The news was posted just moments ago on the official forums along with a more in-depth FAQ:
Hello Adventurer, today we are very sad to announce that LEGO Universe will be closing on January 31, 2012. This was a very difficult decision to make, but unfortunately LEGO Universe has not been able to attract the number of members needed to keep the game open.Unfortunately, this closure means that the associated studios, including one in Colorado and one in Denmark, will be shuttered and 115 employees will be affected. LEGO Universe launched in October 2010 and converted to a free-to-play model this past August. We've included the official press release behind the break.
We are thankful to have had the opportunity to share this adventure wiith an amazing community of players. We hope you will continue to enjoy LEGO Universe for the last few months. As a thank you, if you are a paying subscriber on December 31, 2011, we will provide you the full game for the final month for free.
Again, we want to thank the fantastic community of players who made LEGO Universe such a vibrant, fun and creative experience.
The LEGO Universe Team
LEGO® Universe to close in 2012
Online game will close on January 31, 2012. The LEGO Group's digital offerings will continue to develop over the coming years.
November 4, 2011 - The LEGO Group today announced that it will close LEGO® Universe, an MMOG (massively-multiplayer online game) that has been in operation since the autumn of 2010.
In spite of very positive player feedback and a large number of players in the free play zone, it has not been possible to convert a satisfactory number of players to paying subscribers. It has therefore been decided to close the game as of January 31, 2012.
"The LEGO Universe team can take pride in having developed and launched a great LEGO experience that many players will miss," said Jesper Vilstrup, Vice President, LEGO Universe. "Right now, we have almost 2 million players in LEGO Universe, and we get extremely positive feedback from players. Unfortunately, we have not been able to build a satisfactory revenue model in our target group, and therefore, have decided to close the game."
Despite the change, the ambition to develop and run a digital business remains. In future, it is the intention to further pursue cooperation with partners. The LEGO Group has a strong and continuing partnership with TT Games & Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment to create digital LEGO experiences within video games. A further expansion in the digital area will mainly be based on similar partnerships.
"The development of our digital offerings continues to be a very important element in our strategy," said Mads Nipper, Executive Vice President, LEGO Group. "We have more than 20 million visitors on www.LEGO.com every month, and LEGO video games are among the bestselling children's video games with sales of more than 60 million units in the last five years. Through our experience developing and running LEGO Universe, we have gained a lot of valuable insights, and we have a very strong foundation for future development in the digital area."
As a consequence of the closure, the LEGO Universe staff has today been informed that the 'Play Well Studios' in Louisville, Colorado and the game's marketing function in Billund, Denmark will be closed. This will affect 115 employees. All affected employees will be offered assistance in finding new jobs inside or outside the LEGO Group.