GRID racing fans will have to find a new set of wheels if they want to play online.
Ian Webster, community manager for Codemasters, announced last week that the online multiplayer features for Race Driver: GRID have been discontinued for the PlayStation 3 and PC. A third-party who hosts the game’s servers for both platforms declined to continue a contract with Codemasters to operate GRID’s online multiplayer. The UK-based Codemasters gave players no warning beforehand that it was going to close the game’s servers. The specific third-party company wasn’t disclosed.
Players have experienced problems getting online with GRID for the past few weeks. Some thought it was due to Codemasters getting hacked, which caused it to close the company’s web services and reroute traffic to its Facebook page. Players weren’t able to race online earlier with the PS3 because the PlayStation Network was recently down for more than a month due to hackers as well.
Surprisingly the GRID servers were actually closed by Codemasters earlier this month. Players sent emails to Codemasters’ customer service asking why they were having difficulty using GRID’s online multiplayer. The replies from Codemasters stated that GRID was no longer supported online because of the game’s age.
The Xbox 360 version is still playable online. Microsoft hosts the matchmaking servers for Xbox 360 games. GRID doesn’t operate on dedicated servers. GRID released June 3, 2008 for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC. The PlayStation 3 version features no Trophy support.
PS3 players can also no longer use the downloadable content they purchased for the game’s online multiplayer. The two DLC additions are called the 8-Ball Pack and Prestige Pack. Both packs added new cars and online multiplayer events. However the cars can still be used offline. The 8-Ball Pack launched Dec. 3, 2008. The Prestige Pack released March 10, 2010. Each pack costs $9.99 on the PSN Store. Codemasters was supposed to release a third DLC pack but never did.
PS3 owners of another Codemasters game were also recently prevented from racing online. Those who purchased the rally racer DiRT 3 couldn’t access the online multiplayer because of the game’s VIP Pass. Players needed to redeem the VIP Pass to use the game’s online modes, but couldn’t because the PSN Store was down due to Sony taking it offline during the PSN hack.
GRID players are angry at the server closing. Many are upset that they can no longer use GRID’s online multiplayer after only three years. They’re also upset at Codemasters’ poor communication surrounding the shutdown, and for not telling the community it was closing the servers before doing so. Early on, one player on GRID’s forums said:
I don’t want to jump the gun here just yet, but if they have pulled the plug, it’s a disgrace. First off, absolutely no warning on the GRID forums to let us know it was coming. Second, it might be a few years old now, but they haven’t brought out a title that replaces it, so what the hell are they thinking? And even though i’ve heard people talk of boycotting CM games before, this is the first time I’m genuinely feeling like it. I’m starting to become fed up of their lack of regard and care towards their devoted fans/community members. All this based on whether they really have pulled them. It’s not time yet. Once GRID 2 comes out, by all means pull the plug, but not now.
After it was discovered the servers were shutdown, another GRID player said:
Having the disclaimer on the box doesn’t mean that shutting it down with no further warning is alright. It demonstrates a lack of respect for the people who put up the cash to keep Codies in business. It’s a poor way to do business. And I doubt if many currently buying the game know that there is no online multiplay. Within the realms one might have surmised from the disclaimer in 2008, this is the worst case scenario, and Codies’ explanation is limp and late.
Some are even threatening to boycott future Codemasters titles.
However, dedicated players are finding alternative ways to play GRID online. PC players are using peer-to-peer (P2P) services like Tunngle to play online with other GRID fans. GRID has a LAN multiplayer feature which players can manipulate to get online with an alternative P2P service.
The Australian-based GameRangers unofficially brought GRID back online today for PC players, according to Eurogamer. GameRangers is a service that allows people to play PC and Mac games online with others using voice chat, friends list, profiles and leaderboards. GameRanger added GRID to its list of playable games.
Players need to download GameRanger for free on its Web site to start racing again in GRID. It claims to have more than 1.7 million members and support for more than 600 multiplayer titles. GameRangers isn’t affiliated with Codemasters. GameRangers has also put other titles with server shutdowns on its service, like The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-earth games.
GRID is still being sold at retailers like GameStop, Best Buy and Amazon. The game costs $14.99 on Steam.
Photo by Codemasters