EA-Land, the re-branded Sims Online virtual world that was announced in February, is being shut down.
The closure, announced on the EA-Land Blog, will take effect August 1, 2008. Subscription billing has also been canceled, giving players free, unlimited access to the game until the close date, but PayPal cash-in of in-game currency is also no longer available. Sims fans who were subscribers as of the end of April are being offered one of two "tokens of appreciation": $15 off any game at the EA Store, or three months free subscription with Club POGO.
"It is with mixed emotions that today we are announcing the EA-Land experiment will soon draw to a close. Since 2002, EA-Land/TSO has attracted a very special group of players (of which you are one) and we certainly appreciate your participation in the EA-Land community," the announcement said. "The lifetime of the game has drawn to an end, and now we will be focusing on new ideas and other innovative concepts in the games arena. We'd like to thank everyone who has taken part in this online community as a unique experience in the virtual world."
The Sims Online was originally launched in 2002 but never managed to approach the success of the single-player Sims games. The EA-Land "experiment" was revealed in February as a retooled version of the game, including much larger in-game territory, an increase in the maximum number of concurrent users, user-generated content and a free-to-play option. At the time, Luc Barthelet of Maxis, who worked on the original Sims Online, said, "We have made this game fun again!" To learn more about EA-Land and the pending shutdown, go to ea-land.ea.com.