In a weekend podcast with BashAndSlash.com, Infinity Ward's creative strategist Robert Bowling said that the PC version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2will not have dedicated servers, a revelation that caused an uproar among PC gamers.
Activision-owned Infinity Ward has been working on a multiplayer backend called IWNet, which will provide match-making "just like you have on consoles" for Modern Warfare 2 PC players, Bowling said. "We're building in our own match-making so you can get in there and play with players your same rank."
He added, "You're completely reliant on IWNet, and there are no dedicated servers or server lists." Bowling said that PC gamers will still have the private match option where players can customize game rules, and invite people to the server.
In effect, gamers in the PC community will not be able to run Modern Warfare 2 on dedicated servers that they may rent, as they are able to with previous Call of Duty games. Other concerns that PC gamers have expressed on message boards and blogs regarding no dedicated servers include possible lag issues and unsatisfactory match-making.
In addition, no dedicated servers likely means that IWNet will not support mods and custom maps for the game, at least at launch. Mods are an aspect of PC gaming that helps keep a game's community going for a relatively long period of time. "I know the team has huge plans for what IWNet will turn into, and this is just the beginning," Bowling said. At launch, however, IWNet is mainly focused on match-making.
Bowling admitted that he wasn't totally up to speed on further specifics of IWNet, as it's a "code-heavy" topic. Gamasutra attempted to contact Bowling this afternoon, but did not receive a reply as of press time.
The revelation prompted a strong response from PC gamers who were anticipating the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the latest release in a franchise that originated on PC. One common example of PC gamer response can be seen on Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2 PC forum:
"Just canceled my PC pre-order. My entire clan of 100-plus people is canceling too. Thanks IW! You just saved us all a total of over $6,000.00. We are thinking of stopping our dedicated CoD servers too. What point is there to helping a company provide multiplayer if they are just going to shaft you."
PC gamers objecting to Infinity Ward's decision are signing a petition, which listed 75,000 names as of press time. Addressed to the developer, the online petition's goal is to "Get Infinity Ward to review their decision not to allow fully dedicated servers for their forthcoming game release CoD:MW2. Remember that this Call of Duty was made popular by PC Gamers who have supported the series throughout."