Electronic Arts is going to be shutting down the multiplayer servers and online services for a number of its online-enabled games on April 13, 2012, including one which uses the publisher's controversial Online Pass. That game is EA Sports MMA, released on October 19, 2010, though the most recently released title on the list -- Spare Parts -- was out on January 11.
The statement on EA's Online Service Updates page is pretty clear about why these shutdowns happen: "...as games get replaced with newer titles, the number of players still enjoying the older games dwindles to a level -- fewer than 1% 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."
Low traffic or not though, how soon is "too soon" for a server shutdown? And is it really fair to turn off the servers on a game that any number of players could have separately purchased Online Pass access for?
It's not like EA is taking any radical steps here. The server shutdown thing isn't anything new for the publisher, but even putting that aside... really, these are mostly old games that people probably weren't playing in large numbers anymore, if at all. MMA and Spare Parts stand out though, the first for its Online Pass features and the second for still being a new-ish game that has co-op elements.
I'm expecting plenty of commenters to come down hard on EA here, since that's how the Internet rolls. I want you to really sit down and think about this before you voice your thoughts though. Do any of the games on the list below number among those you've played recently? Do you think the strategy of shutting down servers for low-traffic titles, instead of simply old ones, makes sense? It's easy to embrace the kneejerk and shout "EA IS TAKING AWAY MAH GAMEZ!!!!" but when you step back and look at this rationally, do you still find fault?
Let's discuss this. I'm curious to hear what y'all think. Here's the full list of games and platforms that will be affected as of April 13:
- 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
Source: EA Online Service Updates