If you’re a an active gamer of Sony Online Entertainment MMOs, then by now you’ve heard the sad news that Star Wars Galaxies is coming to an end. It was only a few weeks ago that SOE confirmed the terrible news for long-time Galaxies subscribers. Even with BioWare and Electronic Arts launching Star Wars: The Old Republic, many hoped both could co-exist just as EverQuest and EverQuest II still do, but as it turns out, the end was coming regardless.

After the official announcement that Star Wars Galaxies would be shutting down its servers on December 15th, players rallied to sign a petition to try and convince SOE to employ the free-to-play model which has become commonplace in the MMO market in recent years. Such a model was able to save The Lord of the Rings Online and we’re also seeing it used by Champions Online and more recently, Age of Conan.

For Star Wars Galaxies however, launched back in 2003, a change in subscription service matters not. According to SOE community Relations director Linda Carlson, who came on stage during the SOE Fan Faire 2011 event last week, she revealed that due to licensing agreements with The Old Republic, Star Wars Galaxies would have to shut down in 2012 regardless. Carlson hit the stage dressed up as a dwarf character from EverQuest, yet wielding a lightsaber to share the following words:

“It breaks the heart of everybody that this world has to come to an end. When the final announcement was made, you could feel the reverberations through the company. We felt it here [points to her heart] and it hurt.

Jedi, bounty hunters, entertainers, the whole lot of you, I salute you. But you know what? We’re not done yet. We still have seven months to get together, we can celebrate the game, we can share our memories, we can still have a hell of a good time. I hope you join us all as we follow the last few months of Star Wars Galaxies.

It was time to turn it off. We have a contractual relationship that’s ending in 2012, The Old Republic launching, a bunch of other business things with LucasArts. And then you look at the odds of a pretty large portion of the audience moving to TOR, which looks like a terrific game. I think that’s going to be really well-received by the population.”

Sooner or later, it was destined to happen, and perhaps it all began for Star Wars Galaxies when SOE forced in the failed New Game Enhancement (NGE) update which dealt a crippling blow the to the community, but if they knew of a definitive end date of the game, do those who’ve spent hundreds of hard-earned dollars to play it not deserve to know when the game they’re investing in will be ending? This raises an interesting issue in gaming, especially in the MMO market where so many titles fail and fail quick. Carlson says it’s something they could have negotiated for but that it wouldn’t be the right choice for SOE and she explains this as a problem of licensed properties, emphasizing the plan going forward being to focus on original properties.

Star Wars Galaxies Shutting Down

Star Wars Galaxies shutting down is a kick in the face.

If you are still playing Star Wars Galaxies, stick it out with your community and clan mates until the end as SOE is promising to go out with a bang with lots of fun end-game content and in-game events.

Below is SOE’s official announcement on the forums which explained the upcoming closure of Star Wars Galaxies.

Dear Star Wars Galaxiesâ„¢ 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

Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Sources: SOE, VentureBeat, The Escapist