The Microsoft era for Minecraft studio Mojang has brought about the developer’s first casualty.
Mojang is stopping production on its collectible-card game Scrolls. The developer released the Echoes add-on pack earlier this month, and it has confirmed that it will release no further new content for the game. This brings Mojang back to one active game, which is the phenomenally popular Minecraft block-building adventure release.
“The launch of the Scrolls beta was a great success,” reads an announcement on Scrolls.com. “Tens of thousands of players battled daily, and many of them remain active today. Unfortunately, the game has reached a point where it can no longer sustain continuous development.”
While Mojang is pulling off of active development for Scrolls, it isn’t abandoning the game completely.
“We won’t be adding features or sets from now on, though we are planning to keep a close eye on game balance,” reads the announcement. “Scrolls will still be available to purchase for the time being, and our servers will run until at least July 1, 2016.”
To encourage players to feel comfortable spending money on Scrolls, Mojang promised that any revenue the game makes will go right back into keeping it operational.
Scrolls is just one of a number of digital card games to hit the market in recent years. Mojang announced it was working on Scrolls back in 2011, and it published the beta in June 2013. But Scrolls never fully caught on with a mass audience. It definitely didn’t attract Minecraft-levels of success (nothing really does), but it also didn’t do as well as something like publisher Blizzard’s Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft card battler. That game debuted on PCs and Macs in 2014 (after appearing in beta in 2013), building an audience that has now expanded to include iOS and Android — and more than 30 million registered players.
But while Scrolls never got off the ground, other companies are looking at the card-gaming space. During the Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show, publisher Bethesda announced it is planning to release a card game based on The Elder Scrolls franchise that brought us Skyrim. During the same show, Electronic Arts revealed it is making Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, a digital collectible-card game based on the classic sci-fi film series.
Developers and publishers obviously see money in this space, but Mojang — which has all the momentum in the world — should prove that it’s not the easiest market to break into.