One of the biggest issues that Gears of War 2 faced was the lack of dedicated servers. After launch, online play was quickly plagued by a flagrant host advantage and bothersome lag spikes, sometimes even to the point of un-playability. Epic Games looks to change this with the next iteration in the Gears saga. According to the most recent edition of the Official Xbox Magazine, or OXM, Gears of War 3 will feature dedicated servers that will eliminate the irritating host advantage while downplaying any other gameplay lag that players may have faced in the second iteration of Gears. The August 2010 issue explained the extent of the overall reduction of online woes. "Expected dedicated servers that'll reduce the lag that plagued Gears 2 down to practically zero." Well, it's about time. Why haven't titan developers like Epic Games, Infinity Ward and Bungie utilized dedicated servers in the past? The technology is there, on any platform the developer chooses (just look at Bad Company 2). Freezing the game and swapping hosts is great and all, but it isn't even a viable solution when the process sometimes takes five minutes and occasionally results in a dropped game. Titles like Modern Warfare 2 tend to put so much focus onto multiplayer, yet the poor networking is so disorganized that it taints any competitive, or even casual experience. The same article dared to ask the question: will GoW3 feature an extensive pre-release multiplayer beta to work out the networking kinks and issues (a la Halo: Reach)? Although the magazine wasn't able to fudge an answer out of Epic, it's an interesting thought nonetheless. Modern Warfare 2 had no public beta, which left network and balance issues abundant within the title. Halo: Reach, on the other hand, displayed new and old features within its beta, allowing Bungie to repair any underlying issues (there were many) with online multiplayer. Dedicated servers and a strong widespread beta could result in one of the most refined multiplayer experiences of 2011.