After 14 years of ranking up jobs and battling slimes, Ragnarok Online will be shutting down in Europe on May 25. And so will Ragnarok Online 2. And Dragon Saga. And Rose Online. And … well, pretty much everything by Gravity Interactive on Steam — and even games that aren’t on Steam.
If May 25 sounds familiar to you, it’s the exact date the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect in Europe, which rewrites the rulebook on how companies can acquire and use your personal data on the internet (summary here). While it’s not mentioned explicitly in any of the announcements, there’s zero question that Gravity Interactive’s decision to close the company’s games in Europe is related to this new statute.
Other game companies are dealing with the new regulations rather than going away entirely; it’s unlikely that Blizzard will stop offering Hearthstone in Europe, for instance. Rather than comply with the new law, Gravity Interactive would apparently rather shut down its games. That could be a financial decision, that it wouldn’t be worth the money it would take to change things so the company is in compliance, but it also makes you wonder what it’s doing with people’s personal information in other regions, ones that aren’t covered by the GDPR.