Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Games Your Rights Online

Codemasters Shuts Down GRID Online Multiplayer 162

Posted by Soulskill
from the sorry-about-your-luck dept.
crookedvulture writes "This is why gamers make such a fuss about being able to host their own dedicated servers. Codemasters has shut down the online multiplayer component of three-year-old racing game GRID because a third party declined to renew its contract to host PC and PlayStation 3 servers for the game. Folks with the Xbox 360 version will still be able to play online, but Codemasters doesn't offer much in the way of an apology for everyone else. Perhaps it's time for game publishers unwilling to release dedicated servers to be required to maintain their own multiplayer servers for a set number of years after a title's launch."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Codemasters Shuts Down GRID Online Multiplayer

Comments Filter:
  • by gubers33 (1302099) on Monday June 20, 2011 @01:49PM (#36503998)
    They are usually abandoned. I know in the case of Call of Duty, after a new release in the line comes out, exploits stop being patched in the predecessors. This happens in many other games as well the servers are left on, but are never patched or touched again.
    • by haystor (102186)

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

      • by gubers33 (1302099)
        Fixed two exploits in Black Ops, and in Modern Warefare 2 they tweaked the strengh and range of a few weapons. However, I agree that they aren't patched as well as they should be, but there isn't really a way any developer can patch something like a lag switch.
        • by Lehk228 (705449)
          but there isn't really a way any developer can patch something like a lag switch.

          there damn well is, if the game uses an automated matchmaker the servers should be run by the company, this way a lag switch only accomplishes lagging yourself

          alternatively if the publisher continues to feel the need to rip off players by making them host their own games but giving them no control of the hosting or which server to connect to, monitor aggregate average lag and frequency of lag spikes compared to lag immed
    • by poly_pusher (1004145) on Monday June 20, 2011 @02:18PM (#36504484)
      Interestingly, this problem is reduced by allowing players to have their own servers. I've had a variety of servers for different games. Somebody comes in and appears to be hacking, they're gone. Racism; gone. Disrespectful; gone.

      Punkbuster-type services and exploit patches are useful and absolutely necessary but the easiest way to avoid those problems is to get familiar with a clan or group that has their own servers and admin's that are there frequently enough to do something about it. Even with a game that is frequently updated, the exploits will never cease. Like for instance, throwing c4 30 feet in bad company 2... That's an actively patched game and that exploit has been around for at least 6 months...
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday June 20, 2011 @01:51PM (#36504028)

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

    • by bhcompy (1877290)
      That's because MS is hosting the servers. Of course, when MS feels like they don't want to host them anymore, they will go away, like with Shadowrun.
      • by citizenr (871508)

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

        M$ is NOT hosting any servers. 360 games are P2P, MS simply flips a bit on matchmaking service and delists games so players lose option of connecting with other players.

        • by bhcompy (1877290)
          Some 360 games are P2P. Many are client/server model. Again, Shadowrun was an instance of this.
    • by Stregano (1285764)
      The only really big shutdowns aside from a very, VERY slim few games (with how many games have been out, I would say many of the launch titles getting taken offline few), the only time when taking games offline ever comes into play is when EA does it (EA, as far as I know, is the only company that uses their own servers instead of the M$ servers).
  • More regulation? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Dog-Cow (21281)

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

    How about... no?

    • by daedae (1089329)
      The problem is that set number of years will always be too short for some group of gamers, and in fact the ones who are still playing in the long tail are the ones most likely to be vocally upset about support being dropped.
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

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

        • by daedae (1089329)
          Well of course that's a much better solution, and I wouldn't be that surprised if somebody reverse-engineered the PC version at least to replace that. I was just pointing out the problem with the summary's suggested solution.
    • by asdf7890 (1518587)
      They have, by failure to act in setting up an alternative or allowing their users to do so without beaching the click-wrap license, deliberately made their product unfit for the purpose it was sold for.

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

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

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

        • by asdf7890 (1518587)

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

          Most clauses like that are not enforceable. There are some rights and expectations in consumer protection law that can not be waived in small print that way.

          Of course this will vary from territory to territory so what is enforceable via EULA in yours may not be in mine, and you might have different statutory rights to start with. The overall legal status of click-wrap EULAs is a big fat grey area in most places too - in many cases they are not worth the paper they are not written on.

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        I'd say the bigger problem is what to do about the ever shortening time some of these games are up as you end up with dead games on shelves being sold to unsuspecting players. If you want to know how to stop this retail would be a good place to start, as letting customers know these games are worthless as the MP has been pulled would leave retailers with plenty of merchandise they can't give away, who in turn will pitch royal bloody shitfits at the publishers.

        Because with some of these games (EA) barely get

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Agreed. Stupidest idea today. Ok, this is the only slashdot story I read today so far, but...

      It's ridiculous to require a company to maintain servers at their own expense, for no reason other than some players are upset about a GAME. What, we set up the federal department of games who send goons after companies who start to run low on cash? Get a life kids!

      • by FlyveHest (105693)

        I fail to see why this is ridiculous? After all, I have bought and paid for a product, even one which may still be available in stores, bargain bins, Steam or something, and then the developer decides to not support a major component of said product?

        What about you purchasing a car, and after 4 years, the car vendor simply stops producing spare parts for your car, because you can upgrade to a new car instead.

        If you do this, release the dedicated servers, and let the community decide when the game should die

  • False Advertising? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zeek40 (1017978) on Monday June 20, 2011 @01:52PM (#36504062)
    Can someonen go after them for false advertising? It says it's a multiplayer game right there on the box. How long does that obligate them to back up that claim?
    • by wjousts (1529427)
      Probably no. I would expect buried somewhere in the EULA or even on the box is some blurb about being able to discontinue service whenever they feel like it (usually with 30 days notice or something similar).
      • by jonbryce (703250)

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

        (d)permitting the seller or supplier to retain sums paid by the consumer where the latter decides n

    • by Cato (8296)

      In the UK, a product generally has to work for 6 years (with exceptions for some things that just wear out), so they could probably be sued there - quite easy to do in the small claims court.

  • Host own servers? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by haeger (85819) on Monday June 20, 2011 @01:56PM (#36504120)

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

    Seems like making a good multiplayer is hard.

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

    • by mlts (1038732) *

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

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

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

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

      Stage 4: 2-3 years out from game

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

        • by mlts (1038732) *

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

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

      • by tepples (727027)

        Stage 3: A year to two years: Publish the API the game uses for the servers

        But would the console makers even let the video game publisher do this? I was under the impression that such APIs necessarily contained trade secrets of the console makers.

        • by mlts (1038732) *

          Good point. I'm coming from a desktop computer point of view.

          Because of this, perhaps the only real alternative for consoles is a third company (charging some type of nominal fee to keep their servers online) that will keep the API a trade secret even when the game moves off. The console users connect to that third party, who connects them to the private servers with the same API the PC games would use. It adds one step, but it solves this issue.

  • by wjousts (1529427) on Monday June 20, 2011 @01:56PM (#36504126)
    ...I'm sure a sequel is just around the corner. So you'll still be able to play online just as soon as you fork over another $50/$60 for Grid II!
  • online... it wasn't that good in online mode so I am not surprised that they are ditching it. Having something that works well has a lot of maintenance and running costs and is generally a money drain on the game. Having low numbers of players will make the economics even more poignant to that fact.

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

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

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

    • by wjousts (1529427)
      I certainly wouldn't want to run a server at home, but I would bet that there are a handful of hard-core racing sim enthusiasts who would do exactly that, putting all the time and expense in for no reason other than their love of the game. Why should a publisher prevent that? And if those people don't exist, so what? From the publisher perspective, they are still in the same place.
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

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

        • by wjousts (1529427)

          What time and expense?

          Don't tell me, tell the GP.

        • Do you have an old desktop or laptop and can spare $10/month for power? Congratulations, you too can have a game server at your house.

          It costs more than $10 per month for power. It can also cost several times that for an upgrade from residential Internet access to business class Internet access so that your ISP doesn't kickban you from its network for "running a server" in violation of its acceptable use policy. It can also be fairly expensive if you happen to live in an area with a low monthly data transfer cap.

          Besides, why let end users run a dedicated server when you can sell them the sequel?

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            How much more at most what $30?
            You ISP will never notice a game server, trust me.
            Quotas won't enter into it, game servers are not shipping much data around, they can't or performance would suck.

            The only valid point you make is the greed one.

            • You ISP will never notice a game server, trust me.

              Even if an ISP doesn't notice a bandwidth increase, it may notice the incoming connections, and if you're behind a neighborhood-size NAT, they just won't connect.

              • by h4rr4r (612664)

                If you ISP NATs find a new one. NAT breaks the internet.

                That has nothing to do with hosting a gameserver or not.

                • by tepples (727027)

                  If you ISP NATs find a new one.

                  If all ISPs serving your city NAT find a new one. That's how it is in some parts of the world.

    • by Amouth (879122)

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

      and if there was a game worth doing it - AND i had the TIME to PLAY i'd do it again.. but getting older and having a kid.. time for games just d

      • by bane2571 (1024309)
        Hosting an early version Minecraft server was one of the more fun times I've had on the 'net. Though a bit more time consuming than I would have liked the experience was pretty much what you described. I'd reccomend giving it a go if your Kid is in the right age range to get any benefit form it. Going to bed an waking up to find out that "my" world had a new tower of awesome was quite enjoyable.
    • by epyT-R (613989)

      Considering your UID, you 'lived' on the internet during the time when everyone ran their own servers.. how can you say stuff like this?

  • by Scott Kevill (1080991) on Monday June 20, 2011 @02:06PM (#36504300) Homepage

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

    • You guys really have saved a lot of less popular games from the oblivion of closed main servers along with X-link Kai, and others. I'm not a grid player or a racing fan, and haven't used Gameranger in a few years, but it is an unappreciated service than deserves gamer's thanks. Mac gamers and uncommon title-obsessed fans should be especially thankful.
    • Success! Just added support for GRID on GameRanger. This won't help the unfortunate PS3 souls, but will at least help out the PC players.

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

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

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

    • by artor3 (1344997)

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

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

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

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

        No, it's equivalent to not buying any multiplayer games that need a server. Case in point: Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. Brawl is multiplayer, and it doesn't need a server. How does this work?

  • GRID PC is a really nice game but it's one of the games which were abandoned the moment they went gold. Very little support was given, the developer and publisher kept promising patches and fixes that they never delivered, so it comes as no surprise that multiplayer servers had such short lifespan, actually it's 2 years more than i would give it. And it isn't really big loss, because the multiplayer was broken from start, it was really painful to navigate through the menu system to connect to a server, and

  • The one redeeming quality of Mercenaries 2 is that it has co-op, and it was actually pretty fun.

    EA had it up cheaply a couple of months ago and I was about to pick up a couple of copies until I saw that they had shut down multiplayer. All they would have needed to do is let the players host their own servers.

    This will be the ultimate fate of every game that makes you phone home or lacks dedicated servers. Want to play Neverwinter Nights/NWN2 with a friend? Tough. The master server went down.
  • That's the last Codemasters game I'm buying.

Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.

Working...