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Nintendo Switch Online Game is Shutting Down

May 18, 2023 World Industry Updates

A popular Nintendo Switch Online exclusives is poised to close its doors in late 2023 after over two years on the market.

Pac-Man 99 has been announced to officially be ending its services near the tail-end of 2023. Pac-Man 99 was originally released on April 7th, 2021 as a Nintendo Switch Online exclusive.

The original Pac-Man was a monster hit when it dropped back in 1980 and over the past 43 years has since become a high-profile franchise, garnering a multitude of both maze-like and genre-bending spin-offs, including a fan-favorite trilogy of 3D platformers, and even a child-friendly reboot with a Disney XD tie-in. But the original game and its early spin-offs has been ported to and remade for countless platforms in its time. One of the most interesting reimaginings to date was an exclusive to the Nintendo Switch Online service, titled Pac-Man 99, as the franchise’s first foray into the Battle Royale genre. As the title suggests, up to ninety-nine players complete simultaneously to clean out the mazes, knocking ghosts onto other players’ maps by eating them on their own.

Nintendo announced that Pac-Man 99 will be delisted from the eShop in October 2023, but in actuality, the shutdown will take place step by step across three months. In August, the ability to purchase the game’s custom skins will be removed, followed by the DLC in September. Finally, the game as a whole will be delisted in October, with all of its online functionalities shut down. Unlike what happened with Super Mario Bros. 35, however, the game’s offline modes will still remain playable, and any custom themes and already purchased DLC can still be used or redownloaded.

Still, many fans in the comments appeared disheartened by this news, with some noting that the game’s removal effectively lowers the value of the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service, which was already seen as inferior to the alternatives seen on PlayStation and Xbox. Game preservation has never been the industry’s strong suit, with Nintendo being among the worst offenders, but with Namco showing unprecedented love for the Pac-Man IP even nowadays, one shouldn’t rule out the possibility of a rerelease somewhere down the line.

In recent years, battle royales have quickly become the trendiest video game genre, following collectathons, first-person shooters, and most recently open-world games. Whether it be through completely original IPs or through new variants of popular, often retro titles, there is no end in sight. Given the success of Pac-Man 99 and others like it even after their inevitable shutdowns, it’s anyone’s guess as to just how far the genre will go, or how long such games will last.

Pac-Man 99 will be shut down on October 10th, 2023.

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