This week, gamers noticed that several games with online play that hinge on GameSpy Technology’s middleware had their online support shut down without any sort of notice from any of the parties involved.
In April of this year, GameSpy Technologies was purchased from IGN for just under $3 million by GLU Mobile. The new owners, it would seem, had it on their agenda to do a bit of spring cleaning–but the situation ended up being more complicated than that.
One of the many games that utilize GameSpy Technologies’ middlware is Sniper Elite from developer Rebellion. Along with Microsoft Flight Simulator X, Star Wars: Battlefront, and more, Sniper Elite had its online functionality switched off.
Speaking to PCGamesN, Rebellion co-founder Jason Kingsley said that his studio was just as surprised as the fans when it happened.
“First we heard of anything were some irate fans getting annoyed with us about the original Sniper Elite multiplayer servers being down, and I mean very annoyed,” Kingsley said. “We looked into it and found out there was no technical issue, the servers had just been switched off.”
In another post on the Sniper Elite V2 forums, Rebellion said that the firm reached out to GameSpy Technologies’ new owners, and were told that in order to bring the servers back online they would have to pay much more than they were paying before.
“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,” Rebellion wrote.
“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.”
The company’s new owners, GLU Mobile, tell a different tale. In a post on GameSpy Technologies’ Facebook page, the company said that the servers were shut down because their bills had not been paid–some of them went unpaid for years, even.
“GameSpy Technologies has continued to provide months, and in some cases years, of service support for free,” the company wrote. “However we cannot be expected to provide a service free of charge to publishers who choose not to renew their service agreements and in some cases remain delinquent in delivering payment for past services.”
GameSpy, the editorial site which is still owned by IGN, tried to distance itself from the situation in a post on their website, and offered some additional clarification on the matter by way of a statement from GameSpy Technologies. The site was reportedly told that, despite what was previously reported, GameSpy Technologies’ rates have not been increased for over five years.