It looks like that unfortunate US Trademark law has reared it's ugly head once again. MLP: online was hit with a request to take down their game a few weeks ago after releasing their first episode, and unfortunately had to comply.
As noted in their release, this isn't technically Hasbro's fault. Due to specific requirements when dealing with their trademark, they are forced to take down things that violate it, or they lose it. I do wonder how that pertains to other games though, or what causes a legal team to "notice" something. There are quite a few of them out there, many of which are heavily advertised on the ponynets.
Have the exact announcement released today after the break, or hit it up here!
"Just over a month ago, we released our first episode of our game. After a year and a half since the outset of the project, we were happy to present our first Episode to you. Though our servers suffered, we were pleased with the response and the great feedback we received!
Shortly after that–exactly 4 weeks prior to now–we received a complaint about copyright and trademark infringement. We initially dismissed this it was most likely submitted by some trolls, as they could be submitted anonymously by anyone through our CDN. However, we continued to look into it, and by the following Monday, found it to be very real.
Hasbro is not to be blamed here. As per U.S. Trademark law, as soon as an infringement comes to light, they are obligated to defend the trademark, or they will lose it. They had no choice in the matter, regardless of what they thought of the project or how it benefited them.
The matter was quite strict: there was little that we could do to work around it. We removed the download link and development was suspended. Discussions continued through the month, but it came down to one fact: MLP:Online had come to an end.
MLP:Online: April 2011-November 2012. RIP.
We apologize for the wait. The time that we were taking for our discussions and to announce this publicly was time-boxed. Salty will be posting a eulogy about the project.
But all hope is not lost. While MLPOnline is officially dead and buried, the team is mostly sticking together. Some took their leave due to real-life considerations, but about 75% of the old team remains. We've officially changed our name to Starlight Studios, as per a team vote last week. We have selected a new project. It is pony related, but otherwise we're keeping most of the details secret. It is our goal to have it completed by Bronycon 2013, though this may be ambitious.
You should expect to see something unveiled this summer."