Star Wars Galaxies for the chop in December

As of December, the Force will no longer be with you. Sony has announced that it plans to shut down Star Wars Galaxies – not because it’s losing players, but because its contract with LucasArts is about to come to an end.

It says billing will end in November, with play free for the last couple of months, and is planning a galaxy-ending in-game event to bring the game to a dramatic close. Anyone with a long-term subscription will get a refund.

“The shutdown of SWG is a very difficult decision, but SOE and LucasArts have mutually agreed that the end of 2011 is the appropriate time to end the game,” says Sony in an email to customers.

“We are extremely grateful to all of the SWG fans.  We have had the rare opportunity to host one of the most dedicated and passionate online gaming communities and we truly appreciate the support we’ve received from each and every one of you over the course of the past eight years.”

Players with active Star Wars Galaxies accounts will also be given full access to several other games from October 15 to December 31 for free. These are Free Realms, Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventure, EverQuest I and II and DC Universe.

Hopefully, Star Wars fans shouldn’t have too much downtime. BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic is scheduled for release towards the end of this year or early next.

Star Wars Galaxies was enormously popular when it launched in 2003, and numbers have stayed relatively steady. However, it lost a number of its most dedicated fans after a series of pudates in 2005 dramatically simplified play.