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Company of Heroes Online to shut down March 31 [Update]

In a major surprise, developer Relic Entertainment and publisher THQ have announced that the online persistent WWII RTS game Company of Heroes Online will shut down on March 31 "to evaluate the next steps for the Company of Heroes series." The game's web site has posted up an FAQ page with more info on the shut down. It states, "After several very successful months we have a wealth of data and feedback that the team at Relic and the wider online team at THQ can digest and use to shape and enhance our future offerings."

Players are no longer able to purchase in-game cash from the site but can use previously purchased cash in the game until March 31. Company of Heroes Online retail cash cards can be redeemed to be used in the game until March 1.

The game started its open beta phase last September and was continuously updated until today's announcement. Indeed the development team added a new map to Company of Heroes Online just last week. Any player who registered to play in the open beta before today will be able to purchase and download Company of Heroes Gold Edition from THQ's online store for just $4.99.

Update: Big Download has gotten off the phone with a THQ PR rep who told us that Company of Heroes Online will be shut down in both North America and Asian territories. The PR rep said that at the moment he was not aware of any layoffs at Relic as a result of the shutdown but such announcements might be reserved for THQ's quarterly financial results which, as it happens, will be announced on Wednesday.

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