As previously reported, the Demon's Souls servers will be shut down as of midnight, May 31st, 2012 Pacific Standard Time. After only two-and-a-half years, the online functionality of this critically-acclaimed PS3 exclusive will be going dark. What a shame. Two years is nowhere near enough time for a game (particularly a console “Greatest Hits” title) to terminate its functionality. Heck, even annual released like Madden NFL and Call of Duty keep their online servers active for longer! But I guess that's the difference between having your game published and servers maintained by a little company like Atlus rather than a mega-publisher like EA or Activision.
While I, myself, have moved on to Dark Souls (Demon's Souls spiritual successor), I still know several friends who have yet to play Demon's Souls and still have interest in trying it out or buying it. But they have less than a month left to do it before the most appealing functionality of the game gets disabled permanently.
Even though the announcement isn't a terribly big deal for me (as I've already completed the game and have moved on), I still feel very sad that - if I wanted to - I won't be able to go back and be able to get that Platinum trophy with the comfort (or fear) of knowing that I'll still have the support (or opposition, as the case may be) of other online players. As such, I have compressed my feelings on the issue into a little piece of fan art:
I understand that the servers may be getting too expensive for Atlus to maintain, especially considering that Dark Souls was published by Namco/Bandai, and so Atlus isn't seeing any revenue from the sales of the follow-up.
But surely there must be a way to save this online functionality!
There is still a market for this game. It's online community is still very much active, and the game is still selling. With Dark Souls on store shelves, I'm sure there are many gamers yet who might want to try its predecessor before picking up Dark Souls; or, on the other side, people who played Dark Souls and may want to pick up Demon's Souls to get an extra fix of the demon-slaying action.
I would love to see a deal reached that would allow the game's online functionality to be supported by fan-operated proxy servers; although, I doubt that the PSN infrastructure allows for such a thing. Stupid Sony
I'm honestly quite surprised that Sony doesn't seem to be offering to continue support for the game.
HINT HINT. WINK WINK.
As an acclaimed exclusive title, you'd think Sony would want to be able to continue to advertise the game as a selling-point for the PS3 (at least until the PS4 is announced/released). Frankly, I don't understand why Sony isn't willing to pick up the cost of maintaining the servers just for the PR and sales boost. I know several people who bought PS3s strictly for the purpose of playing Demon's Souls.
UPDATE (June 1, 2012): Servers to stay online "indefinitely"
It was just brought to my attention that the online servers for Demon's Souls are going to remain active past the previously-announced May 31st deadline. I guess enough people went out and bought the game in the hopes of playing it before the shut-down that Atlus decided to keep things going! Keep up the good work, Demon's Souls fans!
Demon's Souls server operation has been extended by Atlus indefinitely!