Star Wars Galaxies will make way for Electronic Arts' Star Wars: The Old Republic. (Damian Dovarganes/AP)

In an interview with Joystiq, Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley said that the recent hack of SOE’s servers was not a factor in the decision. “LucasArts has a new game coming out, and the contract would be running out in 2012 anyway, so we feel like it's the right time for the game to end," he said.

Smedley is almost certainly referring to Electronic Arts’ upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic, due out in the next year or so. That game, which goes by the shorthand SWTOR, is being made by EA’s BioWare division and marks the first time the studio has tried its hand at an MMO.

But Galaxies isn’t planning to go out with a whimper. On the game’s site, SOE said that it’s inviting the entire community to participate in a “galaxy-ending event” to be announced.

And all players will be allowed to play Free Realms, Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures, EverQuest, EverQuest II, and DC Universe Online via the Star Wars Galaxies Web site as fully paid members from Oct. 15 to Dec. 31 free of charge.

The game will go through several stages of shutdown. The first was on Friday, when 12-, 6- and 3-month subscription plans were turned off and the game’s trading card game store was pulled offline.

In September, the MMO and card game will no longer be available for sale or subscription. Billing will be turned off on Oct. 15 ,and all services except for the trials end Dec. 15.

Related stories:

Electronic Arts Bioware server hacked

E3 2011: Mass Effect 3

PHOTOS: Game On at E3