Breaking: Predictable Thing Happens

By Jim Rossignol on October 26th, 2009 at 4:33 pm.


When the Modern Warfare 2 thing kicked off I said to my fellow RPSites, “gadzooks, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is so going to capitalise on this.” And lo, I see on Blues that EA have posted a Dedicated Server FAQ on the game. “Other games use player-hosted or ‘peer to peer’ solutions,” says Gordon VanDyke, presumably with a smile, “often resulting in a “host with the most” situation; where the player hosting the match has an advantage over other players connected to their game. Everyone else is dependent on the host’s internet connection and if they don’t have a great connection neither will you regardless how great of an internet you have.” (Further PC related info here, via Planet Battlefield.)

Well, it made me laugh. It’s a bonus that the game looks pretty good (see old trailer below). Roll on Battlefield 3, I say.


Also, check out this for irony value.

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80 Comments »

  1. bogie says:

    Go DICE! Good rapport with their consumers is good to see.

    Infinity Ward should be ashamed. They need to wake up and smell the coffee before its too late.

  2. Richierich says:

    This kind of nose thumbing is probably going to be much more effective at changing IW’s stupid mind than a paltry 150,000 signatures.

    • suibhne says:

      In my view, the petition with 160,000 signatures (in a week) isn’t important for its effects on IW. Rather, it’s important for its effects on game journalists and bloggers, and on other developers like DICE.

  3. Heliocentric says:

    I’m not sure what i think about bad company. Its a sequel to a console port of pc franchise. How pc is this?

  4. Mungrul says:

    This is fantastic.
    You know, for a company I was boycotting at a general level only 2 years ago, EA have really turned themselves around, and stuff like this only endears them to me further.
    Sure, BFBC2 isn’t a title I’m likely to buy, but a lot of disenfranchised CoD players are sure to be curious now.
    Brilliant.

  5. Senethro says:

    Wow that trailer is so… controller. I mean, they’re clearly an experienced user of controllers but its so slow and unwieldy.

    I suppose this was a good outcome of a dedicated server backlash.

  6. Stupoider says:

    I’m stilling waiting for Battlefield 3. :<

    • Draken says:

      Ah, don’t worry, it will be a console port just like BFBC2.

  7. subedii says:

    They’ve really been milking this for all its worth. Not that I blame them for taking advantage of the situation, it’s a rare opportunity.

  8. subedii says:

    Also, if Infinity Ward are really calling out other developers for not doing their own marketing, perhaps they need a llittle reminding about their own history there.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMfTR8PBrsE

    Community support? Mods? Servers? What madness is this I say?!

    • Shalrath says:

      Keep in mind, EA is exactly the sociopathic kind of company that would give support to these things just to show how much they care, even though they really don’t.

      It’s like ‘they’ don’t understand they’re doing a good thing, they just want to make more money. And sometimes they do that by donating to a charity, or whatever.

      That said, I thought Bad Company was at worst amusing, at best pretty fun. I hate console shooters, but it was by far one of the least annoying.

    • frymaster says:

      you should also keep in mind that companies aren’t actually people, and don’t have psychological conditions :P

      a tendency towards amorality (that’s a, not i) is to be expected in any publically traded company where the founders don’t control the majority of shares. Personally, whether EA’s new direction is because of leadership that genuinely cares for the PC market and PC viewpoint, or because of leadership that thinks doing so will be profitable*, the results are the same, so meh :P

      * Well, it can be assumed they must think this, or it would be immoral of the management to do it.

    • BooleanBob says:

      Shalrath: so you’re saying EA is sort of the Spondulio of videogames?

      This is almost as smart a PR move as, hypothetically speaking, filing legal papers against a universally reviled member of the development community would be…

  9. KindredPhantom says:

    Heh cheeky advertising by EA. I can see it working.

  10. DMJ says:

    While this feels to me a bit like cheering on the former Soviet regime, go EA!

    • subedii says:

      Oh man, I just visited the blog. It has a giant “Dedicated to our PC Players!” plastered across the top. That’s not tongue in cheek, that’s launching a cannonball straight from your trachea.

  11. Flobulon says:

    “Predicatable”? Anyway, I hope to see more of this sort of thing.

  12. Shalrath says:

    I’d really like to see an RPS feature with DICE. Just to see DICE get asked why they were so poor at supporting previous games, and how people are literally walking straight to them because of Infinity Wards terrible choices.

    I’d love to see DICE suddenly become loved almost entirely because of someone else’s mistake. Good humour.

  13. 12kill4 says:

    its nice that DICE still remembers the value of the PC gaming community. We might be a smaller market, but a well supported PC community is much more likely to create content- both ingame and out of game- which not only extends the life of the game (and thus prolongs shelf life and increases long-term sales [Counter-strike, Desert Combat, etc]) but also forms a veritable marketing machine for their future titles through both fan sites, leagues, private infrastructure investment [i.e. servers and websites], etc. Even things like machinema can contribute to a game’s long-term relivence and community cohesion.

    The PC community’s enthusiasm often has flow-down effects on other markets (as you can see from the large amount of console gamers boycotting IW, or the manner in which Valve has already become a recognisable and respectable name on consoles), largely due to the community’s proximity to communication channels and the general demographic bias towards older professionals/ tertiary educated students with high levels of computer literacy and associated cultural capital (at least in Australia…) which make them the most ideal early adopters (i.e. they talk alot about what they buy, in a more persuasive and authoritative manner…).

    I *could* go on… but I should be writing an essay on globalization of culture instead… (3:24am here… wtf am I doing!)

  14. TCM says:

    Brilliant.

    Just brilliant as a marketing move. It’s painfully see-through, but amazingly brilliant.

    • Shalrath says:

      When something like this falls in your lap, you run with it, eh?

    • Psychopomp says:

      Aye, it’s so blatantly obvious that it’s nothing more than marketing, but it’s really hard to care, given the circumstances.

  15. Leeks! says:

    Man, I wish I could have heard him say that last sentence out loud so I could know whether to be chortling with or at him.

  16. Quercus says:

    I would like to see more PC games journalists openly critical of IW’s decision. With the possible exception of PCGamer, most journalists seem to make veiled objections rather than openly denouncing the move as setting back PC online gaming. It needs to be more publicised both in magazines, online and even on other news sites that are not PC games dedicated.

    IW cannot be allowed to get away with this.
    Do everything you can RPS, articles on why dedicated servers are better for gaming (PC and consoles), articles on why IW would have made this decision after supporting all other CoD releases with dedicated servers and articles on how the opposition (such as DICE) are reacting.

  17. Jim Rossignol says:

    Are there any PC games journalists *not* critical of IW’s decision?

    It seems to me that only deliberately neutral parties or those with console interests have not seen red.

    • Quercus says:

      I’m sure most PC games journalists are critical – but as for games magazines or sites – I’m not so sure. Most sites (including RPS) seem content to remain objective and just report what has happened, rather than voicing opinions either way. So far the only sites I have seen that have said anything overtly positive about dedicated servers (and by inference therefore, negative about IW’s decision) are the DICE blog for BC2 and the artile by Tim Edwards for PC Gamer.
      It is possible that the games magazines haven’t caught up with the story yet, but at the moment it is depressing how few professional voices are standing in the way of IW’s propaganda machine.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      We’re going to have more to say on it soon. But our official line is that we think it’s a crock of shit.

  18. subedii says:

    Well Tycho from Penny Arcade was a bit critical of the reaction, although this was less to do with whether the move itself was sound or not, more an issue with hardcore PC gamers complaining as if they’ve got any clout over this issue.

    Although his comment that dissenter’s should “put out” more was a bit weird.

    • Geoff says:

      His point was that the company exists to make money, and it’s facing two groups of customers: One rushes out to pre-order $60 products in record numbers and pays for horse armor.
      The other waits ’til your game is $20-30 on direct download, then complains that if hasn’t gotten enough free content additions, threatens to boycott you, and claims that their stealing of your product was a moral act because your game wasn’t good enough.

      Scoff all you want at that slutty girl down the block, but it’s easy to see why she’s the one all the boys are chasing.

    • Shalrath says:

      Minorities should stop complaining about stuff too. If they really wanted change…

    • Hidden_7 says:

      The thing I find amusing about the “put out” argument is that as an analogy is actually doesn’t work that well. In one sense, yes, that’s exactly what’s happening, one group is easier to please and nets greater rewards, so it makes sense to focus on that group more than the harder-to-please group that provides less return for investment. However, by saying that it is like the boys all chasing the easy girl and if you want to get boys you’ve got to “put out” more you’ve now made your previous position, which is actually fairly reasonable (for profit companies are going to focus on groups that offer more return for investment) aligned with a pretty crazy position (girls that can’t attract male attention need to slut it up more).

      It doesn’t seem useful as far as analogies go. Usually you want to associate your position with a less controversial, better received position. It clearly falls down from disanalogy, since the usual rational against just “slutting it up” is that worthwhile fellows care about more than just sex, whereas you’re not going to really suggest saving yourself for a caring company that cares about more than just money. Still, seems an odd argumentative tactic.

  19. rocketman71 says:

    Amazing, just amazing

    I’m dubious. Did fourzerotwo’s wife cheat with some PC gamer?. Because the amount of asshattery is reaching insurmountable levels.

    [hope I wrote that right]

    • Flimgoblin says:

      Wonder if he tracked down a “social media guru” to set him up with his new twitter account *for free* so he could do that ;)

  20. rocketman71 says:

    BTW, probably that hack journalist at GameInformer will have something to say against BC2 having dedicated servers, and how IW are gods. We’ll see.

  21. Chobes says:

    It took me about 5 minutes or so, from reading the RPS entry, to clicking and reading the link, it’s comments, and the RPS comments to remember that Battlefield and Call of Duty were two entirely different franchises from two different publishers, and a lot of the novelty of this story wore off.

  22. EBass says:

    I’m actually starting to like this, why? Not because we’ll win, not because this means PC gaming matters, but because it means we as PC gamers have an identity all of our own. Whats more, while we disagree on many things, (Far Cry 2 sucked Tim), on the core issues which we feel are fundamental to our hobby we will not be content to see them slip away.

  23. Nerd Rage says:

    Of course, if PC sales *are* low because PC gamers do decide to pass on this tomfoolery, the blame naturally will be placed on piracy. So there’s really no upside to this. All I know to say is that the games with the longest lifespan that I can think of actually are mods. Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat started as Half-Life mods and are now standalone Source engine games, Team Fortress has seen similar treatment since its birth as a quake mod and a later half-life update, and beyond those Left4Dead was born from a CS mod. Hey, you know speaking of Quake… that was the last time I remember having to host my own deathmatches. So have fun with the inevitably short lived success of MW2, Infinity Ward. You deserve it.

    • Shalrath says:

      “So there’s really no upside to this.”

      Well a game I don’t want is doing stuff to a game I wouldn’t want if I had bought the game.

      So I GUESS it’s not an upside, but it is shot at people who share my hobby. Then again, I get to deny them 100 dollars or whatever the game costs, so that feels pretty good.

  24. KilgoreTrout XL says:

    I guess it does seem a little silly that they put up a blog post just to “announce” that the PC version will basically have the standard multiplayer options, but I still couldn’t keep from smiling when I read it.

  25. subedii says:

    I was talking about Friday’s post.

    Today’s post seems somewhat more… vitriolic than last time. Largely because it seems to have picked up a load of strawman arguments which read like something off of the youtube comments section, which were then dispatched with much fire and brimstone. It’s not exactly hard to take aim at the kind of idiot that goes ranting about how they’re going to pirate the game to “stick it to the man”.

    • Geoff says:

      Yes, I was explaining the “put out” vs “celibacy” thing from Friday’s post. If you stop reading all the silly forum posts and just look at the profit numbers, it becomes very clear why a for-profit corporation would shift its focus to console sales with paid DLC. If you want to change that picture, more forum-ranting and boycotting is not going to do the trick.

    • subedii says:

      True, but I’m not so sure this is about shifting to console sales. They’re the vast majority, but the thing is that IW didn’t just scrap their existing multiplayer architecture, they’ve created an entirely new one instead, which is actually a lot more costly. To be honest, I think they genuinely believe their reasonings in making things easier for most other users via matchmaking, it’s just that to me at least, the reasonings don’t make a whole lot of sense beyond that since matchmaking doesn’t exclude server support.

  26. subedii says:

    And the above was in response to Geoff incidentally.

  27. CryingTheAnnualKingo says:

    Its as PC an action game as EA is ever likely to publish. If Battlefield 3 ever happens, it will be cross-platform with consoles, mark my words. The Sims has carved a very profitable existence for itself on PC because of mainstream popularity,but triple-A, Western developed, hardware intensive shooters will always be cross-platform forever more.
    Regardless of its platform heritage, the original Bad Company is still my go to multiplayer shooter. Its freaking amazing. BC2 will be all the better on its true platform.

  28. Psychopomp says:

    It pleases me, that what was (and probably still is) set to be the best selling game of the year, is now being beaten on Steams sales charts by Arma II, and a cRPG. *Twice.*

    • subedii says:

      I don’t see how that really matters to be honest. The game’s still selling, and it’s going to sell boatloads. Combined sales across all platforms are likely going to trump anything else going this season, or heck, probably even for the whole next year.

    • Pahalial says:

      Eh, I don’t know that that’s really anything to do with the game itself – it’s a very strong seller in the retail sector, a lot of places are no longer taking pre-orders (my local EB for example), Dell.ca is backed up to Dec 1st for estimated ship date on the x360 version… And frankly Valve seems to have intentionally delayed any announcement of Steam availability -just this weekend, whereas you could preorder at retail months ago- and when they did mention it it was with a 2-day delay from retail, even though all copies will be steam-enabled.

      At this point I think it’s rather obvious that they’ve been intentionally under-hyping it to protect L4D2 sales, which also has a nov 10 release date. MW2 only got put on a featured homepage slot hours ago, for crying out loud. How long ago was L4D2 pre-order being pushed? A month? Two?

    • subedii says:

      Valve don’t get a say in when a game is allowed to be advertised, that’s worked out beforehand with the publisher. If Steam were genuinely trying to sink CoD4, they’d have simply stuck a tiny announcement on the right hand menu and not posted the massive pop-up notification, and the screen filling advert on the front of the store page.

      When it gets announced and where is all Activision’s call, Steam’s just the store. And for that matter, if Valve were in the habit of putting down games out of some weird sense that it would make their own sell better, they would’ve done it to Killing Floor (pretty much as direct a competitor to L4D as you can get). Which is a viewpoint that Tripwire themselves have done nothing but say is crazy talk. More importantly, if Activision felt that Valve was doing even the slightest most meagre thing to undersell their game, they would not hesitate to pull it completely from Steam altogether. At this stage, PC sales are marginal compared to the behemoth console sales, and DD sales are even moreso to the extent of almost being optional. They’d pull CoD from Steam faster than you could blink.

    • subedii says:

      Ach, I mean MW2, not CoD4 (which would be the previous game)

    • Psychopomp says:

      It’s just the fact that a extremely hyped arcade-y shooter is being beat out *anywhere* by two very niche titles.

      Also, MW2 had a massive, screenfilling front page advert on the steam store. There were no front page slots, there was only it.

    • subedii says:

      Well ARMA’s niche admittedly, but I’m not sure anything Bioware does can be considered niche anymore. Not since after Mass Effect, or possibly KotoR.

      Although I will admit that all things considered, I would’ve expected MW2 to be at the top of the list right now as well.

  29. pepper says:

    Hmm. It’s not as if DICE is being really friendly against modders. If they would then they should/could have opened up BF2 for us modders. but alas they wont.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Yeah, that’s probably the bigger issue, too.

    • suibhne says:

      I don’t mean to dismiss your concerns, which I wholeheartedly share, but there’s at least something to the argument that modding is only relevant to a small population of the overall PC player base. The presence of dedicated servers, otoh, affects everyone who plays the MP side of a game – and affects them in a positive way (ignoring Bowling’s false dichotomy between noob-friendly matchmaking and dedicated servers). Moreover, dedicated servers could be implemented to improve the gameplay experience for console players as well, which is being done by both Section 8 and BF: Bad Company 2.

    • Psychopomp says:

      It can also been done by the original MGO, and is being done by the new one. There’s an option when you go to host a game, to just make your PS3 a dedicated server.
      You won’t even take up a slot in the server itself.

    • Nick says:

      There seem to be an awful lot of mods, some of which do pretty clever things with BF2, its not like it is unmoddable.

    • pepper says:

      I never said it was unmoddable. Just that the support for it is disappointing, and the things that mod teams have done usually involve some pretty whacky hacking to get it to work.

  30. Lilliput King says:

    I’m not sure publishers/developers see mods or modability as a serious way of adding to a games appeal.

    Me, I just went out and bought Doom 3 today to play the dark mod.

    • subedii says:

      To a large extent they don’t, but it’s also something that they recognise helps build a fan following around their games. For the really big games that’s pretty irrelevant, they’ve already got a following and people are going to buy the latest one. For smaller titles, it can be an important thing in order to keep a happy community, and so increases the chances of your sequel selling.

      The thing to keep in mind is that catering to any sort of modding community takes a lot of resources. The tools alone can take months to get to the state where home users can make use of them, and then there’s all the after-market support and documentation, it’s a pretty big undertaking depending on the game. And those resources you spend on helping to foster a creative modding community around the titles are always resources you could have spent elsewhere.

      In the grand scheme of things, a game that gets a following for its mods and modding doesn’t necessarily boost sales in any significant way (there are exceptions like Counter-Strik, but those are few and far between). So for the major devs it’s pretty much a moot point. The same usually applies for the smaller devs as well since it can be quite resource intensive to provide, and then you run the risk that you put all this effort in (that remember, you could have allocated those resources elsewhere) and then a modding community never really toook off anyway.

      What it does do however is add a community around the game. Word of mouth is still one of the most important ways to sell a game, especially for smaller devs that don’t really have access to the kind of marketing budgets that the big boys have. So if they can make their fans happy and keep a buzz going until the sequel, then it’s all the better for them.

      Really it’s all a balancing act. Supporting a modding community doesn’t sell games in itself, not usually, but it can help you to maintain a really strong community base, and they will also often do a lot of the advertising for you. So it’s optional, can be helpful depending on how your company is oriented. Larger games don’t need to depend on satisfying a small hardcore, they’ve already got enough of a following without needing to cater to smaller and typically more demanding elements like that.

      I realise Valve is often taken as an exception to many rules here, but they are an interesting look at how fostering the community has worked for them. Arguably some of their most successful products have come from the mods (Team Fortress, CS), and more than half the company themselves come from the modding community. In that sense for Valve, it’s not just been an investment in a fanbase, but an actual investment in their future. People like Adam Foster (the guy who made Minerva Metastasis) go on to work at Valve. This doesn’t apply equally to all companies, but it’s an interesting thing to see in action.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Interesting read! Not sure I agree with you that the pre-existence of mods doesn’t noticeably increase game sales, though. Not on any evidence, but rather that it seems unlikely there exists any evidence to the contrary, as a couple of factors would seem to me to make it difficult/impossible to measure;

      most of the sales due to mods would likely occur late into the game’s shelf-life, rather than copies sold in the first week of being on the market, which is traditionally the measure of success, and;

      games simply sell different amounts, and some are more popular than others – deciding why one game has sold more than others, i.e., mods, is an exercise in futility, as the sale figures vary depending on genre, month, year, quality of game, quality of marketing, critical reception, platform, etc.

    • Mungrul says:

      There’s one critical factor about mod-ability that people always seem to forget; it creates future employees, or even future franchises. To stifle this only harms the developer community in general. But of course, this is long-term thinking, and not related to the idea of maximising short-term profitability, so corporate big-wigs aren’t interested.
      It’s shocking when you consider that founder members of Infinity Ward themselves came from the modding community.

  31. Questions says:

    PRESS X TO RELOAD
    PRESS B TO PICKUP KIT (whatever that means (never played BF series))

    So can you customize your weapon loadouts in BF like in Modern Warfare?

    All the boycotters keep pointing me to this game as an alternative but it looks totally different.

    • Chaz says:

      It is different, thats why its called an alternative. If it were the same, it wouldn’t be much of an alternative would it?

  32. Heliocentric says:

    Maybe not customise, but in battlefield games when someone dies for a minute or so they leave behind a bag. Whoever picks this up gets everything the dead man had, even unlocks, additionally they drop a bag with their own stuff. Gives new players a taste of the better guns also, sometimes your medic gets killed and you save him with his own kit.

  33. fullbleed says:

    “Fuck me!” heh reminds me of “The Deeping” video posted on here a while ago.

  34. Pahalial says:

    That’s fair. I was/am not aware of the specifics of Steam distribution, and assumed that negotiations were involved – it’s fully steam-integrated, right down to VAC and (apparently) activating retail copies on steam, so I’m still not entirely convinced otherwise.

    Regardless, though, I admit I would also have expected it to be closer to the top after a couple days, if not #1. Maybe the boycott actually had some teeth?

    • Pahalial says:

      Blah, that was in reply to subedii a few posts above.

    • Psychopomp says:

      The MW2 boycott is a matter of quality. I’m fairly certain it’s not a matter of having no willpower, like many L4D2 boycotters, and *just not wanting to buy a shitty game.*

      AND DON’T ANY OF YOU TAKE THAT AS A QUEUE TO START BICKERING ABOUT L4D2 >:|

    • Psychopomp says:

      Cue?

    • Glove says:

      Aye, cue.

  35. Surgeon says:

    Modern Warfare 2 can suck on my DAO-12.
    I’m counting the days until BF3.

  36. runcrash says:

    So my question is to all those who have rented a server before: In the BFBC2 FAQ it says that you can rent servers from “trusted partners with datacenters.” Is this normal for a FPS or can you host a dedicated server anywhere you like to? I know a friend of mine who is a web designer fires up a TF2 server on the web server he rents from time to time.

    • Monkeybreadman says:

      Its normal for the BF series. Dice give out licences to server providers so they can host ranked servers. The GSPs then have to limit the access the user has to the server files. Something IW should’ve done.

      If i was Dice i would release another trailer for B:BC2 and be busting my balls to get 1943 out as soon as possible

  37. subedii says:

    @mungrul: Oh they’re still going to be recruiting people from the mod community. Mod or indie experience is crucial if you’re going to even think of applying for any of he larger devs. It’s just that these guys won’t be from their own community.

    Which is deeply ironic considering, well, you know some of the map makers for CoD4? Where did THEY come from? Mapmaking for earlier CoD games.

    Now the statement is that amateur mod-makers and mapmakers could never hope to replicated the quality of someone working full time on the job, so it’s better to make things easier for the less hardcore fans instead and maintain quality. But even if that were true, it’s something people do to develop their skills and show their potential.

    All this is moot for IW though. Realistically they can easily draw talent from any number of sources and communities, it’s not like they’re going to be suffering a shortage of people applying. Doesn’t change the fact that the logic behind it is a bit skewed if you talk about how unimportant that community is to you and then draw people with those skills from those communities.

  38. Alex Woetzel says:

    Terrific posting, well written I must say.