On Friday, September 20, well-known online gaming software provider Microgaming has announced that it has come to a decision to shut down in 2020 the Microgaming Poker Network (MPN), one of the first and most popular online poker operators.
According to the press release on their site, Microgaming officials stated that since the online poker network is no longer viable, then it will be closed down come next year. There was no specific date revealed regarding the closure of the network, but it is expected to happen during the second quarter of 2020.
This difficult decision to take down the online poker network has come after the company did an extensive review of its online poker product strategy and portfolio, which turned out that MPN no longer fits the company's poker growth strategy. But still, thanks to its existence for over 16 years now, the poker network has been deemed on of the biggest contributors to the prosperity and growth of online poker.
Active players who have been playing on the poker network shall still be able to access their services, up until it will be officially closed down. In the press release, it said, "In the run-up to the network closure, which will be fully detailed on the MPN blog in the coming weeks, access to online tournaments, promotions and cash games will remain available to player."
The announcement to shut down MPN comes briefly after the company released some information concerning bot activity. Bots have been wreaking significant havoc in the online poker world and it's causing a great deal of time, effort and precious resources for operators to deal with them. MPN has discovered a large quantity of bots on their side, and this discovery alone during the extensive review may have been enough for officials to decide that the poker network is no longer viable and thus had to be shut down.
Several other online poker operators have been diligently battling bots discovered on their platforms, with some even coming up with new rules and policies to better address the problem which to some extent had been successful, like partypoker's monthly bot crackdown and their recent player alias change campaign to prevent third-party tracking tools from working.
What Next for Microgaming?
CEO at Microgaming John Coleman said, "The network model no longer fits with our strategic vision for poker, and this is the right time to announce the closure as we focus on redistributing key resources and personnel across the business. While the network will be closing, this is not the end for poker at Microgaming, which is driven to create the most enjoyable entertainment experiences, leading the way with world-class gaming content. Ultimately, this move will help the business to achieve that vision as we follow a new strategic direction for the vertical, details of which will be revealed in due course."
This is indeed very sad news for the online poker community. Once the network is closed, all of the network's independent poker rooms will have to adjust and hopefully a feasible solution will be devised at that time.