Age of Empires Online no longer in active development

Development on free-to-play RTS "no longer cost-effective" says Microsoft.

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Active development on PC RTS Age of Empires Online has ceased, Microsoft has announced. Writing on the game's blog, executive producer Kevin Perry announced there would be no new content created for game as it has finished its "development phase" and was now moving into its "support phase".

Perry was quick to reassure players that the free-to-play game is not on its last legs, however. "You can still do all the things you do today; we're not taking away anything you already have. There will be no new civilizations or features, that's all."

Publisher Microsoft and developer Gas Powered Games will continue providing support for the game, but Perry conceded that "fixing any remaining bugs and addressing balance issues will be slower and, frankly, more difficult for the team."

"Some may, in fact, be unfixable. We will be watching carefully in case any critical bugs appear.

Perry also explained that development on the game has been forced to stop for financial reasons. "Creating top-tier content, as we have been for the last year and a half, is very expensive - too expensive to maintain for long, as it turns out."

"We can no longer afford to keep creating it. AOEO already has a very large amount of high-quality, hand-crafted entertainment, and adding more is no longer cost-effective."

"This is a bittersweet announcement for me to make," Perry added.

Age of Empires Online, one of Microsoft's few attempts at breaking the free-to-play market, was launched in 2011 to modest appreciation from critics. The game was initially criticised for being too miserly with its content, though subsequent updates lowered the costs dramatically and the game went fully free-to-play in June 2012.

Microsoft's other attempt at free-to-play, Microsoft Flight, spent less than four months in the air before seeing its wings clipped.

"We have come a long way since August 2011," concluded Perry, "but now we have finished building the world of AOEO. We hope that you will join us in playing there for a long time to come."

Discussion

102 comments
Freddy
Freddy

It's very sad that many Free to Play games are going down hill after it's launch.  AOEO was a great concept and an amazing attempt at graphics.  I'm very sad that they did not push this for standalone.  The game reminds me of World of Warcraft the way graphics are detailed.  I'm tired of realism and tired of the old crappy graphics of AOE2.  Stop trying to make money and focus on quality.  Quality eventually brings you money if done correctly.

valcrist09
valcrist09

yawn another franchise ruined by Free to play


Nibbles37
Nibbles37

I want an anniversary edition of AoE2 like they did with Halo Anniversary but I want Ensemble back at the reigns, that was their baby and they had no right to take it from them!

_Roo_
_Roo_

If you are going to fix something M.S. why don't you fix that P.O.S. Microsoft Live?

Hellenic1234
Hellenic1234

Damn; i will still play it; PVP will still be fun. The most epic Age of Empires yet. Would anyone like to see an Age of Kings Online??

bornej
bornej

There is plenty of content in this game as is and your end game is you get to unlock all the content with cash you earn by playing the game. It's genius but it does mean that the money is going to run out. I still love the game though7 and play it with my brother in coop at least once a week. They did a hell of a job on it on there is plenty of civilizations and variety between them to keep even the same mission fresh each time. As long as the servers stay up, I'll keep playing it.

PETERAKO
PETERAKO

first, flight, and now AoE. well, it serves them right. Microsoft should look back and see why AoE was a success. oh yes, i almost forgot, i hope C&C Generals fails too.

raichou
raichou

Age of Empires IV PLEASE!!! (Hell, I dont care if you make a reboot of AoE1 in a shiny new, cutting-edge engine. Just give any a sequel/reboot thats not F2P/MMO). Or Age of Mythology 2. 

bloody-hell
bloody-hell

I never understood this Age of Empires Online fad.

I'm still playing Age of Empires 2 and Age of Mythology from time to time and you know what's best - both can be played offline, on LAN and online and are not dependent on some 3rd partys servers and goodwill to keep the servers running.

 

These good old games were one time investments with entertainment value for eternity.

This forced online and "games as a service" nonsense instead just sucks and I think people are slowly beginning to understand it. (even the most blind loyalists should by now)

 

Why would you pay for something you won't ever own and be dependent on someones service offering in order to use the product you "bought" and allow them to disallow you access to it at any time for any reason ?

If you're "playing" just the free to play aspects of it then I think this is borderline "ok", otherwise it puzzles me why people throw their money away.

jessie82
jessie82

good it was a shit game anyway id much rather have a game like AoM or AoE3 than some online only crap that makes you buy every single civilization like fuckoff

PotHeel
PotHeel

MMO = dead in the water, and good riddance. The most over-rated genre in gaming.

DoomZaW
DoomZaW

And the game will be closed down 6 months from now. By making this announcement they practically just put the game on life support supplied by batteries. They'll keep servers running so long as people buy stuff, but they just killed any reason to invest more money in a game whose availabillity depends on when they pull the plug.

tgwolf
tgwolf

Am I the only one that isn't filling my hat with tears over this bad idea which will not be brought to light? I don't see why the current mechanics wouldn't be sufficient for whatever 'online' features this would have boasted...

KaSeRRoR
KaSeRRoR

They need a new AoE so bad...

>=)

mediarays
mediarays

I like Rise of nations its like a miniature of Battlefield 3

welitonE3
welitonE3

The best AoE was the 2, and i hope one day, they will make a better than it. the third game was not so good, because thers no many options. And age of empires CAN be a AAA game. AoE2 is one of the 10 best games that i played in my life!

Vambran
Vambran

I have this game. It's okay but i got bored of the grind to max level and gear.

Nodashi
Nodashi

I hope EA takes notes and release C&C (former Generals 2) as a full priced game with all the features, not a "F2P" cashgrab. People are NOT as stupid as those guys think - no, we will NOT pay 300 dollars for complete games just because they were chopped in small pieces first, publishers.

 

F2P could work in a world were their greed was under control and the SUM of all parts costed 60 bucks (for AAA games, not AoE online). Like a modular product. But no, they always want more, and they think us, consumers, lack basic math skills... 

PvtFreddy
PvtFreddy

I'm not surprised at this happening. The development of this game is an aspect I followed since I heard of it even before its release, and after witnessing the gamplay and graphics of it, I thought the time it would last would be minimal.

 

It is a shame that the company decided to take this route in initially develop the game and not create the next sequel in AoE.

 

Just wonder how long it shall last in non-development.

kwakaka
kwakaka

That's being said.Microsoft was never good with free content. Everybody knows that.

Dark__Target
Dark__Target

im really enjoying alot about this game after only a week or so in, however very glad to see christmas themed crp gone from homecity

jorge69696
jorge69696

Step 1: Make shit game with a bad demographic.

Step 2: Complain when it doesn't sell.

Step 3: Blame pirates.

Step 4: Make another excuse because the game can't be pirated since it's free to play.

Step 5: Use no excuse at all and pretend it was your intention to kill the game at this point.

Step 6: Keep trying to blame pirates since it always works.

jamerncc17011
jamerncc17011

Good, now that that's done how about some Age of Mythology 2?

 

Crush_Project
Crush_Project

microsoft has brought enough ruin to the series.

 

There work here is done.

superjenius
superjenius

I picked up AOE3 complete for 10 cents (yes really!) a couple of years ago during a one-day sale at gamesforwindows.com.  I haven't played it much (it's still in my queue), but that's close enough to F2P that I never bothered with AOEO.

rusky4ever
rusky4ever

Update Age of Empires 1 and 2 with todays graphics engine and Ill be happy :).

Mr_BillGates
Mr_BillGates

The real AOE developer is Robot Entertainment.

SoreThumbsBill
SoreThumbsBill

Age of Mythology and its expansion were my favorite games back in the day. I want the old ES to raise from the dead and make a kick ass remake with new civilizations, myth units and an epic 30 hour long campaign. But that is just wishful thinking.

quaker04
quaker04

Age of Empires has a powerful name if we compare all the older versions. In comparison, Warcraft has a fantasy another world story, Starcraft has that alien race invasion story, C&C has a modern war story. AoE needs a remake version to fulfill the medieval story that is forgotten with bad graphics. AoE 4 would be amazing!

Lei_11
Lei_11

What the hell are those mobile tower things in the movie fragment :P...... WOLOLOOO

petez34
petez34

AOE 1/2/3 is easily one of the best games I've ever played. please take your time making 4. Too many games are rushed to market these days being total rubbish.

blackace
blackace

I doubt we'll see another AOE since most of the developers have moved over to Zynga (Farmville, Words with Friends & Mafia Wars). Last time I had talked to Bruce Shelley they were working on AOE2. That was at the E3 many, many years ago. They did a wonderful job with the series. It's too bad Microsoft didn't keep them on board and have them make some exclusive strategy games for the XBox 360. Microsoft just throws away great talent when they could do so much with them. There was so much more Rare could do for them besides Kinect games and avatar accessories.

ioriaddison
ioriaddison

I have got my copy of AOE3 on steam months ago.

Don't bother with AOEO.

archiasif
archiasif

They have successfully f%cked one of the best strategy game.

YYankee
YYankee

Please make Age of Empires 4! I will buy it immediately.

Rattlesnake_8
Rattlesnake_8

Now hurry up and get Age of Empires 4 or Age of Mythology 2 made!!

DuaneDog
DuaneDog

This was an uneven game. It has some good ideas but it was never as good as the sum of it's parts. No real skirmish mode out of the gate and a VERY easy quest path made it not all that much fun to play 90% of the time. One of the biggest issues with 90% of MMO type games is one size fits all difficulty. Guild Wars 2 really stands out as you can easily find content 3-4 levels above yours to get a challenge. Then you can go back to lower levels and actually still have (somewhat of) a challenge because the game auto-levels you down.  Time is too valuable to waste on 'free' games that are as weak as AOEO.  Luckily we have seen a lot of great games in the past year so it is hard to fathom somebody putting a lot of time into AOEO.

thedarkart
thedarkart

@raichou i mean is it really that hard for them ???
instead of making fresh crap ???


Meteor7
Meteor7

 @PotHeel

I didn't like this MMO, but just because this one was bad doesn't mean the genre is bad itself. Lots of people like to play MMOs look at WoW (saying that name burns). Millions of people play that and hell look at Everquest it is still alive after so many years. I could say the same about Sports games and most FPS games.

bizuit
bizuit

 @mediarays I wish they would make another Rise Of Nations, as much as I like Age Of Empires I seemed to like Rise Of Nations more

_Roo_
_Roo_

@welitonE3 2 is one of those few great games that's still worth loading up a couple times of year on a rainy Sat.

bizuit
bizuit

 @welitonE3 I agree Age of Empires 2 was the best one, but 3 was still pretty good, I actually bought 3 again on Steam a couple of weeks ago for 10 bucks. 

bizuit
bizuit

 @Nodashi You cry about greed but then go on to say that consumers have basic math skills and won't pay the price that Microsoft is asking......Microsoft can only make as much money as the consumers are willing to pay them.  The point of business is to make as much as you can and the more you make the more it shows what you are doing is what the consumer wants. 

PotHeel
PotHeel

 @rusky4ever They don't need a graphics update, just a digital release on GOG.

surrealme
surrealme

 @YYankee I would love to see an AOE 4 but Microsoft shuttered Ensemble who developed the AOE games at the beginning of 2009. I wouldn't hold your breath.

PotHeel
PotHeel

 @Meteor7 I've dipped my toes into several MMOs over the years, some were merely ok. Many just exist as a pointless time-sink devoid of creativity and rife with profiteering.

Meteor7
Meteor7

 @PotHeel

 That is what every company is after to make a profit off of their game. Plus I don't see it as pointless, I happen to be happy with my characters that I work hard on.