Microsoft shuts down 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.


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

John Callaham
  • Its a WoW killer!
  • It is one of my favourite game for PC. I still play AOI3 on my PC. They shouldn't have shut it.
  • They intend to release an all nee game for mobile devices this summer. Read, they will release it on iOS and Android first then wonder why WP is 3rd.
  • You rather they simply cry in their corn flakes or continue to operate as a business? They can't very well hold a gun to people's heads and make them switch...
  • No, but they can dangle delicious carrots in front of them - like great games.
  • Well they could release on wp first and then on ios and android a month later. It's not like this would cause them to lose any money and at least would show that they are value wp. People switch because of content. If wp doesn't have any exclusive content that people want it will only be able to grow by selling cheap low margin phones.
  • If Microsoft releases cross platform Xbox support I will move to iOS. I'm so tired of all the broken apps, lack of support and little to no care for games on this platform. Unless Windows Phone gets the apps, and makes the user experience superior to competing platforms, why stick around? I can get all of Microsoft's services on another platform...Cortana and Xbox are the only exceptions.
  • I know your feeling. If Xbox goes full cross platform I'm leaving as well, no matter how much I love the OS. I want unique MS features to stay.
  • You are right a nice UI can only get you so far. Whenever you look up a damn app or products connectivity you have to always deal with 2nd rate 3rd party apps. If indeed MS wants to perpetuate this instead of trying to improve their eco system wtf are they dumping money into it for anyway? I too would have to reassess my decision to stick with the platform..
  • So sad. I really liked this game and wish it could have lived in. I hope they plan on more PC Age of Empires games in the future.
  • Did you read the article?
  • Yes he did, so did I. It says mobile games, but we all know mobile games are nothing in comparison to PC
  • Loved it on PC and loved it online. I'm gutted.
    Looking forward to a new mobile iteration, hopefully it won't require in-game purchases either.
  • Darn, I thought it was a baseball game called "Age of Umpires".
  • Not exactly a Final Fantasy 14 realm reborn lol
  • Still playing AOE3...I always wonder why MS would do such a thing like dismissing the Ensemble studio....
  • They're launching a mobile friendly version so I wont complain... However I wish they had given us an exact date
  • It was a really fun game. But like most games that have great concepts, micro-transactions destroyed it's long-term investment potential by players. What ever happened to the days of offering demos/trials so people could see if they like a game, then charging full price for the retail version and keeping it a polished product? STOP DESTROYING GOOD GAMES WITH MICROTRANSACTIONS.
  • It's where we are right now, you may as well tell the US to join the communist party... =/
  • Have you not been paying attention! Read The Communist Manifesto and compare to current US FedGov.
  • You'd surprised how profitable and popular microtransaction based games can be. There's a reason studios are sometimes willing to spend all that development money up front and then offer the game for free.
  • Yup, just look at Clash of Clans. Not sure if it's true, but it's going around that they make over $5mil a day from their top three games. You'd be surprised how many people dump hundreds, if not thousands of dollars into games like these just to be the best...
  • Damn if that is true, these people either have too much money to burn, impatient or lacking in self esteem in regards to their own abilities and skills lol.
  • I loved Age Of Empires but AOE online didn't feel like a true AOE game. They need to make AOE 4 already.
  • I agree, online games are tricky...
  • I very much agree. I played the beta and just never took to it. I enjoyed AoE 2 and 3 much more. Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • AoE online concept is good .. if you got money.
  • I loved the original was one of the first pc games I bought (back in 1999/2000.....a looooong time ago). I tried the online version last year and sadly it was nowhere near as good as the original. A WP version would be cool but only if MS try to go back as close to the original as possible
  • I mostly play AOE3!
  • I am saddened at what became of the one excellent age of empires series.
  • I Hope the delay for WP is because the new game is a universal app for both W8 & WP 8. In that case I don't mind the wait, otherwise ... It's a shame MS is prioritizing other platforms over its own....
  • That's a bad news :(
  • It was fun to play but IAP's killed it
  • All I have to say is Satya Nadella.... I guess it was okay to release some items on IOS and android while WP was in its infancy, but its three years later now! At least release them simultaneously at best unless of course something much better is waiting for us WP faithful? Boi and everyone was calling for Ballmer's head. Satya wasn't behind the production of any of the surface devices including the upcoming surface watch, phone, or laptops that may or may not be, but he is behind the fact that other platforms get them before us. Ballmer wanted either a simultaneous release on all platforms or early on WP and later on other platforms. I don't take.issue with putting Microsoft services on all platforms, but its happening too often now! What do you guys thinks? Sound off
  • I loved this game and played it up to the last day available. It's so sad that they kililed it. It was gorgeous in terms of graphics, gameplay, design. I'm not a fan of microtransactions, and maybe if they had used a different market strategy, Age of Empires Online would still be with us.    LONG LIVE AGE OF EMPIRES ONLINE!
  • Make it a windows phone app and I will play a lot
  • The same fate as Microsoft flight then. Maybe they should quit this sector.
  • And then like a phoenix: E3 2015 : We are proud to announce: AOE Live ... everywhere. every device. always. Pweeeeeaase!
  • Stupid menu system. Confusing way to get into a co-op game. This was not ruined by the microtransacations alone, but also the horrible confusing interface. Should have been much simpler to access key game compoenents. The basic look, graphics, gameplay were excellent. Ruined by product tick lists by product managers and dumb marketing more than the underlying tech. I could have helped make this a success. So sad Ensemble were the victim, I love some of their work.
  •  How do you turn this OFF
  • Press the button
  • Never played it
  • I loved aoe online but stopped playing as soon as they announced its impending demise. Not much point in earning achievements you know are doomed to be erased from history a few months later.
  • I would've paid $50 to own it outright, rather than pay for in game weapons purchases. The game itself was great.
  • +920
  • The Mobile version of the game that they show looks a piece of crap
  • Aoe for WP will release after ios and Android no doubt. Wololo
  • All they needed to do was AoE 4 or AoM 2.
  • Well that's one game I can delete from my "must play" list. I only played like 12 hours and always meant to come back to it. I guess I don't have to now haha! I think it had some achievements I'll never get :\