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    Aug 31, 2016

    S'pore's first big PC game to shut down on Dec 1

    ON DEC 1, virtual gunfire will cease and squads will stand down as the online servers for the video game Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Phantoms are closed permanently.

    The game was released in 2014 to much fanfare here as it was developed by Ubisoft Singapore. The local arm of the French multinational video game developer and publisher employs over 300 staff, of whom over half are Singaporean.

    Oo Gin Lee, a PR consultant and former gaming journalist, said: "It was Singapore's first big PC game. Even though we have had international studios like LucasArts and Koei Tecmo here, no local studio created a blockbuster from the ground up for the global market."

    Ghost Recon Phantoms is an online first person shooter, in which two teams vie to capture points on a virtual map.

    While the game is free to play, one can pay to acquire better in-game equipment.

    A spokesman for Ubisoft Singapore said: "We decided to close down Ghost Recon Phantoms because it didn't reach the same level of interest or ongoing engagement we observe with our other games."

    Ubisoft declined to reveal player figures. It also develops and publishes other games such as the Assassin's Creed franchise and other Tom Clancy games like The Division and Rainbow Six Siege.

    The spokesman said: "Ubisoft employees who formerly worked on this game have already moved to new challenges within the company."

    Datu YogaBrata, a game designer at the Singapore University of Technology and Design's Game Lab, said: "Hosting online games involves a substantial amount of regular cost. In the event that revenue is not enough from a business point of view, shutting down the game service is a common decision."

    Other notable online games that have shut down include Star Wars Galaxies and Final Fantasy XIV.

    Chris Lim Chin Ping, 25, who works for an Internet and mobile platform company, enjoys playing the game with friends as they must work together to achieve goals.

    "There's a small part of me that feels sad that the game is going because at launch it felt like it had good potential," he said. "But the reality is that they could not sustain the needs of the player base."