The software development company has announced it is going to pull the plug on its poker network but claims “this is not the end for poker at Microgaming”.
For many in the poker industry, the name Microgaming is synonymous with the Microgaming Poker Network (MPN). However, the software development company had been around for almost ten years by the time it started the Prima Poker Network in 2003 (later rebranded to MPN), and claims to have developed the first online casino software in 1994.
Since 2003, MPN has experienced mixed fortunes. It was one of many poker networks to withdraw from the U.S. market following the passage of UIGEA, but found considerable success in Europe; where, through its extensive network of skins, it appeared regularly in the top ten worldwide sites according to PokerScout, with player numbers that would see the network in the top five today.
Unfortunately, due to European regulations, competition from other networks, and the general decline of online poker, the number of players playing at MPN skins has fallen to a third of what it was five years ago. Several skins have closed due to the lack of traffic, while others have moved to networks where their players can enjoy more liquidity at the tables.
MPN Network to Close “Q2 or Q3 2020”
The news that Microgaming was going to close MPN was officially released on the company´s website last Friday. In a brief statement, the company´s CEO – John Coleman – wrote that the network model no longer fits with Microgaming´s “strategic vision”, but that Microgaming was not abandoning poker completely and details of how the poker network would be replaced would be released in due course.
Alex Scott – MPN´s Managing Director – later published a blog “GG WPN WP” in which he elaborated on the reasons for the network´s closure and wrote a short Q&A about when the network might close (“Q2 or Q· 2020”), whether players should withdraw their bankrolls now (No reason to, but you can if you wish”), and what was going to happen to the MPN Poker Tour (“business as usual”).
Scott also put together an extensive thread on Twitter discussing some of the high points and low points of his time at MPN. Among those replying to the thread to share their condolences were the former head of online poker at WSOP.com Bill Rini, Card Player Life´s Robbie Strazynski, and poker pros Marty Mathis, Andres Burget, and Mark Kennedy.
What this Means for Players on MPN Skins
There are currently sixteen major online poker rooms attached to the Microgaming Poker Network, and many of them have already been in touch with players to explain what´s going on. One of the biggest skins on the network – Grosvenor Poker – emailed its database to inform players it will be “moving to an exciting new platform” in the next 6-9 months, while players on 32Red will likely be migrated to the Unibet platform as both 32Red and Unibet are owned by the Kindred Group.
Unfortunately it is inevitable some skins will have to close for good. However, one of the conditions of being affiliated to the Microgaming Poker Network is that player funds must be segregated from operating funds. Therefore it is unlikely that players will lose money if the site they play on shuts down. At least the network has given sites plenty of time to find alternative networks to join, and players plenty of time to decide if they want to remain playing on a site affiliated to MPN.
Ultimately, it is another sad event for online poker. The team at WPN were responsible for many innovations that have been copied by other online poker sites to enhance the player experience. We would like to thank them for their efforts over the years, and wish them all the best for the future.