Fans of the Driveclub games on the PlayStation 4 will no longer be able to play them online next year, as the servers for Driveclub, Driveclub VR, and Driveclub Bikes will be shutting down in 2020.
Driveclub is a racing game for the PlayStation 4 that was released in 2014, with Driveclub VR being released for the PlayStation VR two years later. The Driveclub games have a single player component, but the main draw is multiplayer, which allows players to challenge people from all over the world in a variety of races.
The official PlayStation website has announced that the servers for Driveclub, Driveclub VR, and Driveclub Bikes will be shutting down on March 31, 2020, which means that all of the multiplayer content from the game will no longer be accessible. The online modes are a major part of the appeal of the Driveclub games, so their loss will be a huge impact on the series. All three of the Driveclub games will no longer be sold on August 31, 2019.
The Driveclub titles aren't the only ones that will be affected by server shutdowns, as StarBlood Arena will also be losing all of its multiplayer features on July 25, 2019. StarBlood Arena is an online-only game, which means that it will no longer work following the server shutdown.
Sony Chairman Shaun Layden has said there that would be more of a focus on multiplayer experiences with the PlayStation brand going forward and it's hard to get excited about them when the Driveclub servers are being shut down during the lifespan of the PlayStation 4. It's easy to understand a company shutting down servers for older consoles, but Driveclub is on a system that is still very much alive and is a game that has sold millions of copies, which means that anyone who still enjoys the game online and purchased DLC solely for the multiplayer content is now having that taken away from them.
The fact that some of the paid content in the Driveclub games will no longer work following the server shutdown offers a glimpse at the potential future of streaming-only games, now that Google has announced its upcoming Stadia platform, while Walmart is rumored to be creating a similar service, and Microsoft & Sony may have to embrace streaming in order to keep up.
Streaming games could potentially change the video game industry as we know it, but if games only exist in a streamed form that is coming from an outside source, then the player won't have access to anything they purchase if the service is shut down. The loss of Driveclub's online mode and StarBlood Arena on PlayStation might be offering a glimpse at a future where games will be lost forever when a streaming service shuts down.