FileFront Bids Farewell
March 26, 2009 7:53 AM   Subscribe

Dear FileFront User: We regret to inform you that due to the current economic conditions we are forced to indefinitely suspend the FileFront site operations on March 30, 2009. If you have uploaded files, images or posted blogs, or if you would like to download some of your favorite files, please take this opportunity to download them before March 30th when the site will be suspended. We would like to give a warm thank you to all of you who have been part of the FileFront communities we have built together. Your support has had a meaningful impact for all of us here at FileFront. Again, we want to give you a sincere “thank you” for your support over the years and wish you all the very best. Keep gaming alive, FileFront Management and Team.
posted by lazaruslong (34 comments total)

 
I'm going through and downloading all the stuff I have uploaded to them over the years. A very sad loss.

Curious, how do you think the recession was able to directly impact a company that sells a digital service (storage and hosting)?
posted by lazaruslong at 7:54 AM on March 26, 2009


Wow, Onlive already killed them.
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:56 AM on March 26, 2009


It seems in bad taste to have to skip a full-page splash ad to get to the warning that you have four days before your files are deleted.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:03 AM on March 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


That's too bad; they're less hostile than most of the other game download services. At Filefront it was only like 5 clicks and 3 ad views before you get to download your file.
posted by Nelson at 8:08 AM on March 26, 2009


When data is in the cloud, it's not yours. I wonder how many webservices are going to go dark, taking thousands of peoples bytes with them.
posted by Freen at 8:39 AM on March 26, 2009


When data is in the cloud, it's not yours. I wonder how many webservices are going to go dark, taking thousands of peoples bytes with them.

That happened shortly after the dotcom crash too, I remember a lot of free services shutting down with little fanfare back then. I'm actually surprised that there have been so few of them lately considering the problems startups must be having attracting investors.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:44 AM on March 26, 2009


Thanks for the post, lazaruslong. Grabbing my files now. I always liked FileFront because you could download without registering ( Sending out a big Fuck You to FilePlanet and its ilk ) and they always seemed to have plenty of bandwidth. It will be missed.
posted by Liver at 9:26 AM on March 26, 2009


That's too bad; they're less hostile than most of the other game download services. At Filefront it was only like 5 clicks and 3 ad views before you get to download your file.
posted by Nelson at 11:08 AM on March 26 [+] [!]

Amen. I hate having to patch PC games because I invariably end up at the GameStop of file hosting, FilePlanet. It kills me that publishers never seem to host their own patches.

To steal a joke from kittens for breakfast, the only way FilePlanet could be any worse would be is after going through the registration process, finding an open public queue, waiting 45 minutes for your download to start, getting a technical error that forces you to go back to the beginning of the queue and finally spending 12 hours downloading 99% of a 500MB patch at 1.2 Kbps would be is if you got rickrolled when you went to install it.
posted by Ziggy Zaga at 9:27 AM on March 26, 2009


It kills me that publishers never seem to host their own patches.

Yeah, thats ridiculous. They can charge me 60 dollars for the game, but somehow they cant afford some bandwidth so I can download the patches? Why am I even searching out patches? The app should be checking for updates at start. Considering the patches are mostly fixes for their buggy software you'd think theyd feel responsible for hosting this.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:20 AM on March 26, 2009


nthing the patch delivery issues with most games. It really is a ridiculous proposition, and makes me that much more grateful for the patch delivery system for World of Warcraft.

They have it set-up now to auto download the patch using the blizzard launcher before it is even released, as they release sections, so that come patch day you already have most of it and just have to finish up the install.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:28 AM on March 26, 2009


Why am I even searching out patches?

I recently tried picking up NWN1 and 2 again after playing them years ago. The first one errors out after a massive download, but luckily bioware has ONE patch to rule them all you can download.
NWN2's patching service doesn't work, either. OTOH, Atari makes me want to slit my wrists as I couldn't find any useful downloadable patches on their website. I ended up having to go to the IGN filevault and find my way through about 15 different variations of patches. And the game is still buggier than hell.
posted by jmd82 at 10:31 AM on March 26, 2009


"Curious, how do you think the recession was able to directly impact a company that sells a digital service (storage and hosting)?"

Ad revenue has plummeted for most of the web. Their model depends on it. Their margins were probably thin, or they didn't have much cash put away, or a combination of a lot of things.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:35 AM on March 26, 2009


"nthing the patch delivery issues with most games. It really is a ridiculous proposition, and makes me that much more grateful for the patch delivery system for World of Warcraft."

Steam does this pretty well, too.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:37 AM on March 26, 2009


Why am I even searching out patches?

Becase you, the customer, are a sucker. Hosting a 600 meg download for a million game customers is actually kinda expensive, and difficult, and a cost center. A game development company will happily outsource that headache.

What's embarassing is the game companies have no care what the user experience of the patch download is. What's annoying is that more game companies haven't tried distributing patches via Bittorrent; it solves the important problem of lots of demand when the patch is first released.

Fortunately it's mostly better now. MMOGs all have integrated updaters, Steam does a fine job, etc. These days the only time I go to one of the hideous file warehouse sites is to download a game demo. That's still not handled well on PCs, although again Steam is trying.
posted by Nelson at 10:48 AM on March 26, 2009


What's annoying is that more game companies haven't tried distributing patches via Bittorrent; it solves the important problem of lots of demand when the patch is first released.

I may have been hallucinating it, but aren't both Steam's updates and the WOW updater based on bittorrent?
posted by ArgentCorvid at 11:44 AM on March 26, 2009


Wow. Jason Scott wrote that there are 48 terabytes of historical, user-generated data there.

A distributed backup effort is underway.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:47 AM on March 26, 2009


Copyright © 2002-2008 Ziff Davis Publishing Holdings Inc.

Can't say that's a huge surprise.
posted by juv3nal at 11:52 AM on March 26, 2009


FileFront is pretty stupid.

All they had to do was ship 48 1TB drives (which aren't that expensive) to one of their competitors, and they could save what's probably going to be 1PB of sudden load.

Now, there's a run on the file server.
posted by effugas at 11:58 AM on March 26, 2009


aren't both Steam's updates and the WOW updater based on bittorrent

Warcraft's updates are BitTorrent, but actually a terrible example of the implementation. They use a funky custom BT client that doesn't work very well, downloads are terribly slow, you can't throttle upstream bandwidth, and you can't easily get ahold of the actual .torrent to use it yourself. At least they fixed their bugs with UPnP and firewall traversal. Anyway it feels like Blizzard made the decision to use peer-to-peer downloads but keep it private, it's just an accident it's BitTorrent.

I can't find any evidence that Steam is BitTorrent. I recently bought a 2gig+ game from them and the download felt like a fast single TCP request, not some peer-to-peer protocol.
posted by Nelson at 12:07 PM on March 26, 2009


Oh noes! Producers, snag some nice breaks packs before the end...
posted by First Post at 12:11 PM on March 26, 2009


A week's warning isn't enough for every uploader involved to register the shutdown.

Also courtesy of Jason Scott, Archive Team - "We Will Save Your Shit," digital preservationists providing expertise.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:37 PM on March 26, 2009


Onlive will make patches irrelevant.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:38 PM on March 26, 2009


Crikey - a couple years ago I would have been astounded at the idea of backing up 48 terabytes of data. Now, it's only $3840 worth of storage, considering the cheapest storage at the moment seems to be 1.5 tb @ $120 USD.

You'd think that, as a site with much dedicated use and registered users (vs the slew of one-click hosts who are focused on providing a bunch of anonymous storage to anyone), they could ask the masses to pitch in a bit of money to keep that stuff online. Maybe this was already attempted? Or did they assume the ad-based support was the only viable option?
posted by filthy light thief at 1:21 PM on March 26, 2009


What if this were all just an elaborate April Fool's Day joke?

I don't really believe that it is, but what if...?
posted by ErWenn at 3:14 PM on March 26, 2009


NWN2's patching service doesn't work, either. OTOH, Atari makes me want to slit my wrists as I couldn't find any useful downloadable patches on their website. I ended up having to go to the IGN filevault and find my way through about 15 different variations of patches. And the game is still buggier than hell.

I had the same problem but wasn't able to actually get the patches anywhere. So I just bittorrented a No-CD crack with slipstreamed patches and I was good to go. Message to game companies: Pirates can do this why can't you?
posted by Mitheral at 3:21 PM on March 26, 2009


FileFront is pretty stupid.

All they had to do was ship 48 1TB drives (which aren't that expensive) to one of their competitors, and they could save what's probably going to be 1PB of sudden load.

Now, there's a run on the file server.


Indeed. Just porting the whole catalog into a torrent server and redirecting the download links for the first little while until shit is seeded, then handing it over to someone (or just shutting it down), and it'd be all good.

Stupidheads.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:25 PM on March 26, 2009


48 terabytes, 1.5 million files.

Now that would be a torrent.
posted by Pronoiac at 5:38 PM on March 26, 2009


Aye, it would be, but what I meant was torrents for individual files. Not many people out there with 45 TB storage. Yet.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:48 PM on March 26, 2009


Nelson: Warcraft's updates are BitTorrent, but actually a terrible example of the implementation. They use a funky custom BT client that doesn't work very well, downloads are terribly slow, you can't throttle upstream bandwidth, and you can't easily get ahold of the actual .torrent to use it yourself. At least they fixed their bugs with UPnP and firewall traversal. Anyway it feels like Blizzard made the decision to use peer-to-peer downloads but keep it private, it's just an accident it's BitTorrent.

I tend to share the Penny Arcade opinion that Warcraft's BitTorrent updater is pretty insulting, considering you're paying Blizzard a significant monthly fee for their servers.
posted by Mitrovarr at 5:53 PM on March 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


More seriously, there's a breakeven point in size under which the tracker is better off just sending you the file instead of tracking peers, but I think that's at least a few megabytes. (I wonder what the size distribution is.) It could be good to list some checksums of the files there, for trust going forward, but I don't see that happening either.
posted by Pronoiac at 5:59 PM on March 26, 2009


The Pirate Bay has 1.6 million torrents, by comparison.
posted by Pronoiac at 6:22 PM on March 26, 2009


Yeah, but these would be all legal files! Think of the precedent!
posted by graventy at 8:03 PM on March 26, 2009


I read this and thought 'oh god, it's like the dotcom burst all over again'.

WHAT TRAIL OF BROKEN HEARTS WILL THIS ECONOMY LEAD TO?
posted by rubah at 8:34 PM on March 29, 2009


They're back.
posted by juv3nal at 10:32 AM on April 2, 2009


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