GameSpy, a popular provider of matchmaking middleware and online multiplayer functionality for dozens of games on mobile devices, consoles and computers, will be no more as of May 31. The shuttering of the unit of IGN Entertainment means that countless games using GameSpy technology will no longer work online.
Ziff Davis, which acquired IGN Entertainment in February 2013, announced it would shut down the site and some other secondary sites to focus entirely on IGN, Imagine Games Network, a video game and entertainment news website. Some game publishers plan to migrate GameSpy-integrated games to other platforms, while others, such as Nintendo, will not.
GameSpy had been in the IGN fold since 2000 and acquired by San Francisco-based mobile publisher Glu Mobile in August 2012. At that time, its video game technology had been incorporated into more than 1,000 titles.
“Effective May 31, 2014, GameSpy will cease providing all hosting services for all games still using GameSpy," the company’s site reads. "Thanks for a great ride!"
GameSpy had already ceased licensing its services to game publishers as of January 2013.
GameSpy, which launched in 1997 as Spy Software to host first-person shooter “Quake,” offered a variety of services, such as player matchmaking and cloud storage across multiple platforms like Nintendo DS, Mac, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Wii and Xbox 360.
GameSpy was created by Mark Surfas, who owned the company until its IGN acquisition.
In 1996, the launch of id Software’s “Quake” inspired Surfas to create a platform for the hosting and distribution of in-game mods. “Quake” was one of the first 3D multiplayer action titles to allow users to play online, which allowed gamers to create their own “mods,” or modifications” of games. To meet this demand, Surfas created PlanetQuake, a news and hosting site for fans of the game.
As mods became more popular, PlanetQuake began to grow tremendously in popularity and its traffic began to surge.
Because “Quake” also signified the start of an online multiplayer real-time action game scene as the successor to id’s “Doom” series, more users were drawn to the game. Unfortunately, finding a “Quake” server online was a difficult process, since users could only share IP addresses of identified servers with one another or post them on gaming websites. Three programmers set out to find a solution to this problem, which ultimately resulted in the formation of Spy Software, and QSpy, or QuakeSpy. This gave users the ability to find and list available “Quake” servers.
Surfas saw an opportunity here and licensed QSpy, becoming the official distributor and marketer. Surfas also kept the original programming team under his employ – Jack Matthews, Tim Cook and Joe Powell.
QSpy became QuakeSpy and went on to be combined with id’s “QuakeWorld” update.
In 1997, Surfas created GameSpy Industries.
Two years later, the company received angel investment funding from entrepreneur David Berkus. GameSpy then released MP3Spy.com, a software browser that allowed users to browse and listen to online radio feeds. The brand then received an additional $3 million in funding.
Glu Mobile’s announcement to shut down servers in May is part of a strategy the mobile developer hopes will improve its own services.
Games that will be affected are mostly older titles, such as "Red Dead Redemption," "Crysis," "Grand Theft Auto IV," "Crysis 2" and "Max Payne 3."