Form Letter: Where’s the Dedicated Server Software for My Game?

A few years ago when I was actively hunting down dedicated server software for video games and directly dealing with users asking “hey, why don’t you run servers for Game X”, I wrote a form letter that I recommended gamers used as a basis for asking game developers and publishers questions about their dedicated server policy.

I’ve reproduced it below. I strongly advise everyone to use this form as often as possible.

More companies releasing more dedicated server software means more servers all over the world. It means it’s more likely that you’ll get a better gaming experience from your game. Companies like Valve Software understand this implicitly – their success selling games is certainly linked to their excellent dedicated server software, which means anyone anywhere in the world can experience their games the way they’re meant to be played.

“Dear Sir/Madam,

I have been keenly following the development of your upcoming game, [Insert Game Title Here]. I was very excited to see the release of your multiplayer game on my favourite gaming site, [Insert Site name here]. I went out and purchased it with alacrity and looked forward to playing it, but was disappointed when I was unable to find many local servers that provided me with a low-latency game – and thus my experience of the game was very poor.

I contacted my local game service provider (GSP) and asked if they would put up a game server for [this new multiplayer game]. My GSP is called [name of GSP], and they provide server support for a lot of other games that I like to play.

Unfortunately, they have informed me that due to the lack of support from the developer and publisher – specifically a lack of a standalone dedicated server product that complies with their service infrastructure – they will be unable to support your game.

Generally speaking, game service providers requires such games to make available a standalone dedicated server for Windows or Linux that runs as a console mode or Windows application. Games that require a hardware accelerated video mode are totally unsuitable for many game service providers as they are typically running servers that don’t have this sort of hardware available.

As a result, I – and many other gamers in [name of your country, state, city, etc] – will be unable to play your game in the environment in which it truly deserves. I am forced to play on slow servers in other countries with very poor network performance, which ultimately greatly reduces the enjoyment I get playing the game – and thus significantly reduces the liklihood that I will choose to purchase any other titles from you.

So, on behalf of the gamers all around the world that are currently in the same situation that I am in, I humbly request that you make available a standalone, dedicated server package that can be downloaded separately and independently of the main product.

Without a version like this, it is very probable that many game service providers around the world will have problems arranging resources to run servers for your new title, which will lead to less servers online, which of course means less chance that people wanting to play your title will be unable to do so in the environment for which it was designed.

[Insert name here]”