GameSpy, also known as GameSpy Industries, is a division of IGN Entertainment, which operates a network of game websites and provides online video game-related services and software. GameSpy dates back to the 1996 release of an internet Quake server search program named QSpy. The current company is headquartered in Costa Mesa, California. It is currently controlled by News Corporation, the 92.3% shareholder of its parent company, IGN - which was bought for $650 million on September 8, 2005.
GameSpy includes coverage for PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PSP, Xbox, Xbox 360, Nintendo GameCube, Wii, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, N-Gage, Wireless, PC, and Retrogaming.
The 1996 release of id Software
's Quake furthered the concept of gamers creating and releasing "mods
" or modifications of games for use by other gamers. Mark Surfas
saw the need for hosting and distribution of these mods and created PlanetQuake.com - a Quake-related hosting and news site. The massive success of mods such as ThreeWave Capture the Flag catapulted PlanetQuake to huge traffic and a central position in the burgeoning gaming website scene.
Quake also marked the beginning of the Internet multiplayer real-time action game scene. However, finding a Quake server on the Internet proved difficult. Gamers could only share IP addresses of known servers between themselves or post them on gaming websites. To solve this problem, a team of three programmers (consisting of Jack "morbid" Mathews, Tim Cook, and Joe Powell) 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 id's 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.
Currently, the company's websites include the gaming portal, GameSpy.com, created in 1999; the Planet 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
, arguably the largest video game file download site on the Web
. GameSpy also offers online matchmaking and community software, such as GameSpy Arcade
, as well as software development kits (SDKs
), middleware and back-end online services for game developers and publishers.
GameSpy Arcade is 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 publishes 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 rivals the other major voice chat software Ventrilo and Teamspeak.
The company's "Powered by GameSpy" technology has enabled online functionality in over 300 PC and PlayStation 2 games. In 2005 GameSpy added the PlayStation Portable, and Nintendo DS to its stable supported platforms. In March 2007, GameSpy added the Wii as another supported platform and will help get some of its games online.
In March 2004, IGN Entertainment and GameSpy Industries merged, and was briefly known as IGN/GameSpy before formalizing their corporate name as IGN Entertainment.
- 1996, Quake is released, as one of the first 3D multiplayer action games to allow play over the internet.
- 1996, Jack Mathews, Tim Cook, and Joe Powell form Spy Software and create QSpy to allow easy searching of internet-based multiplayer Quake game servers. The software was soon updated to include games other than Quake, and renamed from QSpy to GameSpy.
- 1997, Corporate strategist Mark Surfas licensed GameSpy 3D from Spy Software, and creates GameSpy Industries.
- 1999, GameSpy receives angel investment funding from entrepreneur David Berkus. The company also releases MP3Spy.com (later renamed RadioSpy.com), a software browser allowing people to browse and connect to online radio feeds, such as those using Nullsoft's SHOUTcast. GameSpy receives $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. GameSpy quickly reached profitability.
- 2000, GameSpy receives additional investment funding from the Ziff-Davis publishing division ZDNet.com and from Guillemot Corp. GameSpy shuts down its RadioSpy division, backing away from an online music market dominated by peer-to-peer applications such as Napster and Gnutella. GameSpy releases GameSpy Arcade.
- December 2000, GameSpy purchases Roger Wilco, MPlayer.com and various assets from HearMe, Inc. While the MPlayer service is shut down, the RogerWilco technology is improved and incorporated into GameSpy Arcade.
- 2001, GameSpy's corporate technology business grows to include SDKs and middleware for video game consoles, such as Sony's PlayStation 2, Sega's Dreamcast and Microsoft's Xbox.
- March 2004, acquired by IGN Entertainment.