Atlas Games has announced that they have set a sunset on the Ars Magica 5th edition game, which coincides with the resignation of the line editor David Chart, and the announcement of the last few books due for publication in 2015-16 and some tie-in products with Ars Magica flavour through 2016.
The community response was mixed, although generally very supportive. Some commenters in the official forums spoke of their disappointment, and the fact that the game is now dying by default. Here is my short post from the forums on the subject:
The idea that a game is dying because it has announced it’s last (future) books is reasonable for big games, but probably isn’t the right model for Ars. A big game like DnD will do that as we’ve seen.
I think the Ars situation is different because the most of the active online community is already on the forums, and every book can be purchased just as easily from an online retailer than from a store. Sure small shops might needs special order, fine, get it online. Ars is a very very niche audience, so the market is not going to fold up much smaller than it already is. 5th edition games will still be played for a long while after today – consider how long it took to migrate from 4th to 5th edition. Consider too that the game has a very large body of work, and that the body of work has never depended on publishing module series books (like A1-4, D1-3 in the dnd days).
To be frank – the publishers really also need (a) time to let 5e settle and continue to be played after the book releases, (b) time to prep any 6e work, (c) time to assess if they wish to continue the line from a profitability perspective.
Atlas have worked darn hard to keep Ars going, give them their due.