Star Wars Galaxies MMO Closing in December: Players Upset, Litigious
The end of an MMORPG is never an easy process to negotiate. Many online games that fail to turn a profit quickly are relegated to "free-to-play" status and can continue on almost indefinitely. But for aging revenue-generating MMOs, it is often easier (for the hosting company, if not the players) to pull the plug and close down the virtual world entirely. Such will be the the ignominious fate facing Star Wars Galaxies at the end of this year.
This decision comes at an awkward time, coinciding almost to the day with the 8th anniversary of the MMO's launch. In terms of anniversary celebration events (popular with many MMOs), the news that the Galaxies would close down permanently on December 15th ranks as one of the worst. Yet, with the launch of Bioware's new, highly-polished Star Wars MMO (Star Wars: The Old Republic) on the horizon, the current opinion is that the continued existence of the long in the tooth Galaxies seems unnecessary. To everyone but the few thousand active subscribers, that is.
The natural reaction of the players, many of whom have invested months of playtime into Galaxies, is to try anything to keep their MMO playable. Many have filed petitions on the game's official forums, only to see the posts locked down by Sony for "causing disruption". VentureBeat has reported the players behind these posts are considering a class-action lawsuit against Sony (for locking their posts, not closing the MMO) although the article covering the lawsuits has since been pulled from their site despite being crossposted over most of the internet.
The idea of legal action against such heavy-handed forum moderation is not far outside the realm of expected reactions from loyal MMO players in such circumstances. When an MMO is taken offline, the ability to play the game ends permanently. This is a situation that fans of traditional single-player games rarely understand since most all bygone games, and consoles, are available on Ebay for a modest price. Alternatively, many popular older games are re-released for updated consoles to allow fans to indulge in a a healthy bit of nostalgia, and those that aren't can be downloaded as emulators by those of a less moral persuasion. In other words, fans of single player games have options.Continued on the next page