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    GameSpy has announced that it's making the multiplayer framework used by a number of modern games (including Red Dead Redemption and Bulletstorm) free to any developer interested in using it. Developers of any size can get access to the code and tech required to integrate multiplayer matchmaking, player tracking, cloud data services and anything else needed to keep a large-scale multiplayer game up and running on almost any platform, even including cross-platform play.

    "Free" has its limits, of course -- companies can't run a Bulletstorm-sized game using GameSpy's tech and get away with not paying at all. But much like the recent Unreal Engine 3 changes, this decision allows smaller developers to use and test the technology without any overhead costs. GameSpy's Senior Product Manager Sean Flinn tells Joystiq the service will be free below a modest cut-off point and that the company will have "additional pricing tiers" announced later this spring for titles with larger player bases. "We're not being super strict about the usage limits at launch," he says, though GameSpy will "continue to offer a paid tier of service for unlimited numbers of users and premium support."

    Flinn says GameSpy is "betting big on the success of indie and start-ups," and it's hoping that independent developers using the service for free now will eventually grow to "need online services that match their ambition." Interested devs can join up with the program starting today.

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