The long-running Star Wars MMO, Star Wars Galaxies is to shut down on December 15, 2011, Sony Online Entertainment has announced. The game launched back in June 2003.

The game's official website states: "SOE and LucasArts have mutually agreed that the end of 2011 is the appropriate time" to close the game's servers.

"We are extremely grateful to all of the SWG fans," read the announcement. "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."

Extended subscription packages will be turned off now and the TCG store is also closed for new business. On September 15 Galaxies and its related trading card game will no longer be available for sale and no new or reactivated accounts will be taken. Billing will switch off on October 15.

The game will, however, go out with a "galaxy-changing in-game event".

"We're going to end with a bang and we want the final chapter of the galaxy to be written in part by the dedicated and passionate SWG community," explained SOE. Look out for more details at a later date.

As a thank you to players, SOE is offering all those with active subs a free two month trial of any of the following between October 15 and December 31: Free Realms, Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures, EverQuest, EverQuest II and DC Universe Online.

It could just be a coincidence, but the timing of the closure does seem to coincide with a planned late 2011 launch for EA and BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic.

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