In what is clearly a record for an already over-saturated market, All Points Bulletin, the hybrid MMO/shooter from the beleaguered Realtime Worlds, has closed down after less than three short months in the wild.
The internet already has a compelling lawsuit-load of evidence of the many failures at Realtime Worlds that lead up to this point, not least this blog currently being maintained by ex-staffer Luke Halliwell, who vents his thoughts quite vigourously at the mis-management that clearly went on behind the scenes.
Regardless, following a month of administration and a clear inability to find a rescue buyer, the decision was made to close the servers down. Community Manager Ben Bateman (a.k.a. APBMonkey) had this to say on the official forum before they finally went offline, along with the game servers themselves, this evening (September 16th) at 20:30.
APB has been a fantastic journey, but unfortunately that journey has come to a premature end. Today we are sad to announce that despite everyone's best efforts to keep the service running; APB is coming to a close. It's been a pleasure working on APB and with all its players.Together we were building an absolutely amazing game, and for that, we thank you.
You guys are awesome! From all of the Realtime World staff we thank you for your continued support.
The servers are still up, so join the party and say goodbye!
**NOTE** Retailers are still stocking All Points Bulletin, and likely will for the foreseeable future. Everyone should make it their civic duty to inform potential buyers and even store managers of the case, should they see it for sale. Who knows, it may even stop you going to hell one day!
Further words after the cut...
APB released on the 1st of July to 'mediocre reviews' that slated the overall mish-mash quality of the game. Realtime Worlds then went on an almost Apple-esque tirade against reviewers and complainants, stating that they just didn't understand the game and scores were given based on incorrect perceptions of what the game would be.
Of course, most people probably expected a game where cars could be driven properly and where small instanced areas couldn't be owned by high level campers. Most problems with the game were apparently reported during the lengthy closed & public betas, but despite day-zero fixes following the reviews, initial sales flatlined and things just slipped downhill from there.
With a brave business model that offered a good chunk of the game upfront, an unlimited free social 'district' alongside generous bundled game credit and the curious ability to buy extra game time by selling custom products designed in the games many creation tools, the money just wasn't forthcoming. Investors panicked, the company management realised that maybe those Ferrari's & focus groups weren't a good idea and people were laid off in what has been called the darkest day for Dundee game development.
Of course, some good may come of this - RTW's Project MyWorld has been sold on and may come to something and a large portion of the clearly talented work force may well have been scooped up by studios under the wings of Activision, EA and/or Rockstar.
On a more sweeping note, this may very well be the straw that breaks the camels back regarding the industries love of monetised MMOs - the pitiful 2 months and 17 days that APB managed will hopefully cause other publishers/developers/money-grabbing whores investors to realise that, with World of WarCraft continuing to make a killing and a large portion of other MMOs (including high-profile releases such as Lord of the Rings: Online and Everquest 2) going F2P that there really is no money left in the market.
Still, APB tried its best. We can only learn from this.