The First Big Free to Play iOS Game Comes Full Circle: ngmoco’s ‘Eliminate’ Shutting Down on 5/25

2009 was a weird time for the App Store. Free to play games were building steam on other platforms, but the way Apple originally structured the in app purchase mechanic prevented it from being used on anything but paid games and apps. This policy was reversed in mid-October, and only a few hours later ngmoco announced that their (then) upcoming online first person shooter Eliminate would be free.

The game was released a few weeks later, and we posted an extensive guide on it. In a nutshell, Eliminate was a four person first person shooter with a free to play twist. In order to earn credits to buy armor and weapon upgrades, players needed to use their energy supplies. Energy depleted as you played, and, obviously, an in-game store sold all the energy that players could ever need if they didn’t wait to wait to recharge.

Being among the first free to play games available, and actually being the first gamer-centric freemium game on the App Store, Eliminate seemed to spawn a massive community of players overnight. In fact, the Eliminate thread on our forums is still amongst the most popular TouchArcade threads of all time, running closely behind the Street Fighter IV Volt thread and the Pocket Frogs trading thread.

A TouchArcade reader sent a tip in over the weekend that not only had Eliminate been pulled from the App Store, but launching the game now results in the above popup. On May 25th, 2012, Eliminate is going offline. It’s sad to see not only this game, but also ngmoco as a company coming full circle. We’ve been covering ngmoco since their inception, as it seemed to many (myself included) that they were the most promising contender to be the premiere iOS-exclusive game developer.

In early 2010 the company then picked up some additional financial steam and bought Freeverse, which was yet another incredibly promising iOS developer that has since vanished. Later that year, Japanese social gaming giant rolled ngmoco up into their proverbial katamari at the potential price of $400m… Then things started to take a slide.

The Epic Wars series of games were the first projects to be shut down by ngmoco, leaving faithful players (who potentially invested heavily into the game) in the cold. News of games releases, or really, any activity from the company dried up until earlier this year we heard the company was hit with layoffs. Inside Mobile Games even suggested that they missed the financial targets of the $400m buyout, putting the bulk of that purchase price in jeopardy.

If nothing else, the shut down of Eliminate is yet another reminder that the money you spend on these server-centric free to play title is buying you things that only persist as long as the developers keep the game online. If you’ve dumped cash into Eliminate, be sure to get your money’s worth playing the game before it goes offline next month.

Thanks Payam!