Norms For Next Gen: Dedicated Servers For Major Titles, With P2P Connection As A Back-up

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It’s understandable small games that die quickly in the multiplayer department wouldn’t have any dedicated servers, but why are we on the 9th Call of Duty game (Ghost) and still getting peer-to-peer connections?

I like my Call of Duty from time to time, but I swear the lag in this game can get frustrating sometimes. I’m not gonna go into a whole “COD vs. BF” argument here, but the guys over at EA and DICE had the right idea when they added dedicated servers for us console players. And I don’t even mean to pick on Activision, but despite making all that money from DLC off their monster franchise, would it kill them to add some dedicated servers?

There are several reasons why dedicated servers would be beneficial for us gamers. For starters, matchmaking would function extremely fast. No more waiting around as the game finds and selects a host with the best connection of the player pool. The load speed is faster too since it’s all being directed to the server rather than having players connection sent out to the host. And then there’s the near elimination of LAG!! We all hate it, and we know exactly what kind of BS can happen with it. Players skip around the maps, annoying hacks make their way online,  party members get stuck during matchmaking, and random disconnection from the host occurs at the worst moments.

However, dedicated servers aren’t always the best option. Despite having their many advantages, going back to play old titles such as Rainbow Six Vegas is still a blessing to know that we can play online. I know, I know, “c’mon James, why would anyone want to play these old games?” but you guys would be surprised. Remember when the Xbox Live Servers shut down for the original Xbox? There were countless people who were still playing Halo 2 and other dedicated server-based titles and to know that we’ll never get to play some of these titles online again is a bit heart breaking. And while I despise Call of Duty multiplayer for the lack of dedicated servers, I do applaud them for the fact that I can jump back to the title that really brought the COD series back to life (COD4) without ever worrying about it shutting down, since it’s peer-to-peer connection.

Heck, just this past weekend I bought MAG from GameStop for only $1, thinking I was getting a bargain only to find out that the servers had been or will be shutting down very soon. Meaning I will have a useless game in my collection that’ll have no resell value whatsoever. Of course expecting peer-to-peer with this game would be absolutely disastrous considering it supports 256 players at one time, but it’s still sad I won’t be able to play the title.

Sure,

I went into this editorial saying that dedicated servers need to be in every game next generation, but perhaps that alone won’t suffice for future play time. Perhaps it’s best if we went with a “hybrid” system, one that allows us to play using dedicated servers, but at the same time has the option of peer-to-peer available whenever servers are either having maintenance done on them or when a game online shuts down. It’s not a bad idea, and would certainly help keep the flow of playing whenever a service does maintenance.

So, what do you guys think? Should developers lean towards the dedicated servers model, continue with p2p, or perhaps go with the hybrid?

Next week, we’ll be talking about online clan system.

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