Last updated
Industry video game   OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Fate GameSpy Industries acquired by Glu Mobile, site acquired by Ziff Davis and shut down [1]
Founded1996;23 years ago (1996)
DefunctFebruary 21, 2013 (2013-02-21)
Key people
Mark Surfas (CEO)
Owner IGN Entertainment

GameSpy was a provider of online multiplayer and matchmaking middleware for video games. The company originated from a Quake fan site founded by Mark Surfas in 1996; after the release of a multiplayer server browser for the game, QSpy, Surfas licensed the software under the GameSpy brand to other video game publishers through a newly established company, GameSpy Industries, which also incorporated his Planet Network of video game news and information websites, and

In multiplayer video games, matchmaking is the process of connecting players together for online play sessions.

Middleware computer software that provides services to software applications

Middleware is computer software that provides services to software applications beyond those available from the operating system. It can be described as "software glue".

Video game electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device such as a TV screen or computer monitor

A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a touchscreen, virtual reality headset or monitor/TV set. Since the 1980s, video games have become an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry, and whether they are also a form of art is a matter of dispute.


GameSpy merged with IGN in 2004; [2] [3] by 2014, its services had been used by over 800 video game publishers and developers since its launch. [4] In August 2012, the GameSpy Industries division (which remained responsible for the GameSpy service) was acquired by mobile video game developer Glu Mobile. IGN (then owned by News Corporation) retained ownership of the website. In February 2013, IGN's new owner, Ziff Davis, shut down IGN's "secondary" sites, including GameSpy's network. This was followed by the announcement in April 2014 that GameSpy's service platform would be shut down on May 31, 2014.

<i>IGN</i> American entertainment website

IGN is an American video game and entertainment media website operated by IGN Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Ziff Davis, itself wholly owned by j2 Global. The company is located in San Francisco's SOMA district and is headed by its former editor-in-chief, Peer Schneider. The IGN website was the brainchild of media entrepreneur Chris Anderson and launched on September 29, 1996. It focuses on games, films, television, comics, technology, and other media. Originally a network of desktop websites, IGN is now also distributed on mobile platforms, console programs on the Xbox and PlayStation, FireTV, Roku, and via YouTube, Twitch, Hulu, and Snapchat.

Glu Mobile American video game developer

Glu Mobile Inc. is an American developer and publisher of mobile games for smartphone and tablet devices. Founded in San Francisco, California, in 2001, Glu offers products to multiple platforms including iOS, Android, Amazon, Windows Phone and Google Chrome.

News Corporation (1980–2013) Media corporation

The original incarnation of News Corporation was an American multinational mass media corporation operated and owned by media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, headquartered in New York City. Prior to its split in 2013, it was the world's fourth-largest media group in terms of revenue, and News Corporation had become a media powerhouse since its inception, almost dominating the news, television, film and print industries.


The 1996 release of id Software's video game Quake , one of the first 3D multiplayer action games to allow play over the Internet, furthered the concept of players creating and releasing "mods" or modifications of games. Mark Surfas saw the need for hosting and distribution of these mods and created PlanetQuake, a Quake-related hosting and news site. [5] [6] The massive success of mods catapulted PlanetQuake to huge traffic and a central position in the burgeoning game website scene.

id Software American video game development company

id Software LLC is an American video game developer based in Dallas, Texas. The company was founded on February 1, 1991, by four members of the computer company Softdisk, programmers John Carmack and John Romero, game designer Tom Hall, and artist Adrian Carmack. Business manager Jay Wilbur was also involved. id Software made important technological developments in video game technologies for the PC, including work done for the Wolfenstein, Doom, and Quake franchises. id's work was particularly important in 3D computer graphics technology and in game engines that are used throughout the video game industry. The company was involved in the creation of the first-person shooter (FPS) genre. Wolfenstein 3D is often considered to be the first true FPS, Doom is a game that popularized the genre and PC gaming in general, and Quake was id's first true 3D FPS.

<i>Quake</i> (video game) 1996 first-person shooter video game developed by id Software

Quake is a first-person shooter video game developed by id Software and published by GT Interactive in 1996. It is the first game in the Quake series. In the game, players must find their way through various maze-like, medieval environments while battling a variety of monsters using an array of weaponry.

Mark Surfas founded GameSpy Industries, a network of computer and video game Web sites and online video game-related services. He was the majority owner, CEO and Chairman of the board until its acquisition by Great Hill Partners and IGN Entertainment in March 2004. His gaming names were "Bastard" and "The Freshmaker".

Quake also marked the beginning of the Internet multiplayer real-time action game scene. However, finding a Quake server on the Internet proved difficult, as players could only share IP addresses of known servers between themselves or post them on websites. To solve this problem, a team of three programmers (consisting of Joe "QSpy" Powell, Tim Cook, and Jack "morbid" Matthews) formed Spy Software and created QSpy (or QuakeSpy). This allowed the listing and searching of Quake servers available across the Internet. Surfas licensed QSpy and became the official distributor and marketer while retaining the original programming team. QSpy became QuakeSpy and went on to be bundled with its QuakeWorld update - an unprecedented move by a top tier developer and huge validation for QuakeSpy. With the release of the Quake Engine-based game Hexen II , QuakeSpy added this game to its capabilities and was renamed GameSpy3D. In 1997 Mark Surfas licensed GameSpy 3D from Spy Software, and created GameSpy Industries.

A multiplayer video game is a video game in which more than one person can play in the same game environment at the same time, either locally or online over the internet. Multiplayer games usually require players to share the resources of a single game system or use networking technology to play together over a greater distance; players may compete against one or more human contestants, work cooperatively with a human partner to achieve a common goal, supervise other players' activity, co-op. Multiplayer games allow players interaction with other individuals in partnership, competition or rivalry, providing them with social communication absent from single-player games.

Server (computing) Computer to access a central resource or service on a network

In computing, a server is a computer program or a device that provides functionality for other programs or devices, called "clients". This architecture is called the client–server model, and a single overall computation is distributed across multiple processes or devices. Servers can provide various functionalities, often called "services", such as sharing data or resources among multiple clients, or performing computation for a client. A single server can serve multiple clients, and a single client can use multiple servers. A client process may run on the same device or may connect over a network to a server on a different device. Typical servers are database servers, file servers, mail servers, print servers, web servers, game servers, and application servers.

QuakeWorld is an update to id Software's seminal multiplayer deathmatch game, Quake, that enhances the game's multiplayer features to allow people with dial-up modems to achieve greatly improved responsiveness when playing on Internet game servers. Modern broadband connections such as cable and DSL can use the QW network handling and game physics as well. Official id Software development stopped with the test release of QuakeWorld 2.33 on December 21, 1998. The last official stable release was 2.30. QuakeWorld has been described by IGN as the first popular online first-person shooter.

In 1999, GameSpy received angel investment funding from entrepreneur David Berkus. The company released (later renamed, a software browser allowing people to browse and connect to online radio feeds, such as those using Nullsoft's ShoutCast. GameSpy received $3 million in additional funding from the Yucaipa Companies, an investment group headed by Hollywood agent Michael Ovitz and Southern California supermarket billionaire Ronald Burkle.

Nullsoft company

Nullsoft, Inc. was a software house founded in Sedona, Arizona in 1997 by Justin Frankel. Its products included the Winamp media player and the SHOUTcast MP3 streaming media server. In later years, their open source installer system, the Nullsoft Scriptable Install System (NSIS) became an alternative to commercial products like InstallShield. The company's name is a parody of Microsoft. Mike the Llama is the company's mascot; this is frequently referred to in promotional material citing llamas. Frankel introduced the llama in Winamp's startup sound clip, inspired by the lyrics of Wesley Willis: "Winamp, it really whips the llama's ass!"

The Yucaipa Companies, LLC is an American private equity firm founded in 1986 by Ronald Burkle. It specializes in private equity and venture capital, with a focus on middle-market companies, growth capital, industry consolidation, leveraged buyouts, and turnaround investments. It generally invests $25–$300 million in companies with $300–$500 million in revenues.

Michael Steven Ovitz is an American businessman, investor, and philanthropist. He was a talent agent who co-founded Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in 1975 and served as its chairman until 1995. Ovitz later served as President of The Walt Disney Company from October 1995 to January 1997.

The expanding of the company's websites included the games portal,, created in October 1999; [7] the Planet Network (also known as the GameSpy Network), a collection of "Planet" websites devoted to popular video games (such as Planet Quake, Planet Half-Life and Planet Unreal) as well as the genre-related websites, 3DActionPlanet, RPGPlanet, SportPlanet and StrategyPlanet; ForumPlanet, the network's extensive message board system; and FilePlanet, which was one of the largest video game file download sites. It also included platform-specific sites (e.g., Planet PS2, Planet Xbox, Planet Nintendo and Planet Dreamcast), but these were consolidated into; only Classic Gaming remains separate. ForumPlanet and FilePlanet were services offered by GameSpy, and were not part of the Planet Network.

Planet Half-Life is a gaming website owned by IGN and its subsidiary GameSpy. Maintained by a voluntary team of contributors, the site is dedicated to providing news and information about Half-Life and Half-Life 2, related modifications and other Valve Software titles. It was founded by Kevin "Fragmaster" Bowen and was at one point the largest of an array of GameSpy-run gaming websites known as the Planet Network. Following GameSpy's closure, Planet Half-Life seems to have ceased updating.

A video game genre is a classification assigned to a video game based on its gameplay interaction rather than visual or narrative differences. A video game genre is defined by a set of gameplay challenges and are classified independently of their setting or game-world content, unlike other works of fiction such as films or books. For example, a shooter game is still a shooter game, regardless of where or when it takes place.

In 2000, GameSpy received additional investment funding from the Ziff Davis publishing division and from Guillemot Corporation. GameSpy shut down its RadioSpy division, backing away from the online music market which was dominated by peer-to-peer applications such as Napster and Gnutella. In 2001, GameSpy's corporate technology business grew to include software development kits and middleware for video game consoles, such as Sony's PlayStation 2, Sega's Dreamcast and Microsoft's Xbox. In March 2007, IGN and GameSpy Industries merged, and was briefly known as IGN/GameSpy before formalizing their corporate name as IGN Entertainment. [8]

Also in 2000, GameSpy turned GameSpy3D into GameSpy Arcade and purchased RogerWilco, and various assets from HearMe; the MPlayer service was shut down and the RogerWilco technology is improved and incorporated into GameSpy Arcade. GameSpy Arcade was the company's flagship matchmaking software, allowing users to find servers for different online video games (whether they be free or purchased) and connect the user to game servers of that game. GameSpy also published the Roger Wilco voice chat software, primarily meant for communication and co-ordination in team-oriented games, where users join a server to chat with other users on the server using voice communication. This software rivaled the other major voice chat software Ventrilo and Teamspeak. The company's "Powered by GameSpy" technology enabled online functionality in over 300 PC and console games. [9] In 2005, GameSpy added the PlayStation Portable, and Nintendo DS [9] to its stable supported platforms. In March 2007, GameSpy added the Wii as another supported platform. [6]


GameSpy Industries (the entity responsible for GameSpy multiplayer services) was bought from IGN Entertainment by Glu Mobile in August 2012, [10] and proceeded in December to raise integration costs and shut down servers for many older games, including Star Wars: Battlefront , Sniper Elite , Microsoft Flight Simulator X , Saints Row 2 , and Neverwinter Nights , with no warning to developers or players, much to the outrage of communities of those games. [11] GameSpy Technologies remained operational as a separate entity since. [12] In February 2013, following the acquisition of IGN Entertainment by Ziff Davis, IGN's "secondary" sites were shut down, ending GameSpy's editorial operations. [1] [8]

In April 2014, Glu announced that it would shut down the GameSpy servers on May 31, 2014, so its developers could focus on work for Glu's own services. Games that still used GameSpy are no longer able to offer online functionality or multiplayer services through GameSpy. While some publishers announced plans to migrate GameSpy-equipped games to other platforms (such as Steam or in-house servers), some publishers, such as Nintendo (who used the GameSpy servers as the basis of its Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection platform for DS and Wii games) did not, particularly due to the age of the affected games. [4] [13] [14] Electronic Arts, in particular, announced 24 PC games, including titles such as Battlefield 2 , the Crysis series, Saints Row 2 and the Star Wars: Battlefront series, that would be affected by the end of GameSpy service. [15]

For certain games, fan-created mods were developed in order to restore online functionality with alternative servers; one such mod for the PC version of Halo was officially incorporated into a patch for the game released by Bungie in May 2014. By contrast, in 2017, Electronic Arts demanded the takedown of modified versions of Battlefield 2 and Battlefield 2142 on alternate servers, distributed by a group known as "Revive Network", as infringement of their copyrights. [16] [17] [18]

The GameSpy Debriefings

The GameSpy Debriefings
Hosted byAnthony Gallegos, Ryan Scott
(previous host: Patrick Joynt)
Genre Video games, comedy
Length50–60 minutes
Audio format MP3
No. of episodes170
Original releaseMay 11, 2007 – July 30, 2011
Website RSS Feed

The GameSpy Debriefings was a party-style discussion between editors of GameSpy and IGN Entertainment on (purportedly) that week's gaming news. [19] The GameSpy Debriefings was the 25th most popular podcast under the category “Games and Hobbies” on iTunes (as of May 1, 2011). It was however infamous for the crew's frequent propensity to de-rail the conversation from video games into explicit content or in-depth discussions about nerd culture.

The main crew at the show's conclusion of The GameSpy Debriefings consisted of:

Frequent guests included:

On July 30, 2011, The GameSpy Debriefings ended with an episode consisting of only the main crew. Following its conclusion, they launched a fundraising drive on Kickstarter which resulted in the release of their own popular podcast, The Comedy Button. [20] The Comedy Button is similar in content to the later GameSpy Debriefings, with a renewed focus on humorous discussions and listener e-mails rather than the in-depth discussion of recent video games like the early Debriefings.

As of September 4, 2019, The Comedy Button has produced 400 episodes.

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<i>Quake III Arena</i> 1999 video game

Quake III Arena is a multiplayer-focused first-person shooter video game released in December 1999. The game was developed by id Software and featured music composed by Sonic Mayhem and Front Line Assembly founder Bill Leeb. Quake III Arena is the third game in the Quake series; it differs from previous games by excluding a story-based single-player mode and highly focusing on multiplayer gameplay. The single-player mode is played against computer-controlled bots.

<i>Quake II</i> 1997 first-person shooter video game by id Software

Quake II is a first-person shooter video game released in December 1997. It was developed by id Software and published by Activision. It is not a direct sequel to Quake; id decided to revert to an existing trademark when the game's fast-paced, tactile feel felt closer to a Quake game than a new franchise. The game is followed by Quake 4.

<i>Phantasy Star Online</i> 2000 video game

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<i>Quake 4</i> 2005 video game

Quake 4 is a military science fiction first-person shooter video game, the fourth title in the Quake series. The game was developed by Raven Software and published by Activision. Raven Software collaborated with id Software, the creators and developers of preceding Quake games. id Software supervised the development of the game as well as providing the id Tech 4 engine upon which it was built. Quake 4 went gold in early October 2005 and was released on October 18, 2005 for Microsoft Windows and later for Linux and OS X, as well as being a launch title for the Xbox 360. A special DVD Collectors Edition was released, including promotional material and the game Quake II with its expansions, The Reckoning and Ground Zero. The Xbox 360 version of Quake 4 is based on the Special Collectors Edition, and includes Quake II. On August 4, 2011, the game was made available through Steam.

<i>Uplink</i> (video game) video game

Uplink is a video game released in 2001 by the British software company Introversion Software. It is a simulator of the cinematic depiction of computer hacking.

<i>Freelancer</i> (video game) 2003 video game

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The James Bond video game franchise is a series of predominantly shooter games and games of other genres. Several games are based upon the James Bond film series and developed and published by a variety of companies, centering on Ian Fleming's fictional British MI6 agent, James Bond. The intellectual property is owned by Danjaq, LLC.

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<i></i> American entertainment website was an American entertainment website that focused on video games. Launched in 2003, provided its own original features, news stories, game reviews, and video interviews, and also featured comprehensive PC-focused content. Like a print magazine, also hosted special week-long "online cover stories" that presented each day a new in-depth feature story, interview with the developers, game screenshot gallery, game video footage, and/or video of the game studio and creators. On February 21, 2013, Ziff Davis announced to "winding down" the site among others.

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Mplayer, referred to as by 1998, was a free online PC gaming service and community that operated from late 1996 until early 2001. The service at its peak was host to a community of more than 20 million visitors each month and offered more than 100 games. Some of the more popular titles available were action games like Quake, Command & Conquer, and Rogue Spear, as well as classic card and board for more casual gamers. Servers and matchmaking was provided through a proprietary client. Initially, the service was subscription-based, but by early 1997, they became the first major multiplayer community to offer games to be played online through their network for free. This was done by relying on advertisement-based revenues.

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Online console gaming involves connecting a console to a network over the Internet for services. Through this connection, it provides users the ability to play games with other users online, in addition to other online services.


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