Saying Goodbye (To Games That Shut Down)… - subsaint Blog - www.GameInformer.com
Switch Lights

The lights are on

What's Happening

Saying Goodbye (To Games That Shut Down)…

I lost a game today. It was a good game. Well, I liked it. But there were plenty of others that didn't. It was an online only game, so when the plug was pulled, that's it. Game over. The handful of people like me, who liked the game, unfortunately they will never be able to play it again.

This isn't the first time this has happened to me. There have been plenty of games over the years that eventually become unplayable, either because the companies quit supporting them, or players just move on and you can't even scrape together enough players to meet the minimum required to start a round. Battlefield 2 was a lot like this for me. One of my favorite shooters of all time. No single player component to speak of, but some amazing multiplayer action. I don't know how familiar you are with Battlefield 2 (PC version), but you could actually "play" the game even if you didn't have the minimum number of players. It just wasn't a ranked match and it didn't really keep score...but you could at least play. As sad as it may sound, I can remember playing against two or three other players while we waited...hoping enough players would join to start a real round. It usually never happened...and so eventually I moved on to something else.

When you think about it, this is the ultimate fate of nearly every online or multiplayer only game out there. It's probably not something you think of when you buy a game. You think about playing it, not that it will eventually cease to operate. Chances are you'll quit playing the game before that happens, but that's not always the case. Sometimes the game goes away before you're ready to say goodbye. Games like World of Warcraft and EVE Online have managed to survive longer than most might've expected. But there are plenty of other games that haven't been as lucky. I have so many thoughts about this, so many questions.

Perhaps the most prevalent is the irony between me abandoning a game because I'm not interested in it and losing a game I do like because the company is no longer supporting it. When I quit playing a game by my own choosing, I don't think about the impact, if any, it has on the company or the players still playing the game. Quite the opposite is true when it's not by our doing. The response is understandable I suppose. I've seen everything from anger and hatred, to sorrow and gloom. I understand and sympathize with players who feel robbed when a game shuts down because of a company decision, but I also understand the decisions that often lead to this outcome. I look at a game like Titanfall and I expect it to be around for years to come. But I can also see me playing it longer after most gamers have hit Gen 10, got bored with it and moved on. Then what?

It's hard to say whether this issue is getting better or worse. I mean, from a technology standpoint, it seems like it should be better because servers are cheaper, more powerful and sustainable. With cloud computing and similar technologies, you could run an online game forever...if you (you being the game company) want to spend the money on it. When you look at PC games that rely on services like Steam, you assume this well greatly improve a game's longevity. But when you hear of companies who don't meet their sales goals, or worse, start struggling for money...it seems like an obvious first step to cut. And when companies shutdown altogether, well that will almost certainly mean death to an online game. And I'm sure most game companies don't plan on running an online game forever, so there has to be some threshold to decide when to pull the plug. Is it how much it costs? Is it how many people are playing the game still? Is it how long the game has been running? Is it a combination of all these factors? I don't know for sure, but I do know as much as I hate to say it, no game is going to last forever...no matter how much you or I want it to. It sucks. I'll be the first to admit it. But it's inevitable.

While I mourn the loss of a great game, I'm thankful I knew it at all. And to my friends and fellow warriors, you know who you are... Goodnight sweet prince. Salute.

Cheers.

comments