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Tuesday, December 7, 2004

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GameSpy Dropping Mac Support?
9:04 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

The Macintosh version of America's Army is facing a major delay that could ultimately seal its doom. In a recent post to his web page, developer Ryan Gordon said that they no longer have a license to the GameSpy SDK. GameSpy, which is the most popular player matching service on the PC, allows gamers to join into thousands of games online. Unfortunately the GameSpy problem facing America's Army Mac will affect other Macintosh games such as Aspyr's Men of Valor as well.

Here is Gordon's post:

The Mac build is suffering from a serious problem...we don't have a license to use GameSpy's SDK on the Mac anymore, for reasons I won't get into here. For a purely-multiplayer game, this complicates things, to say the least. There are some minor contingency plans in place, but this means more delays. I know you all love waiting, sorry about this.
According to one industry source, GameSpy recently significantly increased the licensing fees for Mac gaming companies. According to the source, this may be a squeeze play on GameSpy part to "get out of the Mac business all together. This is basically GameSpy's way of dropping Mac support". The situation is so dire that one Mac game company we talked to recently is considering cancelling a port of a "major PC" title unless a workaround to GameSpy can be found. One option may be to provide Mac-to-Mac networking only. Another option would be to somehow circumvent the GameSpy license and get the required server list through an alternative "unofficial" method.

The impact of GameSpy's pricing tactics could be devastating to the Mac gaming market. A number of recent games on the Mac such as Battlefield 1942, Medal of Honor: Breakthrough, Neverwinter Nights, and others use GameSpy.

One upcoming game of note is Aspyr's Men of Valor, which is also being ported to the Mac for Aspyr by Ryan Gordon. According to Glenda Adams, because of GameSpy's tactics, the company is being forced to drop PC to Mac support via GameSpy:

We feel the game has a strong enough single player aspect that it will be a great Mac game, even though the primary multiplayer play will be Mac to Mac only. We're disappointed we can't secure a license from GameSpy for Men of Valor Mac, but we're going to do everything possible to build and foster a great Mac online community for Men of Valor. We're also researching options for mac to PC LAN play and direct IP connections without GameSpy.
So what will this mean to the Mac gaming market in the long run? Unless GameSpy changes its tune, Mac gaming companies will be forced to provide Mac to Mac networking only.

IMG is considering forming a formal protest against GameSpy. Stay tuned.

Ryan Gordon's web site
U.S Army
Epic Games
America's Army: Special Forces 2.4

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