LucasArts and Sony Online Entertainment has confirmed that the MMORPG Star Wars Galaxies is to close on 15 December, ending more than 8 years of online gameplay.

The announcement came via emails to current subscribers of the game, of which there was estimated to be more than 1 million at one point - although there are unconfirmed reports that this number fell as low as 10,000 during 2006.

However, the closure is due to licensing issues rather than dwindling numbers according to SOE boss John Smedley.

"Populations have stayed pretty steady for a long time now. In fact, we recently merged a bunch of servers to help the prime-time population," he said

"The decision to shut down SWG is first and foremost a business decision mutually agreed upon between SOE and LucasArts," he added.

However, it's not all bad news for PC gaming Star Wars fans, with Smedley confirming that a new title was in the works.

"There's another Star Wars MMO entering the market, and I think it's going to be terrific," he said. "It's going to fill a large hole, and we're certainly happy to see Star Wars players be taken care of and get into a game that's going to be great."

And, if you don't want to get on board with another Star Wars online title, you could always just use the force for Operation Star Wars R2-D2 Edition.