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EA to discontinue online services for several games

Electronic Arts plans to shut down online service for many legacy titles starting as early as next week. Titles include The Lord of the Rings, Madden 10 for the PSP, others.

Electronic Arts has unveiled plans to discontinue online play in several games.

The company will start shutting down online services as early as next week, commencing with The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II on the Xbox 360. On February 8, it will be ending online gaming for a host of titles, including NCAA Football 09 on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360; Madden 10 for the PSP, PlayStation 2, and Nintendo Wii; Fight night Round 3 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360; and many others. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 for the Nintendo Wii will lose online support on March 1.

EA said that about 1 percent of its online gamers will be impacted by its most recent decision. And although those folks will be upset to see their games go, EA feels that it has a responsibility to deliver a better experience to the remaining 99 percent.

"We would rather our hard-working engineering and IT staff focus on keeping a positive experience for the other 99 percent of customers playing our more popular games," the company wrote on its service update page. "These decisions to retire games [are] never easy. The development teams and operational staff pour their hearts into these games almost as much as the customers playing them and it is hard to see one retired."

The affected titles join an already large list of games EA no longer offers online services for, though like the latest list, many of those games are somewhat old.