Dungeon Runners closing Dec. 31

NCsoft confirms unprofitable casual MMOG will be taken offline New Year's Eve; paid subscribers offered free games, refunds.

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The casual gaming market hasn't treated massively multiplayer online gaming company NCsoft particularly well. As part of its company-wide reorganization in 2008, the publisher said it would be refocusing its efforts on big-budget, top-tier MMOGs. The announcement was accompanied by news that NCsoft had laid off a number of developers working on its casual MMOG Dungeon Runners, as well as canceled plans to bring the game to other platforms, believed to be Sony's PlayStation 3.

Yes, that is a snowman...in a dungeon.
Yes, that is a snowman...in a dungeon.

This week, the other shoe dropped for Dungeon Runners, as producer and lead programmer Stephen Nichols confirmed that the game will be taken offline on December 31. Dungeon Runners, which operates under both a free-to-play, microtransaction-supported and subscription-based business model, launched to lackluster reviews for the PC in July 2008.

"Dungeon Runners just isn't cutting the mustard," Nichols said in a post to the game's Web site. "If she were a ship, she'd be taking on water. Yeah, she's been taking on water for a long time now. Are my cryptic references too hard to decipher? The game just isn't profitable. And, the first rule of business is to be profitable!"

Nichols went on to note that, while the team has a number of ideas to generate revenue, they would be expensive to implement. He also noted that said plans would be greatly hampered given that two of the five developers on the game had recently departed from the team.

Nichols noted that those with paid memberships to Dungeon Runners will receive digital copies of City of Heroes Architect Edition and Guild Wars Prophecies. The producer also stated that anyone who "needs refunds for multiple-month membership purchases will be taken care of."

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