World Opponent Network
|This article does not cite any references (sources). (October 2007)|
World Opponent Network or WON was an online gaming service, created by Sierra Games as the Sierra Internet Gaming System (SIGS). WON was used by games such as Homeworld, Half-Life, Outpost 2, Star Trek: Armada, Soldier of Fortune, Dark Reign 2, Silencer, ARC and online versions of casino games as well as early entries in the Hoyle games series.
Sierra was purchased by Havas in January 1999 and Cendant Software became Havas Interactive, which came to control WON. In March 2000, Havas Interactive merged WON.net with Prize Central Net to form Flipside.com. Regardless, games such as Valve Software's Half-Life continued to use the service.
In 2001, Valve acquired WON from Flipside.com and began to implement the Steam system in beta form. Over the next few years, as Steam was developed and tested, WON continued to serve.
Valve shut down the last of its WON servers on July 31, 2004, officially killing the remnants of WON. All online portions of Valve's games were transferred to their own Steam system. The announcement enraged a great deal of long-time Half-Life and Counter-Strike players who held it in high esteem for being, at the time, more efficient in terms of speed, system resources, and reliability than Steam. Some also questioned Steam's legality, not only with regards to claims of Steam acting as spyware, but also for Valve's apparent violation of their own End User License Agreement, which never mandated the installation of additional client-side software. By shutting down WON servers, Valve made it impossible to play the game people originally paid them for. The new software enabled Valve to force unwanted changes to the game against the user's wishes. One such change was the addition of in-game advertisements, which again, was never a part of the original game or its EULA.
In response to the hundreds if not thousands of pages of user criticism these moves provoked, Valve simply censored the forum pages, deleting all critical threads without explanation.
After the shutdown of WON, some players continued to run a patched version of the retail versions of Half-Life or Counter-Strike, which connects to a WON replacement called No-WON (or WON2), and allows users to use the original server browser to connect to Half-Life servers, and their various mods (including Counter-Strike 1.5, and a Steamless version of 1.6), much as they could before WON's shutdown.
After its shutdown, users who tried to connect to WON in games such as the retail version of Half-Life would receive an error message, for example, claiming that the game client is out of date. Since November 1st 2008, the date that the WON servers were taken offline, the client will time out while trying to connect.