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Why Modern Warfare 2 MP died and what’s been done about it – UPDATE!

Submitted by on Thursday, 12 November 20092 Comments

Modern Warfare 2 As a lot of people are fully aware, those of you out there wanting to get online with Modern Warfare 2 on the PSN, well, can’t.

Some people are equating this failure to connect with the recent 1.02 Trophy patch (which EU gamers are getting in a few hours by the way). Not so. The outage has nothing to do with the recent update apparently.

The culprit? You people. In your rapacious desire to kill terrorists (or be a terrorist – but we’re not going there) high demand caused the servers to go supernova. Don’t worry, they’re coming back online now. Slowly but surely.

The following bullet-pointed explanation for the multiplayer blackout has been documented by Infinity Ward’s Robert Bowling, aka @fourzerotwo, on Twitter.

Here’s a synopsis of just what happened (in handy chronicle order) and what they’re doing to resolve the issue.┬áBrace yourself as this does get a bit techy.

  • Xbox Live servers are maintained and ran by Microsoft. PSN servers are ran and maintained by 3rd party companies hired to do so.
  • MP doesn’t require a patch. It’s a server overload not a bug in the code. They’re working to have servers back up ASAP.
  • Multiplayer will be available as soon as Demonware gets the servers back online ASAP.
  • PS3 Update: MP Servers gradually coming back online. Some users may still experience issues. Also, EU Players get Trophy patch tonight.
  • PS3 Update: Looks like it was the amount of connections at once that killed PSN. They’re enabling 20,000 users at a time to connect now.They can allow 20,000 ppl to sign in at once, and then allow 20k more, and then 20k more. 100s of thousands at once killed it.
  • This is Sony / Demonware’s temporary solution while they work on fortifying the infrastructure.
  • Demonware server died. Causing mass error messages to Sony’s server, which made it block all #MW2 connections to prevent PSN fail
  • I know the two teams are working on it non-stop and won’t stop until it’s up for everyone. Already got lots of people connecting.

So, what have we learned from this debacle? Once again, Sony’s reliance on 3rd party infrastructure just doesn’t compare to the in-house solution favoured by Microsoft. We already know this of course. It’s just sad, once again, to have to be reminded of it.

Demonware are the source of the problem, if we’re looking to point fingers. That said, we don’t know what the arrangement between Sony and Demonware for the launch of Modern Warfare 2 consisted of so it’s unfair to claim they’re the sole reason the online element of the biggest game in the history of gaming went down a mere 24 hours after it launched on the PS3.

We also learn that there is some sort of throttle mechanism where a server dying can then flood the PSN with warning messages to prevent the PSN from going down. Once again, we don’t know the ins-and-outs of just what happened (and we’re sure it’s all very complicated) but this doesn’t sound, how would you say, optimal, to say the least. It’s great that there’s a failsafe to prevent the whole network going down. It just sounds like it’s a tad extreme. In other words: couldn’t they predict this was going to happen? Didn’t they know just how many people would attempt to go online in the first few days of the game’s launch?

Either way, rest assured that people are working on it. Servers are being added and, hopefully, in a few short hours this fiasco will be but a mere distant glitch.

Until the next big game is released of course, and we go through this same routine all over again.

Updated: November 12, 2009

@fourzerotwo has provided the final update on the server shenanigans and it's good news. All servers are back up to full capacity. "Plain sailing ahead" from here on in.