Video Game Law Blog

November 01, 2005

EA Japan has decided to stop supporting Star Wars Galaxies in Japan. Gamers in Japan can apparently transfer their accounts to other servers; however, the shut-down still raises an interesting question what would happen if a game company were to completely kill an MMO game?

Game companies need to plan for this possibility before launching an MMO game. The concern is that gamers spend money on the games–expecting to be able to play them online. This expectation might be factored into the purchase price of the game. 

In addition, gamers spend money each month to gain access to the online portion of the game. They also spend countless hours building up virtual property in the game (which has a real world value and can be sold on online auction sites).

The loss of the MMO portion of the game could therefore result in the loss of gamers' time and money. And this could result in a damages claim against a gaming company.

That's why it's important for gaming companies to deal with this possibility in advance. End User Licence Agreements and Online Terms of Use should address MMO termination. It would also be a good idea to discuss this possibility in the user documentation for the game. 

Star Wars Coverage at  http://www.shorl.com/gygrestitejose