Following the acquisition of Gamespy from IGN back in August, new owner GLU Mobile looks to be trimming the fat, having reportedly terminated server support for several games that depended on the services for their multiplayer capability. (via Slashdot
"Over the last month, both game publishers and gaming communities alike were surprised to find their GameSpy multiplayer support suddenly disabled by GLU Mobile, who purchased GameSpy from IGN this August. Many games, including Neverwinter Nights 1 & 2, Microsoft Flight Simulator X, Swat 4, Sniper Elite, Hidden and Dangerous 2, Wings of War, Star Wars: Battlefront are no longer able to find (and in some cases even host) multiplayer games. While games like Neverwinter Nights are still able to directly connect to servers if players know the IP address, less-fortunate gamers expressed outrage on GLU Mobile's 'Powered by GameSpy' Facebook page.
All the games in question are quite old, but it still seems to be rather poor form that they have been effectively disabled without any alternative arrangements offered by Gamespy
In most cases, it appears that Gamespy's master servers responsible for authenticating players and propagating the lists of dedicated servers are what has been disabled, rather than the dedicated servers themselves, whereas when some developers have terminated the master servers for their legacy games in the past, they have been thoughtful enough to release a patch disabling those hooks for players that want to continue.
Rebellion's Sniper Elite is one of the affected games, and the developer explains
how it is not financially feasible for them to restore multiplayer capability:
"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.
This is the kind of thing we expect from console platform holders operating their tightly-controlled closed systems, and not our beloved open dedicated server model on PC.
Consider that many of today's popular PC games utilise the Gamespy API and could be similarly switched off at a whim when the company decides they're no longer worth the cycles.