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Star Wars Prequels Games

Sony Shutting Down Star Wars Galaxies MMO and TCG 142

Posted by Soulskill
from the end-of-a-good-run dept.
flibbidyfloo writes "Sony has sent an email to current and former subscribers to its long-running MMO Star Wars Galaxies explaining that the service will be shut down in December. Here's an excerpt from the email: '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 ... 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.'"
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Sony Shutting Down Star Wars Galaxies MMO and TCG

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  • by blair1q (305137) on Friday June 24, 2011 @05:07PM (#36561170) Journal

    Can you imagine paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars on eBay for something that only exists in one of these games, then finding out a few weeks, months, or years later that it's going into the bit-bucket at the end of the month?

    • by DemonGenius (2247652) on Friday June 24, 2011 @05:13PM (#36561256)
      This is why when companies decommission their software, they should just open source it and let everyone go nuts. Someone somewhere is bound to maintain a gaming server for this game. However, companies like Sony have the mentality where if they can't make money off it then no one shall have it.
      • by blair1q (305137) on Friday June 24, 2011 @05:21PM (#36561390) Journal

        At least with a meatspace game, like the trading cards, players will have a piece of memorabilia that may be of value to someone, if not as much as it means to them.

        But when your collectibles are stored in an array that will never be loaded to RAM ever again, it's not even possible to be surprised on finding them in the attic while looking for your high school transcripts...

        • Except the trading cards aren't a meatspace game. It's a digital trading card game.

          Granted, it was designed by Wizards of the Coast, so maybe it might end up making the transition to the real world. However, the way it stands now users will lose access to their cards in December.
      • by Dahamma (304068)

        That might work for simple online games where it's mostly about the gameplay (say, EA sports games), but for anything with persistent objects that have value because of their scarcity, it won't make a difference. You need a secure central database/service to prevent hacking, duplicating objects, or whatever other form of cheating people can come up with.

        If you let anyone run a mint, money will rapidly lose its value :)

        • by g0bshiTe (596213)
          You do realize you just lumped "hacking and security into an article about Sony".
      • Already been done, for the MMO. They're also making is better, by not adding the game-killing idiot-friendly "upgrades" that SOE added. See SWGEmu [swgemu.com].
        Not sure about the TCG. A "digital TCG" is utterly stupid, IMNSHO.

      • by nomadic (141991)
        LucasArts presumably would rather SWG players join the new Old Republic MMORPG rather than play SWG on private servers.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Uh, you do know that this isn't their only MMORPG, right? You also know that a lot of the code that went into this is probably used in existing MMORPGs that Sony runs as well, right? You also know this code will be reused, right? And you also realize that the legalities of opening up a game that contains IP from a multi-billion dollar franchise this isn't entirely encompassed in the game with multiple invested partners and copyright holders would never get 100% agreement from all the interested parties, rig
      • "No! Never! All that iProperty must be kept locked up and unused forever because there might be a single still shot they can reuse somewhere!! What do those players mean, they want to set up their own rogue servers to keep it going? Get the terrorists NOW!! P.s. We agree it's the appropriate time to end a game *before Christmas* so that here will be two sales weeks forcing familes of gamers to buy them something else!"

        / SarcasmQuotes

      • There is already a FREE emulator for the swg server; swgemu.com
        Does require you to own the game for a client, though.
        Not the same thing as sony making swg open source, but based on postings by swg devs etc, that's probably for the best. The code was rumored to be a complete disaster. Also, the current revision of the game really sucks (compared to older revs) because of changes made in the "NGE" update from a few years ago.
      • by DrXym (126579)
        They're not going to open source something which has a substantial amount of reusable IP.
      • This is why when companies decommission their software, they should just open source it and let everyone go nuts. Someone somewhere is bound to maintain a gaming server for this game. However, companies like Sony have the mentality where if they can't make money off it then no one shall have it.

        An open source SWG with non-Sony servers would compete with Sony's other MMORPGs (EQ, EQ II, and Vanguard) and also with their non-MMORPG games. Why would they want that? If they were exiting the game market completely, then maybe open sourcing would make sense.

    • So? Did these people get enjoyment out of that hundreds of dollars spent? Is it better to buy a boxed game and never get around to playing it?

    • by Raenex (947668)

      Can you imagine paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars on eBay for something that only exists in one of these games

      Nope.

    • Can you imagine paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars on eBay for something that only exists in one of these games, then finding out a few weeks, months, or years later that it's going into the bit-bucket at the end of the month?

      I sold one of my characters for several hundred dollars, but it was at the height of that particular game's lifespan. SWG characters may have been valued in the hundreds and thousands - I don't know, but if SOE is discontinuing service my guess is that the game is well past it's prime - and characters aren't valued for very much anymore.

    • If nothing else I have to give SOE kudos for giving almost 6 months notice. Most MMOs shut down with maybe 2 months warning, if you're lucky.

    • You never throw anything away? It never wears out and is no longer useful? Just because a piece of digital property might go away one day doesn't mean that it hasn't served its purpose and value.
    • by g0bshiTe (596213)
      Sony should follow in the footsteps of the OpenSim project and allow people to web together their own SWG Universe.
    • by lorelorn (869271)
      Yes, I can imagine doing that. This is why I have never done it.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    never heard of it and it probably sucks, well bye

  • ..hack the servers and keep them open for another year or so? I mean.. their so good at keeping the servers offline, let's see if they can keep them online!
    • You can't hack something that isn't plugged in. Or code that's been deleted. That's what Sony are doing, taking the servers offline.

      The really sensible thing to do would be to hack the security and/or game and/or consoles (depending on Sony's setup) so that servers can be hosted by players rather than a central system. I honestly don't know why companies don't make this a "support" option more often, most seem more than happy to do a similar thing with unofficial fora and the like.

      Hell, even if So
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm telling all hackers everywhere, this is impossible. There is no way anyone could ever do what the OP is saying. No one on Earth is that good.

      -There, that should do it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'd bet that a new Star Wars product gets announced just after the new year.

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      I'd bet that a new Star Wars product gets announced just after the new year.

      Isn't there another Star Wars MMO in development? One that might not suck?

  • by geekoid (135745)

    Give you a dollar for it.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      I've tried that before with websites. Even just for business models. A dollar is never enough.

  • by hamburgler007 (1420537) on Friday June 24, 2011 @05:19PM (#36561344)
    I'm surprised it has taken Sony this long to shut it down. Sony turned a great mmo into absolute shit. They even had a small window to rectify their mistakes by listening to the vast majority of players. Fortunately, there is the star wars galaxy emulation project, which is a pre-cu version of the server. There are plenty of people on there (almost certainly more than the official swg), and you don't have to pay a monthly fee. The only thing I am leery of is Sony pulling a Blizzard and shutting them down. For anyone interested, the url is www.swgemu.com.
    • I am still waiting for a game with the potential that the original incarnation of the game showed.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I wonder if this timing has any relation to the fact that the new star wars MMO (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars:_The_Old_Republic) Is going to be released very soon.

      • That one isn't Sony (it's EA). They are probably shutting it down because the number of subscribers is insufficient to justify maintaining the infrastructure of servers and people that it requires to run.

        Most companies will run their MMOs forever, if there's the customers. Why wouldn't you? However, there is a a minimum level of subscribers you have to have. While not every MMO needs the massive staff World of Warcraft has, you still have to have a few people working on various things, you have to have some

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 24, 2011 @05:21PM (#36561386)

    As if tens of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced

    • by pagen (52961)

      Good Riddance!

      It was not the waste of money that was sad, it was the time and effort to get on to the servers to sit and watch people dance! It was the insanity of the original quest system. It was the hour or three to login.

      Time may heal all wounds, but this game bit a hole deep and wide in the psyche of this gamer. Pray for SW:TOR.

      • by Sperbels (1008585)
        Sorry, pre-nge, this game was awesome. It had the best crafting system, resource system, and economy of anything before or since. And watching people dance to heal your wounds really was not that tedious. If you need that much instant gratification, you shouldn't be playing an MMO anyway...this attitude ruins immersion.
        • The spooky feel of wandering Tatooine at night.
          Finding a ranger camp and learning things from other players.
          I miss it very much.
          • by BitZtream (692029)

            Sigh ... I like to play MMOs alone, retarded I know, but thats my thing, and that was one of the coolest things in SWG, as a ranger/bio-engineer in the Pre-CU/NGE days, out of know where I'd see a group wonder up on me. Sometimes people I knew, often not. So I'd throw up a camp, let them recover from their wounds before they moved on to their next mission/target in their group ... or get together with some other higher level players to break in some newbies and help them get going.

            It was an MMO where the

  • Blowing Up Galaxies (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Allen Varney (449382) on Friday June 24, 2011 @05:27PM (#36561484) Homepage
    My June 2007 article in the online gaming magazine The Escapist about the 2005 "New Game Enhancements" that pretty much destroyed Star Wars Galaxies: "Blowing Up Galaxies [escapistmagazine.com]"
    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      Interesting read. The Escapist is really underated; a lot of people just go there for Zero Punctuation and ignore the well-written articles. I especially enjoyed the advice you wrote to game/MMO devs at the end, which I'm going to parrot here because it's awesome:

      • If your licensor wants you to launch your game before it's ready, cancel it.
      • It's the community, stupid.
      • Many players don't experience a persistent online world as "a game." They experience it as "my life." An online world's hardcore players view themselves as citizens. Some want to be good citizens, some bad, but the entire core wants to believe they belong to something permanent.
      • Big changes after launch drive away existing players and make newcomers mistrust you.
      • "Fix the bugs before release, or release now and fix later?" The NGE (among dozens of disastrous launches) confirms it beyond dispute: Fix the bugs. If you can't fix them, cancel the launch.
      • Oh yeah - don't launch before you're ready.
      • Are there any MMOs that were launched when they were ready and didn't need a whole slew of bug fixes after the fact? WoW may have come close (I wasn't paying attention at the time) but all the other ones I've paid any attention to (WAR, LotRO, AoC, Aion) had real problems at the start.

        • by Ihmhi (1206036)

          Even WoW had its problems at Vanilla. An example would be the Tauren's "Plainswalking" - rather than get mounts, Taurens would get a skill where they could basically ramp up to mounted speeds (after reaching the same level you could get a mount). The issue was that, of course, it wasn't exactly the same as using a mount and therefore unfair to the Tauren.

          I think this is true with nearly any game, but it's especially true with MMOs: your best bet is to catch 90-98% percent of the bugs. Some stuff you won't c

    • I'll agree with you that the 'NGE' was what ended up killing the game. But the game was deeply flawed before then and was probably going to die anyway. I personally loved the 'sandbox' and ran a pretty good sized crafting enterprise (few hundred mines/factories, good size player city, even established suppliers). But there was nothing to do beyond that; say my enterprise made 1 million credits a day or 1 billion what was the point? Hanging out with people is fun, but it can only take you so far. Or say
      • The short answer was larger scale PvP. Our empire city spent unfathomable amounts of resources combating the rebel scum and destroying their installations. I'll agree though that before the addition of "the village" the game could be said to be a little light on real endgame content aside from that and a few specific challenges. That said, the change to the Jedi system that came with the Village was enough to put me off of the game when I'd already spent a few months with my swordsman/defenses stacker cappe
  • by Anonymous Coward

    A coworker of mine said that after it came back online, a month after the SOE hack, it was a virtual ghost town. Not that it was vibrant before, but being offline for nearly a month just killed it.

    • I'm quite sure SoE will have seen a player decline in many of its older titles were players will often play due to habituation, community or a lack of motivation to try alternatives. With SWTOR on the horizon this was wound to happen eventually...

      For me, the only surprise is that the closure of Vanguard wasn't announced at the same time.

    • I agree. I tried and tried to login because they offered us a free month as an inconvenience gift (I quit in 2007 for good but had a curiousity how the game had evolved, and it was free). I couldn't login. A friend later told me that the downtime killed the game. His whole guild moved to another MMO because their usual enemy guilds weren't online. The game was a deserted wasteland. The hack was a death knell for sure. I don't know how much of this is true or not, but I am a bit sad since the game helped me
  • Move along, move along... to SW:TOR?

  • Seriously folks. I don't buy games that don't have private or dedicated servers. Would it really be such a bad thing if little groups of players could host their own worlds? They can't really compete with the experience of the main servers, but at least some people would be able to play, even after the game's plug has been pulled.

    Some determined players have done so with WoW by reverse engineering the client server protocol, so I gave it a spin -- It wasn't my cup of tea, but my brother became a subscriber because of the added exposure -- That's right: Blizzard made money because a private server existed.

    Some people don't have the time to grind forever -- the private servers can have different exp rates; WoW and RuneScape servers I've seen do, anyway. One such WoW server almost won me over due to the benefits afforded to the time-challenged player.

    It's really a shame that games have to die at all. Welcome to the future folks. There is some hope, some FPS franchises still have dedicated servers that players can run... but, for the most part it looks rather bleak.

    Some game titles are deprecated for no good reason eg: Halo2 multi-player is canned. How the hell does this make sense? When playing most of these games one player's console becomes the "server" for the others... All you have to do is ALLOW the game to talk to other games and bingo, multi-player. However, we can't do this -- and that makes me mad.

    So, 5 friends and I all join up in party chat. We then all pop Halo2 in the 360. We can each see that the others have inserted the game by looking at the Icon next to our names on the friends list. Our XBoxes KNOW that we are all playing the game, and we have connections to each other ALREADY because of the party chat. However, WE CAN'T play online together because the matchmaking server was killed (because of Halo3 & Reach no doubt -- bet they'll eventually get killed to force migration to other new games too).

    Now, there is such a thing as unranked matches, so the score keeping server isn't an issue... Additionally there is LAN play. So, we all join my VPN, and play Halo2 -- No XBox Live needed (we use it for party chat and coordinating matches). THANKS FOR NOTHING MICROSOFT! My XBox Live subscription seems to lose value over time... not.. very.. smart.

    That's when we all made a pact when in comes to new games: No private/dedicated server? SCREW IT -- DO NOT WANT.

    • by krizoitz (1856864)
      "WE CAN'T play online together because the matchmaking server was killed (because of Halo3 & Reach no doubt -- bet they'll eventually get killed to force migration to other new games too). " No, they will eventually get killed because resources are not infinite and the cost of maintaining and supporting those servers to allow for continued game play is no longer worth the effort to the company. Considering how long Halo 2 multiplayer was supported, more than 6 years well into the release of the next g
      • by luther349 (645380)
        halo 2 servers where not axed untill xbox live was axed for the orignal xbox. at that point they relly had no way to keep the servers up.
      • This doesn't really apply to shooters. Unlike MMOs, which need a complex environment to be maintained server-side, shooters lend themselves well to simple LAN play. Cutting the ability to play over LAN for completely arbitrary reasons, and when it would require no resources from the company -- that's the kind of stupidity that hurts.

    • by snuf23 (182335)

      You know the WoW server emulators don't handle most scripted events (such as raid encounters). It isn't really the same thing. There's also the fact that gear can be modified and made deliberately over powered by people running the private server. Not much fun to PVP if mr. admin has a one-shot-and-you're-dead bat.

      Private servers make sense for simpler games like FPS (although cheating can still be an issue) but not as much for MMOs. They're okay if you want to dick around but they don't replicate the exper

    • by c312c (2306650)
      The reason all pre-xbox 360 games no longer work on xbox live has nothing to do with the servers being there or not. They were discontinued with the dashboard update that expanded the friends list. Many if not most of the original xbox games were hardcoded to only handle 100 friends, and more than that would have resulted in strange issues in almost every game for the original xbox.
      • I ain't buying it. For example, the Xbox could just give them 100 friends of the player's, starting with the most recently seen online... Any such arguments are irrelevent. MS has plenty of capital, they don't want to support something, they'll "extinguish" it -- I ran a 16 bit executable on XP... Xbox x86 games are running on the PowerMac in the 360... Tell me backwards compatibility isn't something they are pros at. Don't delude yourself.

        As for the servers being gone -- the bungie.net servers may

    • Try Tremolous. It's an opensource RTS/FPS blend, and installing a dedicated server doesn't seem hard. (Although there are plenty hosted by others.) It's got a pretty good community. It's the only FPS I played in the last 2 years, and I don't miss the canned railshooter experience. (I usually play the 1.2 gpp beta on the official servers, that's where most of the folks are.)

      Also, there's a quite a bit of emphasis on teamplay. Lone wolfs don't win the match.

  • I had a friend that worked for Sony Digital until recently. His former coworkers were all laid off and their satellite offices were closed with all of the work and properties folded back into their headquarters. It seemed like it had been coming for some time - they just kept getting non-committal answers about what direction they should have been going in, focusing on, or even completing. But since all the staff that was laid off locally were the people who maintained the SW MMO & TCG, this was only
    • by luther349 (645380)
      the games been a dead product for some time. everyone is wating on the new one and sony wrecked the old one so mutch nobody whanted to play it anymore.
  • I won't invest money in a game/experience and spend weeks or months of time playing only to find out one day it's denied to me and I can't revisit it. They should have gone more the way of City of Heroes. But the best thing would have been if online game companies escrowed their code for an open source release (of some form) when the game died, that would be a major feature to me that would make me consider investing hundred of dollars in an online game.

    • by whoop (194)

      Do you realize how stupid you sound? With that attitude you could never do anything in life, because everything is temporary. Why play Super Mario Bros when you won't be able to play it in the year 2175? Why breathe, when I can only breathe for 80ish years anyway and then you aren't allowed to breathe anymore?

      Enjoy life! Enjoy a MMO game with thousands of others during it's prime. It can be entertaining. If you get bored, move on to something else. If you get the urge to do it again, come back to it.

  • Well.... To be fair, this was inevitable, they screwed it up way too badly with the NGE business. Still, kinda sad to see it go... It was my first MMO, and I spent a few years on it, making online friends in the process, being part of the community.
  • Back before the big shake-up, when the servers were only just open to the public I had an account. I remember the novelty of running around the alien landscapes. Curiously they had an entire macro language that was available to users. After a couple of days spent refining my lie-sleeping-on-the-sofa-while-hunting macro I decided I wouldn't be subscribing beyond my 30 days. Highlights of my visit - writing the macro. It may have gotten better later, it may not. Nobody cared.
  • as if dozens of voices suddenly wheezed out in mild discinclination and were eventually silenced. I fear something vaguely ambiguous has happened.
  • From the SWGEmu site ..

    Q. Has SWGEmu ever seen Sony Online Entertainment's code?

    A. Absolutely not. In fact, Sony Online Entertainment persists that they have lost the code entirely. ...

  • Since Bioware is releasing their Star Wars MMO shortly after SWG shuts down, LucasArts would want this old abomination out-of-the-way before that one releases. I don't blame them. There have been few MMOs that have gathered such hatred and discourse as SWG did after a complete game architecture "patch" mid-stride.
  • They killed the game years ago, this is just it's final death-throes. No big loss here, really.

    I wonder how long it will be before Final Fantasy XI goes offline? It's almost as old (although, the abysmal failure that is Final Fantasy XIV may keep it around for much longer than anticiapted).

  • As far as anyone who actually played the game is concerned, it closed when they did the combat upgrades and new game enhancement bullshit that basically turned it from fun to boring.

    When they decided to cater to the lowest common denominator and let anyone be a Jedi, it was already over for SWG.

  • SWG was never a good game, it was buggy as hell and at launch had barely any of the elements that later players took for granted. Simplest example: you walked.

    Compared to far more complete games like EQ2 and especially WoW, it was rough but underneat its thick crust of bugs and half completed features was a depth that few games have matched. It wasn't the insane difficulty of a FF or UO either, it was depth but friendly depth. Take for instance the way you build your character, you didn't just have a simple

It was kinda like stuffing the wrong card in a computer, when you're stickin' those artificial stimulants in your arm. -- Dion, noted computer scientist

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