Unfortunately not all MMORPGs are able to survive. Of course high profile games like EverQuest Anarchy Online and Dark Age of Camelot show no signs of shutting their doors but some newer and smaller games are not so lucky. Unlike retail games MMORPGs have constant costs like servers customer support billing keeping developers on the payroll for improvements etc. In order to pay for all these things MMORPGs charge each player from $10 to $15 per month. That said the game needs to have a set amount of subscribers to make it. If that certain number is not met after a few months the game is in trouble.
Furthermore a MMORPG shutting down is not the same as a retail game company going out of business because the game’s sales do not meet expectations. Once you get a retail game it yours and you can play it anytime you want. You don’t have to worry about the game’s sales because you already have the game. With a MMORPG you can’t play it anymore once it fails. It doesn’t matter if you are subscribed for a month or a year your time in that game is over. Thus you have a financial and time interest in the game that will stay as long as you subscribe.
That said a few notable MMORPGs have bit the dust recently. Also a rather large MMORPG by a major company only has around five months left. Which ones got the axe? Well one great little MMORPG is among the causalities Rubies of Eventide. In my Rubies of Eventide Review I mentioned that the main server population was extremely low at just 36 players. Needless to say the company was losing money and finally had to close up shop on 2-14-2004. Another small MMORPG called Dransik died a little bit later on 3-08-2004. The big MMORPG that is closing in 5 months is Earth and Beyond by Electronic Arts. Earth and Beyond was not doing what Electronic Arts hoped it would so it is taking a slow but steady exit.
MMORPGs in the pipeline have been hit hard as well. Mythica and the MMORPG version of URU (a Myst sequel) have both been canceled. With the cancellation of Mythica along with the selling of the Asheron’s Call franchise to Turbine Entertainment it seems that Microsoft has no intentions to be a major player in the MMORPG industry. For URU the game could simply not get enough free subscribers for its beta period. Not getting enough free subscribers to a well-known game appears to be a huge sign that there are way too many MMORPGs out there or that some gamers are losing interest in the entire genre. Either way GameOgre will be monitoring this issue closely. If you know of any MMORPG that has had to close please let us know. From now on all MMORPGs that are either closed or set to close will be removed from our MMORPG List.