Tons Of Classic PC Games Have Had Their Multiplayer Modes Silently Killed Off

Tons Of Classic PC Games Have Had Their Multiplayer Modes Silently Killed Off
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In August, mobile giants GLU Mobile bought Gamespy, which you may know as a gaming news site but which has mostly served lately as a multiplayer gaming hub for older titles.

Well, GLU haven’t taken long to start making an impression, quietly and without warning shutting down the multiplayer servers for games like Star Wars: Battlefront, the first two Neverwinter Nights titles, Sniper Elite, SWAT 4 and Microsoft’s Flight Simulator X.

Some of these can still be played by directly linking to another player’s IP address, but for most, that’s it. Game over. Rebellion, the developers behind Sniper Elite, have written a letter to fans of the game summing up the situation.

A few weeks ago, the online multiplayer servers for Sniper Elite were suddenly switched off by Glu, the third-party service we had been paying to maintain them.

For the past seven years we have run these servers at a cost to ourselves so that fans of Sniper Elite could continue to play online for free.

This decision by Glu was not taken in consultation with us and was beyond our control.

We have been talking to them since to try and get the servers turned back on. 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. We also do not have the option to take the multiplayer to a different provider. Because the game relies on Glu and Gamespy’s middleware, the entire multiplayer aspect of the game would have to be redeveloped by us, again, at the cost of many tens of thousands of pounds.

While we are not happy about the situation, as an independent developer we simply do not have the resources to pay the massive costs of new servers along with redeveloping a seven-year-old game.

We share the disappointment of fans who have played the game since it was published in 2005. This is not something we intended or wanted to happen, but unfortunately it has been beyond our control. We have always looked to support our fan community and we hope the past seven years of free multiplayer service have been evidence of that – we’re sorry that the servers have been shut down in this way.

We would like to thank all the fans who have continued to support Rebellion and Sniper Elite.

That’s some sad reading. There can’t have been that many people playing these older games, hence the decision to shut them down, but a little heads-up would have been nice.

Official Announcement from Rebellion’ Senior Management on SE1 server issue [Rebellion]

Gamespy [Facebook, via Slashdot]


    • Indeed, this is the primary reason I have always been dubious of services such as steamware, because in the event Steam were to shut down, for whatever reason, we lose everything. Not just multiplayer, but access to all our games. Online corporations such as GLU and Valve have next to no responsibility to the end-user, who invariably gets frozen out of any such issues the moment they arise. All we can do is deal with the situation after the fact

      • Regarding Steam, pretty sure Valve have stated that if they are ever going to shut down their service they will release an offline patch so there is no server authentication (or none done to them).

        • Most gamers have forgotten about the times before steam existed.
          I still purchase the disc copy even if its a steam release. I’Il run steam, since im forced into it, but I dont really support steam with thier direct sale. I’m stuck in my own ways except my new ways include buying the disc over the internet.
          I never really thought about steam shutting down and the implications of it. Im pretty sure there is an offline mode to steam at this moment. But if i had to reinstall everything the patches go directly through steam… tisk … Luckliy paranoid computer guys like me keep backups on seperate hard-drives.

        • Actually, I believe their EULA states the exact opposite, that they are not obliged to. The expectation is that they would, however.

        • If steam did go offline, sure, you can play in offline mode… however, what happens if you have to move to a new machine etc and have to reinstall steam.. How would you log in?

        • Whilst this is a partial resolution, you disregard the online databases which store the purchases. Reinstalling would be next to impossible as you would lose DLC/patch access. Not only that, but actual online purchases where you have a legal license to the game software would then become irrelevant as you no longer have access to the software itself for installation. Additionally what happens when Valve/EA/whatever eventually takes down their site removing access to the software itself? The bottom line is that cloud storage and online databases are all well and good, but at the end of the day you need a hard copy of the software as a backup in the event everything goes to hell. And that is what online services such as Steam fail to allow for.

  • Whilst I don’t wish to make light of the situation being experienced by PC players, perhaps systems like Xbox Live and PSN are better in a way because they don’t have as big a risk of a third party buying the servers and then switching them off. The PC community’s servers are, as far as I’m aware, quite fragmented, so you’ll have certain games that are well supported but others that have the rug yanked out from under them, sadly.

    • Unfortunately, consoles are not a safe haven these days either with the rise of third party account binding (such as U-Play and Origin). There have been several instances already of people losing access to their DLC (Such as the DA: O problem a while back) and being unable to play multiplayer all because the authentication required by the third party service was unavailable. Not to mention that Sony and Microsoft have pulled several titles from their respective services due to under-performance. Also, Microsoft shut the old XBox Live service down forever a couple of years ago, so I imagine that they will do the same to the current one after the new system comes out for a while.

      Unfortunately the reality of the world today is we are merely buying access to games with the proviso that at any time, we can have that access taken away…

  • The first SWBF? That’s sad….from memory, all Gamespy did was provide a server list….everything you found was a dedicated server some ISP/clan/person hosted.

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