In August, mobile giants GLU Mobile bought Gamespy, which you may know as a gaming news site but which has mostly served lately as a multiplayer gaming hub for older titles.
Well, GLU haven't taken long to start making an impression, quietly and without warning shutting down the multiplayer servers for games like Star Wars: Battlefront, the first two Neverwinter Nights titles, Sniper Elite, SWAT 4 and Microsoft's Flight Simulator X.
Some of these can still be played by directly linking to another player's IP address, but for most, that's it. Game over. Rebellion, the developers behind Sniper Elite, have written a letter to fans of the game summing up the situation.
A few weeks ago, the online multiplayer servers for Sniper Elite were suddenly switched off by Glu, the third-party service we had been paying to maintain them.
For the past seven years we have run these servers at a cost to ourselves so that fans of Sniper Elite could continue to play online for free.
This decision by Glu was not taken in consultation with us and was beyond our control.
We have been talking to them since to try and get the servers turned back on. 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.
While we are not happy about the situation, as an independent developer we simply do not have the resources to pay the massive costs of new servers along with redeveloping a seven-year-old game.
We share the disappointment of fans who have played the game since it was published in 2005. This is not something we intended or wanted to happen, but unfortunately it has been beyond our control. We have always looked to support our fan community and we hope the past seven years of free multiplayer service have been evidence of that—we're sorry that the servers have been shut down in this way.
We would like to thank all the fans who have continued to support Rebellion and Sniper Elite.
That's some sad reading. There can't have been that many people playing these older games, hence the decision to shut them down, but a little heads-up would have been nice.