What Happens to MMOs and MMORPGs When they Shut Down?
Ever wonder what happens to all those MMOs and MMORPGs that shut down? Well, usually one of three things happen. It either gets re-licensed by another company, becomes available in another region, or shuts down for good. You'd be surprised though how often games get relaunched or become available in some other form.
Sometimes when a game shuts down it's due to a dispute between the game developer and the publisher. The developer is is the company that actually made the game (usually a Korean company when it comes to free to play titles) and the publisher is the company that services the game in a particular region. Legend of Edda for example launched in the U.S. through GamesCampus back in February, 2013. After a short while, they shut it down due to a lack of popularity. They then re-launched the same game as “Legend of Edda: Vengeance” a year or so later. Once again, they shut it down. Despite being shut down twice already, Legend of Edda is still accessible to U.S. players through JC Planet. Eysoft, the game's developer, likely found another company interested in licensing the game even after GamesCampus failed with it.
Sometimes games shut down not because of a lack of playerbase, but because of an actual dispute between the publisher and developer. Red Stone for example, an older 2D Diablo-esque MMORPG, was available through OGPlanet for a while, but once their license expired (which was set for a fixed amount of years), the Korean developer L&K Logic decided not to renew. Instead, they launched the game themselves globally. Once in a while a game that originally shut down due to a lack of players will just relaunch on its own too. Dungeon Fighter Online from Nexon shut down in the U.S. after years of service but re-launched through Neople (A subsidiary of Nexon). Many games get shut down and later re-launched, so check around before giving up on a game!
Available in Another Region
When a game you really like shuts down, sometimes there's still hope. When ijji shut down/merged with Aeria Games, Gunbound was no longer available for U.S. and European players. Softnyx, Gunbound's developer, launched a global version of their game. Dekaron, which was available through Acclaim games in the U.S. as “2Moons” shut down once Acclaim shut down. This didn't mean the end of Dekaron though. Nexon was the European publisher for the game and eventually just transitioned to becoming the global publisher for the game. Often times when a game shuts down in North America, another version of it is still available somewhere else. Southeast Asian servers are typically in English too, making it accessible to U.S. and European users. Obviously playing a game in a different region means higher pings, but it's oftentimes better than nothing.
Shut Down for Good
Sometimes a game is just not meant to be and will shut down for good, at least officially. This could happen due to the developer going bankrupt or the game itself just failing. When this happens the game is gone for good. Luckily, a lot of defunct games still exist through private servers. GunZ: The Duel for example, which was available through Aeria Games, shut down once GunZ 2: The Second Duel launched. The first game is no longer officially available, but there are several active private servers out there. Not every game has private servers though. Outspark, which was acquired by Gamigo, had a game called Secret of the Solstice, which sort of resembled Ragnarok Online. Once Secret of the Solstice shut down, it was gone for good. There are no private servers for it either. When a game shuts down for good servers are shut down and characters are lost forever. It's always sad to see a game die, especially since that entire world will just cease to exist. All those towns, dungeons, NPCs, everything. Gone for good.