Electronic Arts has recently updated its official Earth & Beyond Web site with the unfortunate news that its "online role-playing galaxy" will effectively cease to be on September 22, 2004. The massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), which was developed by Westwood Studios, will have been in operation for a little more than two years when it is switched off.
EA made the decision to close the game so that it can focus its resources on future games. Players are advised to check their e-mail accounts for updates and information on what this announcement means for them.
[UPDATE] Electronic Arts provided some additional background on the decision. An EA spokesperson, who chose to remain anonymous, told GameSpot that the title currently has between 20,000 and 25,000 active accounts. When asked to comment on what lessons might come from the Earth & Beyond legacy, the spokesperson said, "Our most enduring lesson comes from Ultima Online, which has been going strong for eight years now. Ultima taught us that there is an audience for persistent world games. However, we may have overestimated the size of the audience for persistent-state worlds. Games based on medieval fantasy have done very well; other genres have not."
The spokesperson added that monthly billing for the title will end on August 1, 2004.
EA added that there are no plans to sell or license the Earth & Beyond intellectual property.