age of empires online

Microsoft shut down its free-to-play PC game, Age of Empires Online, on Tuesday evening, less than three years after the online real time strategy game launched in August 2011.

The game, which was originally developed by Robot Entertainment and then by Gas Powered Games, was based, somewhat loosely, on the Age of Empires RTS series from the now defunct Ensemble Studios. Microsoft had high hopes that the well known franchise, combined with its free-to-play design, would prove to be popular with online games. In October 2011, Microsoft released a Windows Phone app for the game, which let users check their in-game stats, view recipes for items and more.

In the end, however, Age of Empires Online's design, which included microtransactions to purchase premium content via real money, did not sit well with players. In 2012, Microsoft changed that plan and let users purchase that kind of content via in-game "Empire Points" that could be collected via gameplay, which truly made it free to play.

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In January 2013, Microsoft announced that no more additional content would be added to Age of Empires Online, followed in September with the announcement that the game itself would shut down July 1. On Tuesday, in a final blog post, Microsoft showed that during the lifespan of the game, there were over 500 million single player missions played, along with over 13 million multiplayer quests and over two million arena matches.

Microsoft plans to publish Age of Empires: World Domination, an all new game made specifically for mobile devices, including Windows Phone, later this summer.

What do you think about Age of Empires Online ending its run after less than three years?

Source: Age of Empires Online