When Minecraft made a squillion dollars, rather than plough into a sequel, developers Mojang Specifications realised they could fund making whatever games they jolly well pleased. Scrolls [official site] was their first whim, a battling collectible card game. And, since Microsoft bought Mojang, it might be one of their last too.
The most recent Scrolls content update 'Echoes' will be its very last, Mojang have announced, and it sounds like the servers will shut down eventually, though not for a while: they'll keep going until July 1st, 2016, at the very least. The game only officially launched out of beta in December 2014.
Mojang explained in last night's announcement:
"The launch of the Scrolls beta was a great success. Tens of thousands of players battled daily, and many of them remain active today. Unfortunately, the game has reached a point where it can no longer sustain continuous development."
Mojang say they'll continue to keep an eye on balance, but June's Echoes update will be the final blast of content. As for the servers, Mojang say they'll keep them running until July 1st at the earliest, and "All future proceeds will go towards keeping Scrolls playable for as long as possible."
One can't help but wonder how much this decision is influenced by Mojang's new owners, Microsoft. Scrolls servers could probably be paid for indefinitely with a couple nanoseconds of Minecraft profits, though watching your game slowly wither can't be the most fun. Either way, continuing to run it for a while year is better than the month or two most closing games tend to give.
It's pretty clear that Microsoft's interest in Mojang was the rights to Minecraft, and the studio's founders left soon after the acquisition. Mojang's only other ongoing project is Cobalt in collaboration with Oxeye Game Studio; I wonder how much of Mojang will remain after that.