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GameSpy Sale Ends Sniper Elite Multiplayer

The Sniper Elite V2 Community Forum has a post from Rebellion senior management on multiplayer support in the original Sniper Elite, saying this was was switched off by Glu, the third-party now responsible for the shooter's GameSpy multiplayer support. As noted on Slashdot, Glu acquired the GameSpy multiplayer technology from IGN in August of this year (apologies for missing this then -- interestingly, this is not even yet reflected in the Wikipedia), saying at the time: "There will be no disruption in service to GameSpy's current customers and contracts as a result of this acquisition by Glu." Rebellion says that after seven years they will no longer be able to provide multiplayer support, as they are locked in by the current economics of having used the GameSpy middleware:

"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."

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17. Re: GameSpy Sale Ends Sniper Elite Multiplayer Dec 8, 2012, 16:04 ViRGE
 
Dev wrote on Dec 8, 2012, 14:41:
Protip: Use steam and things like this can be avoided. I think GFWL was in existence even back then, so even that piece of crap could have been used and probably gotten a kickback from MS.
Until 5 years ago, Gamespy was where Steam is today when it comes to multiplayer server backend services. Gamespy's master server had extremely high availability, scaled well into the hundreds of thousands of simultaneous clients, and their SDK was simple and easy to integrate into most games. When games like Sniper Elite were made, this was by far the best choice for a 3rd party server browser backend.

Furthermore at the time the idea of Gamespy changing hands was right up there with Gabe selling Valve. It just wasn't on the radar - there was no reason for Gamespy's owners to ever do it as the server backend service always turned a reasonable profit.

Of course in 2012 Gamespy isn't used nearly as much as it was back then. The core technology is sound, but it's archaic; it was designed in the era of Quake, optimized for arena shooter style dedicated servers, complete with heartbeats and people browsing lists of servers to find what they're looking for. It never properly evolved to handle P2P matchmaking (a something foisted on to PC users by console ports), and the lack of ancillary services (chat, etc) only widen the gap. Steamworks has effectively supplanted Gamespy in this day and age due to the combination of services Steam can offer and the vastly superior P2P matchmaking. Or to put that another way, with game companies doing so few native PC games and so many PC ports, these days they wanted a service that closely emulated Live/PSN to ease the porting, and that's something Gamespy couldn't do as well as Steam.

At this point Glu is straight up trying to extort game developers. Before the sale the going rate on something like Sniper Elite would be in the 4 digits; with the common Gamespy API and relatively few users, the load was minimal and Gamespy didn't need to do anything special to support the game. By charging tens of thousands of pounds Glu is trying to maximize their profits and milk everyone dry by charging rates many times the cost of providing the service. If they want tens of thousands of pounds for Snipe Elite, I can only imagine what they're charging EA for the earlier Battlefield games, which are far more active.

In any case, this is a shameful end to the Gamespy service. While it hasn't been relevant for new games for some time, it deserved better than to go out like this, with a vulture gaming company shaking down developers for every last cent they can get.

Dev wrote on Dec 8, 2012, 14:43:
I RTFA and got this:
There will be no disruption in service to GameSpy's current customers and contracts as a result of this acquisition by Glu.

If rebellion has a contract about the service they could probably sue to get it back on, especially since they can show they said publicly it wouldn't change.
The deals developers made with Gamespy depended on the developer, but from what I understand they'd sign a multi-year contract to cover the first couple of years of the game (when it would be the busiest) before reverting to a year-to-year basis. As usage for any given game dwindled, Gamespy kept their rates low, which meant even for a small number of users it was practically pocket change to keep paying Gamespy to continue supporting the game. Most likely Rebellion's 2012 contract has expired, and they are unwilling to pay Glu's rates for the next year. So there would be nothing to sue over; the contract ended and then Glu jacked up the rates immensely.

This comment was edited on Dec 8, 2012, 20:17.
 
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  1. Dec 8, 14:23 Re: GameSpy Sale Ends Sniper Elite Multiplayer Prez
  2. Dec 8, 14:40  Re: GameSpy Sale Ends Sniper Elite Multiplayer nin
  4. Dec 8, 14:42  Re: GameSpy Sale Ends Sniper Elite Multiplayer netnerd85
  6. Dec 8, 14:58   Re: GameSpy Sale Ends Sniper Elite Multiplayer Prez
  7. Dec 8, 15:02    Re: GameSpy Sale Ends Sniper Elite Multiplayer netnerd85
  8. Dec 8, 15:04     Re: GameSpy Sale Ends Sniper Elite Multiplayer Prez
  9. Dec 8, 15:05      Re: GameSpy Sale Ends Sniper Elite Multiplayer netnerd85
  10. Dec 8, 15:07       Re: GameSpy Sale Ends Sniper Elite Multiplayer Prez
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  13. Dec 8, 15:23         Re: GameSpy Sale Ends Sniper Elite Multiplayer Prez
  14. Dec 8, 15:27          Re: GameSpy Sale Ends Sniper Elite Multiplayer Elf Shot The Food
  15. Dec 8, 15:32          Re: GameSpy Sale Ends Sniper Elite Multiplayer netnerd85
  16. Dec 8, 15:47           Re: GameSpy Sale Ends Sniper Elite Multiplayer Prez
  18. Dec 8, 16:07           Re: GameSpy Sale Ends Sniper Elite Multiplayer Hyatus
  12. Dec 8, 15:17       Re: GameSpy Sale Ends Sniper Elite Multiplayer nin
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  31. Dec 9, 00:32        Re: GameSpy Sale Ends Sniper Elite Multiplayer netnerd85
  32. Dec 9, 01:42         Re: GameSpy Sale Ends Sniper Elite Multiplayer J
  25. Dec 8, 19:29      Re: GameSpy Sale Ends Sniper Elite Multiplayer zombiefan
  3. Dec 8, 14:41 Re: GameSpy Sale Ends Sniper Elite Multiplayer Dev
>> 17. Dec 8, 16:04  Re: GameSpy Sale Ends Sniper Elite Multiplayer ViRGE
  20. Dec 8, 17:34   Re: GameSpy Sale Ends Sniper Elite Multiplayer silvaril
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  35. Dec 9, 07:41      Re: GameSpy Sale Ends Sniper Elite Multiplayer ViRGE
  26. Dec 8, 19:34  Re: GameSpy Sale Ends Sniper Elite Multiplayer jdreyer
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