News Article

GameSpy Shutting Down All Online Servers on 31st May, Following Wii and DS Wi-Fi Disconnection

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

End of an era

In late February we had the disappointing news that online multiplayer, online-based communication apps and even some DLC will become unavailable on Wii and DS, due to Nintendo switching off the Wi-Fi connection. This happens on 20th May — though the Wii Shop and DSi Shop will remain open for business — and prompted some to speculate that it was a deliberate move, particularly with Mario Kart 8 joining its 3DS contemporary in replacing the still-popular Wii and DS entries.

In the weeks that followed there was speculation that a Glu Mobile takeover of GameSpy may have precipitated the disconnection, as both the Wii and DS online infrastructure — along with a long list of PC and console games — are though the GameSpy licensing server; new owners can often cause major changes in such businesses. Whatever the reality, however, an interesting new development is that all GameSpy services will now close down on 31st May; any remaining games utilising the service — many have long since moved on or ceased online play — will no longer be able to use the infrastructure. A brief message on the GameSpy website says the following.

Effective MAY 31, 2014, GameSpy will cease providing all hosted services for all games still using GameSpy.

If you have any questions about how this impacts your favorite title please contact the game's publisher for more information.

Thanks for a great ride!

It's the end of an era, particularly in online PC gaming, while it's unclear what role Nintendo's switch-off has had, in terms of whether the Nintendo or GameSpy decision came first (regardless of announcement dates), and which influenced the other (if at all).

In any case, it's coincidental timing, and demonstrates that Nintendo theoretically cannot continue online multiplayer on Wii or DS without migrating to a new or existing Nintendo Network infrastructure; that would likely be too pricey and challenging in the context of supporting its last-gen systems.


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User Comments (54)



Silent said:

Gotta make space for the new. Even new things know that someday they will be replaced.



TruenoGT said:

Meanwhile PC games from nearly 20 years ago using peer-to-peer and/or user hosted dedicated servers are still going strong. It's pro/cons for ease of use, but console gamers especially have been experiencing the major CONS of this type of company hosted infrastructure in recent years.



MussakkuLaden said:

Can anyone tell me if after the shutdown of the Nintendo Wifi-Connection it'll still be possible to purchase add-on content for FF CC My Life as a King (or for that matter, other games)?

Non-free downloadable content is the only "online function" that My Life as a King offers, and indeed the game is not listed on Nintendo's official, long list of games whose online functionality will be discontinued in late May. The same holds true for My Life as a Darklord and My Aquarium 2, for instance, i.e. games that offered Wifi-Connectivity only in the sense of "Pay & Play" (and, in the case of My Aquarium 2, WiiConnect24 functionality, but that was already discontinued last year, as we may remember, and the descriptions of this game (and other games) in the Wii Shop mentions the fact).

I'm therefore supposing that "Pay & Play" functions, just like the Wii Shop, may still remain available after the discontinuation of all "free" online functions. But if anyone knows that for certain, I'd feel more comfortable, as I still intend to download some extra content for a second playthrough of My Life as a King some day in the future.

If it's true that Pay & Play remains available, this should also mean that games which ARE on Nintendo's discontinuation list - like DJ Hero and Samba to Amigo, just to mention two that I own - may "only" loose their free online functions, but the purchase of additional songs may still be possible. Indeed, on Nintendo's list of features affected by the shutdown, only "FREE additional content" is mentioned.



chewytapeworm said:

Played some Super Smash online last night, and looking forward to getting as much MK Wii in as possible before the deadline. When the rooms aren't filled with spammers who have infinite items at their disposal, the chaotic, pinball machine nature of the game mixed with the item system, and with twelve seasoned racers chucked in... Well... It's one of the most exhilarating online experiences imaginable, and one I have great fears that MK8 will be unable to replicate. Prove me wrong Nintendo!

MK Wii online. 2008-2014. You shall be sorely missed.



ACK said:

Considering that Wii uses GameSpy as a matchmaking service, it's a safe bet that the shutdown is directly tied to this revelation. It's clear that Nintendo acted prudently in their announcement of the shutdown to give gamers fair heads-up and because, regardless, the writing on the wall.

@MussakkuLaden DLC operates through the Wii shop, so it has been confirmed by Nintendo that the ability to buy "pay to play" content will not be affected.



MegaAdam said:

@MussakkuLaden FYI, DJ Hero's DLC has been taken down by Activision.

Otherwise, as far as we know, you should still be able to access the Wii Shop Channel and purchase DLC. No guidance has been given otherwise. I know FFCC:MLaaK and MLaaD are not on the list of games whose services are being shutdown.



DarkEdi said:

The shop channels will be alive, also all DLC pay content and channels like Netflix, internet, too.

What will be gone? all wi-fi game and scores



TingLz said:

@Kodeen Probably because they didn't know how at the time. It's not that uncommon for companies to use third parties for services like this



MussakkuLaden said:

@adamical @unrandomsam Thanks to you two, too. I didn't know that the DJ Hero DLC has been taken down already, I just checked Samba de Amigo. But then I don't really care about some overpriced songs anyway. I'm just glad that I can expand My Life as a King! ^^



chewytapeworm said:

@PrincessEevee9 Au contraire! I have seen the lot and am as excited as anyone! But I haven't yet played the game online, which to me is a crucial factor for repeated playthroughs. I found MK7's to be quite the letdown you see...



ACK said:

@unrandomsam They certainly could have gone to Nintendo fishing for a new contract, being as Nintendo is probably the largest single client. Many PC games use GameSpy, but those are scattered among publishers who have long moved on. So, it's possible that a continued relationship with Nintendo would have prolonged the shutdown, but let's be real... It's highly unlikely Nintendo was going to fund the operation and upkeep of those servers considering the generational gap. Unfortunately.



Dark-Link73 said:

@Baum897 No, those were the severs for every single Wii game that had the "Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection" blue logo on the box. Games like MHTri (CAPCOM) and CoD: Black Ops (Activision) ran on their own severs. That's why they had different online play logos.



Pichuka97 said:

I know some PS2 games that ran on GameSpy can play online again through private servers. Would that be possible for the Wii and DS via their online mode in games?



chiefeagle02 said:

@Pichuka97 As hackable as the Wii and DS are, I think it's possible. I know for a fact several Dreamcast games are still online through private servers.



Pichuka97 said:

@chiefeagle02 That sounds great. I hope people will start working on private servers soon because I would like to continue playing my old DS and DSi as well as Wii games online.



Ernest_The_Crab said:

@TruenoGT Only problem is that people on console's seem to complain a lot about using p2p. Another issue is that a lot of companies find it much cheaper to outsource their online infrastructure to a 3rd party. Until it becomes a huge liability to outsource, companies will continue to do so.



JaxonH said:


Yes. Netflix is it's own app that connects to the Netflix servers. Basically, Nintendo's just not going to continue paying for servers for online multiplayer on last gen systems. And, I can't really blame them. I mean, it's not like they charge for online as the other companies do. Every server comes out of their pocket, not ours. Can't complain about free, right?



BearClaus said:

Thank you for saying “last-gen” instead of calling the Wii and DS “current-gen” as calling the new consoles “next-gen” would imply.



SMW said:

Sad day. I've played countless games hosted by GameSpy. Sure I have not played them too much recently, but I still did on occasion. This just shows that its always good to include an IP-join option for multiplayer and to not fully rely on an outside service! Heck, I can still play GTA2 (yes 2) online.

This reminds me of when they shut down the MSN Gaming Zone. I still miss that place!

EDIT: Wait a sec. Unreal Tournament (99) uses GameSpy for the master server list! Nooooooooooo!!! Looks like I'll be using GameTracker to keep tabs on the servers.



unrandomsam said:

@JaxonH They could have patched it in some way even only on 3DS / Wii U with some sort of compatibility thing. (The competition did for quite a few things). Lots of it is not that old at all. The old stuff fine but the stuff they were still selling new before Christmas I don't think is.



duffmman said:

@Brickbuild101 I like how people care so much about this. As if watching Bob's Burgers or any other TV show in 480i instantly makes it unwatchable. Sure the blockbusters look great and should be seen in HD, but really, so much of Netflix is just stuff you passively watch while playing on your 3DS or doing doggieoopsiepoopiepoodle online, or even just something to watch as you fall asleep.



atomicjuicer said:

Games that require Internet access should receive open community backup servers support DLC before they are shut down.

Don't buy digital until this is implemented!!



Windy said:

One of the reasons I picked up a DS years ago was I read a statement in a gaming magazine that the games that had online capabilities would always be available to play.. that the way Nintendo had set it up would ensure those games would always be available. I had always assumed that it must have been a direct connection using those friend codes. Oh well I will miss an Occasional romp through Phantasy Star Zero on DS. Still to this day the best online Multiplayer RPG for any Handheld. Sad indeed



unrandomsam said:

@Unca_Lz Steam doesn't - Sony didn't on the PS3. Once competitor did Microsoft.

(What Sony does on the PS4 is not relevant because there is no PS4 games that use Gamespy afaik).



EarthboundBenjy said:

Would it be possible for dedicated fans to set up online play by themselves for the DS and Wii games?

I mean, when the DS is sending out its wireless communications, it expects to receive certain data back, right? Would it be possible to use a specifically-constructed wi-fi signal that makes the DS connect to a fan-run server instead?
Purely hypothetical... I really have no idea what I'm talking about, but I want to know if what I'm saying makes any sense at all.



Dudemario89 said:




JRTH said:

@EarthboundBenjy Hello Friend! The aswer to your question is yes. Technically it is possible, however unlikely for the reason of money and work that would have to go into a project of that magnitude. There has been discussion about hosting private servers for certain games which has been done in the past. None the less, someone would have to take on the painstaking task which would likely be your biggest challenge. Hope this helped. +JRTH+



firstlast said:

@JRTH luckily Nintendo has fans dedicated enough who actually pulled it off. As most of you might know by now, the Wii and DS Wi-Fi games can be played online again via alternative "Wiimmfi" server. Google it up

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