In a royal dispute between gamers and Infinity Ward, developers such as DICE saw an opportunity to release a statement reiterating their support for dedicated servers in Battlefield games. What set off some employees in DICE was the recent development of Infinity Ward’s Modern Warefare 2 Dedicated Server Announcement. Here is one Infinity Ward Developer’s response to people cancelling their pre-orders:
"Seriously, people, grow up. The stunts you people are pulling only hurts your case and gets you nowhere .about 6 hours ago from TweetDeck"
The post came from IW_hyphen a.k.a. Mr. William Cho, Developer over at Infinity Ward. From one side, it is impressive how overall simplification of Internet communication is returning us to inter-human communication known as the "online caveman".
Now, taking a page out of DICE’s book? "Battlefield was born on the PC, it grew up with dedicated servers and even when it left the nest and became multiplatform it remembers it’s roots. We’re doing the PC version of BC2 right. We won’t stomach a console port tossed off to some "lesser" studio like our competitors chose to do. We’ve got our top PC devs working on the PC version side by side with the console team. We don’t do ports. It’s not the game we’d want to play, and we know it’s not the game you want to play either."
So, what can we gather from all of this? Infinity Ward strongly believes they are right in forcing a system that requires all users to authenticate through their system and requires that all users use THEIR servers and matchmaking. Now that Infinity Ward is trying to fight off the entire bad PR, they are also trying to justify their move towards more equality among gamers. The company is trying to justify their move by saying that this will increase gamers’ access and make it easier for them to play games. But at the same time, this will effectively kill clans and competitive play. And we will most likely see people skip this game altogether from a competitive stance, not even talking about all of the angry PC gamers. Also, bear in mind that if the company does not significantly invest in network infrastructure, the result will be very negative for the company.
Unfortunately, neither Infinity Ward nor its publisher have a good track record at building network infrastructure capable of coping with tens of thousands of concurrent players. It took World of Warcraft over two years to build a network infrastructure capable of handling the load of millions of players in this ever-popular title, and if you were a gamer from day one, you remember what was going on. And this is for fairly ping-irrelevant title. In First Person Shooters, Infinity Ward does not have the comfort of MMORPG-type delays, every millisecond means difference between server acknowledging a kill from one side or another.
In order to dispel the confusion, Robert Bowling recently published a blog further detailing and clarifying certain points that he had made late last week. This is quite a long one, but the main points are :
"Matchmaking & Smoother Gameplay - All this basically explains is why their match making system is better than a simple server list. It takes your preset game types and gamer skill and matches you up with a game that it thinks fits you best.
Playlists and Private Matches – Playlists are what was mentioned above, a simple list based on your preferred game type. In addition to the playlist matching system, there will also be a private match system where you have complete control (debatable) of the rules, who can join, and boot players you don?t like. Once the rules are set, you can invite other players and maybe even start a match. Rob specifically mentions the word ?clan? as to dispel the fact that the creation of IWnet does not hurt clans or competitive gaming and that it should not be affected by this change. He then continues to say that this feature now allows you to play custom games straight from the box without any mods needed to play?
Party System and Friend?s list ? It?s exactly what you think it is, simply a way to ?party up? with your friends and have some fun with people who are already online. This type of system is commonly known to people who use Xbox live. This kind of a move further makes PC users feel like they?re being forced into a console title and that IW is merely trying to force PC users into a uniformity across platforms that is simply unnatural considering the differences that exist between them.
Cheat / Hack Free Games ? This simply addresses the assertion that they will no longer be using Punkbuster and that Valve?s anti-cheat system, VAC, will be used instead. They claim that this is good because there will be no burden on the server admin to be constantly monitoring, banning and policing the server for hackers and cheaters."
While this is all fine and dandy, there is NO mention of custom created content or the ability to create mods. This lack of the ability to create content may mean that we might not see any mods for this game whatsoever, further taking away from the benefits of a PC version. Personally, I had originally planned to preorder MW2 for PC, but now? after seeing all of this I am led to believe if I bought the PC version I’d just be playing the console version anyways.
The decisions made by Infinity Ward lead me to believe that the creation of IWnet is simply a way to force PC users to no longer have custom content. In addition to that, I fully expect Infinity Ward to charge for DLCs for PC users unlike almost any other game out there. But then again, isn?t this just a console title anyways?
At the end of the day, it looks like a lot of players in the gaming industry is desperately trying to mimic the most unsuccessful business tactics of music, movie and TV industry. The problem is that if no lessons are learned, the companies will miss their window of opportunity and end up in "might have been" category.
There are two basic sales principles: "the customer is always right" and KISS – Keep It Simple Salesman. We wonder how come the tech and entertainment industry are so eager to break these principles… ultimately, it always backfires.
It has been brought to my attention that in fact the comment by the Infinity Ward employee was actually misinterpreted. He made a statement after the creation of this article and it was recently brought to our attention. His comment was in response to people threatening his life and the lives of his family…
It was also brought to our attention a video on break.com that includes an Infinity Ward developer talking and bragging about the features of Call of Duty 4, which, is a complete 180 from the state of Infinity Ward and Modern Warfare 2.