SOE have made a lot of people un/happy in a single Reddit AMAA. On the one hand they announced the closure of four of their MMOs - Vanguard, Wizardry Online, Free Realms, and Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures - and, on the other, they revealed they’re working on a new IP, an MMO “dedicated” to the fans of Star Wars Galaxies.
Starting with the bad news the closures. John Smedley, president of SOE, said the games were simply costing too much for too little return. In his AMAA he said “The real problem is maintaining the code bases when we update our authentication or security updates. It’s really that simple. The costs scale with the userbases. It’s just getting prohibitively expensive in terms of time to maintain these games.
“We no longer have the resources to dedicate to maintaining the code base such that it can stay in sync with our platform and our security needs. We’ve been running Vanguard at a loss for a long time. We haven’t told the players that but we felt it was the right thing to do to keep it running.
“We’ve done it for seven years and it’s just time to shut it down. I will say that we have kept our MMOs running longer than anyone in the industry. We continue to keep them running long after they are profitable because it’s the right thing to do for our players.”
@PaigeRaine It started out as a sub game. It didn't work. It didn't work as an F2P game. I'm just going to say it - it just didn't work.
— John Smedley (@j_smedley) January 24, 2014
The closures allow SOE to focus their efforts. Answering a question about the expected lifecycle of Planetside 2, Smedley said “hopefully 20 years. We're consolidating our franchises so we can support the titles we want to be there for the long haul. That's why we did this.“
SOE plan on shuttering Vanguard and Wizardry Online games on 31 July. Further details can be found on the Wizardry and Vanguard forums. Free Realms and Clone Wars Adventures will be closed on 31 March. You can find details on the Clone Wars Adventures closure here and the Free Realms closure here.
The good news came when a redditor asked Smedley which of his company’s games he’d relaunch if he had the chance. “Star Wars Galaxies,” Smedley replied. “I would do everything differently.
“SWG PLAYERS - OUR NEXT GAME (not announced yet) IS DEDICATED TO YOU. Once we launch it... you can come home now.”
EA owns the rights to Star Wars and so any spiritual successor to Galaxies would be within a different universe. Still, if it’s the style of Galaxies’ sandbox MMO that players liked then the lack of a Star Wars paintjob shouldn’t put them off.
We’ll let you know more when we do.