Japan Sees Mass Free-to-Play MMO Shutdown

Japan Sees Mass Free-to-Play MMO Shutdown

Originally reported on by Steparu, Japan has seen a mass shutdown of many Free-to-Play MMOs scheduled for the upcoming months. Starting in late February and progressing through May, publishers in Japan will close over fifteen online titles including some well known MMORPGs such as Argo Online, Ecol Tactics, Concerto Gate, Corum Online, Prius, and Hellgate. While this doesn’t mean these same MMOs will also be closing in the west (that’s usually up to the region specific publisher to decide), it certainly isn’t a good sign.

You can often get a sense of a foreign MMOs future in the West by looking at what’s happening to it in the East. Case in point, TERA Online began having issues and went F2P in the East long before those same events transpired in the West. Ecol Tactics only just recently launched its English closed beta which has me wondering whether the MMO’s time in the West will be short-lived.

Steparu has included a nice timeline detailing when each game is set to close which you can check out here.


  1. I will immediately grab your rss feed as I can’t to find your email subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you have any? Please permit me recognise in order that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

  2. japan, korea, watever…
    all asians companys in MMO games are greedy.
    so good to know that they went off, and i hope they all go that way.

  3. Ugh time for Private-Servers again. There use to be tons of private servers of Japanese and KR games when they were only released in the east and or stuck with subscription models. Where did all the PS people go run and hide somewhere? No one knows how to make them anymore?

    Hope this trend starts back up again. Couldn’t care less for main-stream idiots who’ve invaded gaming and the turn of greed on the publisher’s and developers sides.

    Let’s keep our games clean and censorship free from the tyranny they suffer when they go to phobic west-ward. Atleast then the real fans will be able to enjoy the games they wanted with no b.s. involved. If I have to play another censored JP or KR game i’m just not going to give them my money period. It’s a waste and i’ll just stick to my movies and books instead.

  4. not overtly surprising MMO’s aren’t that big in japan compared to console games so uunless its an MMO on consoles its highly unlikely to do well there compared to most of the rest of the world. A lot of japanese don’t have great PC’s at home…

  5. There are so many shitty third-rate MMO’s out there simply to sponge up the money while they can, I’m glad they’re being shut down.

    Hoping Scarlet Blade is next.

  6. Hope HELLGATE isn’t shutting down. I play it often, It is an awesome game! I was talking to my guild & they said it was not going to shut down in the USA. As far as the HELLGATE gaming community none think it’s gonna shut down in the USA. EVERYONE SHOULD TRY HELLGATE!!! I am trying to fill the server! Get the word out to give it a try. You will not be disappointed!!! The graphics are aok but the game play & classes are AWESOME!!!

      • Yeah I know but he said he’d still pop in on the site and we haven’t heard much from him here. I really hope he is going to really come back. Spukify is a good host too but the cast had a lot of really good personalities that left with him and he is a cool guy.

    • Probably has to do with loss of funding from other games under the publishers belt that didn’t do so well. I was actually interested in seeing if that one would make it over to the us because it’s actually an interesting concept but then my taste in games isn’t normal so it could’ve bombed entirely if it expanded.

  7. I think this whole thing is somewhat linked to developers hyping their MMOs out on websites and teasing fans so much that when the game was released, it was way below what fans had originally anticipated, causing the playerbase to decline drastically in a very short span after launching.

    What worries me is that so many developers and publishers have hopped onto the “Tease and hype years before launch” bandwagon that MMO news these days are so irrelevant to real-time. This whole industry is a mess right now. And the hyping up of MMOs trend should stop, really.

  8. All these people are worried about all these MMO’s shutting down, whilst ignoring the fact that all the aforementioned shut down games weren’t all that great to begin with. Consumers decide what lives and what doesn’t.

    • (rant warning) this comment and others like it jest make me mad i wish i could explain it wait i can the people who posted ohhh i saw this coming or ha those games sucked they should be shut down go die in a pit some were dark and alone i would like you point out at least 3 if not all of these games had 1000+ player do you even know 1000 people in your life can you fit 100 people in the room your in right now these 100 people jest lost their game friends that were on it time they invested in it and community’s that were formed from it do you have any idea what your saying right as you type that comment its basically a middle finger to any one who enjoyed the game this jest makes me so mad why do you even post that if you think i am taking this way to over the top sit back and think what if your fav game got taken down i mean a game that you put thousands of hours in to would you be pissed it was being taken down and depressed that their is nothing you can do about it in any way be sides wright a message that more then likely wont be seen bye the people who shut it down do you even have a heart in any way…… i know i shouldn’t rant but why are people being such pricks about this these people jest lost their games show some respect or can you simply not understand such a thing..(rant over with) srry if you read this on a whim and didn’t comment like these idiots thank you few nice people that understand.

  9. It’s not too surprising since a lot of developers seem to be in for the quick buck instead of releasing something truly unique and long-lasting.

  10. I believe its common sense if u have over 2 thousand(idk if its so many or less or more just sayin a random number here)mmorpgs(including browser ones)that some will eventually close.Ofc its not good cause people lose their jobs but what can u do than just live with it i hope this is for the better.

  11. Well most of these games I pretty much new were heading in a bad direction(Argos servers for one were desolate within a week of the open beta on all versions more or less)
    Ecol Tactics had potential but they are too greedy for their own good. The only decent alternative for a srpg style mmo imo is Wakfu and you pretty much have to be a vip account to enjoy that one so I wish some decent tactical rpgs would pop up in the free to play scene. Hellgate used to be awesome but it never caught on and somehow it went from having perfect english in the paid version to looking like someone translated it to korean then back to english with google translate or something and i refused to play because of that and the fact that they DOWNGRADED the graphics. Prius wasn’t bad but it wasn’t anything astounding. Most of these are victim of living in the shadow of bigger games that have since become free like other users commented though.

  12. hm…
    Its somehow sad that they are going to shut down so many games in that time but…there are so many games out there, it makes your head spin. Many games are just a waste. If the game is good, then there is a chance that the company gives you some bad expirience.
    Better close these few games that not really someone will miss instead of having a new videogame crash because of too many crappy games.

  13. I beta tested Ecol Tactics for a couple of days and (surprisingly enough) liked what I saw,especially for a browser title. Perhaps I haven’t played enough to experience it’s major flaws,but I hope it doesn’t shut down as soon as it opens.

  14. Oh man… Concerto Gate would’ve been fun to played…
    A cute turn-based game that I could just play along to while doing homework…

    Too bad Gamecampus never opened it up.

  15. most of them aren’t even good, or mediocre. argo meh, prius meh and etc. + from the time these went live, a lot more came in to the market, so it’s natural that not so good ones being closed. and even more to open in near future, so it’s ok. in the end, it’s not publisher’s, who are getting closed, just some of their projects. no big thing here

  16. prius shutting down in japan
    prius starting back up in west

    ecol tactics shutting down in japan
    ecol tactics beta ongoing in the west,

    ive seen enough * to know where this is going

  17. just goes to show, that innovation and inspiration need to go into each game instead of the same if not very similar systems they always used.

  18. holy shit HELLGATE going down?! why?! that game had some SOLID action combat and such great monsters and lore. if that game would fix a few of the issues it has and was published by a well known publisher that could advert and hype it up that game would have been right up there with Guild Wars 2.

    seriously that game was great just make it B2P with updated graphics and advertise with a good publisher and that game would be great.

    can’t believe it’s going to be gone…maybe I should play it now before it’s gone for good.

  19. The imminent flood of MMO’s into the market caused this.. It is not the end of the MMO but the start of a great cleansing.. The corporate “assembly line” style creation and saturation of mmo space will be alleviated and the kickstarted messiahs will release on a pretty clear slate allowing for only the most interested and devout mmo fans to carry the genre into the future..

  20. GOOD! I am happy! There are smart ways to keep games open forever, but peoples greed gets em shut down. The principle idea is: There is a board member who did not make what he wanted to so he makes every one suffer by shutting it down, even if the game can hold the staff and run normal, the board member did not make a big profit so he shuts it, and through legal rights KEEPS IT SHUT because if any one even trys to use the software to make so much as .01 cent, it would be entitled to him, but since he walked away he loses the possibility, so he prefers NO ONE gets it…and of course you the player suffer and are led on to blieve this is somehow YOUR fault and that subscribers were low etc…ALL BS. IN fact half the games shut down have paid for themselves years ago x10 over…this is just about rights and greed. Some case in points you can see as titles trade and rights trade…hell Prius online is relaunching soon (under a new name) by the original developer who rented out to stupid greedy company that blocked their rights just until recently…Lucky.

  21. Oh, wow. It’s always strange to hear of the shutdown of an MMO. I mean, yeah, sure, the market is full of ‘um, and many of them are going to fail eventually…but I guess there’s just something about seeing it happen. Makes me wonder about the future of MMOs.


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