The new release of MechWarrior 4 has crashed the game maker’s distribution servers. The central distribution server collapsed last weekend when tens of thousands of people attempted to download the free game. To distribute the game to the public effectively and without issues, the game’s makers will now switch to BitTorrent exclusively.
Together with Microsoft Games and other partners, game outlet MekTek is reviving the MechWarrior game series. The free game, set in the fictional BattleTech universe, was released a few days ago to massive interest from game fans.
With more than 100,000 people trying to get a copy of the free game, MekTek’s distribution system (MTX) quickly collapsed, making it impossible to download the game. In order to get the product out effectively, MekTek has now announced that it is working on a release that doesn’t rely on MTX.
“We are very aware that some of you are having problems using MTX to download and install the free release of Mechwarrior4: Mercenaries. We are currently preparing a self extracting executable to install the game without using MTX,” the MekTek Team said.
Instead of its own distribution system the game maker will switch to BitTorrent only to get the new release out quickly. “Once this new version clears our beta team, it will be made available for download in your BitTorrent client of choice. Please be patient as this may take a few days,” MekTek announced.
It’s good to see that more and more content producers are recognizing the value of BitTorrent. Previously, EA chose the BitTorrent protocol to distribute the Warhammer Online Beta. Later, other gaming companies followed suit by signing official partnerships with BitTorrent Inc.
MekTek’s decision to use BitTorrent is not the first to be prompted by distribution problems over regular channels. The Canadian public television broadcaster CBC was facing similar problems two years ago. Due to server complications, CBC decided to team up with Mininova and let them seed the torrent files for “Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister.”
“As Canada’s public broadcaster, the CBC is mandated to make its programming available throughout Canada by the most appropriate and efficient means. I believe BitTorrent is a terrific distribution technology and absolutely something we as a public broadcaster should be experimenting with,” CBC told TorrentFreak at the time.
For large and popular releases BitTorrent is definitely the way to go. The larger the demand and the greater numbers of people active on a torrent, the faster a file can potentially be distributed with the protocol, saving the publishers money too.
Update: MekTek already used BitTorrent in it’s original release. MTX was capable of using both http and BitTorrent, but the buggy system collapsed. They now have switched to BitTorrent only. Sorry for the confusion, and thanks to those who pointed this out.