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Undead Labs recently announced that they will be shutting down the servers to their online game Moonrise. The game will continue to run up until December 31st, where they will officially close the game down due to a lack of engagement from the audience.
Over on the official Undead Labs website the founder of the studio, Jeff Strain, explained why the game was shutting down...
What we’ve found is that while some people really love Moonrise, there were unfortunately many more people who played the game and then moved on after a few days. For a standalone, offline game that might be fine; but for an online game with significant server hosting costs and an expectation for ongoing development and new content, it can mean a game that not only doesn’t pay for it’s development costs, but might even cost money to operate.
Moonrise is available both for PC and for mobile devices – on PC it launched as an Early Access game on Steam. However, the daily active users and the attachment rate just wasn't enough to justify keeping it going, and according to Jeff Strain that kind of business strategy just doesn't make sense for a small independent studio.
However, not all is lost.
The post further states that a lot of what Undead Labs managed to accomplish with Moonrise wasn't all for naught. The State of Decay developers may take some of the more progressive features from their MMO and potentially apply them to a future game.
Additionally, the team will be ramping up some aspects of the game by increasing the rewards in the arena mode as well as increasing the drop rates for rare goods. The whole idea is to make existing players enjoy the experience as much as possible before the doors officially close on December 31st at the end of this year.
The MMO market is always a tough nut to crack and the mobile market is just as tough. They require dedicated audiences and enough forward momentum from launch to maintain sustainability. It's very, very difficult for new online titles to launch in today's climate because casual gamers are difficult to reach and hardcore gamers are hard to please.
Trying to find that perfect formula to become the next World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV or Star Wars: The Old Republic. It's not easy for smaller studios and it's even difficult for larger ones to run online-based games like that. Some studios like Studio Wildcard or Bohemia Interactive managed to hit it big with unique takes on the online genre with ARK: Survival Evolved or DayZ, but Undead Labs wasn't able to hit the target with Moonrise.
The company managed a fair bit of success with the game State of Decay and its subsequent DLC packs and expansions, but they weren't able to replicate that for Moonrise, unfortunately.
If you're a gamer who has been playing the title on mobile devices and PC since May of this year, you can continue to enjoy what the game has to offer up until the end of this year. If you want you can learn more about the game before it closes up shop by paying a visit to the Steam Early Access page.