Sega has announced that it is pulling the plug on the PC and PS2 versions of Phantasy Star Universe at the end of March.
Released in 2006 on the PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360, Phantasy Star Universe is a hack-and-slash RPG that can be played in both single-player and "persistent online network" modes. Unfortunately, according to a message posted by Phantasy Star Universe GM "[email protected]," there just aren't enough players to keep things going on all three systems. "If you've played on PC/PS2 recently, you also likely know why we are shutting these servers down," he wrote. "The population is simply too low for us to be able to continue to support this platform."
"While sad, this is also a huge opportunity for the Xbox 360 version of the game," he continued. "Players here are well aware that the Western version of the game has fallen behind the content schedule for the Japanese version of the game, but in focusing our resources on just a single version now, we do have the chance to actually close that gap. There's content on the Japanese version that we all really want to see, and have been vocal about wanting to see - content that I'm extremely excited about as well - which we will be bringing here."
The PC and PS2 versions of the game will receive their final updates on January 29, which will also mark the launch of the MAG+ event. At that point, no new subscriptions on those platforms will be accepted but unlimited free play for existing PC and PS2 players will begin. Online play will continue normally until March 31, at which time the PC and PS2 servers will be taken offline. The game will still be playable in single player mode, of course, and server support for the Xbox 360 version of the game will continue uninterrupted.
"While we are sad to see the PC/PS2 version of Phantasy Star Universe end, the year 2010 is the 10th anniversary of Phantasy Star Online - and this server/service closure is helping to pave the way for bigger and better things for the Phantasy Star franchise in the very near future!" Sega said in the official announcement of the closure. "Thank you all again for the support and great times together with us here at SEGA playing PSU! We look forward to seeing you again in our new adventures!"