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NCSoft's  Tabula Rasa  To Cease Operations In February
NCSoft's Tabula Rasa To Cease Operations In February Exclusive
November 24, 2008 | By Chris Remo

November 24, 2008 | By Chris Remo
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    16 comments
More: Console/PC, Exclusive



Following the departure of Richard Garriott from NCsoft, the MMO-focused publisher has announced that its PC MMO Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa will be shut down February 28, 2009.

The news was delivered via the game's official site in a letter signed "The Tabula Rasa Team." The closure was pinned simply on a failure for the title to meet its financial targets.

"Last November we launched what we hoped would be a ground breaking sci-fi MMO. In many ways, we think we've achieved that goal," it reads in part. "Unfortunately, the fact is that the game hasn't performed as expected."

From January 10 through the game's shuttering, subscription fees will be waived for all players. Despite the game's imminent demise, NCsoft promised, "We'll be doing some really fun things in Tabula Rasa, and we plan to make staying on a little longer worth your while."

Furthermore, Tabula Rasa players who were already subscribed at the time today's announcement were made will receive a variety of perks relating to other NCsoft products, including three free months of City of Heroes and Lineage II, and upcoming beta access for Aion.


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Comments


Max Taha
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That's a sad ending to yet another MMO that tried to break the fantasy-mold of todays online gaming scene. I wish the best to the community, in hopes that this news won't curb future development of non-fantasy MMOs.

Ian Fisch
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Amazing. Somehow I can't believe there isn't any value to be gained by leaving it open for those who want to play it. I mean I'm pretty sure you can still play Matrix Online if you feel like it.



Even if there are only like 5,000 subscribers, what is the cost of leaving the servers running? Can't they always just push some of that bandwidth onto their other online games when it's not being used?



I don't get it.

Max Taha
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Unfortunately, NCsoft is known for their impractical IP management, even after shutdown. Taking Auto Assault as an example, we fought for several months, emailing, petitioning and pitching all kind of ideas. Nothing happened. Game was shutdown, and the community was left in the rubble.



I just wish that online gaming industry had an IP clause mandating GPL/open source release for all 100% defunct MMOs.

Teri Thom
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Agreed that the games should still be accessible to those who have invested heavily (gamers) in them.



I've played both and though not a fan of either genre (military/auto), still feel they should be available online for gamers who have purchased the games, created and built their characters and formed relationships with other players.



Taking away what the players have already paid for adds to the negative press already received for MMO's. A few free months of a game they don't normally play, hardly compensates for losing a character/s you have already fallen in love with. That's one of the major attractions of an MMO. Identifying with your character.



NCSoft should keep it open. Find a way to break even. Change their technology.. something. They must have the resources to come up with something.



This really is not fair to the consumer/player.

Daniel Ferlise
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Looks like I know what I won't be trying over winter break. Watch this happen to Age of Conan right after I go there, instead.

Ken Nakai
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I mean, what do you expect? In the end, you're talking about a business. Granted, if they were so dedicated to the product and the following, they'd have figured out a way (look at EVE Online...not like that's the WoW of Sci-Fi) to make it work. But ultimately, I'm sure because of Richard Garriott's reputation and how he probably pitched it, they invested a good deal of money into the development of the game. I don't know the subs numbers for the game but I can probably guess they weren't higher than 100k.



I'm sure you could argue that NCSoft is more concerned with business than PR (SOE's kept Galaxies alive despite a small population of diehards...I can't imagine they're making gobs of money but I also doubt they're losing much). But, who are they hurting? Less than 100k.



http://www.massively.com/2008/02/21/q4-2007-ncsoft-s-subscription
-numbers-and-tabula-rasa-s-financial/



In the end, it's a flop and NCSoft has to answer to shareholders more than a handful of subscribers. No doubt that if I were still active in TR (and if I had some sort of investment in something like player housing or something), I'd be pissed but this is the nature of MMOs. You're paying a subscription for the right to play the game. All the more reason to shoot for lower box prices while keeping sub fees where they are.



I think the best thing they could do is offer up the code, if the code base is isolated from their other IP, so that someone can do the Galaxies thing and set up a private server for devoted fans:



http://www.xtremetop100.com/star-wars-galaxies



Let the fanatics keep it alive on their own just like the mod community prolongs the life of many games out there.

Teri Thom
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Or recognize that the current server/technology is dated and the free to play model is the way of the future.

Kevin Maloney
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TR was such an odd cross of a shooter and an MMO. You had a gun, could take cover and yet it was tied into dice rolls.



God I miss Auto Assault. I was there when they pulled the plugged, super emotional. Ah AA I loved you for you wanted to be an not what you were.



Hopefully the new Star Wars MMO will crack the WOW monolith and we will see some new compelling titles.

Maurício Gomes
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I think that companies are reaching the point that I predicted that would exist since years ago: Someday there will be more MMOs than players can play.



The reason is simple: A MMO demands player time, there are no MMO that a player can play for 5 minutes each week and get much forward, thus if you make too much MMOs, all players soon will be busy, the only way to make your MMO prosper is to take in NEW players (ie: players that are not players of other games), like inventing a new genre (like koreans do a lot, there are dancing MMOs, football MMOs, cooking MMOs...) or doing a hell a lot of marketing (the expensive way) or selling to a place where the market can still expand (like again Koreans do selling their MMOs first to third world countries, and only if they have sucess they try to implement them on USA, Europe and the rest of Asia)

David Tarris
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A lot of you are failing to make any sense to me. Though I don't know if he meant to, Helder here has summed up the primary problem here quite well: there are too many MMOs, and not enough people to play them. If the game isn't making money, it's not making money and there's no reason for a company to keep it up. If they were turning a profit, this wouldn't be happening, obviously, so end of story.



Yeah it's too bad for people who invested a lot into the game, but they knew what they were getting into when they signed on, and it's one of the many reasons I don't play MMOs. It would be nice if the company made the game open source and all that, but it's their IP, they can do what they want with it, and if they want to keep it locked up in case an opportunity arises in the future to sell it off, then that's their prerogative.



But seriously, people arguing that NCSoft should keep the servers running despite the obvious lack of profits? What sense does that make? I know it sounds so nice to think of someone giving up money to keep others happy, but that's not the way an economy works.

James Frizell
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It always makes me cringe when I hear about some other company coming up with another "great MMO". This is just like anything that has some success: everyone and their dog jumps on the bandwagon trying for a slice of the pie.



I can't blame them considering the precedent set with the success of WOW, but from what I understand a lot of MMO makers either underestimate the amount of work it takes or they don't put enough work into it. I wasn't a fan of TR, and I thought they could do a lot better than what they did. The numbers have now been crunched and it seems that TR was found lacking. I won't shed any tears because this means that they may possibly try harder and come up with something better, and at the very least other MMO developers may use it as a learning tool to make their MMOs more fun and thus more addictive (and more survivable in an MMO flooded market and the gaming market in general).



As far as keeping servers open, I don't see why they should. Sure people put time into the game, but dead games need to be let go so that more resources can be put towards better games. What would you prefer to play on? Unsupported MMOs or the ones that come after that at least try to out-do their predecessors?



I would also disagree with companies letting their source code go to the public just because the MMO flops. That makes no business sense, and the company has nothing to gain by doing it. It's nice, sure, but I don't think a large chunk of gamers wouldn't even be able to use it, so it wouldn't even really do the community that the game leaves behind any good, especially if the count is less than 100k.



I hope that something better comes from this, because I would really like to see a Sci-fi MMO come out that actually works.

Elliot Rock
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The subscription based MMO model makes a game a commitment not a game. What happened to it being fun! I played WoW for far too long and much of the grind was to keep up with the people I enjoyed playing with. Its not fun its a hobbie.



Tabula Rasa was so much fun to play with, I played a trial and really had fun. It is strange as I just heard of it!



But I could not see it being worth $15USD a month, no way! What happened to buying a game then owning it, being able to play for as long as you liked as it is yours! Why should I pay more to be able to play! Its like buying a car and it only works for 30days!



Yes I understand that their are costs involved with maintaining a server.



More thought needs to placed into this as we will see more subscription based games die because the expectations are higher than the RL of the gamers.

Tom Newman
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This is a shot in the foot to the entire industry.



This only makes consumers skeptical of even trying a new MMO that isn't WOW. Why would anyone invest the time/money needed to play an mmo if they thought there was even a chance that the entire game would be shut down?



There have been numerous "mmo closings" recently, and this strongly affects consumer confidence. I feel bad for anyone working on a new MMO - sure there are some great new ideas - but how can you ask players to join without making them ask if your game will be around next year?

Tom Newman
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This is a shot in the foot to the entire industry.



This only makes consumers skeptical of even trying a new MMO that isn't WOW. Why would anyone invest the time/money needed to play an mmo if they thought there was even a chance that the entire game would be shut down?



There have been numerous "mmo closings" recently, and this strongly affects consumer confidence. I feel bad for anyone working on a new MMO - sure there are some great new ideas - but how can you ask players to join without making them ask if your game will be around next year?

Maurício Gomes
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This is not the shot in the foot, this is the bleeding...



The shot in the foot was when everyone decided that they had the ultimate MMO to sell...

Tom Kammerer
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As we all can speculate, there seems to be a problem with the sci fi mmo genre to break the ice.



World of Starcraft is coming, Blizzard new that when they were at 5 million subs, now they are at 11 million?



It's a no brainer.


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