Star Wars Galaxies, the original massively-multiplayer online role-playing game based on George Lucas' universe, will go offline later this year after more than eight years of service, Sony Online Entertainment and LucasArts announced today.
In a letter to Star Wars Galaxies players, the game's developers call the closure of the MMO and its trading card game spin-off a "very difficult decision," putting an end to the virtual world on December 15, 2011. SOE promises that Galaxies will "go out with a bang with a galaxy-ending in-game event in December."
In an interview with Massively, SOE's John Smedley says the decision to end Star Wars Galaxies was a "business decision" largely related to the arrival of BioWare's Star Wars MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic, expected to launch within the next year. Smedley downplays speculation that recent hacking attempts, lay-offs or a still dwindling player population were behind the closure.
Star Wars Galaxies first launched in the summer of 2003. Below is SOE and LucasArts' letter to fans on the game's closure.
Dear Star Wars Galaxies™ Community Member,
We write to you today to inform you that on December 15, 2011, Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) and LucasArts will end all services (MMO and Trading Card Game) for Star Wars Galaxies (SWG). The shutdown of SWG is a very difficult decision, but SOE and LucasArts have mutually agreed that the end of 2011 is the appropriate time to end the game.
We are extremely grateful to all of the SWG fans. We have had the rare opportunity to host one of the most dedicated and passionate online gaming communities and we truly appreciate the support we've received from each and every one of you over the course of the past eight years.
In recognition of your incredible loyalty, we are extending special Fan Appreciation offers to the current SWG community. We also plan to go out with a bang with a galaxy-ending in-game event in December and hope to see you all there. The details relating to these offers and events as well as the timeline and specifics regarding the discontinuation of the service, are provided below.
Again, we want to extend our heartfelt thanks to our player community for making SWG one of the best online communities in gaming history.
Sony Online Entertainment & LucasArts