Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
04 March 2007
Online game servers going dark all over
Almost exactly four years ago I warned this was coming. I said that one key difference between Twisted Metal Black: Online and SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs was the existence of a LAN mode in the former and not in the latter. Now more and more online games are shutting down and some game functionality will be lost forever.

The latest casualties are:
All will have no online functionality in the near future. As more services shut down with no penalty for the companies involved, it's bound to be more common in the future.

Which makes me wonder how much thought goes into these shutdowns. In particular, companies talk of cultivating online communities of fans and the economic advantages of having such groups identifying with a game and the company behind the game. Taking these ideas at face value, it must take some serious financial advantage to disrupt those communities.

Which means the communities are tiny. Of course, I knew that. Back when I tried to play Twisted Metal Black: Online in 2003, few people playing online. And when I played Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast recently, there wasn't even a single other player to be found online. I suspect the same is essentially true about MGS3 and Resident Evil Outbreak, in that the true number of people who will care is small enough to ignore.

Which leads me to wish that more games were like Daytona USA: CCE for the Sega Saturn and Netlink: player-to-player online modes. I believe that Ruffin and I could still play that game right now (as we once did, long distance across state lines) as it only depends on a Saturn, a game disc, a Netlink, and a phone line. I suppose with cell phones overtaking land lines, it might soon be difficult to do even that much. Ah well, I'm committed to being perpetually in the minority.

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--Matt Matthews at 21:55
Comment [ 6 ]

Comments on this post:

Last time I checked (which was a few days ago), MGS3: Subsistence's online garnishes about 400 players on average. A bit low for an online game, but then again I'm not expecting millions of players like on Counter-Strike.

I guess they were expecting more than that...

By Anonymous TonicBH, at 05 March, 2007 06:26  

During the month after release, MGS3:Subsistence's servers were pretty lively. I didn't really stick around for more than a month or two, however, and clearly I'm not the only one.

Thank goodness for peer-to-peer gaming. I guess there's a piece of advice to developers -- if you think or hope your online game is going to have any sort of longevity, please make it peer-to-peer. Off to fire up some Quake III Arena...

By Blogger Dan-o, at 05 March, 2007 11:56  

This makes me worry about NWN2. In a recent thread someone was saying it only had roughly 300 people on at any given moment. Not sure how accurate that is, but that means I need to messing with the multi-player sooner rather than later. I need to check if it has peer-to-peer gaming options.

By Blogger Mordrak, at 05 March, 2007 12:58  

Have any games on Live, other than those from EA (which use EA's proprietary extensions and server) had shutdowns?

By Blogger Jeremy, at 06 March, 2007 22:01  

Jeremy: Maybe not, but PSOE1&2 will be one very soon. That's why I listed it.

By Blogger jvm, at 06 March, 2007 23:13  

True, sorry. Right there in the post too.

The vast majority of the games are somewhat peer to peer though. Which Live gets a lot of shit for, but at least keeps the lights turned on.

By Blogger Jeremy, at 07 March, 2007 07:49  

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