PlanetSide Arena shuts down after a short, troubled life

Image: Daybreak Game Company

Well, that didn’t last long.

PlanetSide Arena, the multiplayer shooter spinoff from Daybreak Game Company’s PlanetSide franchise, is closing down next month. This follows a year in which the game was delayed past its launch date, Daybreak refunded all pre-orders, and eventually delivered it in Steam Early Access.

PlanetSide Arena’s servers shut down on Jan. 10, 2020 at 8 p.m. EST. “We are actively working with Steam to ensure that all players who made purchases during Early Access will automatically receive a full refund to their Steam Wallet after servers shut down in January,” said Andy Sites, the Planetside franchise’s executive producer.

“While our team set out with an ambitious vision for a game that combined the massive-scale combat and camaraderie of PlanetSide through a diverse collection of new game modes,” he added, “it has become clear after several months in Early Access that our population levels make it impossible to sustain the gameplay experience we envisioned.”

According to SteamSpy, PlanetSide Arena had 1,481 concurrent players (peak) logged in as of the game’s Sept. 18, 2019 launch, but that number dropped sharply over the next two months, to a peak of 55 on Nov. 17. Its peak in the past 24 hours was 12.

In a preview last year (almost a year ago to the day, in fact), Daybreak touted a 64-square kilometer map (in scale) and PlanetSide’s reputation for huge engagements, including a 2015 battle in PlanetSide 2 that set a record with 1,158 combatants. PlanetSide Arena was developed with a 250-on-250 deathmatch in mind. It last saw 500 or more players concurrently logged in on Sept. 24.

With yesterday’s announcement, Daybreak removed all DLC and virtual currency from sale in the game. Players with existing virtual currency may spend it until the servers turn off in January. Refunds will be issued after the shutdown, Daybreak said.

Originally pegged for a January 2019 launch, Daybreak instead announced that month that PlanetSide Arena was delayed to March because it needed “crucial feature enhancements and core systems improvements.” In mid-February, Daybreak scrubbed the March launch, saying it would arrive in the summer along with a version for PlayStation 4. It was originally sold in pre-order bundles for $19.98 and $39.97. Those were refunded in February.

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