South Korean NCsoft has confirmed that it will shut down its free-to-play MMO Dungeon Runners.
From January 1 NCsoft will power down the game’s servers, and will administer refunds and compensation deals for the game’s paid-subscribers.
Stephen Nichols, the game’s producer and lead programmer, revealed in a statement that the game had been maintained by a five-man team, yet recently two of those staffers had been let go.
“Rebuilding the team isn’t really an option for various reasons,” he explained.
“Dungeon Runners just isn’t cutting the mustard. If she were a ship, she’d be taking on water. The game just isn’t profitable. And, the first rule of business is to be profitable,” he added.
"We’ve got some ideas that could work. But, they’re expensive to implement and pretty risky. Those two facts, coupled with the recent loss of some key developers, make achieving the success we seek pretty much out of the question.”
The closure of Dungeon Runners is another disfigurement to the utopian idea of free-to-play games, where revenue is usually attained by advertising and premium membership upgrades.
With advertising revenues plummeting in recent years, coupled with widespread consumer pessimism, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the model may be for another time.