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Post by trog @ 10:57am 07/01/10 | 26 Comments
More game server related shenanigans causing gamer ire have followed EA's announcement that they're about to close down a huge stack of game servers for many of their Sports range titles - including ones as recently released as Madden 09.

There's a lot of speculation about why they're doing this - is it just to 'encourage' people to upgrade? Kill the second hand market for these games? As the services are closed it's hard to accurately gauge how many people are using them. I have read that they do state on the box that the game is only supported online for a year after purchase, so in their defence, it's not like they didn't make it clear about what was going to happen (in fact in many cases some of these games have been online more than a year).

One thing is for sure though - it show another clear advantage of the dedicated server model. Games like Quake - which you played way back when it was released in 1996 - are still playable today, often with vastly improved, community-provided services and features.



dedicated serverea





Latest Comments
thermite
Posted 11:05am 07/1/10
I think it is important that they mentioned the term of support on the box.

Is this an authentication server thing, or is it straightforward for anybody to replace these servers if they wanted to?
trog
Posted 11:12am 07/1/10
I think it is important that they mentioned the term of support on the box.

Is this an authentication server thing, or is it straightforward for anybody to replace these servers if they wanted to?
Nah it's not straightforward, without a lot of reverse engineering to reproduce the server side. I suspect it would be possible, but I also suspect the hammer of EA legal would come crashing down on people that tried to do it.
ViscoS
Posted 11:15am 07/1/10
At least they're honest...
Term
Posted 11:51am 07/1/10
Quick, someone tell Luigi Auriemma stat, he'll save the day!
E.T.
Posted 11:57am 07/1/10
EA are the evil dictator of the gaming world. Its just plain wrong to shut down servers for games as new as Madden09.
darkjedi
Posted 12:05pm 07/1/10
the hammer of EA legal would come crashing down on people that tried to do it.


I'm sure most remember the joys that went on with BnetD (or whatever the 'homebrew' BattleNet client was called)..
`ViPER`
Posted 12:15pm 07/1/10
if they are closing down the servers, why not just release the dedicated server source code, or just a windows or linux binary, and let the community have it, oh wait because they wouldnt make any money from that.
Any
Posted 12:20pm 07/1/10
I can buy facebreaker from play-asia new today. It's listed for shutdown next month. How will I get my 1 year from purchase support?
tequila
Posted 12:25pm 07/1/10
so are they making these games unusuable now?
because in Australia at least, if someone sells something, regardless of the warranty period etc set forth by the producer
there is an expectation that the product should work for a "Reasonable amount of time"

ie if you buy a chair and it breaks in 13 months, they can't say it's out of warranty
you can argue that it didn't work for a reasonable amount of time ..
greazy
Posted 12:59pm 07/1/10
the game works

just not online.
Plasma
Posted 01:27pm 07/1/10
I think it is important that they mentioned the term of support on the box.

Is this an authentication server thing, or is it straightforward for anybody to replace these servers if they wanted to?
Nah it's not straightforward, without a lot of reverse engineering to reproduce the server side. I suspect it would be possible, but I also suspect the hammer of EA legal would come crashing down on people that tried to do it.

Sierra shut down the Tribes 2 master and authentication server years ago; some of the community members actually wrote a master server (for both T1 and T2) with a login server (that works) and the game's still going because of it.

I don't think VU Games (Sierra) care about that though ("whats tribes?!"), but its interesting to know its possible when the community is determined enough.
MatchFixa
Posted 01:35pm 07/1/10
EA's new jingle:

E..A.. Sports

If the game is old, we'll shut you down.
Seven
Posted 01:43pm 07/1/10
The 2009 series are nowhere near old. TF2 was released Oct 10 2007 - those servers are still going. EA are greedy, plain and simple.
Hogfather
Posted 02:22pm 07/1/10
Meh, its a business decision. I can totally get the desire to shut down services for products that aren't generating revenue. trog's point about dedicated servers is hard to ignore though - although its obviously not cost-free to produce a re-distributable server.

They haven't really deceived the consumer so its up to the market to decide if this level of game support is acceptable or not. Hopefully this sort of thing will eventually wear away at the monolith.

last edited by Hogfather at 14:22:07 07/Jan/10
whoop
Posted 02:19pm 07/1/10
I have read that they do state on the box that the game is only supported online for a year after purchase, so in their defence, it's not like they didn't make it clear about what was going to happen (in fact in many cases some of these games have been online more than a year).

That would be like MS saying they only support windows for a year and then disabling internet access after that, support to me means help, assistance etc and not connectivity.

What happens when you want to install an older game and they just decide to close the auth servers?
trog
Posted 02:20pm 07/1/10
Yeh it should be noted that them keeping the services online is not a zero-cost thing. It definitely costs them real money to run the servers, support them, etc, etc.
Tollaz0r!
Posted 02:24pm 07/1/10
More reason to only buy multiplayer games that have dedicated stand alone servers.

Hogfather
Posted 02:26pm 07/1/10
^
Yup.

Or from companies with an epic support commitment like Blizzard - you can still play Diablo I on BNet!
Plasma
Posted 03:12pm 07/1/10
Yeh it should be noted that them keeping the services online is not a zero-cost thing. It definitely costs them real money to run the servers, support them, etc, etc.


An interesting story: For Tribes 1 at least, its master server was supposed to be shutdown 3 months before it ended up shutting down.

They couldn't find it (haha) and it was running the masters for T1/T2 on a machine that no one maintained. I really dont buy that it costs a lot of money/resources to maintain these things (rubbish). I think that for games like BF2 that have stats, it may be more work, but for regular games that just have a master list or something, its pretty much 'set and forget'.

Also for those interested, here's a pretty cool insight into the demise of the Tribes franchise from the people that worked on the game and marketed it.

http://www.tribalwar.com/forums/showthread.php?t=457247

Marweas ("marketing weasel" - cool dude) and other tribes devs/PR people explain what went wrong from the higher ups who control the money and how come Tribes: Vengeance failed at launch.

Basically higher ups were like "just publish it, we're competing against WoW and HL2!" and they didn't even know what Tribes was.

Really worth reading if you want to find out how much bureaucratic crap goes on in some of the big game dev companies (VU Games/Sierra).
HerbalLizard
Posted 03:19pm 07/1/10
Man I had totally forgotten about tribes, need to dig that s*** up again and have a bash is that comuninity server still running
ctd
Posted 03:26pm 07/1/10
I played 220 hours of Natural Selection (HL mod from 2003) in 2009 according to my steam stats. All because of GA running a single dedicated server :) yays for dedicated servers.
Dazhel
Posted 03:29pm 07/1/10
you can still play Diablo I on BNet!


Impressive. I had to look it up - Diablo is just over 13 years old!
eXemplar
Posted 03:36pm 07/1/10
Someone recommended Fallen Empire: Legions to me, which is apparently an online free tribes like game running in the same way quake like does (from your browser)

http://www.instantaction.com/

Looks either american or peer to peer, so latencies are horrible tho.
Dazhel
Posted 03:47pm 07/1/10
The 2009 series are nowhere near old. TF2 was released Oct 10 2007 - those servers are still going. EA are greedy, plain and simple.


To be fair, Valve aren't the only ones running dedicated servers for TF2 so it's apples and oranges. Having said that though, they did have their own money grab by releasing L4D2 so soon after L4D.

But at the end of the day: shutting down online play for a game only released around 12-18 months ago? I'd be pissed.
Mantorok
Posted 03:50pm 07/1/10
is that comuninity server still running

http://www.tribesnext.com/
groganus
Posted 03:56pm 07/1/10
If it means a company will not make any profit due to servers still running for old games.. then im all for closing them down... but when its a mega giant of gaming EA there is really no excuse.. its just weak lameness... some stupid bean counter probably saw they could save a few bucks by shutting down servers that only a small number of people play..

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