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Star Wars Galaxies Shutdown Backlash

June 30th, 2011 by jonahfalcon · 7 Comments

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Despite the announced shutdown of Star Wars: Galaxies and the approaching new Star Wars-based MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic, loyal subscribers don’t want Galaxies to end. They’ve begun a petition to try to convince Sony to let the MMO live on as a free-to-play MMO.

The petition asks Sony to convert the game to a ‘freemium’, microtransaction-based MMO, and that Sony consolidate players onto a smaller number of servers and facilitate character transfer to reduce operational costs in order to keep the game running. The petition has already gotten thousands signatures in a few days.

One of the petition leaders posted:

We are not your typical gamers.

We are not a commodity.

But if you look at the recent decision by Lucasarts to shut down Star Wars Galaxies, you might be inclined to think we are both of those things. Lucasarts thinks that we are a non-perishable commodity that can be shoved into a shipping crate and moved down the road to their next project. That is not the case. Not even close.

We are a vibrant community. We have seen our ups and downs, but we are only stronger because of it. We have endured all manner of broken promises and misleading “improvements” to this game, and throughout all of it, we have continued to build our community, and show support and loyalty to this great game. But we didn’t do it because of a game. We did it because of our community here.

No matter how hard you try, you can never apply any sort of label or definition to the players of Star Wars Galaxies. Unfortunately, it seems like Lucasarts is doing just that by assuming we will simply shuffle over to their next product simply because it contains the words “Star Wars” in the title. But oh, that is so far from the truth. We are not your typical gamers, and we are not your typical Star Wars fans. In fact, both of those truths are the very things that make our community so strong.

The world is obsessed with trying to apply labels to groups of people, and will often do so on the basis of pure assumptions and hearsay. You can’t do that with Star Wars Galaxies players. We are not some geeky group of people who simply want to log into a video game and shoot battle droids and fly spaceships with laser guns.

Many of us are highly educated. Many of us have children and families. Many of us have great careers.

Just the other day I learned that a great player on my server of Starsider was once the mayor-elect of his city in Canada. And what’s more, he was 18 years old. I have known a concert violinist, a fireman, a surgeon, a newspaper editor, an EMT, a helicopter pilot, and on and on and on. And all of these people I met through Star Wars Galaxies.

On top of all that, many Star Wars Galaxies players are active service military personnel. I remember once talking to a member of my guild and having him tell me he was logged into Star Wars Galaxies from his base in Iraq. Without a moment’s hesitation, I got his unit’s mailing address and sent him and his comrades a care package. Star Wars Galaxies made that connection possible.

So much happens because of Star Wars Galaxies that goes unnoticed. This is much more than a game to the people who play it. It’s our community. And a community is not a commodity, so don’t be surprised when we want nothing to do with the people who are trying to force us to give up our community just so they can make a few extra bucks.

Sony has apparently not responded well to this “insurgency”, and have started locking any topics referring to the petition. Despite this, the campaign has spread like wildfire among the Star Wars Galaxies community and is beginning to take over the game’s official Facebook page.

Hilariously, Sony has said “promoting an online petition causes disruption within the community and does not provide gameplay feedback that our development team can use.” What development team, if you’re shutting the MMO down?

Several players have emailed VentureBeat stating they’re joining a class-action lawsuit against Sony shutting down the petitions; one player said that Sony pegged him as a “ring leader” in the protests and threatened to permanently ban him from its games andfile criminal charges against him for trying to cause “unlawful harm to the company.” Saywhat?

Sony can do whatever it likes on its forums, of course, since the EULA is in effect. Of course, petitions being “unlawful harm” is equally ridiculous. You’d think after SOE got hacked, with Sony remaining mum about it for a while would make people cautious about dealing with the company.

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Tags: Industry News · MMO · PC Gaming · Sony

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Herr_AlienNo Gravatar // Jul 1, 2011 at 2:55 am

    Oh my …

    Petitions in these cases don’t work because:
    - the developer controls all legal aspects of licensing the game
    - the developer takes the decision of shutting down the server based on financial data, not on community.

    “The petition asks Sony to convert the game to a ‘freemium’, microtransaction-based MMO, and that Sony consolidate players onto a smaller number of servers and facilitate character transfer to reduce operational costs in order to keep the game running.”

    If somebody would demand anything out of those MMO players that would involve financial loss, they would back down and say that it is not fair. Despite the fact that their petition does the same, but this time to Sony.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am far from being a Sony fan; still if I were Lucas Arts or Sony, what I would do is I would come up with with a press release in the lines of “We have heard the cries of our community bla bla bla, and we have decided to extend the MMO lifespan. Due to high costs of maintenance, we will have to hike up the monthly fee by 60%”.

    This is for the MMO players: put your money where your mouth is.

  • 2 Jonah FalconNo Gravatar // Jul 1, 2011 at 9:50 am

    How about just releasing the software to fans to maintain on their own?

    Look at Ultima Online – that game has fan-run servers.

  • 3 Herr_AlienNo Gravatar // Jul 4, 2011 at 3:04 am

    Well, that should cover the financial part.

    In this scenario I think Lucas Arts will create a precedent: sanctioning a (now) fan based game as being OK to use one of their best selling IPs.

    And they’ll be doing this at the same time a new game, based on the same IP, is about to be launched.

    Not gonna happen.

    They only way I see ‘Galaxy’ still running is with a hike in the subscription fee. It has the advantages that (1) the IP is still handled by somebody who can afford to pay for it => no precedent created and (2) it will still bring money in, potentially covering the losses they fear for the second game.

    But in order to benefit from the second (potential) advantage, they would need to:
    - estimate the subscription fee so that not too many people leave
    - estimate the losses the second game might have due to the first one still being alive
    - see if the money the first one would bring covers the losses

    A bit too many estimates and guesses (that inevitably bring risk) when they can simply pull the plug on the first one.

  • 4 KathrynNo Gravatar // Jul 4, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    I have just listened to the part of your pod cast about SWG shutting down. I never played SWG before the update. But for the last 2 years I have played SWG and love it. All the so called Pro Gamers seem to be stuck on shooting down what for alot of players is a great game. Its not the flashy graphics and combat that makes SGW great. Its the housing, open space flying, The player on board ships and the room there is for story telling.

    These things are not in SWTOR. There is also the timeline thing. Now I am sure there is maney out there who hate some of these things , but I liked having my house in SWG and flying my ship with a group of friends.

    As for the cost of runing the server, I had 4 acounts active all at once and I know maney others with at least 2 acounts open. So ya up the subscription to SWG if that would keep it open. I my only be able to play 2 acounts because of it but at least I would still be able to play.

  • 5 Sisko-IMI-No Gravatar // Jul 19, 2011 at 5:55 am

    I played SWG from day 3 of launch. I had at one time 8 active accounts. I played through all ther updates, and breaks SOE did to the game. It saddened me when they did away with the skills and went to the archtypes. I know I piss off alot of people but the Jedi and archtypes killed the game, especially those of us that never wanted a Jedi, and enjoyed the good old fashion slug matches we did for our cites and planets. SWG could be revamped and updated with the pre NRG or NGR whatever it was and SOE and Lucas Arts booth would gain HUGE profits and allow the SWG pre NGR/NRG. There are thounds of people who would return and pay the subcription fees to play again. It does pain me I loved SWG- been a Star Wars Geek since I was 3, first movie I ever saw in the theater, was hooked after that. SWG’s concept was absolutley brilliant with the skills instead of just a class based game. I was heartbroken when they changed it. I have tried other MMO’s and nothing even came close. Now unfortunatley they have ruined MMO’s for me to this day. I would activate all my accounts in a heartbeat if they brought the old SWG back and yes 8 accounts at 15$ a month, not bad from one person, and I had known alot of people that did that. SOE/LA you really should have listened to the vets on this when we first talked about the disapproval of the NRG/NGR, we were loyal and spent alot of money on this. To this day I miss my server, however after the NRG/NGR 98% of everyone I knew left.
    Sisko -IMI- Master Creature Handler/Grenedier
    Rymo- Master Terikasi/Smuggler/Pistoleer
    Keli- Master Bounty Hunter/Rifleman
    Ixi – Master Droid Engineer/Artisen/Merchant
    Queezak – Master Architech/Mercahnt/Carbineer

  • 6 LawrenceNo Gravatar // Dec 29, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    What this tells me is that SONY management still doesn’t understand it’s fan base.

    EQ was a success, then they tried to make it more of a success iwth EQ2 and ended up ruining both. Now, in my opinion, the best EQ experiences out there are on private free-run EQ servers.

    The new SW:TOR is supposed to be a great game, from those I know who play it. But why does SONY want to disrespect their SW:G customers by shutting down G for TOR?

    Is it all, really, just about the money?

    How many gamers like myself refuse to pay for any new SONY content because our investment in game time/money and future game experience may simply become un-plugged.

    This is one MMO gamer SONY has lost. Lost in context of general trust in context of their sole focus on their profit, at my long-term gaming expense.

    Not to mention the fiasco with hacked user accounts and server shut-downs in the not to distant past, leaving a sore spot with may who no longer pay for SONY gaming services.

    Oh, yeah, SONY, remember that you provide a service to us, for us to pay you. We are not here solely to provide you the service of an income.

  • 7 jonahfalconNo Gravatar // Dec 29, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    It was more LucasArts than Sony.

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