New Modern Warfare Matchmaking Service Will "Definitely" Reshape PC Community

In a webcast this morning, Robert Bowling revealed the existence of IWNet, a matchmaking service Infinity Ward will operate beginning with Modern Warfare 2. But it ends dedicated servers, and fundamentally changes the culture of the game's PC community.

Bowling, the Infinity Ward community manager, said IWNet makes multiplayer more accessible to the PC community on Modern Warfare 2, replacing the need for dedicated servers that are hosted and managed by players. But the hardcore PC crowd to whom he was talking, on's webcast, did not take the news in a completely positive light.

"The silence you hear is because we've got a community right now structured such a way that relied on having dedicated servers," one of BASHandSlash's moderators told Bowling.

"You're definitely reshaping the way the community has been set up," another said later.

"Definitely," Bowling acknowledged.

Here's the score: by building up its own matchmaking service riding shotgun with Steam, "you can get in and play with players your same rank," Bowling said. However, "You're completely reliant on IWNet and there is no dedicated server or server list. You rely on IWNet for matchmaking and your games, but you still have your private matches."

The level of control over those matches allows players to set a wide array of parameters and rules for the game. But community features such as clans, and the high level of customisation available in hosting a modded game or custom map on one's own dedicated server, face an uncertain future, if not their end outright.

"Custom content, after the fact, keeps the game alive for us a lot longer," one of Bowling's questioners said.

"This is the first time we've ever done something like this, obviously," Bowling said, "and I know the team has huge plans for what IWNet develops into, and this is just the beginning. It's hard for me to speak personally toward IWNet, because that is a code heavy project."

Bowling reminded that this method of multiplayer delivery also allows Infinity Ward "a lot more control and structure for the PC version. From a development standpoint, it's very good on how we can access and update the PC community."

But before this is taken as the definitive end of modding and custom maps, Bowling clearly said "I don't have those answers yet," when asked further about how IWNet would affect that aspect of PC Modern Warfare play.

The entire conversation is archived here, and Bowling comes in at the 1:39:00 mark (that's one hour, 39 minutes). If this matters to you I definitely encourage listening to all of what he has to say before reacting.

But the news is not being taken well. The BASHandSlash guys referred to the vehemence in the chatlog running concurrent with the program, and terms such as "Black Saturday" and "a day of infamy" are being thrown around. "They've made Jesus cry," is another reaction, particularly from the competitive PC community whose future also is affected. "The server community is what's made us. It's what defined us," says Josh Pickler of "IW.NET is getting the PC community to turn into consoles. You're trying to re-write our history."

Bowling was steadfast in telling BASHandSlash that, for the whole of the community, IWNet will be a benefit.

"It's definitely going to be a change. It's going to be a very different setup than what we're previously used to in the Call of Duty franchise for the PC," In the long term it's going to help the community. It changes the way and how we're able to update and support the PC version."

It definitely bears watching, and keep in mind the story could change as Infinity Ward releases more information on IWNet.

MW2: Our Game Has Changed Forever [, thanks to all who tipped this]


    This will totally suck. Seriously, the ability of being able to select your server has always been one of the key bonus' of PC gaming.

    Aus/UK players being jammed into games with US hosts will simply destroy this games PC competative multi aspect on an international scale.

    Jeff Gerstsman also believes this will also be the point where Activision starts to charge for PC map packs, and I agree. This will ultimately fail however. The early model of Games for Windows Live shows that PC gamers are completely unwilling to pay for what they got for free previously.

    Canceling my pre-order! Everyone over on the Node forums is doing so as well. Apparentely Amazon put out some dollar figures on the number of cancellations but I don't have them handy.

    P2P hosting FAIL on PC.

    Not. Happy. Jan. Seriously, do they just hate their PC fanbase?

    They could implement this well but it is far easier for them to screw it up especially when there was already a very good system already in place. Infinity Ward remember if it's not broken don't fix it.

    Why is IW giving me more reasons to pirate the game? I went from wanting to preorder it to buying it on the first day to waiting till it goes on sale to not wanting to buy it at all over the period of this year. They may be doing this for purely good reasons but their actions over the past year show that they want to screw their PC fanbase more than anything else.

    Seriously... no pre-order bonuses for PC versions, same-length campaign as COD4 (which was way too short), no region filtering, and now this?

    Come on Infinity Ward! Australians have to put up with shit-house network performance on nearly all matchmaking services! This may just make me cancel my pre-order.

    I'm not as angry as most other PC players out there, cancelling pre-orders and signing that 'dedicated server support for MW2' petition (which is now currently at over 2000 sigs in under 12 hrs. :O), but this is definitely a kick in the family jewels for us. A high percentage of my online gameplay time is on dedicated servers.

    I remember anticipating, this time last year, a great multiplayer experience for GTA IV PC, only to find being disappointed by the lack of dedicated server support (thus lag) and decent anti-cheat system, which in turn made GTA IV MP on PC a failure. Games For Windows Live is a b*tch. Also, it feels weird when most games that I joined had German profanities sent back and forth.

    Hopefully MW2 and IWNet is a different, improved MP experience, at least over GFWL, and allows us Australian players play with other Australians.
    I'd hate to play a game hosted in the US, with a ping of over 400.
    Besides, judging by how much criticism has come out of the gaming community, dedicated server support will probably be implemented soon after release.

    Oh, and the idea of paying for DLC on PC is BS.


      Thanks for advising us of the petition. I signed, and in the time it took me to get from the 'you have signed' page to the 'show signatures' page, 20 more had.

      I am usually fairly trusting but removing dedicated server support for a ping-reliant genre is cause for me to reconsider my purchase.

    Was going to get the PC version, for its superior controls. Might switch to the PS3 (ugh) version now.

      NO! That's what they want you to do!

    Valve have created the best matchmaking system. The before mentioned system will suck hard.

      Valve still use dedicated servers though (on PC) - Even for a full matchmaking game, They give you a choice between a local hosted game or a dedicated server which is great. Hopefully IWNet does something similar, or they risk pissing off a whole bunch of people...

        you are not fully informed, while it will use valves anti cheat system IWNet will be seperate to steam, in the interview Bowling confirmed NO dedicated servers at all only listen servers, he may have gotten confused in his technical knowledge and terminology

    What's the deal? Do these guys not play video games?

    And there you go, IW has made me cancel the pre-order for what could have been the game of the year if it hadnt been for listening servers instead of dedicated servers.

    I hope more people will cancel their preorders, to make this stupid shit sting for IW. If I wanted to be fucked in the ass I would have bought a GOA game.

    If they do this right it will be great!
    But if they screw this up, like all MP on consoles which drop you in a server no where near you and you lag like hell, i will demand a refund for my MW2, I was GOING to preorder

    So what does this mean for PC LAN play?

    I pay hard money for games because I appreciate the work that's gone into them, but lately, with buggy releases, sloppy and insulting console ports (Press A to start!) and now this matchmaking idiocy, it is getting harder and harder to confidently drop $100 on the counter and expect a good experience. All of my planned AAA release purchases are being postponed by one or two months while I search the internet for bug complaints, I've cancelled preorders, and the money is instead going into indie games.

    OMG what a load of crap did they not look into other games that use p2p which all lag like a bitch and matchmaking which didn't work for battlefield heroes which i imagine would still be played if it didn't have it.

    I'm not a PC gamer so i don't know EXACTLY what this means overall but it looks reeeeeal ugly.

    Someone mentioned above - do they hate their PC fanbase. It's a shame if they feel that way. I personally believe Call of Duty started out really as more of a PC game rather than console. Only until COD3 came out and then the suspense for COD4 did it really pick up as more of a console game.

    I wonder what their REAL reasons are and if its a mere decision on behalf of Activision or Infinity themselves.

    This could perhaps be worse than what the L4D2 boycott could have been.

    this is complete BS...come on i love halo's matchmaking, but thats a console not a pc, what is IW thinking? WHO KNOWS


    Just how are they trying to "Reshape [the] PC Community"? By trying to make it more like the console community, something many PC gamers steadfastly AVOID? Once again we have an example of some (seemingly) intelligent people taking something that worked just fine and screwing it up monumentally.

    See ya later, CoD. We had a great thing going, but I just don't think things are going to work out now. I would say "it's not you, it's me," but that would be a lie. It IS you.

    Matchmaking saddens me.

    The amount of time i spend waiting for halo 3 games compared to how quick i can play Counterstrike on the PC is significant.
    and what about the 3-am gamers, it's always nice to have a server of people uplate gaming like you.

    Servers build community.
    Matchmaking is horribad.

    I go as far as to catorgarize it with DLC.

      Did not even think about that. This is a very valid point. I am one of these 3am Gamers you speak of... Pre-order canceled until further notice!!!!!

    oh crap i just realized that the servers aren't gona be hosted in Australia fucking hell way to go IW u knobs

    :'( Not happy...


    I dont want to jump onto the whole boycott campaing but my WoW guild and I were looking to setup our own dedicated server for the down times. Looks like were going to have to go back to TF2 or MW1 and be content.

    This is a load of bullshit! How can they do this to the pc gaming community. TBH it's a right royal kick in the gonads. Pc games are great because of being able to actually choose ur own server and have servers that are actually hosted near you. I'm Extremely pissed off. I hope to hell they fix this quick. If it's in the final pc product I'm gonna be sooo mad.

    So basically they are making on xbox live type service, it'll be like COD4 for the 360, but on PC!

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