From EA has posted an online status update on its website informing gamers that another twelve titles are losing online functionality. On March 16, 2010 online service will shutdown for players of ‘Lord of the Rings: Conquest for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360’.

EA has been keen to stress it doesn’t take these shutdowns lightly, and only carries them out on games that just aren’t popular anymore:

“The games scheduled for shutdown in March and April 2010 represent less than 0.3% of all peak online players across all EA titles. Despite some people’s perception, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work involved with keeping these older games up and running. We would rather our hard-working engineering and IT staff focus on keeping a positive experience for the other 99.7% of customers playing our more popular games. These decisions to retire games is never easy.”


From It’s been a rough year for the industry, but few companies have taken it on the chin like Electronic Arts. Today the publisher released its financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended March 31, showing that the company limped to the finish line in a year that saw it lose more than a billion dollars. EA’s financial results were almost as grisly as a good round of Left 4 Dead….

…For the fourth quarter on its own, EA posted sales of $860 million, down nearly 24 percent from the previous fourth quarter’s $1.13 billion haul. Those sales were led by Skate 2, Rock Band 2, The Lord of the Rings: Conquest, Left 4 Dead, and Need for Speed: Undercover. The good news for the publisher was that it has a net loss of only $42 million during the three-month stretch, compared with $94 million during the same period last year. EA posts $1 billion annual loss

It appears that Frodo is coming home. Not to the Shire, but to Warner Bros. Though neither company said anything about it, New Line’s licensing deal with Electronic Arts for “Lord of the Rings” games expired at the end of last year. Originally set to end in 2007, the two companies agreed on an extension that March until the end of 2008 (the pact also included literary rights holder Tolkien Enterprises). The last game released under the deal was January’s poorly received, soft selling “Lord of the Rings: Conquest” (one of the reasons the game turned out so badly may have been that developer Pandemic had to get it done before EA’s rights expired at the end of 2008, though apparently the publisher got a two-week reprieve to release it in early January).

Since EA first got its hands on the “Lord of the Rings” license back in 2001, New Line has transitioned from an independent studio under the Time Warner corporate umbrella to a label for Warner Bros., which now handles most of its business operations. Warner, of course, has its own videogame unit, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, that has grown from a licensing unit to a full-fledged publisher with its own slate of AAA titles. Lord of the Rings game rights now at Warner Bros.

LOTR: Conquest Screenshot 1

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Pandemic Studios, the geeks behind Star Wars: Battlefront I & II, Mercenaries, Destroy All Humans, and other titles contacted us a while back giddy with excitement over their new project ‘Lord of the Rings: Conquest’. This is setting up to be the battle game to end all battle games, I sat with game director Eric “Giz” Gewirtz to talk about it. Take a look! Continue reading “What is “THE LORD OF THE RINGS: CONQUEST”? Pandemic Studios’ Eric “Giz” Gewirtz Tells Us About It!”