GDC 09: Connected gaming services provider celebrates 10th anniversary

GameSpy updates technology offering

GameSpy has released the latest update to its multiplayer and online functionality technology platform.

The new features, detailed below, promise to give publishers and developers new revenue-building opportunities, as well as the tools to needed improve games’ community-based elements. The updates come as the company celebrates its 10th anniversary.

“With five of the top ten games in 2008 leveraging GameSpy Technology, clearly our ten years of experience is serving us well,” said Jamie Berger, GameSpy’s senior vice president of consumer products and technology. “The latest updates that we are bringing to the table allow us to continue to give developers and publishers the leading-edge online functionality and services that they need most to make their games successful in an increasingly competitive market.”

A statement to the press lists the updates to GameSpy as follows:

‘GameSpy Technology Commerce updates:

· GameSpy Direct2Game: In-Game Downloadable Content Engine – enables the distribution of free and paid downloadable content (DLC) to their customers from directly within games. The service update also includes expanded cataloging functionality, extensible item data, content updates and can also integrate with partners’ native account systems, enabling developers to create a fluid user experience while maintaining valuable relationships with their players. The service is backed by GameSpy / IGN’s long-standing expertise in digital distribution, and is powered by the same billing, fulfillment and customer support infrastructure that powers the company’s Direct2Drive service.

GameSpy Technology Community updates:

· Rich Media & Content Sharing – gives developers and publishers the kind of features that will help increase the stickiness of their games by putting gamers in control of capturing and sharing both user-generated and game-generated content including videos and custom levels. With a few simple commands, developers can now create game-based screenshot galleries, complete with user ratings and “hot-or-not” style voting. Expanding the reach of a game beyond the console, this content can be shared in-game as well as on community websites, and can be seen at work in Rockstar’s “Rate My Ride” feature in Midnight Club: Los Angeles and THQ’s Smackdown vs. RAW ’09 “Highlight Reel” video sharing.

· Team/Clan/Guild Management – enables developers to integrate organised, persistent team play into their games. Using this service, developers can now enable players to create, manage, join, customise and track their progress as teams, clans and guilds. Most features of the services are accessible to players both in-game and on the Web, and enhance a variety of genres from team-based first-person shooters to massively multiplayer games.

· Buddies of Buddies: Making Gamers’ Experiences More Relevant – allows developers to quickly build friend-based social networks within their games through a new update to GameSpy’s Presence service.

Recognising that gamers play more when they play with people they know, the “buddies of buddies” feature provides hooks for developers to expose players’ in-game buddy lists to other members of a game’s community. This enables gamers to quickly build up their in-game friend lists by adding new friends from trusted sources.

· PlayStation 3 Buddy List Sync – allows developers building titles on multiple platforms to use GameSpy Technology’s single API wrapper to ease implementation of buddy list functionality into their games from the PlayStation Network and other platforms. This feature greatly reduces the level of effort required for developers to build social gaming functions into their multiplatform titles.

GameSpy Technology Connect updates:

· Automatic Connection Establishment – assures developers that their players will enjoy better connectivity with lower up-front development effort. GameSpy has updated its matchmaking process to include automatic NAT negotiation – a process referred to as “Automated Connection Establishment” – saving development time to implement a user’s ability to host games from behind a router at home. As increasing numbers of players connect to multiplayer games from home networks, the importance of connection establishment becomes critical.’

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