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