Motor City Online Closing Down Update ID

A variety of places are reporting that EA's Motor City Online massively multiplayer racing game is in the process of closing down after less than two years on the market. It's sort of a sad state of affairs, because while it was very unconventional, the game did have quite a following. Subscribers of the service, when it goes down in August, will have the option of migrating to Ultima Online or The Sims Online.
In October of 2001, against many odds, the team delivered MCO just in time for the holiday season. The initial sales data was encouraging. However, we were soon faced with a new challenge only applicable to online games - how to keep the community thriving.

MCO was (and still is) very different from a lot of subscription-based games because of its competitive nature. It was evident that the game was quickly dominated by skilled players. Anyone who can modify cars and race well succeeded while the less-skilled players failed. New players were faced with more defeats than helping hands. Though the overall subscription base was growing, we also experienced a substantial outflow of existing subscribers.

At the end of the day, we had to make the business decision that resulted in today's announcement. Our production resources are valuable, and the EA team that has been supporting MCO needs to go to work on other games.

More valuable resources reallocated at EA. You can read more of the team's comments here.

EA's Online Woes Update ID

On a somewhat related note, CNN Money is reporting about EA's terrible failures in the online realm. While EA has profits in the billions, its online division is losing money. Origin's Ultima is EA's only real online money-maker.
Next on the hit list could be "Earth & Beyond", an online role-playing game that eschews dwarves and dragons for outer space exploration and combat. Again, EA will not break down how many paying subscribers it has for the game, but The NPD Group, which tracks game sales, reports the game has only sold 53,000 copies since its launch in September 2002 – and sales are barely registering these days despite a significant reduction to the retail price.

About the only thing really firing for the online business is its oldest title; "Ultima Online" boasts between 220,000 and 230,000 subscribers. Still, that's only half the number of subscribers of Sony's (SNE: Research, Estimates) "EverQuest", whose monthly fee is $5 higher.

Good times. You can read the rest of the article here.

Recent Updates


Mark Hamill To Receive Hollywood Star

Thanks in part to his recent success resuming the role of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, actor Mark Hamill will soon be getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The ceremony is set for March 8, 2018 at 11:30 am. I'd encourage Wing Commander fans nearby to go check it out, but the crowd will likely be substantial. (2018-02-22)

Banshee Kicks Off Flat Universe's Border Worlds Faction

The first Border Worlds ship for Wing Commander Flat Universe has been announced! The Banshee now joins the battle alongside four Confed and four Kilrathi craft. It's designed to be particularly effective against slower bombers such as the Broadsword or Grikath. (2018-02-21)

New 3D Prints Highlight Gemini Sector Hotness

Sonnich Johannesen has shown off some large scale and beautifully detailed 3D prints from Wing Commander Privateer. The Centurion and (not pictured) Galaxy are from Astrofossil and the Tarsus model was designed by DJFX, who posted some gorgeous pics of his own a while back. The size of each of these is impressive, and Sonnich has posted some neat pictures of these ships coming together on the printer. (2018-02-20)

Paper Cruiser Returns Stronger & Better Armed

Adm_Maverick's Tallahassee papercraft cruiser is back again in a whole new way. This second major iteration improves on the first in a number of ways, including how the main hull fits together. It also has interior components that form the bow-mounted capship missile launcher. (2018-02-19)

Live Wing Commander Jazz Recording A Huge Success!

Origin composer George Oldziey has completed his live recording of Wing Commander jazz music. The event was conducted last week at George's studio in Austin, and pictures from the day make it look like they had a lot of fun! Initial results also sound fantastic, and we're anxious to hear how everything comes together in the finished album. (2018-02-18)

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