Realtime Worlds shutting down APB

Beleaguered developer pulls the plug on its pay-to-play online shooter less than three months after launch; servers remain up for time being.

Realtime Worlds' online shooter APB was in development for more than five years but is having the plug pulled on it after less than three months. In a post on the game's official forums, community officer Ben Bateman announced that, "despite everyone's best efforts to keep the service running, APB is coming to a close."

APB's servers are up at the moment, giving players a chance to say their good-byes to the crime-riddled city of San Paro. In a post on his Twitter feed, Bateman said the servers would be turned off "tonight."

APB's clip is running dry.

"I truly wish we had the chance to continue to craft APB into the vision we had for it," Realtime Worlds founder Dave Jones said in a statement. "It has been a long and difficult journey but ultimately rewarding to have had the chance to try something bold and different…I am so sorry it had to end so quickly, but hopefully the good memories will stay with us all for a long time. Thanks to all the team for the years of hard work, and to the players who contributed so much."

APB launched in late June to fair reviews. Within days, Realtime Worlds had announced a "small number" of layoffs and soon acknowledged a laundry list of fixes and improvements it intended to make. The bottom fell out last month, when the Scottish developer entered administration (akin to bankruptcy for an American company) and subsequently laid off 185 people. At the time, a representative with the company said there would be "no disruption" to the APB service as a result of those events.

APB was an online open-world action game that had been described as "Grand Theft Auto Online." Players took on the role of a ruthless criminal or a dedicated law enforcer in a virtual city populated with up to 79 other players. The game featured an asymmetrical matchmaking system, which assigned players to a game based on their skill level without the use of a lobby.

Originally announced in 2005, the game was first set to be published by Webzen but eventually found its way to release through the EA Partners program. Last month, Realtime Worlds' administration firm said APB had attracted 130,000 registered players.

APB is by no means the first online game to suffer a quick death, though its fate came quicker than most. It took 16 months for NCsoft's Auto Assault to run out of gas, and it was the same amount of time before the publisher's Tabula Rasa was wiped clean. The Gamecock-published 2007 player-versus-player game Fury didn't even make it 10 months before ending due to its lack of a viable business model.

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Discussion

410 comments
WillyChong
WillyChong

@GHOSTRyDr If the online multiplayer is free, then everyone will buy the game. But Noooooooooo, APB charge for using its server, and worst of all the steep US dollar and the fact the stupid limited server makes it limited to US user only, plain stupid!

Subterfuge
Subterfuge

It's a sad world we live in when millions of people will pay for garbage like Call of Duty who do nothing but release the same game year after year. Yet a game that dares to try something different and actually devote themselves to it's creation can't even sell enough copies to survive for three months post-release. This is truly a one of the saddest events in recent gaming history.

blackjoker86
blackjoker86

hmmm i had a feeling, they tricked people by saying (we're not going to have the traditional online fee) just like everyone else i'm thinking wow F2P (they didn't say that you would still be paying to play) so I was just like everyone else HYPED about the game threw all my plans out the windows about other games until I had a feeling about the game then right when im about to buy it my friend calls me to tell me not to buy your still paying to play (((*o*))) i took my money and left game stop, but there still hope for the game epic games has plans on buying APB soooo GL to APB and to its fans

highndry18
highndry18

- Lazy to act dedicatedly against cheaters / exploiters. - Outsourced Crap English-speaking customer support. - Unanswered customer support-related emails for weeks. - Unoptimized, unstable piece of crap beta quality coding. - Broken online store that drove away any international market. - Broken matchmaking, pitting pro-ranking players vs newbs. - RTW points exploit allowing playtime without subscribing. Is it any freaking suprise this company and its game service shut down? Congrats RTW, you now have the Biggest MMO Failure of All Time award, previously owned by Flagship Studios with their Hellgate London .

SaPhIrX_lOl
SaPhIrX_lOl

Is it still possible to for it to become free to play? Because i really enjoyed this game in the beta.

ciotog
ciotog

everybody looks at the success of WoW and says "i could do that." but alas again they are proven wrong. so long APB it was fun while it lasted. now who should have done the sequel to crackdown? i'm looking at you Realtime worlds.

Rakolazagiz
Rakolazagiz

Damn 5 years in the works and it shuttes down after 3 months, thats a shame.

smiffy555
smiffy555

Just kinda skimmed through that, but did people get refunds for their pre paid hours?

realone2005
realone2005

So much for this game coming to Australia. Another MMO RIP.

brok
brok

"I truly wish we had the chance to continue to craft APB into the vision we had for it," They had FIVE FREAKIN YEARS! If they couldn't get it together in that time, then NO amount of time could save them.

FakeLeather
FakeLeather

Never has the maxim "buyer beware" been more applicable. Just proves what I've been telling people for years: VISIT METACRITIC AND NEVER PRE-ORDER A VIDEO GAME!!!

Andrew_Xavier
Andrew_Xavier

@blakeney No, I wasn't one of them. I was one of the idiots who bought it hoping it would get better, and constantly posted bugs/improvement suggestions.

krelmmaster
krelmmaster

Years of work for nothing. The lesson here is - don't make rubbish games.

xbrutalslashx
xbrutalslashx

was looking forward to playing this game waited a while :/ just feel sorry for the people who paid to play this,tbh i would still play it if they dident shut the servers down just gota wait and see!

ggregd
ggregd

@CrashOV I assume they have to sell off their assets to repay their creditors, if they open up source they no longer have that asset. They probably see it as if you bought the game and got your free month then you got what you paid for.

CrashOV
CrashOV

The sad fact that when an MMORPG's servers go offline they dont release the source to the public is a big FU from the developers to the gamers who bought the game. Also I played APB. it was a nice concept. But the lack of single player content and the abundance of " your all noobs, you suxor, I am the gr8test" type of players ruined the fun for me already after week 1. which just goes to show that even MMP's need single player content because alot of people still havent learned to play together.

steven141
steven141

Sounded like it had a lot of potential, sad to see this happen, wish i had the chance to play it but i've mostly moved on from MMO's, to date my favourite was the beta of the original face of mankind, was an awesome MMO, think its been remade, matrix online was buggy/repetitive but entertaining, star wars galaxies was incredibly buggy, but had potential, eve online kept bluescreening my old pc so i stopped that, enjoyed it though. The MMO genre is a make or break thing, and sadly, most MMOs just cant make it

chrindal
chrindal

steve4123456789 'Why not make it free online?' because it cost them money to keep it up and running thats the problem, servers are expensive, they cant afford it because they went into administration

phv86
phv86

i played the beta.. had 100 hours play, i enjoyed it alot, but it wasnt good buy, after my 100 hours and beta closed i had played it eneugh, i felt like it was no more new missions just boring routine, and not being able to spend any time in the action district without getting a apb(if ur criminal), that's what ruined the game if u ask me

Doric6
Doric6

Rumours Epic could pick up the IP

holenjd
holenjd

Well they picked the wrong path and it cost them. Too bad.

blakeney
blakeney

@Andrew_Xavier If you're one of the many people that during the beta, took part in elitisim and cracklicking the devs, protesting that changes did'nt need to happen. Then id say you still owe them! If you're not..... then im afraid you have be badly burnt by the by-product of elitisim in a beta test!

Andrew_Xavier
Andrew_Xavier

So I'll be receiving my $68 back in the mail or...?

sabas10
sabas10

Well...I was thinking, this project was actually one of the few MMO's that ever reached ''Charlie'' (release). I know some projects (big example: HALO MMO) that were under development for 5 years, and just some months before it's announcement, the big company says: ''t's move on to another project guys, and dont forget to put that crap in the fridge''. If everyone says MMO's are the future, then why are most MMO's crap? Only some like WOW and SWG have suceeded, and SWTOR has potential, but most MMO's always were canceled or failed.

Spartan-1657
Spartan-1657

Hahah, you know, thinking about it now, it seems like they (RTW) knew it was going to bomb, and after 5 years, instead of scrapping it, they decided to release it just to get back SOME money before canning it. When they realized after 3 months that they would barely make any more sales, they figured they got as much back as possible. Seems sketchy, but after 5 years, they probably wanted something back....

sabas10
sabas10

First sounded like my first ''real'' mmo. I bought it for 60 euros, a pretty high price for a PC game. Then i started up the game. Then i got problems. Then i got in the game. And then....I was so disappointed. And now theyre even shutting it down. Maybe it's better to erase all tracks this potential game that completely failed has left. Now, i want my money back.

Spartan-1657
Spartan-1657

The game was in development for over 5 years? Wow, that an embarassment to shut down after less than 3 months lol. People need to realize, when creating MMO's, you need to actually make it good. You can't just expect people to continue paying monthly if the game blows. And since most of the MMO players are playing the good MMO's, you have to make quite a phenomenal game to pull people away from the MMO they are currently playing and to keep them playing their product. APB sucked in the first place and should not have even charged a monthly fee, it seemed so unpolished, buggy and lame. Better luck next time though.

DrKill09
DrKill09

This is one of the most disappointing games ever released. It was a really great concept. Glad I didn't buy it, though. This is why I don't get MMO's. Here, pay $50 for a game that you'll only be able to play for a few months... and you have to pay monthly fees. SCREW THAT! :roll:

x-2tha-z
x-2tha-z

I did wonder how the hell this would keep going once Realtime entered administration. I now know that was a lie.

Angel_Belial
Angel_Belial

Well that must be massively disappointing for the developers of this game...five years of development, for under three months online? Not something they'll be celebrating. Hopefully they'll find success with other projects and companies in the future.

itsnivlem
itsnivlem

they should have had in game advertising and made the game free to play get players hooked then eventually had them pay.

TheSargeGuy
TheSargeGuy

This is sad. I didn't play the game but this game by far looks like it should of lived.

sheah1
sheah1

@MasonChaos About CoD and Halo..... Huh, I never really thought about it that way, but considering the amount of people who are playing on it near constantly, you're probably right..... Interesting.

magnificent7
magnificent7

Wow, that was a quick death. Glad I didn't drop any money on this one. Now if only retailers would be smart enough to remove the game from the shelves so people don't purchase it thinking it's gonna work. Hell, the other day I saw copies of Auto Assault on a Best Buy rack. Seriously, do retailers EVER pay attention to see if MMO's get shut down so they can remove the game from being sold?

steve4123456789
steve4123456789

Why not make it free online? You don't go up against Blizzard, and Microsoft christ.

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@MasonChaos -- To be clear, neither Halo nor Modern Warfare are MMOs.

metalkid9
metalkid9

Word on the street is Epic is gonna be taking over APB

Gomtor
Gomtor

Will it at least be withdrawn from outlets, or will it still be sold to customers who don't know this bs?

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

Quick everyone! Sell your copies on ebay before everyone else hears this news! lol

kaim_i
kaim_i

I knew this was a failure when they show it at e3.

Filip1015
Filip1015

If they made APB free to play, maby then the game would be more popular

Chickenesta
Chickenesta

Im glad I didnt buy this in the shop yesterday

thingta42
thingta42

The idea is good. But it wasn't made well

pudgexd
pudgexd

I got a feeling Realtime world's next project MyWorld would be another fail.

Ninja-Hippo
Ninja-Hippo

Saw this one coming. RIP realtime worlds. :(

IceWolFReal
IceWolFReal

i wanted to see the game but now ................

Vividnightmare
Vividnightmare

Wow. It's so sad. I followed this game since '05. I was so psyched about the concept. GTA but MMO with RPG Elements. Sounded great. Then I got to beta it and just hated the stupid thing. They ruined it. The concept needs to be tried again but by a company with way better development skills.

frozenpeppers
frozenpeppers

That sucks, I was in the beta for APB about 2 to 3 weeks before release and to me it felt more like an alpha build of the game that probably could have used maybe another couple months in development. I guess it was rushed due to the impending failure of the company as a last ditch effort to save it.

Ice-Cube
Ice-Cube

I'm so pised off right now, never again will I pre-order a game. Waste of $70 (with more playtime), I can't believe they did that.. There's nothing the customers can do? This is such bs..