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EA shutting down four free-to-play PC games, but Star Wars: The Old Republic is safe

Electronic Arts is ending development on four of its free-to-play Windows PC games and will soon shut them down entirely, the publisher announced today.

The four games in question — Battlefield Heroes (screenshot above), Battlefield Play4Free, FIFA World and Need for Speed World — are "not as popular as they once were," said Patrick Söderlund, executive vice president of EA Studios, in a post on The Beat. Söderlund drew a contrast between those titles and Star Wars: The Old Republic, which he said "continues to have a very enthusiastic and growing player community."

EA will continue operating the four games for the next 90 days: The shutdown will come July 14. EA is now encouraging players to spend their remaining balances of the games' respective microtransaction currencies, and has disabled further purchases of in-game funds.

Three of the four games have been live for years. EA DICE and Easy Studios launched Battlefield Heroes in June 2009, and Battlefield Play4Free in April 2011. EA Black Box (later rebranded Quicklime Games before its closure in 2013) and EA Singapore released Need for Speed World in July 2010. However, EA Canada's FIFA World launched worldwide less than a year ago, in May 2014.

"These were pioneering experiences, and we're humbled that, over the years, so many of you joined us to enjoy the games and the community," said Söderlund. "While we say farewell to these free-to-play titles in the next few months, we are always exploring new concepts and ways to bring great games to more players around the world."

The impending closure of these four titles suggests EA is still figuring out how to take its larger games into the free-to-play space. About two and a half years ago, EA chief operating officer Peter Moore noted that the publisher was dipping its toes into the water with microtransaction-based games like The Old Republic. But regarding EA's more traditional experiences, Moore said, "It's going to be a while before we can say, alright, here's a 15-gig client for free."

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