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It looks like gaming ISP NetGames UK's decision to cancel their 0800 Internet dialup service was the beginning of the end. As forum posts over the last few days indicate, the entire core staff of the company has been sent packing, and although the servers remain, leagues and tournaments are being placed on hold pending further announcements from the company's MD Andy Jones.

It's not all over though. Jones seems confident that something good will come out of the service's failure. Speaking in a public IRC channel he said that the chaps running the service had walked "a while ago", before taking what some might consider a sideways swipe at competitors Blueyonder and their complement of former Wireplay staffers, stating that "unlike other organisations our affairs remain silent until we deem the time is right."

"Effectively guys, consider that we have just surgically removed ourselves from NGUK," he continued. "It's not happened ultra recently as you have all probably guessed and we remained silent, but now it will get in the way of what we wish to do and so we've now made it public. And that's the story. I wish NGUK well, it just won't be serviced by us."

After his comments were relayed to the NGUK forums, fans of the service and voluntary admins pledged their support for the future. At least until the service is overtaken by software updates.

Voluntary admins remain in theoretical control of NGUK's gaming services, but they only have game level administration rights, which limits them to kicking, banning, messaging players and very little else. Community admins have kept control of the IRC channels, but the big problem is that nobody is left who can physically access the servers, or even log in remotely. In the event of a patch (which given that a large number of the 239 NGUK game ports run Half-Life, Counter-Strike and Quake III is extremely likely), nothing can be done to bring the servers up to date, and they are destined to fall into disuse, clogging up the UK Master Servers until somebody decides to block them. ®

Copyright © 2001, Eurogamer.net. All rights reserved.

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