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Ghost Recon Phantoms, the free-to-play online shooter that debuted in 2012 as Ghost Recon Online, is closing for good on December 1. The decision was made following a slow but steady decline in users over the past couple of years that left its average concurrent player count for the last 30 days at just a little over 800.
After more than four years of battles, fights, deaths and a lot of fun, we have made the difficult decision to close Ghost Recon Phantoms. It s a tough day for our studio and indeed the team, some of whom have been working on this project since its inception some 7 years ago, Ubisoft wrote in the closure announcement.
GR Phantoms has been a tremendous undertaking and we really relished the opportunity to bring to you a different take on the GR franchise. We are proud of what we have achieved but of course, a game like this would be nothing without its community. We d like to sincerely thank you for your support, enthusiasm, patience and above all, your loyalty. For the hours played, the fun in your company, the never ending deaths at Balaklava Sub-Pen, the fights to control Tomsk-9, the sounds of shotguns and the fear of the P90 SD WAR, we are grateful.
The message doesn't mention why the plug is being pulled, but Ubisoft said in the shutdown FAQ that Ghost Recon Phantoms was not as successful as we had hoped for.
A game always has different factors that influence its success, internally as well as externally. We can't pinpoint one or more reasons that easily, it says. In the end the game reached the last cycle of its development. As for a possible follow-up, Ubisoft said that Phantoms has been developed as far as we could take it, and a sequel or successor of any sort is unlikely to happen.
Ghost Recon Phantoms, and the in-game shop, will remain online until December 1, but Ghost Coins will no longer be available for purchase. There will also be no refunds offered on leftover virtual currency, or conversion of that currency to a different game, so if you've got it, you might as well spend it.
Electronic Arts has given up on its attempt to trademark the word ghost, which caused something of an uproar when it came to light in January.
EA wanted to trademark the word for its Ghost Games studio, the maker of the new Need for Speed game, while Ubisoft, publisher of the Ghost Recon games, not so spookily opposed the move. But in a filing dated February 24, EA formally withdrew the application, without prejudice, with Opposer's [Ubisoft's] consent.
As NeoGAF points out, the withdrawal filing only applies to serial number 86568854, for Computer game software; Downloadable computer game software via a global computer network and wireless devices; Video game software. A second application, under serial number 86568852, for Entertainment services, namely, providing an on-line computer game; Provision of information relating to electronic computer games provided via the Internet, remains in place but will presumably be withdrawn soon as well.
No specific reasons for the withdrawal of the application were given, but an EA rep indicated that the matter has been concluded to everyone's satisfaction. "We now have an agreement with Ubisoft to carry on with our respective trademarks," he said. "Nothing will change with respect to our use of the Ghost Games studio name."
Ubisoft and Electronic Arts appear to be caught up in a low-level but interesting beef over a trademark filing for the word ghost. Back in March 2015, EA applied to trademark the term for its Ghost Games studio, currently working on Need for Speed, relating to entertainment services, namely, providing an on-line computer game [and] provision of information relating to electronic computer games provided via the Internet." Ubisoft, naturally, is against the idea.
Ubisoft first published opposition to the trademark application in August 2015, but the legal action was only filed on January 29. In it, Ubi's lawyers point out that the publisher has been using the Ghost Recon mark since November 13, 2001, long before Applicant [EA] filed the Applications on March 18, 2015 and long before Applicant's November 19, 2013 claimed date of first use. Furthermore, the goods and services covered by the trademark—the providing an on-line computer game and so forth—are identical and highly related to the goods and services offered by Opposers [Ubisoft] in connection with the Ghost Recon marks.
Applicant's Mark so resembles Opposer's Ghost Recon marks alleged herein as to be likely, when used in connection with the goods and services identified in the Applications, to cause confusion, to cause mistake, or to deceive, the opposition filing states. Consumers are likely to believe, mistakenly, that the goods and services Applicant offers under Applicant's Mark are provided, sponsored, endorsed, or approved by Opposers, or are in some way affiliated, connected, or associated with Opposers, all to the detriment of Opposers.
This is actually the second bit of trademark trouble EA has run into recently; in January is came to light that it had abandoned a trademark filing for the upcoming puzzle platformer Unravel, because of a conflict with a children's tabletop game called Beary's Unravel Games. Despite not being granted that trademark, EA said Unravel's title will not change, and I suspect that Ghost Games will remain so named regardless of how this all works out. EA has until March 9 to file its answer to the opposition.