Taps is playing on the wind. The flag is waving at half mast. The gaming world is about to lose four of its ranks. EA is cutting the servers powering a handful of its free-to-play games because they are “not as popular as they once were.”
Executive Vice President of EA Studios Patrick Söderlund has announced that the joyfully cartoonish Battlefield Heroes, as well as Battlefield Play4Free, Need for Speed World and FIFA World will all be getting the ax on July 14. However, Star Wars: The Old Republic will continue on because Söderlund points out that it “continues to have a very enthusiastic and growing player community.”
“These were pioneering experiences, and we’re humbled that, over the years, so many of you joined us to enjoy the games and the community. While we say farewell to these free-to-play titles in the next few months, we are always exploring new concepts and ways to bring great games to more players around the world.”
While I was never really a fan of the other three, I had a decent time playing Battlefield Heroes a while back, and it is a shame that I will never be able to go back and play it. Fans of Need for Speed World are also cluttering the announcement’s comments section contending that the game is still popular.
This is why the EFF’s proposal to grant legal protections to those who run private servers for abandoned games is so important. As Söderlund himself says, these were “pioneering experiences,” and they are kind of important on the grand scale of gaming evolution as a historical medium. Regardless of if you agree with free-to-play or not, you can’t pick-and-choose history.