Online gaming developer Microgaming has announced that the Microgaming Poker Network (MPN) will close next year.

The surprise move will see the network shut in the second or third quarter of 2020, though a specific date has not yet been set.

“The network model no longer fits with our strategic vision for poker,” said John Coleman, CEO at Microgaming, in a press release issued last Friday, “and this is the right time to announce the closure as we focus on redistributing key resources and personnel across the business.”

While the network says that it has plans for a poker product in the future, what guise this will take is unknown. The new Prima software is expected to be retired.

More than a dozen skins on the network will be looking for a new home.

“While the network will be closing, this is not the end for poker at Microgaming, which is driven to create the most enjoyable entertainment experiences, leading the way with world-class gaming content,” it was stated. “Ultimately, this move will help the business to achieve that vision as we follow a new strategic direction for the vertical, details of which will be revealed in due course.”

Until the network closes, it will be “business as usual,” it was stressed, with regular promotions, tournaments and live events continuing. UCOP is still running for another week with no changes; Battle of Malta remains on the schedule for October. Another live stop is planned before the network shuts.

“It’s a tough day for us all here, and it’s difficult for me to announce this,” said Alex Scott, Managing Director of Poker at Microgaming, in a Twitter thread discussing the closure.

The thread garnered over 20,000 views on the day it was posted, with many in the industry conveying their surprise and passing on their condolences.

“For some time now, I’ve been carrying out an extensive review into the poker product here at Microgaming, with input from poker industry experts, independent consultants, and my colleagues around the world,” Scott expanded in a network blog post.

“The conclusion of the review was that, for poker to be as successful as possible, we had to adopt a very different strategy and business model. Ultimately, the poker network is not part of that vision,” he added.