Why PC Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer makes us sad

You don't have to read far into the comments on ourModern Warfare 2 reviewto see the level of unbridled anger levelled at Infinity Ward over its handling of the PC version's multiplayer functionality:

From the considered: @Gotxxrock Meh. No server support for PC, no point in buying. What’s the point of a multiplayer game without community involvement?

To the expletiive: @doom3pwns This game is f***in trash... f*** this game, anyone who buys this shit should die

So why are PC gamers so incensed? What is all this talk of dedicated servers and Steam? And why can't PC guys join in the overwhelming sense of excitement surrounding the console versions?

Above: Some angryPC gamers, yesterday

Much of the controversy surrounds the developer's decision to do away with dedicated servers and instead use a matchmaking system similar to that on Xbox Live. Normally PC multiplayer games run on 'dedicated' servers that can be modded and customised to suit the needs of clans who use them. They develop a sense of community as they are used regularly by the same players.

For MW2 Infinity Ward are using 'listen servers' which uses matchmaking to find a bunch of players looking to play a game and then designates the PC with the fastest connection as the host.

"The matchmaking for the PC version is much faster to find a game than on Xbox Live," Tim Edwards, Editor of PC Gamer tells us, "but the quality of the game you get put into is really variable."

This is mainly due to players not being able to control the PC hosting the game, whose owner may be clogging up his connection with simultaneous web usage. The result can be a sub-standard online experience.

"It's not just about no dedicated servers, though," Edwards continues, "The lack of mod tools is massive kick in the face for PC gamers too. A lot of incredible things have come out of the modding communities and work they do on multiplayer games.

"It will undoubtedly have a long term effect on the viability of the multiplayer game. The only advantage you had on PC was the flexibility and control that dedicated servers offered - you might as well just buy the 360 version."

And this isn't just a few moany PC gamers grumbling away on forums or swearing in our comments -a petition to reverse the decision is now at over 200,000 gamers.

"The response to the petition is fairly astounding," Edwards remarks, "We've seen it among our readers too - since it was announced interest in MW2 on PC has gone through the floor. It just doesn't feel like a PC game anymore."

Above: The PC box. Much like the other boxes, except for the free 'hurt' contained inside

To further compound the misery, many hardcore PC owners who abandoned boxed copies of games in favour of using online retailer Steam were hit up with the news that they couldn't get the game they'd paid for until Thursday 12 Nov - two days later than if you bought it in a game shop. That's salt in an already gaping wound.

While Infinity Ward is yet to fully explain its actions, Edwards cites piracy as a possible reason, leading the developer to try and take tighter control over what people are playing.

"It just makes me a bit sad," concludes Edwards, "especially the way it was communicated to gamers so badly."

Infinity Ward has been at pains to play up the level to which the community helped to shape Modern Warfare 2. Unless it reverses its decision on dedicated servers anytime soon, this claim will be falling on dead ears as far as PC gamers are concerned.

PC Gamer will be posting its review of the game atpcgamer.co.ukin the next few days.

I hate the 267.