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EA to shut down online servers for 13 of its games


Brace yourselves, EA gamers. Electronic Arts is up to its old tricks. The publisher has announced that it will be shutting down multiplayer servers for more than a dozen of its action and sports games. These games either have low multiplayer traffic or are sports games that are being replaced with new versions. That’s right: if you buy an EA Sports game, you have one year to play it online before it’s shut down. These shutdowns will go into effect August 11, 2011. Last year’s version of Madden and NHL will be shut down Oct. 1, 2011.

In its service update, EA claims these decisions were made with much difficulty: “The decisions to retire older EA games are never easy. The development teams and operational staff pour their hearts into these games almost as much as the customers playing them and it is hard to see one retired. But as games get replaced with newer titles, the number of players still enjoying the older games dwindles below a point — fewer than 1% of all peak online players across all EA titles — where it’s feasible to continue the behind-the-scenes work involved with keeping these games up and running. We would rather our hard-working engineering and IT staff focus on keeping a positive experience for the other 99% of customers playing our more popular games. We hope you have gotten many hours of enjoyment out of the games and we appreciate your ongoing patronage.”

Of course, 99 percent of players might not abandon last year’s Madden if they knew EA wasn’t going to shut it down, but we suppose that’s beside the point. Without further delay, here are the closures.

August 11, 2011 Online Service Shutdown

  • ARMY OF TWO™ for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
  • ARMY OF TWO™ Demo for Xbox 360
  • Battlefield 2142™ Demo for PC
  • Battlefield 2: Modern Combat™ for Xbox 360
  • Battlefield 2: Modern Combat™ Demo for Xbox 360
  • Medal of Honor Airborne™ for PlayStation Portable
  • Medal of Honor Heroes™ 2 for PlayStation Portable and Wii
  • NASCAR® 09 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 (North America)
  • NCAA® Basketball 10 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
  • NCAA® Football 10 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
  • Need for Speed™ Most Wanted for PC and Xbox 360
  • Need for Speed™ Undercover for PlayStation Portable;
  • SKATE™ for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
  • Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 10 for PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii
  • Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 11 Demo for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

October 1, 2011 Online Service Shutdown

  • Madden NFL 10 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
  • NHL® 10 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

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Jeffrey Van Camp
Former Digital Trends Contributor
As DT's Deputy Editor, Jeff helps oversee editorial operations at Digital Trends. Previously, he ran the site's…
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These closures are significant for a number of reasons. First, the server shutdowns for EA’s sports titles suggest that the publisher is taking its franchises offline faster than they have to date. It’s inevitable considering the need to keep people buying new entries in the series, but it demonstrates the need to evolve the current business model of these series. EA can’t keep making a new FIFA and a new Madden every year forever. At some point these games will have to become persistent products that are regularly updated with new features and rosters.
In regards to The Sims 2, EA is proving that video games need to be better preserved. Forget that the game can’t be played online any longer, the real problem is that players will no longer be able to download content. After this month, The Sims 2 will not be available as a complete product.
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