Since 2014, a group of volunteers called Revive Network has been working to keep online game servers running for Battlefield 2, Battlefield 2142and war heroes. Starting this week, the team is halting that effort thanks to a legal request from publisher Electronic Arts.
“We’ll get right to the point: Electronic Arts Inc.” legal team has contacted us and kindly requested that they stop distributing and using their intellectual property,” the Revive Network team wrote in a note on their site. “As diehard fans of the franchise, we will respect these provisions.”
EA is older Battlefield titles were victims of the 2014 GameSpy shutdown, which shut down the online infrastructure for many classic PC and console games. To get around that, Revive distributed modified versions of the older Battlefield titles along with a launcher that gave access to its own rewritten server infrastructure. The process started with Battlefield 2 in 2014 and extended to Battlefield 2142 last year, and war heroes a few months ago.
It’s the distribution of modified copies of these now-defunct games that seems to have drawn the ire of EA’s legal department. “Please stop distributing copies of our game clients and using our trademarks, logos and artwork on your sites,” EA counsel wrote in a note republished on the Revive website. “Your websites can easily mislead visitors into believing that you are associated or affiliated with EA – we are the only ones allowed to wear the ‘Official EA’ dog tag.”
Revive claimed over 900,000 registered accounts for its games, including nearly 175,000 players for the recently revived war heroes.
EA’s approach is the opposite of Disney’s, which recently worked with GOG to officially introduce online multiplayer support for classic games. Star Wars Battlefront 2. The move is more reminiscent of Blizzard, which recently shut down numerous fan servers dedicated to restoring classic versions of World of Warcraft as it existed ten years ago. In 2015, the Librarian of Congress denied a request from the EFF and others that Revive’s method of restoring online gameplay to “abandoned” games would have allowed it under a DMCA exception. Game publishers and trade groups fought hard against that request, with ESA president Mike Gallagher claiming that “there’s no such thing as an outdated game when you can revive it on any platform at any time” in an Ars interview. In 2018, the Library of Congress may pick up the issue again.