The recently announced shutdown of Tabula Rasa has triggered a lot of emotions and responses among MMO players, ranging from quite upset to more neutral – but hardly anyone consider it a happy and positive event.
This illustrates quite well that the persistent worlds that many consider MMOs to be can also be viewed as a bit transient. While an offline game is available to a player as long as that person has it stored on some accessible media and the equipment to run it, the online games are effectively gone as soon as the operator decides to cease running the game.
I do not think we can have the same expectancy of an online game being around as an offline game you may buy in a store.
It is more like the the availbility of a favourite local movie theater or a store. If the store/movie theater is not making enough money or the owners decides that they want to focus their business in other areas or some other reason they may close down.
Which may of course upset at least parts of the local community; it has been “their” store/movie theater – people have met and have had good and bad experiences and it is part of their memories and lives. Then suddenly that may be taken away.
I think the emotions involved here are quite similar when it comes to online games. And the reasons for something clsoing down may be as diverse as many real life scenarios as well, since in most cases it is a matter of a business. But it is not always perceived as such by the people who use or visit the business.