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Life After GameSpy: Civ 3, Civ 4 And Borderlands Go Steam

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You might well cheer the demise of GameSpy Technologies, but an awful lot of games will lose official online multiplayer support when the service shuts down on May 31. Publishers scour the battlefield running triage measuring pulses peeling eyelids shining lights flexing smashed bones jabbing fingers in wounds licking blood. “We’ve got a live one here!” they cry occasionally and haul the game up on their shoulder, but all too often stand up, brush themselves down, then step over the grasping bloodied hand as they quietly walk away.

2K Games shall save Borderlands, Civilization III, Civ IV, and Civ IV: Colonization, the publisher has confirmed, along with their expansions. A dozen of its less popular games will be less lucky.

2K plans to switch these four to Steamworks from May 31, warning that “During the transition, players will experience interruption of several features, including online play, matchmaking and voiceover Internet protocol (VOIP) where applicable.”

These games won’t be updated:

Some of these are a good decade old, so it’s not surprising that they’re being allowed to drift away.

They won’t strictly gone, though. Many will still be playable if communities switch to hosting their own master server lists or use tools like GameRanger, though one big reason why devs and publishers used GameSpy was so people wouldn’t need to discover, download, and learn how to use other software. Still, one might speculate that if you’re devotedly playing a decade-old game rather than chasing shiny newness, you’re likely to be the sort of person who knows about such things.

Stronghold developer Firefly Studios had said before this announcement that they were looking into a solution, and today are still pointing people to that. Those two Stronghold games will also lose LAN play when GameSpy goes down, Firefly say, so they’d be entirely de-multiplayered. There may still be hope.

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Alice O'Connor

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