Mojang may be one of the greatest success stories in the history of video games, but it seems even the mighty Minecraft maker isn’t immune to commercial failure.
Mojang announced last night that the next content update for Scrolls will be its last, just 7 months since the game officially launched in December 2014.
“After much deliberation, we’ve come to an important decision that we’d like to share: Echoes will be the last major content patch for Scrolls,” a post on the game’s official website reads. “We won’t be adding features or sets from now on, though we are planning to keep a close eye on game balance.
Unfortunately, it also looks as though the writing may be on the wall for the game’s servers, too – at least in the long term: “Scrolls will still be available to purchase for the time being, and our servers will run until at least July 1st, 2016. All future proceeds will go towards keeping Scrolls playable for as long as possible.”
Low player numbers appear to be at least one of the factors behind the decision to end ongoing development. “The launch of the Scrolls beta was a great success,” the post continues. “Tens of thousands of players battled daily, and many of them remain active today. Unfortunately, the game has reached a point where it can no longer sustain continuous development.”
However, some might be forgiven for wondering whether the cessation of development on Scrolls has anything to do with Mojang’s new owners. When Microsoft acquired Mojang last year for a cool $2.5bn, the Redmond giant wasn’t exactly coy about making clear that Minecraft was its top priority.
Since the purchase, Microsoft has been using a version of Minecraft to show off its nascent HoloLens augemented-reality headset. An impressive presentation at E3 earlier this month impressed, and it was clear that a lot of time – and money – had been spent on repurposing the massively popular sandbox game for use with the tech.
Hopefully Microsoft allows the studio to grow and flourish with other non-Minecraft projects in the future. Mojang is still working on Cobalt with Oxeye Game Studio; but it appears that the writing is on the wall for Scrolls.
Simon Fong reviewed Scrolls back in December last year, awarding it 8/10, and his conclusion now seems eerily prescient. “It remains to be seen whether Microsoft’s recent purchase of Mojang will negatively or positively impact the future of Scrolls, especially with the number of online beta players continuing to dwindle over the past few months,” Simon wrote in his Scrolls review. “As with any multiplayer-focused online game it will ultimately live or die depending on the numbers playing it – and I can only hope that over the next few months a new army of scrolldiers is born ready to do battle against some of the more established franchises out there.”