Uncharted 3 won't feature dedicated servers

Uncharted 3 developer Naughty Dog explains why the company decided to stick with peer-to-peer networking for the upcoming sequel, instead of dedicated servers.

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Very few console games offer dedicated servers for online multiplayer. Uncharted 3 developer Naughty Dog went on Twitter to explain why the company decided to stick with peer-to-peer networking for the upcoming sequel, which is currently in the middle of an extensive public beta test.

"We're not going to have dedicated servers," a representative commented. "The cost delta between dedicated & non-dedicated is huge long term. Eventually someone will say it costs too great and shut them down." Support for online games from companies like EA are shut down on a regular basis. "Despite some people's perception, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work involved with keeping these older games up and running," an EA rep commented last year.

Using P2P networking instead of dedicated servers should guarantee a long lifespan for Uncharted 3's online community. "My personal hope is that by keeping costs down and a strong enough community, we could be in a position to consider 4+ yrs of uptime," Naughty Dog added. However, while the sentiment makes sense, Sony has a track record of keeping games online for quite some time. For example, one of the earliest PlayStation Network games, Warhawk, uses dedicated servers--and has been online for nearly four years.

(via CVG)

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  • reply
    July 12, 2011 3:15 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Uncharted 3 won't feature dedicated servers.

    Uncharted 3 developer Naughty Dog explains why the company decided to stick with peer-to-peer networking for the upcoming sequel, instead of dedicated servers.

    • reply
      July 12, 2011 3:18 PM

      If it's truly peer-to-peer, why would the developer have any involvement in how long the game stays up? Shouldn't everything be handled by the network provider (aka PSN), leaving it up to Sony how long it's up?

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        July 12, 2011 4:45 PM

        A server is probably needed to manage the initial connection between people.

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        July 13, 2011 5:36 AM

        No, the other way around. They are going P2P so that there is no cost. If they had dedicated servers there would be a cost. The good news with that decision is that in 5 years if there are still players there will still be multi-player. If this were a hard core competitive game there might be cause to have dedicated servers, but for something that is more fun and casual like uncharted I don't see any advantage.

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      July 12, 2011 3:38 PM

      I smell BS on this one. Dedicated server costs are pennies compared to development and launch costs - budget them in and it's no problem. If you provide a good enough online service (and treat it as a service) your long-term sales MORE than pay for the cost of the dedicated servers. Unless, of course, you're contracting it out and paying someone 5 times more than it should cost you to run your servers (see: gamespy)

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      July 12, 2011 4:18 PM

      Isn't that a long winded way of saying "We don't understand virtual machines".

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      July 12, 2011 8:58 PM

      What a ridiculous and completely incorrect excuse. If dedicated servers are so expensive as a long term proposition then why can people still play multiplayer games of Quake today? Gee, could it be because when you let your community run and operate their own servers, they foot the associated operating charges and it costs you nothing?

      I mean, I know servers are much more sophisticated these days with all the centralised stat tracking and everything they run on top of it, but that's the same whether you go dedicated or client-hosted.

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        July 13, 2011 5:49 AM

        Ok, two different meanings of 'Dedicated Servers' are being used here... One is the oldschool Quake model where a server only version of the game is released with the game, or for download. In that case anyone can run the server, host a game and there is no centralized infrastructure. The down (or up) side of this is that it's pretty open to hacking and it is hard to tell if the server you are playing on is fair... so this is a bad choice for competitive games. The overhead of running the server part of the game is often not enough to justify running it on it's own server, when that is the case there is no benefit to having a 'dedicated server' over having one integrated with the client.

        What Naughty Dog means when they say 'dedicated server' is one hosted on their servers, under their control and helping them to prevent cheating. For that kind of dedicated server there is indeed ongoing cost. If you have a retail game, where you make a one time purchase you can only afford to host the dedicated servers for a limited time... perhaps for several years if the game is popular. But eventually the sales go down, the price of the game goes down and the ongoing profit from the game drops below that cost. When that happens the multi-player goes away...or the company releases the servers to the community.

        Trust me, if it were more profitable to keep dedicated servers running that is what the companies would do. They are run to make money not to piss off gamers. The only reason that anyone builds games with dedicated servers is because some competitive games demand protection from cheating to be viable. Things like Starcraft II... even with dedicated servers preventing the cheating is hard... using them it is impossible.

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          July 13, 2011 9:05 AM

          "Trust me, if it were more profitable to keep dedicated servers running that is what the companies would do. "

          That's like saying companies always make the correct decision, which isn't the case. There's so much that's subjective and until you get some experience running dedicated servers for a game and seeing the hurdles and costs first hand, it's easy to be a little worried about it.

          The folks over at S2 Games provide dedicated servers for Heroes of Newerth, which (including it's huge beta) has been around for over 2 years now, and they show no signs of slowing down. They're also still running savage 2 servers - these aren't the old school quake dedicated servers either, these are centralized systems that are operated as a service.

          It feels like someone at naughty dog used the pea-brain logic of "dedicated servers cost us money, and they're for existing customers who have already paid, so there's no way they can be profitable." Thing is, a GOOD online experience that performs well is going to do a lot for driving word-of-mouth recommendations toward your game - that alone more than pays for server costs.

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