Rather than continuing on with the sequel, Crackdown 2, Realtime Worlds moved on to create an open-world MMO set in the world of criminals vs. cops, All Points Bulletin. With millions of dollars invested since the game's development began, the release was a flop, panned by critics and reaching modest sales numbers - resulting in last week's announcement that APB's servers were already closing down.
Today, we're getting some good news from EA regarding APB.
What does this mean for gamers who purchased the game, dropped more money into DLC, or their new subscription system? Realtime Worlds, who may have seen their last days, gave the message that customers would have to seek refunds, etc from the outlets they had purchased from. Valve refused to refund any money for those who had purchased the game from them digitally through Steam, and it soon became clear that the thousands of fans were likely going to have to live with APB's failures.
But now it appears that EA, publisher and distributer of the boxed copies of the game, has decided to extend a peace offering to APB users. According to SavyGamer, EA is now willing to refund purchasers of the Steam version by granting them one free title from the EA Store. While it may not be the refund fans were hoping for, it does give them a free copy of one of Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age: Origins, Spore, The Saboteur, Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, among many others.
If you've purchased a digital copy from Steam, simply head over to EA's support site, and inform them. Apparently, some gamers have even managed to talk their way into receiving pre-order copies of Dragon Age 2 and Medal of Honor - but don't get your hopes up. Considering how this whole ordeal started, keeping low expectations is particularly good advice.
It's nice to see EA standing behind their Partners program, and covering for a product that fell short. Hopefully, the sad story of APB can gain a small amount of closure, and we can all move on from what was an unfortunate example of the pitfalls in independent publishing.
That said, if you bought the game at retail, don't hold your breath for a similar deal - it's unlikely EA is going to extend the refund to hard-copy purchases.
What do you think, did EA wait too long to take responsibility for APB, or have they done the right thing? Let us know in the comments.