One of the oldest still-running MMOs is shutting down for good after 27 years

The Realm Online
(Image credit: Realm Online LLC)

The Realm Online is shutting down after 27 years.

Announcing the "sudden and unexpected end" on the game's official website, Realm Worlds LLC's Jaxson, Michael, and Roger revealed that the team has failed to acquire the IP rights to The Realm Online after their offer was allegedly deemed "inadequate", effectively terminating the relationship with IP holder Norseman Games, and "with it, our ability to continue to operate and develop the game". 

The company says it has received "little feedback" on its bids and was not provided with a counteroffer, alleging that LLC staff have not been "compensated" for over a year.

Realm Worlds is described as "an all-in-one platform designed for TTRPG enthusiasts" and originally launched way back in December 1996.

"The current agreement we have with Norseman Games gives us no path to acquiring the IP," the statement explains. "This impedes our ability to direct more money into developing content for the game. As revenue from the game decreases year over year, the effective percentage of revenue that goes to Norseman increases, making it harder still. None of the LLC members have been compensated for over a year. We had full intention of exploring every possibility to grow the player base, but without a way to acquire the IP this isn't a workable arrangement."

Consequently, the team says the game servers and website will "officially shutdown" at 6pm on June 30, 2023 (3pm PT, 11pm UK time) and it will now begin issuing "pro-rataed refunds" to subscribers and "winding down our operations of the game".

If a solution is reached before that deadline, however, operations will resume and "Finvarra's Fortress will be in the exact state that we left it; nothing will be lost". 

"We will be keeping backups of the work we have done over the last five years, including all character data from the Finvarra's Fortress server and everything in-progress that hasn't yet been completed," the team added.

"We have immensely enjoyed our last five years together trying to make The Realm a better place to play. As you all know, we are all players ourselves, so we will continue to see you around. We hope that development on the game continues and the game lives a long and fulfilling life."

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Vikki Blake
Weekend Reporter, GamesRadar+

Vikki Blake is GamesRadar+'s Weekend Reporter. Vikki works tirelessly to ensure that you have something to read on the days of the week beginning with 'S', and can also be found contributing to outlets including the BBC, Eurogamer, and Vikki also runs a weekly games column at NME, and can be frequently found talking about Destiny 2 and Silent Hill on Twitter.