EA Announces New Multiplayer Server Shutdowns

EA Announces New Multiplayer Server Shutdowns

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Electronic Arts has announced a new round of multiplayer server shutdowns for April that will include EA Sports MMA, an online pass-enabled game that was released just 17 months ago.

The latest round of Electronic Arts multiplayer server closures will affect 11 games that the publisher says have slipped below a viability threshold. "As games get replaced with newer titles, the number of players still enjoying the older games dwindles to a level - fewer than one percent of all peak online players across all EA titles - where it's no longer feasible to continue the behind-the-scenes work involved with keeping these games up and running," it explained in the announcement of the shutdowns, which will take place on April 13. The following games will be affected:

  • BOOM BLOX Bash Party for Wii
  • Burnout Revenge for Xbox 360
  • EA Create for PC, PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360
  • EA Sports Active 2.0 for PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360
  • EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp for Wii
  • FIFA 10 for PlayStation Portable and Wii
  • The Godfather II for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
  • MMA for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
  • Need for Speed ProStreet for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
  • The Saboteur (loss of The Midnight Club access) for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
  • Spare Parts for PlayStation 3 Xbox 360

"We would rather our hard-working engineering and IT staff focus on keeping a positive experience for the other 99 percent of customers playing our more popular games," the announcement says. "We hope you have gotten many hours of enjoyment out of the games and we appreciate your ongoing patronage."

It's not unreasonable to shut down unpopular games that are well past their prime but it starts to look a little dodgy when games like EA Sports MMA are caught up in the cull. That game was only released at the end of October 2010 and, making matters worse in the eyes of at least one EA forum user, it made use of the Online Pass system which among other things is supposed to "extend the life of [its] products."

"You went way out of the way to justify your 'Online Pass' crap as being there to support the online servers (since those dirty second hand purchasers didn't invest in supporting those servers). Now you are telling me that you are going to shut down the online service for a game that started the joke that is your 'Online Pass' service," the user wrote. "So please explain to me exactly how was the 'Online Pass' not nothing more than a money grab? And exactly how are you justifying shutting these servers down again?"

EA has not yet responded to the question.

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Andy Chalk:

"You went way out of the way to justify your 'Online Pass' crap as being there to support the online servers (since those dirty second hand purchasers didn't invest in supporting those servers). Now you are telling me that you are going to shut down the online service for a game that started the joke that is your 'Online Pass' service," the user wrote. "So please explain to me exactly how was the 'Online Pass' not nothing more than a money grab? And exactly how are you justifying shutting these servers down again?"

EA has not yet responded to the question.

It is a fair question. Does the online pass offer anything other than a gate to the content and cash for EA?

I'm surprised Bad Company 1 is still up and running.

Was gunna pick up the MMA game for the lulz the other day, glad I decided to stick with the UFC games.

And seriously EA, can you just start calling it "Gimmicky Cash Grab" on those horrible bits of card too? Atleast I'd respect you more for having the ball to be honest.

EA, you're making it difficult for me to respect you again.

It's bad enough that you have possibly unannounced expiration dates for your online passes in retail copies of games. Now, you can decide to switch the servers off because people didn't buy enough of the things. Granted, keeping online games...online, that takes money, and these games aren't popular enough to support a "10 million+ player" server. Why not scale back instead of out-and-out cancelling? Enough computing power to support 25k people might not be as cost-effective as a complete shutdown, but it'll also keep the pitchfork-wielding mobs at bay, maybe even generate some new revenue from online passes thanks to the secondary market.

If this is how EA wants to handle the people who buy their virtual goods, I'm curious how they expect anyone to sign up for their Origin service.

captcha: lumpy gravy

How many of those games aside from MMA actually use the online pass system? NFS Prostreet for example is ancient now, they shut down the PC servers begining of last year sometime so its not really surprising to see that in the list.

EA do a lot of silly things at times but I dont see any problem with this at the moment in fairness. On top of everything else, pretty sure the online pass comes free with all these games, and is infact only required when purchasing 2nd hand games? To that end if I bought a game that had been out for a year 2nd hand (which of course in theory means its a reduced price) and then paid the couple of quid to go online, I dont think I'd be that pissed if the servers were shut off a few months later.
Displeased perhaps but not pissed.

God damnit, Boom Blox is awesome and I was planning to buy Godfather 2 in the near future! This is a major problem with the whole cloud thing. And how everything is hooked to the internet in some way. Nothing is immortal anymore. I'm gonna go play some Mega Man 3. Mega Man 3 is immortal.

Bloodtrozorx:

It is a fair question. Does the online pass offer anything other than a gate to the content and cash for EA?

Its actually an easy question for EA to answer. All they have to do is say that without the online pass they would have shut down the server five months ago.

 

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