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SOCOM Servers Shutting Down
After almost 10 years of what numerous gamers proclaim has been the “greatest 3rd Person Shooter of all-time”, Sony has announced that the previous generations of the SOCOM servers will close on August 31, 2012.
On August 31, 2012 Sony Computer Entertainment America will be terminating the on-line service for the following PlayStation®2 and PlayStation®Portable (“PSP”) software titles:
PlayStation®2 system: SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs, SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs, SOCOM 3: U.S. Navy SEALs, SOCOM Combined Assault.
PSP system: SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo, SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 2, SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 3, SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Tactical Strike.
Countless SOCOM fans, including myself, have been hoping that a new SOCOM would be announced to mark the 10 year anniversary of the franchise. Instead, the SOCOM servers will be closed 4 days after that milestone. Words cannot express how many amazing memories, friendships, and epic online battles those servers have seen this past decade. Although modern publishers have been known to close their servers after only 1-2 years, the SOCOM franchise has been a beautiful exception to this trend.
The SOCOM fanbase has endured one of the hardest journeys I have ever seen in the gaming industry. We fell in love with an amazing gaming franchise 8-10 years ago, and have achingly watched the series plunge into a 7 year spiral of disappointment. Some fans argue there was fun to be had on the more recent editions, but as whole, the sales figures of each sequel after 2003 has painted a picture that can’t be ignored by most. Revamp after revamp of the series has splintered the SOCOM community into countless viewpoints on what the identity of the franchise is. Decisions made by the developers & the publishers have turned the SOCOM franchise into a rather confused, convoluted mess of bad PR and mediocre reviews. If that wasn’t enough, every single SOCOM ever released was eventually plagued with hackers and coders taking the servers over unchecked. Players who could punch holes into the coding of the game and bypass DNAS authenications completely blurred the line when it came to competition and paranoia. I have never seen a PlayStation franchise hacked harder than the SOCOM series. It just goes to show how addicting the game really was to warrant so much effort just to win.
It has been a frustrating journey for countless SOCOM fans out there. Some have supported the newer additions to keep the franchise alive, while others have boycotted newer releases in protest of unnecessary changes to the franchise. The most important thing to remember here, is that most all of the newer directions aimed at attracting newer gamers to the franchise has fallen on deaf ears. Most mainstream gamers are not interested in a hardcore, tactical shooter at the present, and they surely were not interested in watered versions of the big franchises they already enjoy playing. This has left the diehard fans of the series with a feeling of abandonment and irrelevance as they were forced to watch “the perfect formula” they grew to love transform into something that contradicted the beauty of the first two editions.
To this day, there are still weekly community get-to-togethers on the original SOCOMs, even though monster shooters like COD & Battlefield currently hold the throne. One life per round, clan pride, and a “thinking man’s shooter” take presidence over what numerous SOCOM fans call “ADD shooters”.
The first question I asked myself when receiving this news was a simple one. Why? Why after all these years are the servers just now being closed? Eight SOCOMs have been released since 2002 & 2003, and at times the previous editions held greater numbers online than the newer sequels. The PlayStation.Blog.Share site has “SOCOM 2 HD” as the most requested game on the entire website residing in the “Top 10″. There are still fans 8-10 years later posting, playing, and creating plenty of digital media rooted in the first two versions of SOCOM. Is Sony preparing to announce a new sequel or a remake? Or is this a warning sign that the franchise is to be shelved for an indefinite period of time?
I don’t have those answers, but this is truly a sad day for diehard SOCOM fans worldwide. All we ever wanted was a true sequel, and we’ve waited over 7 years to see it happen. After every disappointment, and after each wave of exodus from the community masses we’ve all witnessed, thousands of fans still patiently await the epic announcement that a true sequel is on the horizon. Personally speaking, I’ve been gaming for over 25 years now, and there is not one franchise out there that has filled the void that the original SOCOMs left behind. Our saving grace throughout the years was having the ability to return to the old servers and re-live the nostalgia that haunts every modern game we touch. And now, that privilege has been ripped from our hands with this announcement.
I forsee quite a whiplash coming soon from the longtime fans out there. After seeing Zipper Interactive recently close it’s doors, and knowing the old servers will be shutdown soon, the lack of hope and the crushing grip of frustration won’t be a surprising reaction. SOCOM fans can be found on every shooter out there across every platform. Some have moved on to greener pastures to keep their clans alive and active, and some have been waiting around the popular SOCOM hangouts to pass the time. But there is one thing they all have in common. They are waiting for a real SOCOM to be announced.
Is this the end of a decade long chapter of the franchise that catapulted online gaming for Sony? And if so, will another chapter be written in the near future?
Thanks goes to Paul_Awol of http://www.socomfan.com/ for emailing me the news.
“The only easy day was yesterday.”
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PlayStation.Blog.Share for SOCOM 2 HD: http://share.blog.us.playstation.com/ideas/2010/03/17/socom-ii-hd/
PlayStation.Blog.Share for SOCOM 1 HD: http://share.blog.us.playstation.com/ideas/2011/07/26/socom-1-hd/