The classic (and in my mind extremely frustrating) online matchmaking client Gamespy will be closed on May 31st. This is bad news for titles that use Gamespy in their online play as they either have to move to another client, or accept the reality that the game will have no more online matchmaking. Gladly, after the news about the demise of Gamespy came to light, most worthwhile studios did say they are moving their games to another client so people can keep enjoying them. EA, Activision, Epic Games, and Bohemia Interactive previously said that some or all of their games will stay online, even after the GameSpy shutdown.
One of these worthwhile companies is 2K studios. Today they announced that the first Borderlands, Civilization III (+addons) and Civilization IV (+addons) will move over to Steamworks “soon”. This means that the titles will keep on being playable, even after Gamespy is closed down. Following is a list of 2K‘s discontinued Gamespy titles:
Civilization Revolution (PS3)
Close Combat First to Fight (PC / Mac)
Jetfighter V: Homeland Protector (PC)
Stronghold 2 (PC)
Stronghold Legends (PC)
Top Spin (PS2 / PC)
Top Spin 2 (PC / DS)
Vietcong Demo (PC)
Vietcong Fist Alpha (PC)
Vietcong 2 (PC)
Vietcong 2 Demo (PC)
MLB Fantasy All-Stars (DS)
Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution (DS)
Major League Baseball 2K9 Fantasy All-Stars (DS)
NHL 2K10 (Wii)
NBA 2K10 (Wii)
While it’s reassuring to see 2K supporting an old favourite like Civilization III, as a pessimist and hater of everything new, I kind of want to yell “I told you so”. If you have something that is completely based on and supported by the internet, it cannot live forever. I find this a rather melancholy realization. Especially when it comes to art, I like to think that when I purchase some, I will have it forever. That it will always be there, waiting for me to experience it again. It’s probably why I’m a big retro collector and an advocate for physical media. I love holding a cartridge in my hands, knowing that while the data in this piece of plastic is 30 years old, I can still have the full experience. The experience the developers intended. That feeling might be getting more and more rare in the future when almost every game is burdened with things like DRM and online clients, making sure that at least parts of the game will be unplayable within 10 years.
But hey! It’s all ok! You can just buy that game again when it’s rereleased on whatever console or online service is trendy 5-10 years after the game turned unplayable! Because if I love something, it’s paying 5 bucks for a game I already own the disc for, because I cannot play it anymore due to some kind of a server shutdown or whatever.