GDPR spells closure for free-to-play shooter Loadout

Developer says new regulations are a "major burden" for small studios doing business in EU

The upcoming implementation of GDPR has forced another video game to shut down, this time in the form of online shooter Loadout.

Released for PC and PlayStation 4 in 2014, the free-to-play game was developed by US studio Edge of Reality and focused on over-the-top multiplayer battles. It has been played by more than nine million people since its closed beta in 2012, but will shut down on May 24th - the day before GDPR comes into effect.

In a community update on the game's Steam Page, Edge of Reality CEO and co-founder Rob Cohen explained that the studio does not have the resources to make Loadout compliant with the new privacy regulations - especially since the studio doesn't exist any more.

Loadout, while popular with its audience, has not been overly successful commercially, with the revenues generated just enough to keep server costs running. In fact, in a forum post last year Cohen revealed that Edge of Reality was wound down after Loadout continued to lose money.

The game has been able to remain active until now, but the impending change to GDPR makes this no longer feasible. GDPR is not the only factor behind the game's closure, but appears to be a significant one and an influence on various other "death blows" that Cohen detailed.

Loadout relied on "an old product from our main cloud provider", which is also ending its service. While Cohen could not confirm this is due to GDPR, he believes it is likely a factor. Porting Loadout to the newer product and adding new features to make it GDPR compliant would be a "major undertaking", according to the CEO.

Cohen also noted that the rise of cloud products getting discontinued is increasing server costs, while Loadout revenues remain flat. Since a large portion of Loadout players are based in the EU, there is no way to maintain the game without meeting GDPR requirements so the game will close by the end of the month.

"The well-intended GDPR legislation creates major burdens for small companies to do business in the EU," Cohen wrote. "We still protect your privacy, and we wouldn't dream of doing otherwise. We just don't have the resources to overhaul Loadout and implement new features to meet a large list of new requirements."

In the post, Cohen thanked the community of loyal players, the development team and supporters are Steam, PlayStation and Playfab for making Loadout possible.

It's likely we will see more online games suffer similar fates this month. Already the developers behind Super Monday Night Combat have been forced to close their game ahead of GDPR.

We recently posted a three-part guide to GDPR by legal experts Purewal & Partners, breaking down everything you need to know about ensuring your game meets the new requirements. The guide includes an overview of the new regulations, a closer look at how it affects digital entertainment, and a handy FAQ.

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Latest comments (4)

Nicholas Lovell Founder, Gamesbrief4 years ago
I wouuld be cautious about taking the "It's because of GDPR" rhetoric from these studios at face value.

For many years, UK politicians have framed any unpopular decision as "It's the EU's fault, my hands are tied" but popular ones that the EU is initiated as "Look at what we've done for you."

This is similar. The game is financially barely breakeven. I see that GDPR is a proximate factor, but it is just accelerrating the moment in time when this would happen.

I think GDPR is fundamentally a good thing. I would hate for the impression to be that it is "killing the games I like" when the reality is more complicated than that.
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Casey Anderson Product Manager, Big Fish Games4 years ago
We'll see a lot more of this until the uncertainty that GDPR is creating is resolved.
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Christopher Dring Publisher, GamesIndustry.biz4 years ago
GDPR is clearly a good thing in principle, but it's causing huge headaches that it wasn't intended for. Yesterday, I was told the Royal Mail isn't sure if it will be able to forward on letters anymore as it isn't able to process that information without consent.

The problem isn't people who do not want to opt-in - losing those people harms nothing and clears up a database so it's just valuable users that remain - but it's those that actually don't mind receiving those messages, but don't feel they have the time (or can't be bothered) to click on a link and resubscribe. That's not going to be a small number either.

We're talking thousands of lost genuine customers. For those operating on small profit margins, that could be the difference between life and death.
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Avery Alix Director of Product, NCsoft West4 years ago
@Nicholas Lovell: Agreed, and ditto SMNC.
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