GameSpy making multiplayer tech free for smaller-scale titles

GameSpy has announced that it's making the multiplayer framework used by a number of modern games (including Red Dead Redemption and Bulletstorm) free to any developer interested in using it. Developers of any size can get access to the code and tech required to integrate multiplayer matchmaking, player tracking, cloud data services and anything else needed to keep a large-scale multiplayer game up and running on almost any platform, even including cross-platform play.

"Free" has its limits, of course -- companies can't run a Bulletstorm-sized game using GameSpy's tech and get away with not paying at all. But much like the recent Unreal Engine 3 changes, this decision allows smaller developers to use and test the technology without any overhead costs. GameSpy's Senior Product Manager Sean Flinn tells Joystiq the service will be free below a modest cut-off point and that the company will have "additional pricing tiers" announced later this spring for titles with larger player bases. "We're not being super strict about the usage limits at launch," he says, though GameSpy will "continue to offer a paid tier of service for unlimited numbers of users and premium support."

Flinn says GameSpy is "betting big on the success of indie and start-ups," and it's hoping that independent developers using the service for free now will eventually grow to "need online services that match their ambition." Interested devs can join up with the program starting today.
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From Indie Developers to Major Publishers, All Game Makers Now Have Immediate,
Free Access to GameSpy Technology's Multiplatform Online Game Services and APIs

San Francisco – Feb. 24, 2011 – GameSpy Technology, the leader in connected game services, has now made online game development faster and free by giving everyone complete and open access to the company's entire catalog of connected game services across all platforms, including PC, Mac, consoles as well as iOS and Android platforms. GameSpy Technology is allowing up-and-coming game developers to tap into the same technology powering over one thousand of the biggest games ever made, including Red Dead Redemption, Bulletstorm, Crysis 2 and cross-platform indie hit Dungeon Defenders. This is the first time that truly cross platform AAA development services have ever been offered to developers for no initial cost.

"Smart developers are looking at their games as a whole across multiple platforms," said Todd Northcutt, Vice President, GameSpy Technology. "We want to empower everyone creating games to make great online experiences and to build a bigger, better communities regardless of platform, team size or budget. In an industry first, we are making cross-platform services free, with the hope that we can help more folks make better games."

GameSpy Technology's APIs are now available via an easy self-service process, allowing any developer to access the APIs and start adding online functionality to their game right away. The cross-platform SDKs include open APIs for rich player data tracking to gauge game performance and audience engagement, user-generated cloud storage content tools to enable actively-engaged communities to collaborate and extend the gameplay experience, social network integration, in-game or web-based commerce and competitive matchmaking services. GameSpy Technology's services have been tested and proven at multiple levels of scale, from small indie games all the way up to multi-million selling online console titles.

All GameSpy services are integrated seamlessly into the gameplay experience, allowing developers to maintain full control over the relationship with their customers. GameSpy empowers developers, giving them the tools and data to control their own destiny. will act as a single source for everything necessary to create world-class online experiences, including APIs and SDKs, community support, documentation and in-depth "dashboards" that show how a game is performing across a variety of metrics.

Trendy Entertainment's Dungeon Defenders takes advantage of multiple elements of GameSpy
Technology's cross-platform online services, including multiplayer matchmaking and deep player data tracking, allowing cooperative games to be played by players on a PlayStation 3, PC, iOS and Android devices. Trendy was among the first studios to take advantage of GameSpy Open, GameSpy's newly announced initiative to make all of its services available to start-up and independent developers for free.

The initiative is an important element of an ongoing effort by GameSpy Technology to broaden the field of game development to include up-and-coming startups and independent teams. GameSpy's latest programs have included the recent "Indie Open House" program, which has seen IGN entertainment open up free San Francisco office space and resources for use by a selection of development teams.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.