Bandai Namco's free-to-play - sorry *vomits* free-to- drift - racing game Ridge Racer Driftopia's year-long beta (opens in new tab) will come to an end in around 60 days. Normally that would be the time when a game graduates from beta to, er, 'the one after beta', otherwise known as 'released'. That's not happening here: Namco Bandai Namco (delete as applicable) have announced that they're to take the project offline instead. By August 15th, Driftopia's servers will be shut down, while its Steam Early Access page (opens in new tab) will presumably be Old Yellered in the back of the head. Given the staggering number of negative reviews on that linked page, I shan't think people are going to miss it.
Bandai Namco delivered the news as confusingly as possible, stating that "Ridge Racer Driftopia's open beta will be finished in 60 days," and that "by August 15th, servers will be turned off and the game will no longer be in Early Access". The ambiguous wording offers a glimmer of hope (if indeed hope is the right word) that the beta might return in some form - however, a post on the official Ridge Racer fan Facebook page (opens in new tab) is much less ambiguous, suggesting that any feedback gathered during the beta will be put towards existing or future games, rather than this one:
"The spin-off and first free-to-play game of the RIDGE RACER series has been made available in September 2013 with an early access on PC Steam.
"We thank all the players who joined the Open Beta for their participation, support and dedication. Your feedbacks will be invested in our existing and upcoming projects to deliver you thrilling and exiting experiences.
"From June 19th, all in game purchases will be disabled. Previously purchased content will remain available in-game until August 15th. By August 15th, servers will be turned off and the game will no longer be available."
Here's hoping that, if Ridge Racer does return as a free-to-play game someday, Bandai Namco and Bugbear manage to do so without alienating quite so much of the series' vocal fanbase. (Thanks, RPS (opens in new tab) .)