How Long Should A MMORPG Be Kept Alive?

Posted by Stropp on December 1, 2012 You might have read somewhere that City of Heroes is being shut down today. Regardless of the right or wrong of NCSoft's decision to shut down a game that was still being enjoyed by thousands of fans, it raises some interesting questions. How long should a game publisher/developer keep an online game alive? Does a game publisher/developer owe it to players to keep a game alive? On the first question, I'm of the opinion that a game should be kept going as long as it still has X number of players logging in every day, and the cost of keeping it going is not an undue burden on the company. On the second, I do believe that a game company has a responsibility to players to keep a game going as long as the first criteria is met. Some of you might think that is a little socialist, but the fact of the matter is that these games are being marketed to players as permanent or perpetual services. No where is it mentioned in the packaging that if the game doesn't do Warcraft numbers every year it will be shut down. Okay perhaps in the EULA/TOS but who reads those right? Maybe I'm being a little too old-school here, but haven't SOE, Turbine, and UO set the standard for longevity and shutdown criteria here? What do you think?

Is It A Coincidence?

Posted by Stropp on September 18, 2009 Is it a coincidence that nearly all of the MMORPG closures of the last year have been NCSoft properties? Auto Assault, Tabula Rasa, and now Dungeon Runners. There was The Matrix Online of course. That's a SOE product. And there was Hellgate London too (I won't count Mythos because it was never officially released.)  I think that's all, if I've missed any, let me know in the comments. You've got to wonder what is happening at a company when it cans three of its games, of which two were major releases in such a short space of time. The fact that they all seem to be associated with the US operation doesn't seem to bode well for continued development at the Austin studio. Of course it just may be that Aion is sapping resources at the moment, and they feel that they need to cut the dead wood. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.