Update: The master server is back online.
Over the past month, the multiplayer matchmaking service GameSpy has been closing down servers across a selection of games according to reports from frustrated gamers and developers. Among the games affected, according to a Slashdot correspondent, are Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2, Star Wars: Battlefront, Sniper Elite, Hidden and Dangerous 2, Wings of War, Microsoft Flight Simulator X, SWAT 4 and Painkiller. Some games are still able to directly connect if the player knows the IP address, but otherwise multiplayer has been disabled for these classic games.
This move comes only months after GameSpy’s acquisition by GLU Mobile, a publisher of “freemium” games across mobile, tablet and browsers, in August.
GameSpy kept the servers going for as long as they could, but the company could no longer provide services without publishers paying the bills. “GameSpy Technologies – a separate entity from GameSpy.com – is a service provider to game publishers. Each publisher contracting with GameSpy Technologies elects at its sole discretion whether or not to maintain support for its titles,” the statement read.
According to Rebellion, maker of Sniper Elite, the decision was made without its input and it has little means of rectifying the situation. “We have been talking to [Glu Mobile/GameSpy] since to try and get the servers turned back on,” said the developer in an official statement. “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.” So the servers will stay off.
It is kind of crazy that these games still continued to have support when the publishers refused to pay – Four years! Egads. – and there’s nothing wrong with GameSpy shutting down the service if publishers can’t be bothered to keep the lights on.
“The situation is identical to fans attributing fault to the hosting company of a popular website for ceasing hosting services, when the website owner refuses to pay its hosting bill,” the statement reads.
When you put it like that, it’s kind of hard to blame GameSpy. It seems like they kept the faith by allowing publishers a long leash and the company just won’t let those delinquents get away without paying anymore.