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EA Server Shutdowns

EA has updated its list of Service Updates, revealing multiplayer servers that are hitting end-of-life (thanks Polygon). They say such decisions are never easy, explaining: "We would rather our hard-working engineering and IT staff focus on keeping a positive experience for the other 99% of customers playing our more popular games. We hope you have gotten many hours of enjoyment out of the games and we appreciate your ongoing patronage." They also announce a change for their free-to-play games, saying they will all begin using the same virtual currency called "Play4Free Funds," a name which may strike users as ironic when they pay for them. There are only a few PC titles impacted: The Sims 2 for PC/MAC and TheSims2.com will shut down on January 14, FIFA Soccer 11 for PC and consoles will conclude on January 11, and FIFA Manager 11 for PC ends on January 3.

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42. Re: More Big Picture Details Dec 31, 2012, 18:45 Dades
 
Panickd wrote on Dec 31, 2012, 18:16:
That's a bit over dramatic. If Sim City (or any game for that matter) ends up insanely popular and EA pulls the plug someone will find a way to hack together some sort of server emulator that will allow people to keep playing until their eyeballs bleed.

People can't just throw together a server emulator lickity split, companies like EA are making it more and more difficult by putting things like AI on the server. Their whole reason for doing this sort of stuff is lack of alternatives, they want you behind their paywall for life, buying upgrades, DLC and whatever else they can dream up. Maybe it's the world we live in but people don't need to like it.

They are doing this intentionally, not a single person has offered an explanation of why they can't just run a glorified authentication server and use P2P if it's so cost ineffective for them to run multiplayer servers.

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41. Re: More Big Picture Details Dec 31, 2012, 18:43 HorrorScope
 
bhcompy wrote on Dec 31, 2012, 16:58:
Do you have any doubt that they will sunset the SC5 servers when the user threshold drops too low to effectively monetize the base through downloadable content?

None, it will shut down. To date I have personally not been effected one time by server shutdown, so I don't get worked up over something that hasn't hit me. But you might, so you have to do what you have to do. In a perfect world, they would run forever.
 
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40. Re: More Big Picture Details Dec 31, 2012, 18:41 HorrorScope
 
D_K_night wrote on Dec 31, 2012, 15:42:
my expectation is that 40 years from now, I dust off an EA game, and I expect to be able to play it.

I paid good money for that, and that expectation is neither whiny, entitled, nor misguided.

My Pong, Atari 2600, Odyssey, and Vectrex consoles TO THIS DAY still function.

AND NO I don't care if some of you think I won't be alive. What if I still am in 40 years.

Then I wouldn't buy any online only game from EA.
 
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39. Re: More Big Picture Details Dec 31, 2012, 18:37 Panickd
 
Sepharo wrote on Dec 31, 2012, 18:20:
Panickd wrote on Dec 31, 2012, 18:16:
Creston wrote on Dec 31, 2012, 17:32:
When EA decides that Sim City has lived its course, you will never, ever be able to play it again.

Some people find this perfectly acceptable, apparently, and will defend EA vigorously over this concept. I find it fucking retarded and refuse to pay money to a "rent our software for as long as we see fit to allow you to rent it," scheme.

Creston

That's a bit over dramatic. If Sim City (or any game for that matter) ends up insanely popular and EA pulls the plug someone will find a way to hack together some sort of server emulator that will allow people to keep playing until their eyeballs bleed. In fact my bet is that if it is a worthwhile title someone will do it shortly after the game launches. And shortly after that EA will go apeshit and sue someone somewhere over it and it will have little to no effect.

It's becoming more difficult to do cracks like that as online is integrated into every aspect of the game. Look at Diablo 3... anyone have a way for me to play that singleplayer yet? Last I heard it was quite a hassle, with tons of missing functionality like the mobs just standing around doing nothing.

I never said it would be a cakewalk for whoever decides to take up the task. But hacks like that are really driven by need. And with Blizzard happily letting you play Diablo 3 (or even Diablo 2) online there isn't a great urgency to it. But if Blizzard pulled the plug tomorrow I bet there would be a reasonably functional workaround for the game inside of a couple months. If they can do full on MMORPG server emulators (and there are plenty of those out there), Diablo 3 and other "always connected" games should be doable. All it takes is someone miffed off enough to do the work.
 
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38. Re: More Big Picture Details Dec 31, 2012, 18:20 Sepharo
 
Panickd wrote on Dec 31, 2012, 18:16:
Creston wrote on Dec 31, 2012, 17:32:
When EA decides that Sim City has lived its course, you will never, ever be able to play it again.

Some people find this perfectly acceptable, apparently, and will defend EA vigorously over this concept. I find it fucking retarded and refuse to pay money to a "rent our software for as long as we see fit to allow you to rent it," scheme.

Creston

That's a bit over dramatic. If Sim City (or any game for that matter) ends up insanely popular and EA pulls the plug someone will find a way to hack together some sort of server emulator that will allow people to keep playing until their eyeballs bleed. In fact my bet is that if it is a worthwhile title someone will do it shortly after the game launches. And shortly after that EA will go apeshit and sue someone somewhere over it and it will have little to no effect.

It's becoming more difficult to do cracks like that as online is integrated into every aspect of the game. Look at Diablo 3... anyone have a way for me to play that singleplayer yet? Last I heard it was quite a hassle, with tons of missing functionality like the mobs just standing around doing nothing.
 
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37. Re: More Big Picture Details Dec 31, 2012, 18:16 Panickd
 
Creston wrote on Dec 31, 2012, 17:32:
When EA decides that Sim City has lived its course, you will never, ever be able to play it again.

Some people find this perfectly acceptable, apparently, and will defend EA vigorously over this concept. I find it fucking retarded and refuse to pay money to a "rent our software for as long as we see fit to allow you to rent it," scheme.

Creston

That's a bit over dramatic. If Sim City (or any game for that matter) ends up insanely popular and EA pulls the plug someone will find a way to hack together some sort of server emulator that will allow people to keep playing until their eyeballs bleed. In fact my bet is that if it is a worthwhile title someone will do it shortly after the game launches. And shortly after that EA will go apeshit and sue someone somewhere over it and it will have little to no effect.

And before you go off on a "it shouldn't have to be that way" rant, I totally agree. But the world isn't always as we would like it to be and so we deal with what is.
 
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36. Re: EA Server Shutdowns Dec 31, 2012, 17:55 Dades
 
RollinThundr wrote on Dec 31, 2012, 17:38:
Listen, I've heaped my share of criticism EA's way over the years, especially with how they handled the Elevation Partners fiasco and what Bioware became because of it, but for shit like this, that ALL publishers do? C'mon, with all the reasons to hate EA or bash them, this isn't really that valid a reason.

I don't know what crack you're smoking but shutting down functionality of purchased content is about the most valid reason to bitch about companies as I can imagine short of them just taking your money and saying nyah nyah.

- DADES - This is a signature of my name, enjoy!
 
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35. Re: EA Server Shutdowns Dec 31, 2012, 17:41 Creston
 
RollinThundr wrote on Dec 31, 2012, 17:38:
Listen, I've heaped my share of criticism EA's way over the years, especially with how they handled the Elevation Partners fiasco and what Bioware became because of it, but for shit like this, that ALL publishers do? C'mon, with all the reasons to hate EA or bash them, this isn't really that valid a reason.

Why not? Publishers shutting down servers is bullshit. (seriously, this fable that "it's not cost effective to keep the servers running" is just horseshit. If only 2 people are playing mp, it doesn't fucking cost anything to keep it running either, since it's just an .exe that runs in a vm on a cluster somewhere. And that cluster runs anyways, so it literally saves them zero cents to ends these services.)

I think if Blue made a post about 2K shutting stuff down, we'd rightfully bitch at that too. I just can't remember any posts about other publishers doing it. Maybe EA should just stop announcing them.

Creston

 
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34. Re: EA Server Shutdowns Dec 31, 2012, 17:38 RollinThundr
 
Creston wrote on Dec 31, 2012, 17:28:
RollinThundr wrote on Dec 31, 2012, 16:55:
Tell that to 2k who likes to shut off game servers within a year when a game doesn't sell. Or not patch a particular console sku at all due to low sales numbers (the PS3 version of NHL2k10). Shit you guys would string EA up by the toes for.


So on the one point you argue that on bluesnews it's nothing but hate hate hate for everything, and then on the other hand you argue that we all love 2K (apparently.)

Which is it? Because I'm not sure the two are compatible.

Creston

Listen, I've heaped my share of criticism EA's way over the years, especially with how they handled the Elevation Partners fiasco and what Bioware became because of it, but for shit like this, that ALL publishers do? C'mon, with all the reasons to hate EA or bash them, this isn't really that valid a reason.
 
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33. Re: More Big Picture Details Dec 31, 2012, 17:32 Creston
 
bhcompy wrote on Dec 31, 2012, 16:58:
With Steam, we have a promise from Valve that if Steam ever sunsets you still own your game and Steam will effectively release it to you while disabling its own security. There is no such promise from EA regarding games like SC5 that are completely remotely hosted(and I have no idea if there is such a promise for Origin).

Those promises mean nothing. But if Steam goes down, I can get no-cd cracks for probably 99% of my games and play them until the universe ends.

When EA decides that Sim City has lived its course, you will never, ever be able to play it again.

Some people find this perfectly acceptable, apparently, and will defend EA vigorously over this concept. I find it fucking retarded and refuse to pay money to a "rent our software for as long as we see fit to allow you to rent it," scheme.

Creston
 
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32. Re: EA Server Shutdowns Dec 31, 2012, 17:28 Creston
 
RollinThundr wrote on Dec 31, 2012, 16:55:
Tell that to 2k who likes to shut off game servers within a year when a game doesn't sell. Or not patch a particular console sku at all due to low sales numbers (the PS3 version of NHL2k10). Shit you guys would string EA up by the toes for.


So on the one point you argue that on bluesnews it's nothing but hate hate hate for everything, and then on the other hand you argue that we all love 2K (apparently.)

Which is it? Because I'm not sure the two are compatible.

Creston
 
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31. Re: EA Server Shutdowns Dec 31, 2012, 17:13 Reckless
 
Don't agree with the practise but no longer buy any EA titles so doesn't affect me.  
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30. Re: EA Server Shutdowns Dec 31, 2012, 17:02 Dades
 
RollinThundr wrote on Dec 31, 2012, 16:55:
Tell that to 2k who likes to shut off game servers within a year when a game doesn't sell. Or not patch a particular console sku at all due to low sales numbers (the PS3 version of NHL2k10). Shit you guys would string EA up by the toes for.

I don't play a lot of 2k games but when I read about them doing it I bitch about it just like EA or Zynga or anyone else. Companies do dumb shit and people deride them for it, this isn't a double standard, people have been doing it for eons.

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29. Re: EA Server Shutdowns Dec 31, 2012, 17:00 Dev
 
RollinThundr wrote on Dec 31, 2012, 16:55:
Tell that to 2k who likes to shut off game servers within a year when a game doesn't sell. Or not patch a particular console sku at all due to low sales numbers (the PS3 version of NHL2k10). Shit you guys would string EA up by the toes for.
Just because some other companies are doing it, doesn't excuse all instances of it.

Also, I'm guessing that 2k isn't shutting down many PC titles, so its not as much news on a... PC gaming news site. Plus, EA makes it easy with a central shutdown page to find out all the info about current, past, and future game shutdowns. I don't see any such site listing 2k game shutdowns on a brief search.

But I'll criticize any company (EA or not) that shuts down PC games in this manner.
 
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28. Re: More Big Picture Details Dec 31, 2012, 16:58 bhcompy
 
HorrorScope wrote on Dec 31, 2012, 13:32:
bhcompy wrote on Dec 31, 2012, 12:58:
Maybe it's just you. I still pull out Sim City 2000 every once in a while to have some fun, or because I want to show my son a game that's better than Minecraft.

And, of course, the problem isn't multiplayer, the problem is that you have to play on their servers for singleplayer.

That is good, I'm not against the people that really would do this in any way at all. But I also think it's fair to say the majority of buyers rarely go back to something old and if they do it's a couple games. So if Sim City is that for you, then the best news is and as I have said, they have been upfront with where they are going with the game to us. If always online, multiplayer being a bad thing, server running for 10, 20, 50 years is very important for you, then you do have a choice to make.

I will stand by that many of those things are small %'s of players, most likely even wee percentages. The always online will affect everyone but I suggest that the small amount of ISP/Server downtime, one can be stable in their own feelings to deal with that and find something else to do, other than rage. As all the biggest games are relying on online working most of the time. COD MP, WoW... as I said the biggest games.

Blue's commentators in very generalist terms come off several times as paranoid, limited in scope (very single player centric base I'm finding) and phobic. That said, there is still good stuff in those comments and there are still good opinions outside of those type responses. Meaning, I still like to chat, but there are some really fearful walls that shot up that are a little over the top, imo. "Slippery Slope" mentalities if you will.

It's not really a slippery slope argument because the slope has already been slid down. Take their sun-setting of Simpsons Tapped Out for older iPhones. That is effectively a single player free to play game with a pay component, but it's all hosted by EA. They remove the server, the single player game that you may have put money in to is no longer accessible for play. You're not paying for software, you're paying for a temporary license to access the software. SC5 will be a full price game, but you aren't getting the same level of service that you did for the same standard market price as earlier offerings, instead you're getting a temporary license.

Do you have any doubt that they will sunset the SC5 servers when the user threshold drops too low to effectively monetize the base through downloadable content?

With Steam, we have a promise from Valve that if Steam ever sunsets you still own your game and Steam will effectively release it to you while disabling its own security. There is no such promise from EA regarding games like SC5 that are completely remotely hosted(and I have no idea if there is such a promise for Origin).

As the industry has consolidated in to a handful of publicly owned companies, the industry has regressed in buyer's rights. This is factual. There is no reason to believe that those "rights" won't continue to be eroded, particularly as companies like Sony buy companies like Gaikai. Realistically, all software has been moving in this direction for years, not just videogames. It's cheaper(less money spent on publicly available tools, like server tools, map tools, etc) and it's a monetization machine(EA charges for a wide variety of things because of this, such as a fee for purchasing a used game and wanting to play it online). In the public company world, those are the only two things that matter.
 
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27. Re: EA Server Shutdowns Dec 31, 2012, 16:55 RollinThundr
 
Dades wrote on Dec 31, 2012, 16:16:
What a crock of shit, game servers are simple executables and keeping them running requires little management. The hardware has to be maintained for other games as it is, they don't just retire a game and save a bunch of money. A company like EA buys bandwidth in bulk and won't save any money there either. It's pure bullshit to force sales of the next years title.

Treat people like adults and just say it like it is for once instead of the constant marketing shit dribbling from the corporate mouth.

Yeah because shutting down servers of games that came out 2-7 years ago is totally "pushing people to buy the new version" This would be a non story if it weren't EA.

2 years isn't a long time for a game to be out, I own games a dozen years old with working multiplayer. You tried this bullshit before and people pointed out how foolish it was in a dozen different ways, it isn't going to fly now either.

- DADES - This is a signature of my name, enjoy!

Tell that to 2k who likes to shut off game servers within a year when a game doesn't sell. Or not patch a particular console sku at all due to low sales numbers (the PS3 version of NHL2k10). Shit you guys would string EA up by the toes for.

 
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26. Re: More Big Picture Details Dec 31, 2012, 16:23 Dades
 
Styopa wrote on Dec 31, 2012, 12:47:
If it was a matter of cutting costs at EA (and not just a money-grab as a new sequel is coming out), then just enable peer-to-peer support, allowing the allegedly few people who still care about the game to run their own servers?


No, I thought not.

LOL yeah. Funny how the EA apologists never seem to have an answer to this. They blubber on about how Bluesnews posters are somehow different than the rest of the internet and refuse to actually engage on how full of shit the motives and methodology are.

Running a fucking authentication server is such a big deal apparently!

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25. Re: EA Server Shutdowns Dec 31, 2012, 16:16 Dades
 
What a crock of shit, game servers are simple executables and keeping them running requires little management. The hardware has to be maintained for other games as it is, they don't just retire a game and save a bunch of money. A company like EA buys bandwidth in bulk and won't save any money there either. It's pure bullshit to force sales of the next years title.

Treat people like adults and just say it like it is for once instead of the constant marketing shit dribbling from the corporate mouth.

Yeah because shutting down servers of games that came out 2-7 years ago is totally "pushing people to buy the new version" This would be a non story if it weren't EA.

2 years isn't a long time for a game to be out, I own games a dozen years old with working multiplayer. You tried this bullshit before and people pointed out how foolish it was in a dozen different ways, it isn't going to fly now either.

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24. Re: EA Server Shutdowns Dec 31, 2012, 16:10 RollinThundr
 
NetHead wrote on Dec 31, 2012, 12:06:
EA has been doing this for ages, deliberately timing server shutdowns for games with the release of sequels and the like trying to force people to buy the new game for multiplayer.

Though now they're making even singleplayer require the "okay" from the server with the sole goal of being able to completely stop people playing the game at all once they release the sequel. No doubt with the flawed mentality of not wanting to compete with their own, older, products.

It is not a technical necessity, it's not to fight piracy, it's not to add value or features. It's about control so they can pull the game out from under customers now entirely forcing them to fork out for the new version if they want to keep playing.

This is a good example of what happens when consultants and "number crunchers" get to direct a business instead of people who actually work in and have any passion for an industry.

Normally I have sympathy for people who get ripped off since we are all ignorant about something, though I can't feel sympathy for people supporting such companies with such tactics when they do the inevitable of ripping people off.

Personally I don't pay for a single game that can be remotely deactivated, disabled or crippled whether it's by design a mistake or due to a connection problem, that includes things that require online Steam DRM and I have missed out on no games and have had no problems.

If I'm going to pay for a game, I'm gong to be damn sure I can no only play it while on the move driving around on holiday, but can also fire it up years if not a decade from now without having the added "feature" of DRM doing nothing but causing problems to me as a customer.

Yeah because shutting down servers of games that came out 2-7 years ago is totally "pushing people to buy the new version" This would be a non story if it weren't EA.

2k does the same thing with their sports games, sometimes even faster than EA (often within 11 months), never see any hate thrown their way here though. Take Two apparently isn't a big enough publisher to be hated quite as much as well.

Another day, another Blues News post full of hate for the sake of it. How shocking.
 
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23. Re: EA Server Shutdowns Dec 31, 2012, 15:51 SlimRam
 
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  • That's IT! NOW I HATE EA!
     
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