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]


    wtf ........................... fuck off IW im caning both the Xbox (NV copy) and my pc copy and boycoting your brand as well fucking console lovers

    p.s sorry to my clan for the bad words :P

    This is a petition to have Activision & IW bring back dedicated servers. If you give a damn about the PC community, please sign this and pass it on.

    I am not impressed with this. IW, why don't you keep the BS and say it like it really are a greedy corp. that is doing this not for the good of the game or gamer but to get into our pocketbook.
    Consoles are for kids and hosted servers are for the greediest of companies.
    This does not and will not , nor has it ever benefitted anyone EXCEPT the corp that FORCES you the consumer to use their servers...small choices, but it will eliminate the players input and community as you the PLAYER ,will become a number and a balance total for what you are supposed to pay them...calculated profit and rape of the consumer is ALL this is becuse it DOES NOT benefit the gamer community in any way...
    Don't be sheep people.

    I'll watch the future outcome on this and see how it looks. I'll keep an open mind, but don't really feel like I need my Community reshaped.

    I guess COD4 will remain the competitive choice.

    Servers are more than just boxes.

    They're an outlet for gaming clans to practice their strategies on. They act as prizes for teams to compete against, prolonging the longevity of the game and creating rivalries and feelings that imbue a game with the competitiveness that keeps games "alive" years after release.

    Servers are also freedom. Sometimes, I don't want to play on an Australian server. Sometimes it's just fun to load up Counter-Strike and pound some Americans into submission while they rage about how high my ping is. Sometimes I want the lowest ping possible.

    But either way I WANT THE CHOICE. And what the hell are we supposed to do for LAN parties? I hope there's still an option for local servers at least, otherwise there's some serious questions not being asked in the day-to-day meetings at IW.

    Facists. Die.

    This game is loosing alot of support from the gaming clans out there and everyone else who likes to chooses where we play. Everyone i know said they won't be buying this p.o.s game until they fix this.

    thanks for saving me $100.00.

    This sucks balls!!!

    I still play COD4 online most days and love a few of the community base mods on certain servers...

    I was going to buy it on release, but I will wait now and see how it pans out for the multiplay aspect.

    I'll still get it eventually, but trying to avoid it on consoles as that's exactly what the evil bastards want... :(

    very sad!!

    I just threw a benq monitor out an apartment window I hope they dont know it came from my story

    Sign the petition here:

    It probably won't do any good, seeing as they have no doubt already poured money into this shitty matchmaking system. Atleast they will be aware that many people would like the option of choosing a dedicated server (locally hosted) rather than connecting through a server hosted overseas.

    Wait, is this supposed to be a good thing? Cause I feel, like most of the other people here it seems, that it's absolutely useless.

    While I realise that it's been popular, the matchmaking system in Halo 3 as an example is a bit faulty because you never know who's hosting, and the person that IS would most likely be capped, or halfway around the world from you.

    And I don't like the way that it has to get 16 players before it puts you into a game, because it usually takes over 5 minutes to actually find the players and chuck you into a game.

    Halo 3 FTW

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