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PC Games (Games) Games

GameSpy's New Owners Begin Disabling Multiplayer Without Warning 247

New submitter OldTimeRadio writes "Over the last month, both game publishers and gaming communities alike were surprised to find their GameSpy multiplayer support suddenly disabled by GLU Mobile, who purchased GameSpy from IGN this August. Many games, including Neverwinter Nights 1 & 2, Microsoft Flight Simulator X, Swat 4, Sniper Elite, Hidden and Dangerous 2, Wings of War, Star Wars: Battlefront are no longer able to find (and in some cases even host) multiplayer games. While games like Neverwinter Nights are still able to directly connect to servers if players know the IP address, less-fortunate gamers expressed outrage on GLU Mobile's 'Powered by GameSpy' Facebook page. In an open letter to their Sniper Elite gaming community today, UK game developer Rebellion explained it was helpless to change the situation: 'A few weeks ago, the online multiplayer servers for Sniper Elite were suddenly switched off by Glu, the third-party service we had been paying to maintain them. This decision by Glu was not taken in consultation with us and was beyond our control. We have been talking to them since to try and get the servers turned back on. We have been informed that in order to do so would cost us tens of thousands of pounds a year — far in excess of how much we were paying previously. We also do not have the option to take the multiplayer to a different provider. Because the game relies on Glu and Gamespy's middleware, the entire multiplayer aspect of the game would have to be redeveloped by us, again, at the cost of many tens of thousands of pounds.""
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GameSpy's New Owners Begin Disabling Multiplayer Without Warning

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2012 @07:49PM (#42221305)

    Who could have called that happening?

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

  • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @07:51PM (#42221337)

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

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

  • Re:Twitterization? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Lonewolf666 ( 259450 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @08:10PM (#42221497)

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

  • Re:Twitterization? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by somersault ( 912633 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @08:18PM (#42221557) Homepage Journal

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

  • Re:Twitterization? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2012 @08:41PM (#42221743)

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

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

  • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @09:45PM (#42222247)

    Is the source really worth that much?

    Short answer yes.

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

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

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

  • Re:in the future... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @09:53PM (#42222307)

    It already happens ALL the time. We have a vendor for a CRM that just shut down the ODBC connection that they were implicitly charging us for. We went in to renew the contract and they said "Oh yea, ODBC is deprecated. You wont be able to connect to it after January 1st" to which we said "So how are we supposed to do reporting on the data?" and they replied "We have a new reporting service. You tell us which reports you need written and we'll charge you by the hour." As far as my employer is concerned "The cloud" is dead. The majority of cloud services we've dealt with have turned into extortion rackets in recent years. Upper management didn't see it coming but they're definitely on to it now. You can only sign a contract for so long... and once it's up they have you by the short hairs.

  • Re:Twitterization? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Peter Bortas ( 130 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @02:44AM (#42223531)

    Better they steal it than attorneys getting it. Attorneys produce nothing of interest, at least if a game company steals it there is a chance they produce something worth wile down the line.

  • Re:Twitterization? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Raumkraut ( 518382 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @07:13AM (#42224243)

    Er, is this supposed to be implying that Valve is going to drop any games where the developer does not come back and write a Linux version? Because I have no idea what you are saying here.

    I believe he's saying that Valve are seeing an increased likelihood that Microsoft might flip a switch in Windows, which will make Steam, or Steam-powered games, stop working. Linux, for Valve, is (partly) a hedge against that. There is no one company (other than Valve itself) that can come along and "turn off" Steam for Linux.
    If Steam continues to function on Windows, then that's great for Valve. If it doesn't, however, then Valve are wise to have a fall-back plan. It's a lot better to have 90% of your income wiped out (all those Steam games that don't run on Linux), than to have 100% of it wiped out, and be scrambling for a fix while the coffers run dry.

Think of it! With VLSI we can pack 100 ENIACs in 1 sq. cm.!