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Scrolls, the second major release from Minecraft developer Mojang, is shutting down. Mojang announced today that they'll be ceasing development of the game and eventually turning off the servers.
They announced the upcoming shutdown of Scrolls on the game's website:
After much deliberation, we’ve come to an important decision that we’d like to share: Echoes will be the last major content patch for Scrolls. We won’t be adding features or sets from now on, though we are planning to keep a close eye on game balance.
Scrolls is somewhere between a collectible card game and a board game. In head-to-head battles, players use magic scrolls to cast spells, summon units or create structures. The objective is to use your scrolls and army to destroy idols on the enemy's side of the board.
Mojang added that the beta, which ran from June 2013 to December 2014, was a success. However, the company said, the game "can no longer sustain continuous development." That sounds like a kind way of saying that the game doesn't have a large enough player population to remain profitable.
While Mojang's certainly rich enough from Minecraft to keep funding other games, bear in mind that they're owned by Microsoft now. Being owned by a larger company means that they have more resources but it also means there's more oversight. It's not hard to imagine Microsoft shutting down the project in favor of doubling down on Minecraft.
It does seem like Mojang's future is going to be mostly Minecraft. They're collaborating with Telltale Games on an adventure game based on the franchise. Furthermore, Minecraft is arguably the largest game that will utilize Microsoft's new HoloLens technology.
While it's possible that the decision to shut down Scrolls was out of their hands, Mojang's letter to fans didn't contain any bitterness. Instead, they ended their letter on a positive note:
We’ve had a great time working on Scrolls, and appreciate every last player who’s downloaded our game. Extra big thanks to the most dedicated members of our community; some of you have logged in almost every day since release and dedicated a large portion of your time to dominating the leaderboards and taking care of new players. We salute you, honourable scrolldiers.