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EA announces server shutdowns, MMA Online Pass affected

Over a dozen of EA's games will soon lose their online modes, as the company announced it will be shutting down the servers to 15 of its console and iOS offerings starting March 31.

The list of soon-to-be neutered titles includes EA Sports MMA, which was a showpiece for EA's Online Pass service when it released back in 2010. This is being seen by some as a bold move on EA's part, specifically because the Online Pass program was pitched as being a way to extend the life of its games. 

See what other games will be getting unplugged below:

April 13, 2012
BOOM BLOX Bash Party for Wii
Burnout Revenge for Xbox 360
EA Create for PC, PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360
EA Sports Active 2.0 for PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360
EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp for Wii
FIFA 10 for PlayStation Portable and Wii
The Godfather II for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
MMA for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
Need for Speed ProStreet for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
The Saboteur (loss of The Midnight Club access) for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
Spare Parts for PlayStation 3 Xbox 360 

March 31, 2012
BATTLEFIELD 3: Aftershock for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
Fantasi Safari for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
Ghost Harvest for iPhone

EA Sports MMA isn't the only controversial shutdown. EA Bright Light's Spare Parts is also losing online support, despite the fact it's only been in digital stores since January 2011. EA justified its decisions in the announcement, saying, “As games get replaced with newer titles, the number of players still enjoying the older games dwindles to a level -- fewer than 1% of all peak online players across all EA titles -- where it’s no longer feasible to continue the behind-the-scenes work involved with keeping these games up and running. We would rather our hard-working engineering and IT staff focus on keeping a positive experience for the other 99% of customers playing our more popular games.”

That makes sense. However, it also begs the question of how soon is too soon for Online Pass titles, and when should companies stop selling online access to used purchasers. Your thoughts?

11 comments

  • General Zax - March 19, 2012 6:47 p.m.

    So, in other words, there's no point in buying any Online Pass, as the online won't be available a year or two from then. Thank you for making my point for me, EA! I can now officially convince my fiscally ignorant friends that there is virtually no positive to buying a game new or buying an Online Pass. Appreciate it!
  • Voodoowolfe - March 19, 2012 5:10 p.m.

    Yeah if I'm going to buy a used game and then pay for the code then have EA yank the servers what is the point? I love a lot of EA games but with the Origin thing and now this. Come on EA.
  • EwoksTasteLikeChicken - March 19, 2012 3:41 p.m.

    This is the reason I hate online achievements.
  • ParagonT - March 19, 2012 10:37 a.m.

    There really needs to be regulations on these types of things. Either by stating how long server support will be maintained, or having a minimum allotted time of support for all games that rely's on a companies servers. The video Game industry is one of the fastest growing, yet exclusive industries to date, but there doesn't seem to be as many regulations put on it as others.
  • Longnuts - March 19, 2012 11:37 a.m.

    I agree. There should be some regulation. But in the meantime, if this causes a stink, EA will just start tossing in an extra line in their EULAs that say "we will only maintain these servers that you paid $10 to use until x amount of time has expired." I don't fault them for it though because it does make sense. 1% or less may not be many people. OH WELL!
  • General Zax - March 19, 2012 11:39 p.m.

    I'd say approximately 200,000-300,000 people are playing on Electronic Arts games on all systems at any one time. 1% of 200,000 is 20,000. They're disallowing approximately 20,000 people from playing a game at any one time. You may say this is too much, but think about it. Battlefield 3 is currently their best-seller and has a high percentage of their players. On one system, there are probably 40,000-60,000 players that play online. That's 120-180,000 there, and Electronic Arts is the publisher for a LOT of games! Therefore, in my honest opinion, it is morally WRONG to take away something so quickly that people paid EXTRA for (remember that they could have just bought it used and never got to play the online for the one year it was available) just because you don't feel like looking at it anymore, which is the truth. I mean, look at Activision. Call of Duty: World at War, after being plagued with hackers, modders, and other unpleasant beings, its numbers dwindled, and there are now only about 2,000-5,000 people on at any one time, yet Activision hasn't deleted its servers. I could understand EA a bit if they made a decision like that, but are you telling me that Army of Two was unpopulated. LOTR: BFME II? These are games that they took away last year and before. I personally know a lot of people that still played those. After all, LOTR: BFME II was and still is the only truly good RTS that currently exists on the Xbox 360. However, they shutdown its servers like it was an old toy being thrown away by a teenager. I am disgusted by their behavior. It's not because of the lack of people playing (which is rarely the case). It's their greed and their obsessive need to cut every cost they can, no matter the ramifications to the customers, while making as much money as they can. I can give a perfect example of this, too. Don't you think there's a reason that after every sports game comes out by EA, they immediately shut down the old one's servers. If you want to play with your friends in a friendly game of virtual basketball or football, you have to pay $60 a year. It's almost like a freaking subscription service! Hell, it IS a freaking subscription service! What's even sadder is that people are willing to do it, willing to spend this $60 a year and letting EA get away with it! Honestly, I'm appalled at the gaming community just as much! We talk, we complain, but we never do a thing, and I know that, after reading this (if anyone does), nobody's going to have a change of heart. At most, you'll probably just acknowledge my points and move on, ready to spend the next $60 next year. It shouldn't have to be regulated. We as consumers can regulate it if we'd actually do something other than whine like a bunch of sissies. We're better than them, so let's show them! On a side note, I just realized my comment actually only addressed the person being commented for about two sentences before it became a full-on rant. Sorry! TL;DR: EA sucks!
  • Whit - March 20, 2012 1:55 p.m.

    Ummm--last time I checked the math says 1% of 200,000 is 2,000. But you might educated in the states--I think math works different over there.
  • General Zax - March 28, 2012 2:57 p.m.

    Oops! My bad! My point still stands, though not as strongly. 2,000 people playing at one time is still a rather large number, and when you go out of your way to pay extra for a game new or buy an Online Pass, then a 2,000 player minimum suddenly becomes a lot higher. I can understand if you see one to two people every week playing a game, but when there's still a relatively significant portion playing (LOTR: BFME, Army of Two, etc.), the servers should not be shut down. And yes, I know that LOTR: BFME nor Army of Two had Online Passes, but what if they had? Do you think it would have made a difference to EA? Obviously not!
  • Canvas_Of_Flesh - March 19, 2012 10:24 a.m.

    But I thought the money from online passes goes to server costs...
  • Voodoowolfe - March 19, 2012 5:07 p.m.

    Exactly. I had loaned out MMA to a friend and was just going to get it back. Damn.
  • Baron164 - March 19, 2012 10:12 a.m.

    Yet another reason that the online pass system is crap, they turn off the server a year later and you loose half the functionality you paid for. I still don't see why they make these games rely on EA servers. If they just made things peer to peer then the servers wouldn't be necessary. I can only assume they think that would mean less money for them.

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