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It seems Star Wars Galaxies won't have to worry about competing with the upcoming BioWare MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic. SOE plans to shut down Galaxies by the end of the year.

Galaxies will end on December 15th. The announcement comes just two days before the MMO celebrates its eighth birthday.

"Galaxies has been a part of all our lives for so many years that it's really going to be hard to see it end," reads a letter from producer Tony 'Teesquared' Tyson. "It has meant different things to each of us. For some it's about combat. For others it's about socializing, or crafting, or collecting, or decorating, or fishing, or adventuring, or more. For all of us, though, Galaxies is about sharing experiences with our friends."

"May of this year was my 7th year working on this game. As a developer, Galaxies has been an opportunity for me to learn how to create a virtual universe and to interact with a community that is very passionate about the product I work on. When you look back at all the updates over the years, it's very impressive how much we managed to get done. In the end, it is our fans that made all the hard work and effort worth it."

Tyson notes that development for the game is ongoing, though. The devs plan to release the Galactic Civil War 2 - Space update soon, which will feature large-scale space battles, the ACE pilot system, and three new ships for players. The team is also planning an event to mark the end of Galaxies.

"As we all know, the Galactic Civil War is the forefront of our game. The war will be going strong right up until the end. Which side will win and what will be the result? Stay with us to find out and help decide the outcome," said Tyson.

Star Wars: The Old Republic is expected to launch in the second half of 2011. While SOE's announcement doesn't mention TOR at all, the timing probably isn't coincidental. It's unlikely LucasArts (who serves as publisher on both games) wanted to have its old MMO competing with its new one.

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