Over the course of this week, the developers of several major live service titles announced that their games would be shutting down. That means that players who actively enjoyed those games — and possibly spent money on them — might have to move on to something else.
The shutdowns are a reminder of the challenges facing these ambitious online titles. If they don’t quickly become massive hits, they might be closed down before they really have time to find their footing. Any new entrants have to fight an uphill battle to compete against juggernauts like Destiny 2, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Fortnite.
That means, for many of these newer games, they’re stuck in a chicken-and-egg situation: they need players to become a hit, but players may not want to jump in given the glut of other options available. And some games just need time to really catch on; Fortnite, for example, didn’t even launch as a battle royale.
Let’s go through what was shut down.
Apex Legends Mobile and Battlefield Mobile
Apex Legends Mobile will shut down on May 1st at 7PM ET and won’t be refunding players for any real money they’ve spent in the game. The game launched on May 17th, 2022, meaning it didn’t even last a year.
Respawn Entertainment said that the game’s content pipeline “has begun to fall short” of its “bar for quality, quantity, and cadence,” which is why it and development partner Lightspeed & Quantum Studios (a Tencent studio) have decided to close the game down. You can still play the game ahead of the May 1st shutdown.
EA is also ending development on an in-development Battlefield mobile game that had been in testing. “As the industry has evolved and our strategy to create a deeply connected Battlefield ecosystem has taken shape, we decided to pivot from the current direction to best deliver on our vision for the franchise and to meet the expectations of our players,” EA wrote in a blog post.
However, it seems likely we’ll see mobile versions of these franchises in the future. In EA’s earnings call on Tuesday, CEO Andrew Wilson discussed the company’s vision of cross-platform experiences for both franchises down the line.
On June 6th, the servers for the dodgeball battle royale game will shut down. But in the coming months, developer Velan Studios will release a free version of the game for Windows PCs that lets players host their own servers so that they can continue playing if they want.
“Creating such a different game with no points of comparison and running live services for the first time in many of our careers has also made the past couple years particularly challenging,” Jeremy Russo, Knockout City’s director, wrote in a blog post. “Despite over 12 million players and billions of KOs around the globe, there are several aspects of the game in need of major disruption to better attract and retain enough players to be sustainable. Since we are a small, indie studio, it’s simply impossible for us to make those kinds of systemic changes in the live game while continuing to support it.”
Knockout City launched in May 2021 as a paid title published under the EA Originals brand. The game went free to play in June 2022, with developer Velan Studios taking over as publisher.
I’d like to take a second here to commend Velan for offering a way to keep playing the game after the servers are officially closed. I think it’s an option that other developers should strive to offer if they can.
Rumbleverse will shut down on February 28th, meaning it will have just exceed six months of life. Players will be eligible for a refund for anything they bought, developer Iron Galaxy and publisher Epic Games wrote in a blog post.
“It is our sincerest hope that this news does not mark the end of Rumbleverse,” Iron Galaxy wrote in a blog post. “You may not yet have seen the Rumble in its final form. If we can welcome people back onto the deck of the battle barge again, we hope you’ll be there, laced up and ready to take your rightful place in the cannon.”
The servers for CrossfireX, an Xbox version of the popular first-person shooter Crossfire from Korean developer Smilegate, will close on May 18th. Access to the game’s single-player campaigns will also go away on that date.
There will be no additional content for the game, but players who made purchases within 14 days of February 3rd can request a refund. Sales of the game are being halted on the Xbox Store.
“While our team worked hard to push out numerous content updates including fixes, new maps, modes and in-game events, the game was ultimately not where it needed to be,” the developers wrote in an FAQ about the shutdown. “As a result, we have made the difficult decision to close the game.”
You can keep playing Echo VR, one of Meta’s flagship VR games, until August 1st at 1PM ET, though the company won’t be offering refunds on in-app purchases, in-game currency, or DLC.
“By no means was this decision made lightly,” developer Ready at Dawn said in a blog post. “But it was made for many good reasons and chief among them is the studio coming together to focus on our next project. We can’t say anything about it yet, but we are all excited and need all hands on deck.”
I’ve never played Echo VR, but my colleague Sean Hollister is a fan, and you should read his article about the announcement.
There was more bummer gaming news, too
Microsoft will yank some beloved games off the Xbox 360 Marketplace on February 7th. Square Enix is shutting down a Dragon Quest mobile game. Turtle Rock Studios says it’s done making new content for Back 4 Blood, though the game will still be operational.
And there were some surprising delays this week as well. The Last of Us Part I on PC has been delayed from the beginning to the end of March, while Star Wars Jedi: Survivor has been pushed from March to April 28th.
At least we have Hi-Fi Rush, which rules.