UPDATED: Infinity Ward's MW2 server decision results in economic implications
10/20/2009 by: Anshel Sag
Late last week there was an interview with Robert Bowling [known as FourTwoZero on Twitter]. He cleared up the rumors about delays and said that they did not expect to see any delays of the game itself, but that there was much more to come. He then began to talk about the fact that Infinity Ward would be coming out with a new online game system called IWNet which was a way of match making PC gamers instead of allowing the traditional dedicated server model. In addition to this, they would also be creating a private game mode, but this too would be running off of the IWNet proprietary multiplayer platform.
Rob also detailed that there was going to be a partnership with Steam and that they would be using VAC as the method of anti-cheating as opposed to Punkbuster. So not only were they doing away with dedicated servers, they were also doing away with Punkbuster. In a way, this is a positive movement that should prevent cheating, but also makes up one game less to play on LAN parties. The servers would not be using Steam for matchmaking, but the details are on hold as Valve Corporation will be releasing a statement soon about the involvement of Steam in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
Image from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Playable only on Infinity Ward-sanctioned servers.
So, how does this all create an economic impact? It cuts out 3rd party server hosts who would normally be responsible for hosting the dedicated servers for various clans that would move over to this new game and purchase those servers or at least rent them monthly. A statement posted on the Infinity Ward forums
that came from a gameservers.com representative stated;
"Ticket JCG-53334 has been updated by Tanner Hurst [staff].
I can't lie, as of right now we will not be able to support the game.
IW has decided to NOT provide dedicated server support for the game, so therefor servers cannot be rented.
In the case that they change their mind (which we all hope they do) we will definitely be supporting the game.
"7hoR [GS]" GameServers.com Support"
The outrage over this decision also sparked an on-line petition that is going around online that anyone can sign that asks that they bring back dedicated servers. This was created because the petition on the Infinity Ward forums was deleted in a typical strongarming move known on all official game forums, especially ones in relation to Activision Blizzard. It states:
"To: Infinity Ward
Get Infinity Ward to review their decision not to allow fully dedicated servers for their forthcoming game release CoD:MW2. Remember that this Call of Duty was made popular by PC Gamers who have supported the series throughout.
This petition resulted in over 95,000 signatures, gaining around 25-30,000 signatures on daily basis.
All of this is on the heels of many PC gamers feeling constantly abandoned by developers in various games. Because of this, Infinity Ward may stand to lose a lot of money from the PC gamer crowd which was originally responsible for the runaway success of the Call of Duty franchise to begin with. This will probably cause the game to be a short-lived title that will most likely have a very short shelf-life in respect to games like Counter-Strike and Counter-Strike: Source which are still a widely played games almost a decade after its release. In my opinion, they're trying to ruin PC gaming for the sake of control of the game. Also, as many PC gamers have experienced in games like Left 4 Dead, the ping in servers will begin to go through the roof in comparison to a dedicated server.
If you want to hear the whole chat between the guys at BASHandSlash.com and Robert Bowling, fast forward to 1:38:00 where Robert Bowling hops on in.
At the end of the day, Infinity Ward wanted to take control of their game in the same manner as Blizzard did with Battle.Net. Given that both IW and Blizzard's titles are published by the same company [Activision Blizzard Inc.], we're not surprised that IW went with their own platform. In a way, I found this quite inefficient, but there are economic reasons for that move as well.
For decades, gaming developers were spending hundreds, if not thousands of work hours in order to create dedicated server for the game, and usually those servers were given for free, creating a whole new economy around dedicated gaming server business. You didn't need to buy the game to run the server and at the end of the day - that was wrong move from day one. After dedicated gaming server became a real business, it was weird seeing massively pirated titles being played at these services, providing zero dollars in revenue. In the case of Unreal Tournament 3, Mark Rein gave me a sum of 40,000,000 pirated clients who tried to access the server, yielding a grand total of two billion dollar damage for Epic Games alone. Yes, that’s a "b". Just like Valve proved, it is possible to run a dedicated server business by connecting a dedicated server on Steam [true, $$$ is involved].
Update #1 October 20th, 2009 20:29 GMT - We have received e-mail from Mr. Anthony Quon, Chief Operating Officer of GameServers.com. According to Anthony, the ticket in system never contained the controversial quote "Don't hold me to this but at last check the cancelations were upwards of 61,000 and counting."
We have removed the allegedly original quote and replaced it with the quote provided to us by COO of GameServers.com. At first, it looked like the forum poster was caught with his hands in a cookie jar, replacing the original ticket with a controversial number which can trace actual financial loss for the company in question. In the picture below, you can see the quote posted by tazman911.
Alleged quote from GameServers.com, as posted by IWF member tazman911 [repost from SoBsquad.net]
Update #2 October 20th, 2009 22:06 GMT - We were contacted by forum poster tazman911, who explained to us that the quote originated from another site, Sobsquad.net. In order to read the original location of the GameServers.com quote, you have to register for Sobsquad.net forums. We hope that this clarifies the situation. The post in question was published by no other than a founder of SoBsquad.net, which would remove the doubt in our minds that the original ticket was altered by Sneaky.
Original quote on SoBsquad.net, posted by founder of the site
Update #3, October 21st, 2009 00:21 GMT - Robert Bowling aka FourZeroTwo posted an update on his blog, referring to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 as "the biggest investment Infinity Ward has ever made into the PCversion of our games. It’s also the most feature-rich PC version we’veever made. IWNET takes the benefits of dedicated servers and allowsthem to be utilized and accessed by every player, out of the box, whileremoving the barrier to entry for players unaware of how to maintain aserver on their own."
Modern Warfare 2, MW2, Call of Duty, Infinity Ward, PC, Servers, Dedicated Server, Punkbuster, Steam, VAC, Delay, Twitter, Rob Bowling, FourTwoZero, IWNet, matchmaking, private match, Activision, Activision Blizzard, PC gaming, FPS, Epic Games, piracy, CryTek, Mark Rein, VAC, gameservers.com, slots
© 2009 - 2011 Bright Side Of News*, All rights reserved.