon.co.uk]) is quite enlightening.

    Basically if you've played Online FPSs in the PC in the last 10 years (with large matches, low lag, effective banning of cheaters and user maps and mods) this game will seem mediocre to you at best: people complain of lag (due to no dedicate servers), unpunished cheating (like aimbots) and pestering behaviour (teenagers playing music in voice), no user extendability (as per choice of the maker: no user mods or maps, only paid for - DLC - extensions) and second-hand market killing measures (online activation mandatory on the PC).

    This means that this game should be really be seen as two separate games "Modern Warfare 2 XBox" and "Modern Warfare 2 PC" with the first being quite successful (thanks in in no small part to hype and slick marketing) for the target platform and audience and versus the competition in that platform (console games tend to be simpler and played by a younger audience) and the second being very mediocre from the point of view of that target audience and versus the competition in that platform.

    It's thus not surprising that you have two almost completely opposite sets of reviews, since the game really has two faces ...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sp1nny (1350037)
      There's one problem though.. Amazon was the target of a concerted campaign by 'PC Gamers' who feel spurned by Activision and they dragged down the Amazon average review score as a sign of 'protest'. If you're looking for proof, go to the Amazon site linked in the post above, and filter the reviews by 1 star rating. Most of those reviews are written even before the game released. And half the reviews written after it's release basically complain about problems with using Steam and/or installing the game. A
      • by Pojut (1027544)

        But it's also nowhere near as good as deserving $1 Billion in sales. Like I said in a later post in this thread, I enjoyed the hell out of playing both of them, but I think people play it up too much. There are far more deserving games for this level of recognition (Muramasa: The Demon Blade being just one such example), but that will never happen.

        For all of its intensity and depiction of war, why does the MW series control like Quake?

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @07:59AM (#30817968)

    When people have to replace their banned copies.

    Why banned you ask? Well, we don't have dedicated servers, people hosting games local. What does it tell the /. crowd? Right. That cheating is far from impossible. And, wonder over wonder, the cheats are in.

    This week the call of a worrying friend reached me. He joined a MW2 game, was wondering why everyone was 70 with 10 honor levels on top of it. Two kills later he knew why: He was 70 himself (instapromotion from about 50). He quickly quitted, fearing a ban, but, well, the "damage" is done (damage being relative, after all, who doesn't want to reach 70?).

    Now one of three things can happen. First, Activision bans everyone who increased his level with invalid means. Meaning, that that Damocletian sword is looming over everyone's head because you can't just "avoid" cheat servers. You join a game and bam, you're a cheater. Second, they can do nothing. Which essentially means that the leveling aspect of the game is essentially gone to waste because you pretty much have to create a level 70 character to compete sensibly. Unless you enjoy being the target dummy for the army of 70s running circles around you. Or they can only ban those that started the cheating (provided they can find out who modified the server and who didn't with at least some accuracy). Then you still have a buttload of 70s running around, because for every cheater you can have a game full of players who, willingly or accidently, blew up their level.

    Pest, cholera or typhus, free choice.

    And that problem will not vanish. As long as you don't have control over the game servers, you cannot control cheating.

  • by Pojut (1027544)

    I loved both Modern Warfare 1 and 2, don't get me wrong...but IMO the buzz surrounding them is way over the top. They were good games that broke some new ground in terms of intensity, but when you get down to it they were still shooting galleries wrapped up in a fancy package.

    I think Ben Kuchera said it best at the end of a recent Ars article [arstechnica.com]: "Modern Warfare 2 can be a fun game. The single-player is short, but intense. It's not a $1 billion game in our opinion, however, and the precedents set by its relea

  • I haven't played MW2, but found the first MW, contrary to the hype, to be a rather weak, terribly linear, and ridiculously short game with just a few great moments. So I can't believe the hype for the sequel unless I hear it's completely different. But in fact I heard it's ridiculously short again, so, no thanks.
  • no dedicated servers, it should be noted this product launched during an unprecedented economic recession. for this to go past the 1bn mark is nothing short of astounding.

    I think at the time, given the climate and what the management knew, they made a conservative decision that none of us should blame them for. restricting dedicated servers is just belt-tightening, and it never implied the servers were a foregone conclusion.
  • It was never about money for me. I had the money to buy it if I chose.

    It was about what we lost in the process. This precedent allows the publisher to charge $59.99 for every game the publish in the future.

    It also allows them to ignore customer complaints like they were selling a commodity.

    We lost ground. If you don't think you're a part of that we, you're so sadly mistaken. You're a part whether you like it or not.

    Our platform was traditionally the only one which allowed full control of the game. That is no more. There will be no further innovation by the community.

    Since our gaming platform has been overwhelmed by the casual, uninformed player, we lose more and more ground. The PC used to be the game proving ground, now we get leftovers if we're lucky. We must settle for console ports a year after release.

    So fuck you all! I hope your nintendo thumbs cramp up and provide you with intense unending pain!

    • That's because if I'm going to spend endless hours tweaking registry settings, and modifying INI files i might as well get my MCSE and get paid for it and do something productive with my day.

      If I want to throw down in some Street Fighter IV, I can either pop in my disc into my PS3 or futz and hope my PC isn't having issues.

  • I like it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bleh-of-the-huns (17740) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @09:56AM (#30818578)

    Who gives a crap what anyone else thinks...

    I play it on the ps3 though, and while I really want to scream cheater at some of those 12 to 15 years old bragging about killing everyone, as far as I know, there are no real widespread cheats for the console...

    The difference I guess is at the end of a game.. where I just got my ass handed to me, I am a gracious loser, but I love to point out to the winners that while I did lose, I accept the fact and move on, they are however douchebag winners...

    Although I have been getting better lately, with some of the perks.. and a tactical knife.. I annoy the crap out them :)

  • I used to run a series of game servers as a hobby back when I had a lot more free time to play. (Read: before kids. :) )

    I still have a handful of L4D servers up, although I've seriously considered taking them down since my friends have largely moved on to L4D2. For me, the most enjoyable part of running those servers was being able to build up a community. We had a few really top notch players and a bunch of really good ones as regulars. I was pretty free about passing out kick/ban privileges to playe

  • 95% of the criticism I've heard about this game comes from, drum-roll please... PC Gamers I've logged nearly 130 hours of MW2 on PS3 and 50 on XBox 360 since it came out (Obviously I don't have a girlfriend).I've never had any problems with aimbots. Maybe one out of a hundred matches have had a connection problem, which which was rectified by moving the host. I've encountered only five or six games in which glitching was actually an issue. I've never had any confusion or problems getting together with fr
    • You might not have issues, but I most definitely do. The host based gaming sucks, I get dropped all the time, I get host migration errors constantly... about every 3 or 4 games, and if the host player decides to leave mid game, I usually end up getting punted completely.

      The issue of course if how my network is setup, standard NAT, nothing special. Their solution of enabling pnp on my router is a joke. Since my router is actually an openbsd box running pf, there really is no solution. Yes I opened up a b

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