News: EA server shutdowns will be happening on April 13th, with Spare Parts, EA Sports MMA, EA Sports Active 2, and more losing their online functionality. The news hasn’t gone down well with players who purchased an Online Pass to access these features.
Another round of EA server shutdowns have been very quietly announced by the publisher. EA Sports MMA, EA Sports Active 2, and Spare Parts are among the games that’ll lose online services on April 13th.
The reasoning for shutting the servers down is simply lack of activity: according to EA, only 1% of their total playerbase is found playing these games, so it’s just not an efficient use of resources to keep the servers running. The full list of games to be affected can be found at the official site.
The official statement said: “As games get replaced with newer titles, the number of players still enjoying the older games dwindles to a level — fewer than 1% of all peak online players across all EA titles — where it’s no longer feasible to continue the behind-the-scenes work involved with keeping these games up and running.
“We would rather our hard-working engineering and IT staff focus on keeping a positive experience for the other 99% of customers playing our more popular games.“
This is understandable logic for older games, but it’s harder to fathom for fresher titles – even if there’s only a minority playing, surely that minority deserve to receive a service they’ve paid for. Spare Parts is the most recent title to be facing the chop, having been out little over a year. The downloadable title featured Little Big Planet style drop in and out co-op platforming, and it seems that rather than encouraging players to take up Spare Parts, EA are cutting it loose by removing one of its main selling points.
Worse are the games that required the purchase of EA’s Online Pass. EA Sports MMA – a high-profile release that only came out 18 months ago – featured the system, and it’s sure to be a tough blow to people who specifically paid extra to access these features. One fan voiced their discontent on the official forums: “Wait, I am slightly confused because you went way out of the way to justify your “Online Pass” crap as being there to support the online servers (since those dirty second hand purchasers didn’t invest in supporting those servers).
“Now you are telling me that you are going to shut down the online service for a game that started the joke that is your “Online Pass” service,” they continued, “So please explain to me exactly how was the “Online Pass” not nothing more than a money grab? And exactly how are you justifying shutting these servers down again?”
They’ve got a valid point, especially if you look over to the official Online Pass website. EA Sports senior vice president Andrew Wilson is quoted saying: “We want to reserve EA SPORTS online services for people who pay EA to access them. In return, we’ll continue to invest in creating great games and offer industry-leading online services to extend the game experience to everyone.
“I don’t think even the harshest cynic can argue with that and instead I think fans will see the value we’re committing to deliver when they see all the services, features and bonus content that is extending the life of their products.”
Extend the game experience to everyone. Extending the life of their products. Extend. The evidence isn’t exactly supporting that point, and when people are already skeptical about the consumer benefits of Online Pass, news like this doesn’t help EA’s case.
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