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Apparently the Universe isn't big enough for two MMOs based on Star Wars. Star Wars Galaxies, LucasArts' and Sony Online Entertainment's long-running multiplayer game, is shutting down for good, along with the spin-off trading card game. The plug will be pulled, and a world will cease to exist, on December 15, 2011. Rest in Peace, Galaxies.
In an email sent to Galaxies users, Sony said the shutdown of SWG was "a very difficult decision," but SOE and LucasArts have mutually agreed that the end of 2011 is "the appropriate time to end the game."
In an interview with Massively.com, SOE president John Smedley said the decision was made in part because of the imminent release of Star Wars: The Old Republic. "LucasArts has a new game coming out, and the contract would be running out in 2012 anyway, so we feel like it's the right time for the game to end," Smedley said.
While it's certainly sad news, the end will at least be memorable: SOE promises Galaxies will go out with a huge bang. During the last week that SWG is available, the community is invited to participate in a galaxy-ending event. "We want the final chapter of the galaxy to be written in part by the dedicated and passionate SWG community. Details will be announced at a later date," SOE and LucasArts said.
The history of Star Wars Galaxies is a rocky one. The game originally launched to great fanfare and acclaim in 2003, and received relatively positive critical reaction. While successful for the time, SWG never came close to the kind of population World of Warcraft achieved. In 2005, Galaxies was overhauled with "New Game Enhancements" that decreased the complexity of the game significantly. Since then, Galaxies has been humming along, presumably supporting itself with the monthly payments of its dedicated fanbase.
Here's the full text of the email sent to users, with information on pro-rated long-term subscriptions and more.
Dear Star Wars Galaxies™ Community Member,
We write to you today to inform you that on December 15, 2011, Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) and LucasArts will end all services (MMO and Trading Card Game) for Star Wars Galaxies (SWG). The shutdown of SWG is a very difficult decision, but SOE and LucasArts have mutually agreed that the end of 2011 is the appropriate time to end the game.
We are extremely grateful to all of the SWG fans. We have had the rare opportunity to host one of the most dedicated and passionate online gaming communities and we truly appreciate the support we've received from each and every one of you over the course of the past eight years.
In recognition of your incredible loyalty, we are extending special Fan Appreciation offers to the current SWG community. We also plan to go out with a bang with a galaxy-ending in-game event in December and hope to see you all there. The details relating to these offers and events as well as the timeline and specifics regarding the discontinuation of the service, are provided below.
Again, we want to extend our heartfelt thanks to our player community for making SWG one of the best online communities in gaming history.
Sony Online Entertainment & LucasArts
The Fine Details:
Discontinuation of Services:
As of September 15, 2011, the SWG MMO and Trading Card Game will no longer be available for sale or subscription at both retail and all online digital retailers. All billing for active subscribers with accounts in good standing, except for Station Access subscribers, will end on October 15, 2011.
If you are an active subscriber in good standing as of September 15, 2011, then you can play for free for the final months. Players wishing to play through the end of the game and participate in the galaxy-ending event planned for the last week of live service in December will need to re-activate or join the game on or before September 15th. No new or reactivated accounts will be accepted after September 15, 2011.
As of today, June 24, 2011, we are discontinuing the 12, 6, and 3-month subscription plans, meaning these subscription options will no longer be offered for newly created SWG accounts. SWG subscribers who have prepaid six (6) or twelve (12)-month game time plans that extend their subscription period past October 15, 2011 will receive a pro-rated refund for any such pre-paid excess subscription payments*. Such refunds are expected to be issued within 90-days after the game ends.
In addition, we will be discontinuing the sale of all Star Wars Galaxies™ Trading Card Game (TCG) digital card packs as of today, June 24, 2011. Loot cards will not be redeemable in the SWG MMO after September 15, 2011. The TCG will continue to operate until the final service closure on December 15, 2011.
Galaxy-Ending Event – Be Part of this Historic Event
During the last week that SWG is available, we're inviting the community to participate in a galaxy-ending event. We're going to end with a bang and we want the final chapter of the galaxy to be written in part by the dedicated and passionate SWG community. Details will be announced at a later date.
Fan Appreciation Offers
We welcome those active SWG subscribers in good standing to play one or all of the below SOE massively-multiplayer online PC games at a fully-paid subscriber status (or “membership” status where relevant) at no cost between October 15, 2011 and December 31, 2011 (subject to the terms and conditions described below). To activate these special offers, use the same Station Account you use now to subscribe to SWG** and simply click on the game you would like to try to download the game software. We are offering the following SOE games: Free Realms®, Star Wars®: Clone Wars Adventures™, EverQuest®, EverQuest® II and DC Universe™ Online. The game software will all be made available for download on a link accessible from the StarWarsGalaxies.com web site beginning on October 15, 2011.