BioWare Forums and Disney Infinity Shutdown Make the Future Uncertain

The discussion of the reliance on online DRM and the uncertainty of online service maintenance has taken a new turn today. With the recently announced shutdown of Disney Infinity as part of the shutdown of Disney’s games division has some users of the service up in arms. Earlier this year, Disney announced that it had ended production on the Disney Infinity series and it was essentially getting out of game development.

Today, the company announced when it will end online services and support for the different versions of the games across all its platforms, and it’s a confusing, contradictory nightmare.

  • The PC version of the game bought directly through the Disney Infinity website will not be playable or available after September 30. 
  • After March 3, 2017, the Windows Store version will not be playable. 
  • The Steam version of the game will function normally (but without online support) indefinitely.

There is a definite discussions to be had about how the gaming venture became unprofitable for Disney. It does raise questions about how else the games industry will cut costs in a highly digital age. It seems that part of that question has been answered with another announcement that BioWare will be shutting down large sections of it’s forums over the next year.

The majority of BioWare’s forums will shut down on Aug. 26, the developer announced on its blog. These include community boards dedicated to Dragon Age, Mass Effect and other popular series.

“This wasn’t an easy decision,” lead community manager Conal Pierse wrote in the post. He explained that BioWare intended for the forums to be a place where the developer could talk directly with fans. That purpose, he says, is now better served elsewhere. BioWare maintains a presence on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and fans have found and connected with each other on Tumblr and Reddit, according to the developer.

“With so many great things so widely available, our developers today find themselves spending more time on other sites, and less time in our own forums,” Pierse said. “And to our fans and players who came to those boards looking to talk to us, it was a great disservice.”

Fans will no longer be able to post on the forums, which host more than 20 million posts and over half a million members. After Aug. 26, the archives will stay open to revisit until Oct. 25. At that point, BioWare will take them down completely.

EVE Online players faced a similar situation earlier in 2016 with the shutdown of the EVElopedia services. The fallout from this loss was relatively minor as most players had come to rely on community-maintained services anyway. But it remains to be seen just how much of the BioWare fanbase will be impacted by the loss of the forums.

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