Infinity Ward has sent out a clarificatory tweet today regarding dedicated servers on Call of Duty Ghosts.
It turns out they have decided to implement a hybrid system for Call of Duty Ghosts online play, using both listen servers and dedicated servers. Essentially, the game figures out which will provide a better online experience and uses that server every time you play. Infinity Ward ends their statement by confirming Xbox One players will get their own dedicated servers.
What are listen servers? These are actually very similar to dedicated servers, the main difference being they run in the same process that the game client does. In contrast, players have to connect to dedicated servers using separate client programs. Listen servers are unsuitable for online play with a large number of players, because remote players have to communicate with the host’s internet connection. With listen servers, you can hope for 16 player multiplayer at best.
Clearly, Infinity Ward has taken peer to peer servers out of the equation, and with the many problems peer to peer can have, I am sure most fans will agree that they made the right choice.
Ultimately, the best case scenario where everyone is serviced well by dedicated servers is still far ahead in the future, when internet services have caught up with high level consumer demand. Until then, games like Call of Duty Ghosts will have to contend with these limits. For what its worth, as Rich from ReviewTechUSA attests, these servers do very well on the Wii U, where the smaller player base has given it an actual advantage. For most players, of course, you will just have to contend with the drawbacks of having a larger player base in a single platform.