Glue Mobile has responded to allegations that GameSpy Technologies is shutting down multiplayer support in many older PC games without warning, calling the reports "inaccurate".
Earlier this week, gamers flooded Reddit with complaints that GameSpy-reliant titles such as Neverwinter Nights 1 & 2, Microsoft Flight Simulator X, Swat 4, Sniper Elite, Hidden and Dangerous 2, and many other older PC games could no longer find multiplayer games online. The only way some players could directly connect to servers was if they already knew the IP address.
The complaints were backed by Sniper Elite developer Rebellion who claimed that the multiplayer servers were "suddenly switched off" by GameSpy's new owner, Glu Mobile. Even more, the decision to shut down the multiplayer servers was "not taken in consultation with us and was beyond our control."
In the same statement to gamers, Rebellion then immediately admitted that the servers could be turned back on, but at a price the studio couldn't afford.
"We have been talking to them since to try and get the servers turned back on," the company added. "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. 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."
Glu Mobile's response backs up what Rebellion actually admitted: that publishers "contracting with GameSpy Technologies elects at its sole discretion whether or not to maintain support for its titles." But Glu mobile also reveals that some of these publishers have failed to pay for the GameSpy service for years.
"A number of our publisher partners elected to allow their contracts for GameSpy Technologies’ services to lapse by not continuing to pay for these services," the company said. "In some cases this lapsing ranges back as much as four years. GameSpy Technologies has continued to provide months, and in some cases years, of service support for free. 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."
Ouch. The statement goes on:
"In each case reported in the press where there was a discontinuation of GameSpy Technologies’ services, the applicable publisher was well aware that they had not made the required payments under their agreements with GameSpy Technologies.
"For the sake of clarity - the situation is identical to fans attributing fault to the hosting company of a popular website for ceasing hosting services, when the website owner refuses to pay its hosting bill.
"Allegations that GameSpy Technologies raised rates unexpectedly are also false. Pricing is set in our Agreements with Publishers and cannot be materially increased by GameSpy unilaterally.
"While we would hope and expect our publisher partners to message their user communities on changes in status of their games, often this is not done. The result is user confusion and frustration.
"It is regrettable that these publishers chose not to inform their users of the impending discontinuation of support," Glu mobile concluded. "We understand the frustration of fans that until now weren’t clear on why their game has lost some of its functionality, but hope that this clarifies the situation."
GameSpy Technologies is a service provider to game publishers, and a separate entity from GameSpy.com, Glu Mobile clarified.