Of course, trying something new always comes with a risk," the company explains. "Three months after the launch we have to admit that the subscription rate is lower than what we expected and therefore the Planet Offer is no longer sustainable."
"We decided to put an end to the Planet Offer on March 8th 2010. It will no longer be possible to subscribe to the game starting Monday February 1st 2010."
To explain what will happen to current players, an FAQ was provided:
When will the servers go down exactly?
The game servers will be closed on March 8 2010 at 0:00 GMT. The website will stay up but will change to reflect the new state of the game. That change will occur progressively during the weeks leading to the actual game servers' closure.
What are your plans for CXL? Will you keep supporting the game and release patches? Will you release additional content for the solo game now? When? And at what price tag?
Cities XL will be refocused as a solo game. The current online game will be supported until it ends; but until Cities XL 2011 is released no new content or patches will be published either for the current online game or solo game.
What will become of existing PO-specific content, such as avatar mode, Megastructures or specific maps? What about already released content packs (Old England buildings, bus system...)?
The avatar mode is tied to the online game, and it will disappear with it. The Bus will be included in the new solo version. The Blueprints gameplay will be redesigned and retrofitted to be part of Cities XL 2011. Actual megastructures will be spread through multiple paid content packs.
What exactly will be included in the new content packs? When will they be released and at what price?
Three theme content packs will be released: Europe, America and Asia. Their content will include all of the current Planet offer exclusive contents (buildings and maps), plus the megastructures, as well as new content.
Note: The Bus will be included in the new solo game.
The packs as well as Cities XL 2011 will be released simultaneously on our site as digital downloads. Their exact content and their prices will be announced in the next few weeks. We intend to keep the prices very reasonable.
Does the end of PO mean any kind of changes to solo gameplay? (e.g: more map slots, ability to trade between cities...)
The core solo gameplay will not change a lot but it will see many improvements in Cities XL 2011.
The trade system will be included in Cities XL 2011 so it will become possible to trade between your own cities and specialise them the same way you would do in Planet gameplay. It will also enable you to use Blueprints and build Megastructures. The current map selection system will be redone in favour of a planet system; it will also include 10 more maps.
What will become of the current solo game? Will the account activation & login still work?
Your current solo cities will be compatible with the new solo system allowing you to seamlessly continue playing your cities.
We will keep the authentication scheme the same way it works now.
I liked the social aspects of PO. Will you keep some of the web features up? (Profile page, trading, CJs...)
The current site features are tied to the Planet offer and they will end with it on March 8. However the trading gameplay and tokens exchanges will be possible in the Cities XL 2011.
What are your plans to keep the community active? Can we expect the game to open more to modding and custom content?
Although the online game comes to an end the community still lives on and we plan to support it the same way we have always done.
As for game modifications and custom content: this has always been part of our plans, and the end of the Planet offer does not change that at all. Quite the opposite in fact: we had to put restrictions in place regarding that to avoid potential cheating and abuses online. Now that the game is focused on solo gameplay it will be easier for everyone to make modifications and create and share custom content.
Current Planet Offer subscribers
What will happen to existing cities? Will I have an option to convert them and play them in solo?
Cities XL 2011 will be a new version of the game, with plenty of new features. As such it will require new cities.
Moreover, there is no way for us to automatically supply your cities with the equivalent trades you set up with your friends online.
However, if you really want to, we have a manual and risky process to import Planet Offer cities into your Solo mode. We'll share this process in a short article in the coming weeks.
Be warned that this process will be totally unsupported by Monte Cristo.
Will my profile page and City Journals be kept online on the www.citiesxl.com website after the closing down of the servers?
The Profile pages and city journals were tied to the success of the online offer, and they will be closed with it on March 8.
I have already subscribed to PO to support the game. Will I have to pay again for DLC so that I can access content such as Old England buildings?
As a Planet Offer subscriber, once Cities XL 2011 will be released you will be automatically granted with all the content present in the European Pack which will include new maps, Megastructures and the Old England building pack.
Also, the Bus will be included in the solo game which will be automatically patched on march 8 2010.