Alec didn’t care for Dragon Age Legends too terribly much, and apparently, neither did most of you. As such, to be perfectly honest, it’s no great tragedy to hear that the Facebook-friend-unfriendly spin-off is headed for the big server farm in the sky. Unsurprisingly – especially given EA’s previous track record with these things – the legend of Legends has hit the end of the line because it “doesn’t make enough revenue to sustain itself.” So then, nothing to see here, worth a throwaway mention and little else, move along, etc, right? Not entirely. There are some potentially far-reaching ramifications here – many of which spring from an incoming single-player standalone version EA’s releasing to compensate.
First up, here’s EA’s statement on the matter, via Dragon Age Legend’s official blog:
“Sad news to report today: On June 18, 2012 we’ll be turning off the Dragon Age Legends servers. This is by no means a reflection on the quality of the game; the awesome team who created it; or the incredible, passionate community who has supported it. The unfortunate reality is that DAL doesn’t make enough revenue to sustain itself. While it’s never fun to say goodbye, consider it only temporary. We’re also hard at work on our next core social projects, and we promise you they will be even more epic than anything we’ve done before.”
“As a “Thank You” to our community, we will offer a free, downloadable version of Dragon Age Legends that will be available at www.dragonagelegends.com shortly after the current version of the game shuts down; this will allow you to continue your journey in Dragon Age Legends as a solo player.”
The publisher also noted that any in-game currency won’t be transferable to other games after the DA D-Day (not to be confused with Father’s Day – though still an accurate statement, I suppose), so get on that if you ever, you know, actually played Legends.
So then, takeaways. First up, shock: a social game can’t survive on an awful, exploitative business model and major license alone. Hopefully EA will learn from this. And though a cynical mind might view EA’s social plays as quick-and-dirty marketing ploys, the publisher did take a fairly bold step into fun territory with Dragon Age Legends Remix 01. The Insomniac-developed Outernauts – at least, on paper – seems to suggest a similar goal.
This is also important insofar as it is – to my knowledge – the first online-only single-player-ish title EA’s decided to shut down. Given that the publishing giant quite enjoys shuttering servers and also seems to be embracing the alleged always online “future” with SimCity, this is an important precedent. Legends wasn’t even a particularly huge game, so it’s good to see that EA’s still willing to go the extra mile (or couple inches) to keep it playable past its expiration date.
Of course, I’d prefer to dispense with these silly (and potentially game-breaking, as Diablo’s shown) online requirements altogether, but this is something, at least. It’s one thing to say you’ll take care of customers when they’ve stopped hefting the full weight of your bottom line. Here’s hoping EA will continue to put its money where its mouth is and actually do something when/if the time comes.