In past years, dedicated servers have been a major selling point for Call of Duty on the PC, as they promise parity between multiplayer gamers (a.k.a. no host advantage). While Xbox 360 gamers have enjoyed first dibs on DLC map packs and special exclusives, PC players have experienced COD's multiplayer in the most optimum way possible.
With this year's Call of Duty: Ghosts, however, developer Infinity Ward is taking dedicated servers out from under the PC umbrella and bringing it to the masses. That's right, dedicated servers will not be a PC-only feature moving forward, but will be available on every version of the game.
Infinity Ward's Mark Rubin confirmed the news in an interview with Eurogamer, saying that dedicated servers will be available on next-gen, current-gen, and PC versions of Call of Duty: Ghosts. He wouldn't outright mention specific consoles, likely because of the franchise's close ties with Microsoft, but it's pretty safe to assume the PS3 and PS4 won't be overlooked.
We already knew that the Xbox One version of Call of Duty: Ghosts would be taking advantage of Microsoft's new Azure Cloud services, but this announcement as a whole is rather surprising. It makes sense on the next-gen consoles, and even on the PS3 and Xbox 360, but dedicated servers on the Wii U version seems like a hefty investment for a fairly small player base. At the same time, Activision has been a strong proponent of the Wii U, and has been doing all they can to help the console find success.
Speaking further, Rubin says Ghosts will be using a hybrid system that also includes listen servers, ensuring that players always have access to the best online experience possible. In other words, although dedicated servers are available, some players might still end up in matches with a player host if there are problems with their connection.
Matchmaking is also apparently getting an upgrade towards better connectivity performance, as players will be grouped up into matches with the best online performance available. Sounds good in theory, but we will have to see how successful the new matchmaking is in practice.
With Call of Duty: Ghosts making the jump to the next-gen alongside many of the other flagship Fall franchises (Battlefield 4, Assassin's Creed 4), it's fitting that the game incorporate what should be a next-gen standard. Host advantages should, and hopefully will become a thing of the past, and dedicated servers will make multiplayer matches run smoother.
Are you happy to learn Call of Duty: Ghosts will finally include dedicated servers for all versions? Do you notice a difference with a game that uses dedicated servers?
Call of Duty: Ghosts releases November 5, 2013 for the PC, PS3, Wii U, and Xbox 360; November 15th for the PS4; and November 22nd for the Xbox One.