Xbox 360 free-to-play game Ascend: Hand of Kul shutting down Nov. 18


Microsoft plans to shut down the Xbox 360 version of the free-to-play fantasy action RPG Ascend: Hand of Kul on November 18, just over a year after it officially launched on the game console in late September 2013.

While current players can still access the game, Ascend has already been removed from the Xbox Live Marketplace. In a message on Thursday posted on its Play XBLA website, Microsoft said:

"Effective November 18, 2014, Ascend on Xbox 360 will close and all Soul purchases have been disabled as part of the Marketplace shutdown. Players will still be able to play Ascend on Xbox 360 and use any content they have already acquired until the game closure date."

The game was developed by Signal Studios and in their own announcement on the shut down they said, "We are deeply saddened by this decision and the impact it has on our community." The developer added they discovered Microsoft's intentions to shut down Ascend when they were looking into issues players of the game were reporting over the weekend.

The good news for Ascend fans is that Signal Studios has already released a PC version of the game via Steam, with a number of improvements compared to the Xbox 360 version. Signal stated, "In appreciation of our fans, Signal Studios will grant all new Ascend PC players a starting bonus of souls totaling 25K which can be used to purchase gear, spells and buffs. All existing Ascend PC players will receive a 10K soul bonus just for playing."

What do you think about Microsoft shutting down this free-to-play game so soon after its launch?

Source: Play XBLA, Signal Studios


Reader comments

Xbox 360 free-to-play game Ascend: Hand of Kul shutting down Nov. 18


If you have it installed then you can keep playing until Nov 18 when they shut it down on the servers, if not then no..it cannot be re-downloaded as it has been removed from the marketplace

Usually, when a game is delisted, you can still download it from your purchase history. If it's there, you should be good to go.

That's the part that has irked me too about every single article I've read about this: not a single one listed the reason it is being shut down. It just makes it look like Microsoft is shutting it down to be dicks, but I'm guessing there's a good reason. So, what is it?

Maybe it wasn't profitable (ie not enough people doing microtransactions) or maybe it just wasn't popular and the cost to run it exceeded the benefit to the user base.

Because playing the same exact game for over one year is bad for EA, Activision, and Ubisoft. Because if MS wants the big third party games published on their platforms, they have to play ball. Or because the server isn't hosted on Azure, and it wants double-dip revenue for that portion of business.

I'm just speculating, there's probably more that went into the decision...

The simplest, most likely explanation is that it used a lot of Xbox Live server resources but didn't generate enough revenue. The consensus is that many people tried it and then gave up on it.

The game was ok, but it took too long to finish and the end product was not what I was expecting. Played it for a few weeks after initial launch, then I left and never played it again. Somehow it had nothing to reel me back in.

This just doesn't make any sense.... Are they trying to force people to move to the x1?.
This is the wrong way to go about it.
First release an x1 version, announce they 360 version will close on x date. Move over all accounts from the 360 to the x1 version since mmo games are not stored locally, they should be a fairly easy to switch over.
On the flipside if the game was not meeting the numbers then I can understand why it was axed (however at least the devs should have been informed, as opposed to finding out themselves).

And still people say that Microsoft isn't ignoring the 360 no forza 5 I bet Halo will be an Xbox one exclusive no killer instinct.

Well, as an Xbox 360 gamer since 2006 I say Microsoft NEEDS TO stop supporting the 360 or people will hold out forever on the One purchase. So far there has not been a compelling reason for me to buy one and I'm looking, really. But as long as new games are published for 360 and Ubisoft will even create an exclusive AC for the old consoles, why should I or anybody else buy a "Next Gen" console now?

That's a bummer. I played the crap out of it for a good three weeks or so. It's a really addictive game and the mechanics didn't feel like they were compromised for the FTP model. After beating it I never felt the need to return to the game, but it was refreshing to see Free-to-play done right.

Can't wait to see what Signal Studios does next!

I played it when it came out and really dug the aestethic and gameplay, but never bought anything with real money and only played it for maybe a week before I went on to other things. Understandable that they would remove it if it wasn't performing as expected.