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GameSpy Multiplayer Shutting Down, Affecting Hundreds of Games 145

An anonymous reader writes "For over a decade, GameSpy has provided and hosted multiplayer services for a variety of video games. GameSpy was purchased in 2012, and there were some worrying shutdowns of older servers, which disabled multiplayer capabilities for a number of games. Now, the whole service is going offline on May 31. Some publishers are scrambling to move to other platforms, while others are simply giving up on those games. Nintendo's recent abandonment of Wi-Fi games was a result of their reliance on GameSpy's servers. Bohemia Interactive, developers of the Arma series, said the GameSpy closure will affect matchmaking and CD-key authentication."
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GameSpy Multiplayer Shutting Down, Affecting Hundreds of Games

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  • The Cloud! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by glasshole ( 3569269 ) on Friday April 04, 2014 @10:13AM (#46660505)
    No matter who it is, how long it has been around, or what the service is... if it is a cloud service it will one day go away.
    • Re:The Cloud! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rhsanborn ( 773855 ) on Friday April 04, 2014 @10:18AM (#46660549)
      We're hitting the age where some earlier services are starting to shut down, and that's actually a good thing. It will start a conversation about how much we're willing to trust to "the cloud" and what we're willing to make temporary. Many of us have Kindles, iPhones, Rokus that use content from providers not unlike GameSpy. We need to be willing to say out loud that ownership of these items is now temporary. The sellers of these items need to be more open about that as well.
      • by Desler ( 1608317 )

        Many of us have Kindles, iPhones, Rokus that use content from providers not unlike GameSpy. We need to be willing to say out loud that ownership of these items is now temporary.

        Since when did you ever have ownership of streamed music/movies/etc?

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Since wget and rtmpdump.

        • He was talking about the hardware: you 'own' the Roku or whatnot; but if its utility relies on the existence of one or more providers (often, thanks to OMG PIRACY!, ones you can't change unless the vendor happens to be in a good mood), you could end up 'owning' a glorified brick tomorrow, since your hardware will just sit there plaintively crying for its mothership rather than doing anything useful.
      • Re:The Cloud! (Score:5, Informative)

        by Enry ( 630 ) <enry@way[ ]net ['ga.' in gap]> on Friday April 04, 2014 @10:32AM (#46660681) Journal

        This is different for a few reasons.

        When you buy music from iTunes, Amazon, or Google Play you can download the content and store it locally without DRM.
        Kindle content can also be downloaded and saved separately but does require that the device is already authorized.
        In the case of e.g. Netflix, you never own the content, merely use of the content they provide for the time they have it.

        In the case of GameSpy, it's required to play online. It'd be like Steam or XBox Live being shut down.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

        What is the alternative though? Players wanted to get away from the old direct connection and private server system, they preferred just to log on and join a fast server with similarly skilled peopled without having to worry about what the IP address is. It's a nice option for geeks but I doubt many XBOX players will be interested.

        I agree we should have this conversation, but ultimately I don't think we have any real choice. Prices won't come down, idiots will still pay silly money for the latest update of

      • Boxee hasn't had an update in forever because after they were bought, the Dev team was re-vectored. So some things that really should be fixed aren't and some things that could have been added now never will be. It *is* my TV source, so I will miss it when Netflix finally ceases to work or something comes along that means I have to get another box.

        Really, it would be nice to see people develop these sorts of products with an idea to them having longevity, but no hardware manufacturer wants that.

        Even content
    • Re:The Cloud! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ledow ( 319597 ) on Friday April 04, 2014 @10:26AM (#46660621) Homepage

      You can replace "cloud service" with "service".

      Just about any business, service, or product you use you have to consider what happens if the company goes bankrupt. "But they'll never go bankrupt" is not an answer. You need to know what you'll do if they just go offline, now, today, and you never get your data back ever.

      If you haven't been working like that in your business since day one, you really need to consider your options. Whether it's a mobile phone provider, some VoIP service, your operating system vendor, your cloud services or - hell - your cleaners, your electrician or anything else, you owe it to yourself and your customers to have enough information to just carry on. Maybe with a blip. Maybe not 100% smooth and instant. But at least for business continuity purposes.

      Cloud is no different in this regard. I know of a bursar at a private school who questioned even things like in-house library services, window-cleaning companies (with long-term contracts) and IT support contracts on the basis of "What if you go bankrupt today?" It's a sensible question to ask - of them and of yourself - and vital for business continuity in anything the smaller of outfits.

      They will not tell you if they are going bankrupt until it's too late. Hell, we had an AV vendor go into administration. They didn't say a word and we only found out when it had been a while since our last signature update and went to their website.

      • Re:The Cloud! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by glasshole ( 3569269 ) on Friday April 04, 2014 @10:35AM (#46660719)
        I think these cloud services are a little different. You probably physically purchased games that are now unplayable because they don't have servers to connect to. Similarly if you bought a Chromebook and Google discontinued the Docs service you'd have purchased a very pretty brick.
        • So we are calling full x86 machines 'bricks'?
          • Again do we really expect the target Chromebook consumer to be able to install Linux on them? Chromebooks are meant for mom and dad who can't fend off viruses and updates on their PC...
            • The chromebook is basically a lightweight computer that boots directly to a web browser with built in shortcuts to google docs (now drive). If google drive goes away, you pay your nephew a bag of doritos to change the bookmarks to office360 or what-ever service you decide to switch to (and move your existing files over) and move on with your life.
          • So we are calling full x86 machines 'bricks'?

            All it takes is the right bootloader. Chromebooks arguably aren't draconian enough to qualify; but had Google omitted the unlock they provided, which they could have, they would qualify.

          • I have 3 old x86 systems which yes, I would call bricks. They work well, it's just that they are so old and so slow I can't even give them away.
        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

          Docs on ChromeOS works offline, and can save to USB drive in formats that can be opened by other apps like LibreOffice. It would be annoying but wouldn't brick your laptop.

          Are there many games that are unplayable without the servers? Genuine question, I don't play that much so I don't know. My old copy of Medal of Honour Allied Assault is pretty much worthless now as I only ever cared about the online stuff that is long gone, but technically I can still play the single player mode.

          • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

            Agree. Something like Google Docs is more of a long-term thing than a video game as well. You can still buy WordPerfect, after all.

            I tend to put as much of my stuff in the cloud as I can. However, I regularly back up everything I have in the cloud locally, in some file format I'm likely to be able to do something with if the need arises. With something like a multiplayer game service, that isn't an option. I don't really care about multiplayer games much, so to me it wouldn't be a big loss. If I reall

            • by tepples ( 727027 )

              With something like a multiplayer game service, that isn't an option.

              If it were possible to implement the same matchmaking API on a different server, of course it would be an option.

              • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

                With something like a multiplayer game service, that isn't an option.

                If it were possible to implement the same matchmaking API on a different server, of course it would be an option.

                That is always possible, as is a clean-room re-implementation of Gmail. That doesn't mean that either is likely to happen. I imagine the feasibility will depend on just what the server actually does - if it is ONLY matchmaking then it would be more likely to happen than if the server actually executes game logic.

          • Of course, then there's the issue of DLC purchased via online services. And then companies like 2K Games telling users they have to buy the DLC AGAIN since their title used Games for Windows Live, which is being shut down. So, people like me get ripped off for being legit, law abiding users.
        • If Google keeled over today, my email and docs would be a loss.

          I have some of the docs backed up locally, but not all (got used to using the cloud, don't know an easy full-google-docs backup tech). If email went guts up... argh. I do try to pull the mail archive periodically, but it is absolutely huge now. Beyond that, if I lose tagging - very likely in an export/import to different tool scenaro - then I lose a massive amount of organization that helps me find individual collections of email in 15 years wor
    • Couldn't agree more. Hell, my local win8 app installs are gone (or at least inaccessible) because I can't access the Microsoft Store - thanks cloud!

      Anyway, here's a list of games up to 2010 - some no longer rely on it but it's the best reference list I've been able to locate: []

    • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Friday April 04, 2014 @10:41AM (#46660753)

      That's the problem with clouds. Eventually, they rain.

    • No matter who it is, how long it has been around, or what the service is... if it is a cloud service it will one day go away.

      It's worth noting, as well, that you get extra demerits for a cloud service providing a proprietary set of capabilities.

      Losing an email address or having to switch web hosts is a nuisance; but dropping a new configuration into your IMAP client or copying some files to another HTTP server is fairly trivial. The big kicker with something like Gamespy is that what it did was more or less conceptually standardized (matchmaking, CD key checks, etc.); but not standardized-standardized. Indeed, because of pirac

    • if it is a service it will one day go away.

      Fixed that for you.

    • by msk ( 6205 )

      As hardware prices drop, just virtualize the cloud.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      No matter who it is, how long it has been around, or what the service is... if it is a cloud service it will one day go away.

      Actually, it's not just the cloud, it's Real Life(tm) too.

      That coffeeshop you buy your java brew from may decide one day to stop serving it at all. Or it may close up shop. Or it may change owners and molest the brew to something vile and undrinkable.

      The Cloud is not much different than anything else. Your favorite store might change hands, close down, stop offering the goods you want

  • by Ziggitz ( 2637281 ) on Friday April 04, 2014 @10:17AM (#46660545)
    Gamespy was the worst service ever. Client integratio was always atrocious, latency was horrific and any game that used a third party service like gamespy didn't have a large enough playebase to support online multiplayer.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Let me guess, you've only played console games that use peer-to-peer networking and don't support dedicated servers. I have news for you: GameSpy is not your problem, NAT is your problem. When there is no dedicated server, the player hosting the game is behind NAT, and the players joining the game are also behind NAT, you're going to get horrific latency and atrocious connection quality. GameSpy NAT negotiation is an amazing technical achievement, but NAT piercing is always a horrible hack. Don't blame

  • by ledow ( 319597 )

    Never got it to work anyway.

    I opened every port, changed every setting, fiddled with everything I could, never got even a lobby or anything going at all on the Gamespy games I have installed.

    Really weird because ANYTHING non-Gamespy just worked - whether Steam, Windows Live, some company-specific online lobby or - indeed - any TCP/IP based service whatsoever.

    Never got to the bottom of it, so just treated all Gamespy-based games as being offline games.

    Really wanted to play silly things like Age of Booty onli

  • Flight Simulator X was pretty awesome, but multiplayer sucked because of GameSpy.

  • Hurray, Arma. So let's spend a bunch of time and money on a game and then cheap out and ship out our CD authentication to a third party aaaaaaaaaand it's gone and nobody can play our multi-million dollar game. Good job, guys.

    This reminds me of The Witcher Enhanced Edition. They use some sort of DRM that uses a special fake device driver. It doesn't work at all with Windows 7. So they had to release a patch that's a bit hard to find on their website that just removed the DRM completely. But for a tim
  • by Scott Kevill ( 1080991 ) on Friday April 04, 2014 @10:43AM (#46660769) Homepage

    I'm the developer of GameRanger, a PC/Mac multiplayer online gaming service supporting over 600 games that has been running since 1999. Not very well known due to being Mac-only until late 2008, but just hit 5 million registered members last month mostly from word of mouth. Many of these games are ex-GameSpy or already had their existing services shut down long ago.

    I've been trying to reach out to any affected developers and publishers, as I'm well-positioned to be able to help out. My only interest is in keeping these games alive, no matter how small the player base is. I'm not sure if I can help with the console games; that may depend on Glu (I've reached out to them as well).

    • Someone should mod this up!
    • Very nice... How long until you shut down? :-)

      Why do we need this stuff? I thought the internet was P2P...

      • It is, but peer-to-peer doesn't mean "magic". Lots of older games are designed so that you can just plug in someone's IP to connect to their server. For the game to get a server list though, there has to be somewhere that hosts the list and will respond to clients requesting a copy of it. Basically, even for a P2P connection, you need some form of broker that points you over to where the "swarm" is.
        • That sounds like a design flaw, or maybe turning everything into client-server was intentional on the game vendors' part. I mean, a "phonebook" style of directory service is nice, but you shouldn't have to depend on it if you're just hooking up with a few friends who can text their IPs to each other. For a game service to be real, I should be able to connect with a thin client.

    • you're doing good work, thanks!
    • Well, I will be giving it a shot. Waiting on the install now. First I had ever heard of it, BTW.
  • by Jombieman ( 2742987 ) on Friday April 04, 2014 @10:48AM (#46660795)
    I don't get why a company gets bought out, then shortly afterwards gets shut down. Often the one thing that gives the company value is what gets shut down. Are the purchasing companies not aware that their purchase isn't of value after the fact?
    • by Kardos ( 1348077 )

      The value is less competition

      • Which is why I think, maybe companies should not be allowed to buy or merge with other companies. If you're not good enough to live alone, you die, period.

      • Gamespy was competition for nobody anymore. On the PC side of things, Steamworks dominates the market so completely at this point that removing Gamespy doesn't do anything. It's not like anybody was using it in current games anyway.

        On the console side, the consoles themselves are getting progressively better about offering this stuff to games on their platform. There simply wasn't a lot of reason to use Gamespy for any game development in 2013 or 2014, which is probably why the list of games affected doesn'

        • by Creepy ( 93888 )

          Which makes me wonder why Glu bought them at all. It seemed their first action was to kill the (gaming) website (or at least it shut down right around the time of the acquisition) and then dilute the brand and finally to shut it down completely. If it wasn't to kill competition, it sounds like a colossal waste of money.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      a) Always to eliminate competition
      b) Some part of the company bought is losing money
      c) Turns out the inhouse product is better and is replacing it (see A)

      You know what I find terrible? That we allowed companies like Autodesk, Adobe, and Microsoft to monopolize certain software, that it causes a "use or die" scenario.
      Autodesk should never have been allowed to purchase Maya after purchasing SoftImage XSI, as this allowed them to own 3 of 4 commercially used 3D modeling and animation programs out there.
      Adobe s

      • I'm afraid I have worked with Flash. If it is the solution, then you have an apocalyptic problem. I'd rather nail my head to a coffee table than ever have to work with Flash again.
    • by Spad ( 470073 )

      In situations where it's not blatantly trying to kill the competition, it's usually that someone unrelated to the industry in question buys a fairly popular but financially struggling service figuring "how hard can it be to make it profitable?" only to find out after a year or so that actually it's quite hard to make it profitable, which is why the previous owners couldn't do it, and now their options are to close it down or find some horribly insidious way to force money from its users, which invariably le

      • by Megane ( 129182 )

        actually it's quite hard to make it profitable, which is why the previous owners

        ...were so quick to sell

        Running a barely profitable service business and someone offers you Too Much Money to buy you out? Take that money!

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Sometimes the real value is in the liquidation of the company. If the hard assets of the company are worth more than the projected income, and the company can be bought for less than the hard assets, then it makes financial sense to liquidate before those assets lose value. That's why if you own a company that does your idealistic dream, never sell it. Someone else will dismantle or change it.
    • by Anrego ( 830717 ) * on Friday April 04, 2014 @12:16PM (#46661717)

      Three big ones:

      1) kill the competition
      2) assets (physical, people, and lately the big one: patents/other IP)
      3) seemed like a good idea but quickly proves to be way less profitable than expected (will probably be the case when Dice eventually sells or kills slashdot).

    • I don't get why a company gets bought out, then shortly afterwards gets shut down. Often the one thing that gives the company value is what gets shut down. Are the purchasing companies not aware that their purchase isn't of value after the fact?

      What is being purchased in a buyout doesn't have to be what was profitable to the original company. Consider the classic farm example.

      A farmer is making a living with a decent $10,000 yearly profit on his 100 acres. He provides the local community with fresh produce, pays his taxes, and is putting away a decent amount into his savings. By all accounts, his business is doing well. He then receives an offer to buy his farm, as-is, for $3,000,000. The farm is sold.

      However, the company that purchased the f

    • The most common one is the company still has a lot of good employees, and the buyer wants those.

      Another common reason is that if the company has good credit you can buy them, borrow a bunch of money, pay yourself consultancy fees from the borrowed money and then let the company go bankrupt. It's called "Vulture Capitalism".

      It also works if a company owns a lot of property. The sci-fi pulp magazines went out of business in the 80s because their distributor got bought out when somebody noticed they we
  • Three cheers for DRM! This is why I only play older games. I know that I will always be able to play them in the future (as long as dosbox and wine still work).
    • by lgw ( 121541 )

      You can play a few newer games too. Anything you can get on GOG will be DRM free. I always check there before Steam now: even for a $3 game, I'd rather get the DRM version if it exists.

  • Games can be every bit as meaningful and artful as movies, film, sculpture, painting, photography, digital art, etc. However, art is not born with a needless death sentence. Some art is made to be fleeting and rejoices in the temporary nature of our entropic existence. However, this is somewhat rare, and most rarely still is it a necessity of art works that they destroy themselves unless a huge stream of revenue is ever present. If games are to be as respected as art and worthy of cultural investment by

  • Well, thanks to the hard work of the software pirates of yore, this shouldn't be much of an issue. While many of them just wanted a free game, or the reputation of cracking the most games, or just worked with the joy of an engineer solving an interesting problem, at least some of them were probably working actively to free(libre) games... imagine if paintings expired with their painter, or (as many did) were lost when their painter's patron was deposed and his holdings sacked... imagine if movies stopped pl
  • All multiplayer games should have the option to create and host your own games without relying on undisclosed hosting software.

  • If it means the end of GameSpy Voice "chat" -- aka some people are silent and some people HAVE THE VOICE OF GOD -- I am okay with any other ripple effects.

  • That is precisely why I refuse to buy games that require Steam or other online DRM services to play. The last game I purchased was Oblivion; love it, but you don't have to have a service to play it. Unreal Tournament is pretty good also but anyone with a fast connection can host that game without requiring a special service to play.
  • Not that anyone has been warning about DRM linked to servers being a failure. I wonder how much they are going to be sued for?

  • With cloud-based stuff, you never know how soon plugs are going to get pulled.

    On the plus side, people may become more aware and wary of what may happen when depending on online services so we may hopefully have more offline options in the future.

  • Friends play gw2 before and now he play swtor, and has spent lots of money to buy some gold or item or leveling from igxe website( ) ,even every time he can get 8% codes ( IGXECODE69562 )from there, but i also feel it is so expensive, and can save some money .

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp