Sony Online Entertainment announced today through a post by Producer Daniel "Walrus" Myers that they will be shutting down The Matrix Online on July 31, 2009 for which the game's live staff will be preparing an end-of-the-world event.
Here is Myers' "All Good Things Must End" post from the official forums:
In May 2004, I embarked upon a journey. I decided to take the red pill in a big way-I became the online community lead for The Matrix Online. Later that year, many of you joined me as you jacked in for the first time. It was a brand new world-a vision of online games that didn't involve elves, spaceships, or dragons. We became part of the Matrix storyline; living our own adventures in the world painted by the movies.
It seems not so long ago I was jumping into Mara Central and going toe-to-toe with other devs at E3 2004. I had no idea this journey would take me to a whole different company, managing a major revision of the game, and my first producing gig. "Long, strange trip" doesn't describe the half of it.
Now we've seen how far the rabbit hole goes and it's time to wake up from that dream (or go back to sleep, depending how you look at it). On July 31, 2009, we will be jacking out for the last time. It's a bittersweet moment for everyone involved with the game; as a player or as a developer.
It has been a good run. Where many games have fizzled out before or shortly after launch, by August we will have lived on in our home at SOE for more than 4 years. To this day, I have never worked with a community as dedicated as The Matrix Online community.
I'll be at Fan Faire this year showing The Agency and hanging out with any redpills making the trip. The past couple years have been a blast, so I hope to see some of you there again..
The team will also be whipping up an end-of-the-world event. It won't be quite the same as having over 100 developers in the game as Agents like when we ended beta, but we have 4 years of tricks up our sleeve. It'll be a chance to revisit all the things that make MxO the memorable experience it is. And how could we pull the plug without crushing everyone's RSI just one more time?
I have a lot of fond memories from my years working on MxO. We've had a good time in the Machines' little playground and will be sad to see it end. I hope everyone enjoys the last few months of playing The Matrix Online.
See you on the other side.
Community Relations Manager Joel "Raijinn" Sasaki followed up with a shutdown FAQ detailing the account refunds and transitioning to other Station games:
What happens to all the code/data for The Matrix Online?
Sony Online Entertainment and Warner Brothers will retain all of the code and data from The Matrix Online.
Can someone open an emulated server for The Matrix Online?
Sony Online Entertainment and Warner Brothers hold the copyrights for The Matrix Online stories and data so creating a fan owned and operated emulated MxO server would be against those copyrights.
What happens to the staff that made The Matrix Online?
Staff that were involved with The Matrix Online will transition over to new projects and responsibilities at SOE.
How are The Matrix Online subscriptions refunded? / I just re-subscribed, how will I get a refund?
As of June 1, 2009 any currently entitled active player with an account in billing will not be billed again. For players who have previously purchased prepaid subscription time via a multi-month subscription service, SOE game time card or other retail game time card that extends the service period past June 1, 2009, SOE will refund these accounts for the unused time and where indicated will mail refund checks to the current billing address on the account. Please be sure to update your email and physical address in your Station Account as this will be critical to the refund process.
Are The Matrix Online subscribers going to be compensated for their loyalty to the game?
On July 31, 2009 at 11:59PM PST the ability to play The Matrix Online will cease. We encourage players to transition their active service to one of the other SOE games available for trial during the transition period of June 1 through August 1, 2009.
Will The Matrix Online be at Fan Faire?
While there won't be any official panels at Fan Faire 2009, there will be many Sony Online Entertainment staff members that have worked on or supported The Matrix Online who would enjoy hearing your favorite in-game memories from your adventures in Mega City.
Will The Matrix Online story come to a conclusion when the servers are shut down?
The final days of The Matrix Online will include revisiting some of the great events experienced in-game, leading up to a climactic final event.
Will the MxO Website, Players Pages, and Forums be available after the service shuts down?
The main The Matrix Online page will not be available after June 1, 2009 and the MxO Players Pages will be available through July 31, 2009. The MxO Forums will be available for a short period of time after the service shuts down and there will be an update posted there at that time as to how long they will be available.
Without a doubt, The Matrix Online did enjoy a respectable four-year run and outlasted many bigger MMOs, but it is still surprising that SOE decided to scrap MxO in particular while many lesser games remain on their Station list.
Our deepest condolences to MxO's residents, it seems the machines will win this war afterall. Good bye, Mr Anderson.