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GameSpy Multiplayer Shutting Down, Affecting Hundreds of Games

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the things-you-may-no-longer-experience dept.

Cloud 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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The Cloud! (5, Insightful)

glasshole (3569269) | about 6 months ago | (#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! (5, Insightful)

rhsanborn (773855) | about 6 months ago | (#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.

Re:The Cloud! (2)

Desler (1608317) | about 6 months ago | (#46660589)

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?

Re:The Cloud! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46660777)

Since wget and rtmpdump.

Re:The Cloud! (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 months ago | (#46661081)

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! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46661657)

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

Since when has the conversation been about streamed content? I can purchase digital versions of books and movies from Amazon and Apple you know (I don't know anything about the Roku, so I cannot comment on that).

Re:The Cloud! (5, Informative)

Enry (630) | about 6 months ago | (#46660681)

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.

Re:The Cloud! (-1, Troll)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 6 months ago | (#46660847)

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.

No. If you download iTunes songs they have DRM unless you pay extra for the "iTunes Plus" service which makes each song more expensive. So there is an option to get the non-drmed version but I doubt very many of their customers understand the difference.
http://support.apple.com/kb/ht... [apple.com]

Google does the following: Google Music will take control of playlists and hide any cloud-sync'd mp3s in a special folder with numbers for names (eg. 100.mp3, 101.mp3, 102.mp3, etc)

Amazon will only let you download the files to a single authorized device. There are ways around this, but again, most of their users wouldn't have a clue.

Long story short, if any of these companies drop their music service MOST of their customers would lose their songs. DRM or not.

Re:The Cloud! (1)

PReDiToR (687141) | about 6 months ago | (#46660889)

I'd heard that you could redownload without DRM [tuaw.com] now.

Re:The Cloud! (2)

Enry (630) | about 6 months ago | (#46661011)

Did you just come out of a wormhole or something? Some of that might have been true 5 years ago, but none of it is now. There is some DRMd iTMS music that I purchased 10 years ago, but everything recently has been without DRM. I've been able to download from both Google Play and Amazon across multiple mobile and desktop/laptop devices.

Re:The Cloud! (0)

Desler (1608317) | about 6 months ago | (#46661095)

Did you just come out of a wormhole or something?

Nope, just simply another ignorant person who spews "facts" about things they really have no clue about.

Re:The Cloud! (5, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | about 6 months ago | (#46661041)

No. If you download iTunes songs they have DRM unless you pay extra for the "iTunes Plus" service which makes each song more expensive

Songs on iTunes haven't had DRM since 2009.

Re:The Cloud! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46661059)

Actually, iTunes MP3's do NOT have DRM. Movie and TV shows are a different story, but the music is DRM free (by default, with no extra charge).

Re:The Cloud! (1)

Megane (129182) | about 6 months ago | (#46661387)

Actually, iTunes doesn't have MP3s at all, they use AAC.

Re:The Cloud! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46660903)

You can buy streaming TV shows and movies from Amazon. Or, really, you're buying a license to stream it "in perpetuity", but the distinction is not going to be clear for most people. If Amazon shuts down its streaming service, the movies you bought on the service would go up in smoke.

Re:The Cloud! (3, Interesting)

praxis (19962) | about 6 months ago | (#46662885)

I got bitten when I tried to watch a movie I had purchased from Amazon in my hotel room in Canada. They were at least nice and allowed me to refund all of my digital purchases, which I did.

well...no (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46662115)

Amazon Video still has DRM, that relies on old PlaysforSure servers for video you buy.

Re:The Cloud! (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 6 months ago | (#46662207)

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 Fifa or Madden.

Re:The Cloud! (4, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | about 6 months ago | (#46660621)

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! (5, Insightful)

glasshole (3569269) | about 6 months ago | (#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.

Re:The Cloud! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46660789)

"Similarly if you bought a Chromebook and Google discontinued the Docs service you'd have purchased a very pretty brick."

Or, you know, I could just put a more traditional flavor of Linux on it.

At the IT firm I work, we're experimenting with making Chromebooks into dedicated thin clients to replace some of our customers' aging XP systems*.

It's worked pretty well so far.

*that I thought we'd never get them off

Re:The Cloud! (2)

glasshole (3569269) | about 6 months ago | (#46660845)

Totally, that is what you and I would do. But that isn't viable for every Chromebook consumer, or even the majority of them.

Re:The Cloud! (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 6 months ago | (#46660843)

So we are calling full x86 machines 'bricks'?

Re:The Cloud! (1)

glasshole (3569269) | about 6 months ago | (#46660973)

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...

We expect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46661599)

We expect that they'll do what they always do when they have a hardware/software problem - call a techie friend for help or pay someone $50 to fix it for them.

Re:The Cloud! (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 6 months ago | (#46662493)

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.

Re:The Cloud! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 months ago | (#46661155)

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.

Re:The Cloud! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46661929)

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.

They are a little different, but that is a similarity, not a difference you just described.

The difference, is that it probably was not spelled out that "we might take down the servers at some point in the future, rendering your game uselsss".

Re:The Cloud! (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 6 months ago | (#46662239)

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.

Re:The Cloud! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46661767)

And they do that because of stock valuations and public reaction. If you declare too early you risk a panic bank run that will surely sink the ship. ...why make it inevitable if there's still some barrel left to scrape?

MOD PARENT DOWN! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46660645)

How dare you criticize the cloud! You anti-technology BIGOT. If it weren't for the cloud, you wouldn't be here today.

Also, Microsoft sucks, Linux is awesome, every home needs 1000000 terabit broadband, and who cares if anything is correct or not. Now bring me my salt lick!

Re:The Cloud! (2)

JMJimmy (2036122) | about 6 months ago | (#46660717)

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: http://www.poweredbygamespy.co... [poweredbygamespy.com]

Re:The Cloud! (5, Funny)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 6 months ago | (#46660753)

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

Re:The Cloud! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 months ago | (#46661043)

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 piracy fears and the general evil of console makers, it is more likely than not that the system was hardened against the introduction of protocol-interoperable 3rd party servers (whether it be fairly weak obfuscation, SSL-style cryptographic verification of the server, litigation-in-the-vein-of-BnetD, or whatever).

'Cloud' as in 'you can talk to an API rather than a salesman if you want to buy some' is a very, very, different story from 'cloud' as in 'irreplaceable or difficult-to-replace aspects of the process run on our systems and we deign to provide you with a client to access them'.

Re:The Cloud! (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 6 months ago | (#46661115)

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

Fixed that for you.

Re:The Cloud! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46661159)

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.

Not just what is considered "cloud". Companies aren't forever.
I looked through my old games. Team 17, System 3, Westwood Studios, Blue Byte.
Sure, you can probably trace some of those game companies into the current ones but it could be worth to think about if you consider buying a game that requires you to check against a server before playing.

And nothing of value was lost (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46660515)

Seriously, GameSpy was just the worst.

Re:And nothing of value was lost (1)

mooli (101362) | about 6 months ago | (#46660573)

Not when it came out .....

Re:And nothing of value was lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46660601)

Yea, everything was so much better back before GameSpy was around and we used to use.... nothing. I'm going to guess that you didn't play online games back in the 90's pre GameSpy, the service was pretty much revolutionary. Previously, online "matchmaking" consisted of sharing server IP addresses on forums and IRC.

Re:And nothing of value was lost (1)

mooli (101362) | about 6 months ago | (#46660641)

Agreed ... GameSpy didn't evolve and became bloated over time but when it first came out, there was nothing like it.

Re:And nothing of value was lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46660703)

And like most things in life, the more basic solution still works, while the do-everything-for-you-automated-process does not.

Re:And nothing of value was lost (2)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 6 months ago | (#46660931)

kali was pretty fun way back when :) seemed to cater more to the RTS crowd (warcraft 2) though.

Re:And nothing of value was lost (1)

Scorchmon (305172) | about 6 months ago | (#46660957)

There were other options like Django, MPlayer, TEN, Kali, and Kahn. QuakeSpy/GameSpy became the dominant service.

Re:And nothing of value was lost (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 6 months ago | (#46662025)

Mmmm.. QuakeSpy. TF, go! Ping 4 concurrent servers, filter for pings below 300, load from x, y, and z server list. Come back 15 minutes later.

Re:And nothing of value was lost (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 6 months ago | (#46661331)

"Yea, everything was so much better back before GameSpy was around and we used to use.... nothing."

HEAT.NET

TEN.COM

GameSpy wasn't the only thing around back then. I'm going to guess you never actually played games very seriously.

Re:And nothing of value was lost (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46663071)

I'm going to guess you never actually played games very seriously.

Whoa look out! We got a SERIOUS GAMER over here guys.

Re:And nothing of value was lost (1)

Rakarra (112805) | about 6 months ago | (#46661473)

Previously, online "matchmaking" consisted of sharing server IP addresses on forums and IRC.

At least that worked. Being shuttled into GameSpy when they bought earlier multiplayer services like Heat made getting those games running orders more difficult.
But multiplayer in the last 90s and early 2000s SUCKED, as almost every game assumed a computer was attached directly to the Internet connection with no NAT and no firewall. Diablo 2 was amazing in its simplicity: if you didn't want to use Battle.net, you could use the direct TCP/IP method. Just poke one port in your firewall and it just worked. None of this "forward 10 UDP ports" idiocy. None of this "the IP address of your computer is embedded in the data stream and the other game tries to connect to that, but your machine is NATted so that will never work" bullshit. And none of that Microsoft DirectX networking idiocy. Now NAT and firewalls are everywhere because everyone has multiple devices connected to their broadband and no one uses IPv6.

Nothing of value was lost (2)

Ziggitz (2637281) | about 6 months ago | (#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.

Re:Nothing of value was lost (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46660613)

You speak the truth.

Re:Nothing of value was lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46660773)

Because Civilization and Grand Theft Auto didn't have a large enough "playebase"?

Re:Nothing of value was lost (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 6 months ago | (#46662809)

Because Civilization and Grand Theft Auto didn't have a large enough "playebase"?

Not for MP they don't. Those games are predominantly solo affairs.

And? (1)

ledow (319597) | about 6 months ago | (#46660563)

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 online but just never got the chance. It won't be missed.

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46660841)

I guess the question becomes how was the experience with other gamers!

Two problems which will kill off these services

Gamers being a--holes, cheating [which could mean a host of things besides the obvious 'cheating'}, being arrogant, buying their way to the top, ect..

and game developers forcing DRM

It is extremely strange you buy Gamespy games and can't play them online. But every other game worked!! You could try to find a tech journalist geek from any of the various linked publications from /. stories, see if he/she would be interested in digging into it. Maybe run a story on not just your experience but how the whole thing from top to bottom failed.

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46661471)

I never used GameSpy specifically, but the problem might have been our good friend IPX.

IPX became the bane of trying to get older games to work as TCP/IP took off and IPX/SPXM became more obscure.
 

IPX (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46660587)

I miss the good old IPX days...

Re:IPX (1)

stewsters (1406737) | about 6 months ago | (#46660831)

Speaking of ipx, does anyone know how to get Diablo 1 lan to work on recent versions of windows? Back in xp you could enable ipx and get it to work.

Re:IPX (1)

Terko (813598) | about 6 months ago | (#46661567)

http://1radpc.com/joomla/index... [1radpc.com] :.. http://diablo.incgamers.com/fo... [incgamers.com] IMO first link is better and more detailed. You have to have Hamachi installed. Not sure what exactly what that is tho...a quick google can solve that. I literally just happened to be wondering question a few days ago, hence the links above. Hope it helps.

Gamespy server lists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46660687)

I used to run the Gamespy server lists, back in the day, pre-quakeworld. It didn't require much in resources, really, but when we changed from planetquake to gamespy, a bunch of programs stopped working. It was pretty bad.

Hopefully, the games that are not abandon-ware can move to a different URL provided by the community. But if it is abandon-ware, then they're basically hosed.

Sadly, I considered this era ended years ago. oh well.

GameSpy ruined FSX MP (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 6 months ago | (#46660701)

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

I'm sure just about everyone will agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46660707)

GameSpy was garbage anyway. Their closure will bring about better things.

You can't blame them entirely, most of the fault was probably on the side of the game developers themselves, and not on GameSpy, who probably struggled a whole lot to make it work as well as it did among such a massive plethora of game development companies.

I'll never forget the days of playing Rainbow Six and Rogue Spear on MPlayer, though. Those were good times.

Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46660725)

Not the first or the last, Total Entertainment Network (TEN) also went the way of the dinosaur.

Third party matchmaking is a bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46660729)

Just another in a long, long line of matchmaking services that have closed and rendered years of games worthless (Heat.net, WON, etc.). The GameSpy closure will, in particular, ruin the enjoyment of hundreds of games.

Take note, developers. Do not export a crucial part of your game to a third party and trust that it will be around forever.

morons! (0)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 6 months ago | (#46660747)

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 time, nobody could play it. What a bunch of greedy idiots.

Re:morons! (0)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 6 months ago | (#46660867)

Calling CD Projekt Red a bunch of greedy idiots won't make you a lot of friends around here.

Re:morons! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46661425)

They make shit games so who gives a shit?

Re:morons! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46661729)

The truth hurts. And they WERE a bunch of greedy idiots. It's a dammed fact. Oh you run windows 7? No game for you! haha we got your money!

And when their next games like Cyberpunk 2077 come out. I WON'T be rushing out to buy until i hear all about it from actual customers and pirates. And forget anything like a preorder. Fuck no.

Heck maybe i'll just pirate it. They fucked me over once. Maybe i feel i'm due to fuck them over. Pirate it asap and then someday buy it from the $5 bin.

Re:morons! (3, Informative)

lgw (121541) | about 6 months ago | (#46661915)

And then they learned their lesson. They now run Good Old Games, 100% DRM free, and The Witcher (sequel something something) is the first AAA title to go DRM free on GOG.

GameRanger already supports many GameSpy games (5, Interesting)

Scott Kevill (1080991) | about 6 months ago | (#46660769)

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).

Re:GameRanger already supports many GameSpy games (1)

InfiniteBlaze (2564509) | about 6 months ago | (#46660827)

Someone should mod this up!

Re:GameRanger already supports many GameSpy games (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46661273)

Only interest is keeping the games alive, and the other interest is... profit.

Re:GameRanger already supports many GameSpy games (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 6 months ago | (#46661315)

Very nice... How long until you shut down? :-)

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

Re:GameRanger already supports many GameSpy games (1)

oneeyedziggy (3461953) | about 6 months ago | (#46662621)

you're doing good work, thanks!

Why do companies buy then shutdown something (4, Interesting)

Jombieman (2742987) | about 6 months ago | (#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?

Re:Why do companies buy then shutdown something (2)

Kardos (1348077) | about 6 months ago | (#46660835)

The value is less competition

Re:Why do companies buy then shutdown something (0)

Stormwatch (703920) | about 6 months ago | (#46661575)

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 not competition (1)

Tridus (79566) | about 6 months ago | (#46662515)

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't include a whole lot of even remotely current stuff.

Buying to remove competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46661161)

They pay to destroy the competition.

The price paid is what they think they'll gain over a period of a couple of years, plus a bit of a sweetener to the owners to let the deal pass through.

At the purchase point everyone is babbling inane PR crap, how wonderful this is and how nothing changes, and how now there are resources to do all new things and EXPAND and GROW and unicorns and kittens and so on. This is understandable. Wouldn't you say so too, if you got a few hundred million dollars?

The owners chug along for a few years at most until they either go "looking for new challenges" or get another managerial position within the new organization.

In either case the original business is long gone. Whether the world as a whole benefitted is unclear, sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Re:Why do companies buy then shutdown something (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46661185)

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 should never have been allowed to purchase Macromedia, as this allowed them to eliminate one competitor and destroy the one good thing (flash) that Macromedia was known for. In hindsight, if Adobe didn't, Microsoft or Apple would have, and one of them owning Macromedia would have been worse. It was also a betrayal of getting SVG into browsers.
Microsoft Office, yes there are alternatives, but people still send Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint files in emails with the assumption that the other person can read it.

So seeing this issue with Gamespy, or developers integrating a little too snuggly with Steam means that at some point down the road, these games are simply going to not work without being hacked/fan-patched, thus ruining any integrity the game has for multiplayer. If it had any to begin with. The Wii/DSi/DS games don't have an option to make them work short of playing them in an emulator and emulating the gamespy servers. This is something that Nintendo in theory could do themselves.

Before we allow companies to merge, we should be asking, what would happen if the company bought it only to shut it down. Not simply "is there more than one program that X company doesn't own that serves the same purpose?" Because that Autodesk thing really pisses off a lot of people inside the industry and out.

Re:Why do companies buy then shutdown something (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46661447)

For me, the awful way that City of Heroes and it's shutdown were handled will always represent this. I cried over a video game, and you would have too.

Re:Why do companies buy then shutdown something (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46662545)

Softimage was killed by AutoDesk a few weeks ago....
as for Adobe they killed Freehand, Fireworks, Homesite, JRun. Coldfusion is kind of on life support and the rest has been digested thank you very much.

Re:Why do companies buy then shutdown something (2)

Spad (470073) | about 6 months ago | (#46661249)

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 leads to a fairly quick death anyway a few months down the line.

Re:Why do companies buy then shutdown something (1)

Megane (129182) | about 6 months ago | (#46661499)

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!

Re:Why do companies buy then shutdown something (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46661255)

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.

Re:Why do companies buy then shutdown something (4, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | about 6 months ago | (#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).

Re:Why do companies buy then shutdown something (2)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about 6 months ago | (#46662697)

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 farm lets the equipment rust, the fields go fallow, and the barn collapse. Why would they purchase a profitable farm if all they were going to do is let weeds grow and shut it down. The answer comes later, when 400 future housing plots are identified for sale at $400,000 each. Turns out, while the farm was profitable, the land was worth MUCH more as a housing development. Rather than earn $10,000/year in profit through hard work, the purchasing company turned a $3,000,000 purchase into a $160,000,000 real estate deal.

The farm could have continued, as it was making a profit, but it wasn't making nearly as much of a profit as it could have made. (not that I like farm's beind developed, but I think this is a good example to demonstrate why seemingly profitable enterprises get shut down after a buyout)

GameSpy closure will affect CD-key authentication (2)

Culture20 (968837) | about 6 months ago | (#46660969)

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).

Re:GameSpy closure will affect CD-key authenticati (1)

lgw (121541) | about 6 months ago | (#46661955)

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.

Re:GameSpy closure will affect CD-key authenticati (1)

lgw (121541) | about 6 months ago | (#46661981)

*the DRM-free version ...

nostalgia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46660981)

I used that service when I was playing Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. Man that game was great. I wish EA would do a reboot of that one. It deserve it imho. But they should introduce a mod system since the game is heavily modded on servers. it's actually one of the games that is still played while being old today. To me, this game aged well.

haha i pirates all those games (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46660993)

muhaha

Electronic Arts Origin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46661079)

I predicted this years ago. Just like I predict EA Origins will fail and what little games that rely on Origin will need to be changed, or more likely they will simply go away.

This is why the developer community should always build in capability to directly host games and use Steam.

Re:Electronic Arts Origin (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 6 months ago | (#46662889)

I predicted this years ago. Just like I predict EA Origins will fail and what little games that rely on Origin will need to be changed, or more likely they will simply go away.

This is why the developer community should always build in capability to directly host games and use Steam.

GameSpy fails!
It is known, Khaleesi.

Origin will fail!
Eventually, yes.

They will all fail!
Eventually, yes.

Include a server with the client.
Yes, please.

Use Steam!
Why? They're just going to fail eventually.

Never (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46661163)

Rely on 3rd party services unless you absolutely must, it doesn't matter what inconvenience it may bring, reliance on something external always meants you'll get shafted as the ultimate consequence, there are no exceptions.

A great alternative to GameSpy is Voobly (-1, Flamebait)

Embedded2004 (789698) | about 6 months ago | (#46661427)

I've been using Voobly.com for a few games that used to by hosted on GameSpy. In many cases, they've added some excellent third party patches, such as the AoE I HD fan patch @ http://www.voobly.com/pages/vi... [voobly.com] -- features include: HD resolution support, multi-mon, new map sizes, new map types (all free). Their AoE II support is 2nd to none, adding features like spectator mode (supporting over 100 spectators).

Some games shouldn't be considered art. (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 6 months ago | (#46662229)

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 our governments, as many claim they are, then they must be born as are the majority of all other art: With an everlasting spark of creativity, not in a self extinguishing fit of greed.

If the online game does not come with a stand alone server or simply allow reading of companion players IP addresses from a text file, then you do not have the whole game. When forced into the parasitic bond of planned obsolescence even the most artful of games will cease to be so, by definition. Those that leverage such artificial limitations as DRM authentication servers and do not grant the public a way to continue to experience the game for generations to come should NOT be considered art, and should not receive the benefit arts are afforded, such as grants from National Endowments for Arts. In contrast, if the games embrace everlasting eternal life then they perhaps types of "crowd funding" besides kickstarters can contribute to their success. If a game developer considers themselves an artist then I would recommend they stay away from publishers notorious for their poisoning of games with time release DRM venom. I can't see myself throwing a chunk of my creative potential into something destined to die and be forgotten.

Games that die needless deaths or suffer artificial online amputation are morned by appreciators of games as art. City of Heroes is a fine example. They remained profitable while newer attempts failed to do so, and this became an embarrassment to the studio; The monumental game became a monument to successive failures and it was killed to perhaps force folks to migrate to their new games. This is akin to burning precious paintings just so that future generations can not experience them. Games like Halo2 had their online features killed despite the machines only needing a list of IP addresses, and party chat on the new XBL friends with the game's logo next to their names; Halo3 had come out, and the goading to stop playing previous titles was quite obvious; Now you must repurchase it to play again online -- Ah, but that digital purchase doesn't work on the new Xbone. In addition to these TFA contains more examples and the recent history is rife with loss. If you think an expensive central server is required to list all the IP addresses of available game servers then take a look at how DHTs such as Bittorrent work. Anyone can modify a .torrent and add new trackers. Direct P2P links among all parties are established for voice chat in many online games anyway.

When in the midsts of some terrible stew many consider the situation "not so bad" since they can not make comparison with far brighter times ahead. Future historians will note that our Dark Ages were caused by DRM.

I cannot believe I miss the old days of gamespy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46662375)

It may have sucked but it was the only way to play Klingon Academy multiplayer. It also brings me back to the old days of Americas Army which blow away the new versions even if you had to use gamespy to find all the available servers.

the upside of piracy... (2)

oneeyedziggy (3461953) | about 6 months ago | (#46662575)

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 playing... frames fell out of order, audio garbled... when the original studios went under? They do to an extent... paintings and analog film decay or get lost... but unlike games there's no prohibition against restoring those original works, but rather a celebration of it... while the software pirates have to work in the shadows to keep old games playing, since their work is still technically illegal in the US... shame about that. (and not that stealing games just to save a buck is a good thing, game devs are under appreciated, and typically underpaid, the games usually being presented as the work of one master game designer... but cracking games to overcome DRM... to protect the consumer and cultural contribution against the short sightedness and/or budgetary concerns of studios... is most certainly a good thing.)

Now it seems silly you paid for a game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46662771)

you were really only renting.

Multiplayer should have a local option (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 6 months ago | (#46662919)

All multiplayer games should have the option to create and host your own games without relying on undisclosed hosting software.

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