MAG Shutting Down This Week
You've only got two days left to play the massively multiplayer shooter MAG. Sony plans to shut down the servers for the 2010 PS3 exclusive on Tuesday along with two SOCOM games.
In MAG, three mercenary armies battle each other in locations across the world. Players can join any of the three factions and get access to different weapons and customization options. Players can purchase new skills and equipment as they gain experience.
The most notable aspect of MAG was its size. The game supported battles with up to 256 players. Teams were organized into squads, platoons and companies to encourage organization. Squads were led by players with higher in-game ranks.
MAG's size was a double-edged sword, though. When the player base shrank, there weren't enough bodies to fill out the battles. That, in turn, made the experience worse for the players who stuck with the game and made them more likely to quit. Unlike PlanetSide 2, MAG wasn't free to play so it was harder to attract new players to populate the battlefield.
Sales for MAG weren't abysmal. The game was re-released as a Greatest Hits title about eight months after its launch, which means that it sold at least half a million copies. MAG couldn't maintain that momentum, though, especially in the face of stiff competition from other, newer shooters.
Sony announced in March 2012 that they were shutting down Zipper Interactive, MAG's developer. They said at the time that they would continue to support the game after Zipper Interactive's closure. It was only a matter of time, though, before MAG became too sparsely populated for Sony to justify the server upkeep.
MAG's servers will officially shut down on January 28th. SOCOM: Confrontation and SOCOM: Special Forces, two other shooters released by Zipper to mixed reviews, will close down on the same day. Confrontation and MAG are online-only so the server shutdowns will effectively kill those games. Special Forces at least has a single-player campaign to fall back on.
MMOs like Warhammer Online and The Matrix Online celebrated their end with special events. Sony doesn't seem to have any festivities planned for MAG's end. However, some fans are trying to get former players to come back on January 27th for one last battle royale.
Sony will shut off another batch of game servers on May 20th. The games losing their multiplayer on that date include Gran Turismo 5 and multiple Resistance titles. I'm sure we'll see even more server shutdowns by the year's end.
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