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[Column] General: SOE and The State Of The MMOG Genre

SBFordSBFord Former Associate EditorMember LegendaryPosts: 33,129

Due to this column's biweekly schedule, I've had a couple of weeks to think about the news that SOE was purchased by venture capitalist / technology investment firm Columbus Nova. During this fairly short span, we've already seen that the new owner isn't hesitant to make significant personnel cuts at the newly renamed Daybreak Games. As is my wont, I can't help wondering how this situation fits within and reflects the overall state of the MMOG genre.

Read more of Richard Aihoshi's The Free Zone: SOE and the State of the MMOG Genre.

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Comments

  • sayuusayuu Member RarePosts: 766

    expect EQN, Landmark, and H1Z1 to be heavily designed around Microtansactions, more so than when it was still SOE.

     

    Expect some of the studios existing titles to be culled, the new bosses are not interested in keeping fans.

     

    Expect the All Access Station pass to either go away entirely or get a price hike.

     

    Daybreak will be sold off piecemeal in 3-4 years at the most.

     

    The sale might be a good thing for the Venture capitalists, not so good for everyone else. . .

  • KemadinKemadin Member UncommonPosts: 2
    • How and to what degree do you think SOE becoming Daybreak will impact EQN, Landmark and H1Z1?
    With SOE becoming Daybreak I think we will see, if anything, more hype and focus on the two larger games that the studio is touting - H1Z1 & EQ Next. There is a lot of speculation surrounding the release of EQ Next, but at this point the infrastructure for the game is there (Landmark) despite how lackluster it may be, plus Smed has said himself that EQ Next will still be coming out. Given the success of H1Z1 on Steam I don't really doubt it will see the light of day - but with the recent gutting I think the quality is going to be less than stellar.
    • How about the company's portfolio of titles that are currently in service?
    With the recent game team cuts, I'd suspect games like EQ & EQ2 will see less updates, if even any more at all. I wouldn't be surprised if we see these titles put on maintenance mode while the little money that can be brought through the marketplace for these games keeps them afloat before Daybreak takes them behind the shed all Old Yeller style for good. 
    • How likely is it that Daybreak will retain the level of prominence that SOE had in the MMOG space?
    I think Daybreak will do well, but not with the MMO's we're used to.  H1Z1 seems to be doing well, and I bet the direction of this game more than anything will steer the company's development direction.
    • How (un)realistic is it to think the sale will turn out to be a good thing?
    I think for the company, the sale will do Daybreak well. For those of us who enjoy the more traditional MMO type game or are looking for the next EQ1, those prospects are likely dead - or at the very least - not going to be coming from Daybreak.
     
  • tixylixtixylix Member UncommonPosts: 1,288

    The MMO space has died, it just doesn't exist any more and all we have now is online RPGs that call themselves an MMO. What was the genre born for? To make massive online worlds to explore and live in, what has the genre become? Small game levels, no persistence, very linear, instant travel everywhere and no worlds exist any more. 

    No one wants to make an MMO any more because we had many years of people trying to copy WoW and failing. WoW is not a good MMO any more, I wouldn't even call it one any more, it is Guild Wars now, a hub game with instant travel everywhere. Stop trying to copy WoW, it is popular because it is Blizzard, if it was by any one else or done at another time, it would not have had the same success. 

    You play all these "MMOs" and all you end up doing the same shit as always. You make a character, do 20 odd levels of what feels like an over easy tutorial and then you quest grind the rest of the way through. They keep saying they're adding story in and yet all you're ever doing is killing 10 rats or delivering something and having some dialogue inbetween.

    I wanted TESO to be like the Single Player RPG, where you have this big open sandbox world with amazing quests that are all so fun and you do them because they're fun. I didn't want it to be this linear themepark where all the quests are killing 10 rats and collecting shit. You cannot even see the enemy factions, you have no freewill, you just follow a single path through the game and there aren't even alternative zones like what WoW had to make it feel less linear. 

    The genre is dead, I thought while playing SWG when it came out that if that is what we had in 2003, by 2013 with the hardware getting better that these games would get even more ambitious.. they didn't and they died. With the massive console focus in upcoming "MMOs" the focus on fast gameplay with instant travel will only become more prevalent.

     

    As for SOE/Daybreak... does any one care? They could go bust tomoz and it would have no impact.  They've made nothing of any worth in the last 10 years, their last game that felt AAA was EQ2 and that flopped because it felt like after level 20 that they rushed the game to launch. Planetside 2 was a huge disappointment, 90% of people quit within the first month and it only just became profitable a few months ago according to Smedley. H1Z1 is possibly the world game I've ever played from a studio that is meant to have talent, I seriously made better level design in my first ever map using UE4 and video tutorials. 

    They've ran everything they ever made into the ground, why you get things like Project 1999 popping up. EQ2 was turned into WoW, even the music sounds like WoW now, it lost what made it unique and became a wannabe. Planetside was ignored and then ruined with BFRs, everyone quit and SOE failed to admit they were wrong and rollback. They did the same with SWG.... it is a common theme with them, they don't listen. DC Universe online could be completed in 2 days...

    SOE/Daybreak suck and I wouldn't be surprised if they go away after the failure EQN will be. Like the EQ game no one wanted, all the people that will find that game fun don't even know what EQ is... name it something else at that point. If Landmark is any indication to go by, the combat will be so bad and... it is just mechanically poor. 

    I was hoping SOE had the power to get rid of Smedley, but I guess not...

  • IndependenceDayIndependenceDay Member Posts: 12
    They are making a WW2 mmo with a german name called "Gerhund" or something like that. Daybreak former SOE was. It will be announced soon they are just waiting on technology just like H1Z1 was.  Its supposed to be like the medal of honor series and i cant wait. You heard it here first. They have what they have on mind but they are developing another engine for it not forgelight so as to compete in the modern mmo space.
  • Tracho12Tracho12 Member UncommonPosts: 136
    1) Next and Landmark will be smaller projects than orginally intended. Smaller team, smaller game.

    Also as it's being headed by a venture capitalist firm, I expect both games to be extremely generic and shallow. A lot of the RP and immersion tidbits you see in other games will be scrapped. The ability to interact with chairs and tables doesnt make money.

    H1Z1 will continue as planned. It's going quite well on its current path.

    2) Either untouched or sold off. This Columbus Nova is a technology based company leaning heavily in mobile. The smaller titles aren't significant enough to invest resources in especially when you consider they have no experience in the gaming field. My guess is the titles stay the course until CN can find a buyer.

    3) About a snowball's chance in hell. I feel bad for the people holding out for hope. In the absolute best case scenario, they'll scrap about half the promised features of EQN, finish it then sell it off. F2P and P2P MMOs both reported a lose of revenue last year. Nobody buys a failing company to hold the course in a failing market.

    4) Entirely subjective. It's a good thing for Sony. It will end up a good thing for Columbus Nova. Next and Landmark will be released and I'm sure there will be people that enjoy them.

    In regards to MMOG lifers, look at it this way...

    P2P/F2P titles both reported loses in revenue last year.

    Titan was cancelled, WoW released its smallest expansion to date at a $10 increased price.

    ESO and WS both launched with the steadfast idea they'd never go F2P. ESO is now F2P, WS won't survive long enough to see F2P.

    It's been 2 years since EQN reveal and we've seen nothing to make us think its anything more than vaporware. Meanwhile, the maker was sold off to an investment firm that laid off a large chunk of the staff immediately.

    And.....you know.....ArcheAge.

    There really is no hope.
  • RydesonRydeson Member UncommonPosts: 3,852

         My gut tells me that the game list will be addressed..  I wouldn't be surprised to see the original EQ cancelled, keep EQII alive until a fresh new EQ3 is ready for launch, then EQ2 gets scrapped as well..  I doubt we'll see Landmark last another couple years before it's cancelled or shifted as a mini-game inside a new EQ3..   PS2 will stay as well as DCU and H1Z1 for now.. 

         All games that survive past a 3 year mark will see some multi platform version of itself like PS2.. 

  • Viper482Viper482 Member LegendaryPosts: 4,071
    If so many people were not embracing this absurd free to play cash shop model....
    Make MMORPG's Great Again!
  • NitthNitth Member UncommonPosts: 3,904


    Originally posted by Rydeson
         My gut tells me that the game list will be addressed..  I wouldn't be surprised to see the original EQ cancelled, keep EQII alive until a fresh new EQ3 is ready for launch, then EQ2 gets scrapped as well..  I doubt we'll see Landmark last another couple years before it's cancelled or shifted as a mini-game inside a new EQ3..   PS2 will stay as well as DCU and H1Z1 for now.. 

         All games that survive past a 3 year mark will see some multi platform version of itself like PS2.. 


    why on earth would they invest in making eq3..... the 2 live games arnt really raking in the big dow and they have eqn in production.

    The only realisitc "doomsday" scenario is they "can" all 3 games and produce a mobile eq game.

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  • SiugSiug Member UncommonPosts: 1,257
    SOE hasn't released a good MMO in 10 years and never will again so it's impact on the genre is not as big as some like to think. The biggest problem MMO gene has is P2W cash shop cancer and no one knows exactly how to cure that before it's too late.
  • BadSpockBadSpock Member UncommonPosts: 7,979

    SOE hasn't been a major player in the MMO market in 10+ years.

    The games that are making some $ and don't require a big investment by Daybreak will continue on in all of their microtransaction glory - namely PS2.

    H1Z1 will limp along until it is no longer profitable and will be shut down.

    EQ:Landmark will "release" as a stand alone game, microtransaction heavy, and they will build a mobile version/companion app until it stops making money, and will be shut down.

    EQN will never release. 

  • bcbullybcbully Member EpicPosts: 11,838
    imageSad Article. 
    "We see fundamentals and we ape in"
  • BlinkennBlinkenn Member UncommonPosts: 166

    I agree with alot of the prior comments, its too bad the EQ IP hasnt been relevant for over 10 yrs.

    When your worldwide debut video for EQNext has less than 500k views over a year and a half later that has to say something. 

    At least they have H1Z1 and PS2 that attract some level of popularity.

     
  • JeroKaneJeroKane Member EpicPosts: 7,007
    Originally posted by Siug
    SOE hasn't released a good MMO in 10 years and never will again so it's impact on the genre is not as big as some like to think. The biggest problem MMO gene has is P2W cash shop cancer and no one knows exactly how to cure that before it's too late.

    This!

    And as long as John Smedley stays at the helm, nothing will change!

    They can fire everyone else and replace them with new people. Nothing will change as long as he is still there!

    As SOE, they have gone through several large rounds of lay offs already these last years, including games being canceled that were very far into Development (The Agency anyone?) and closure of three whole studios!

    Nothing changed! As he is still there as CEO!

    And now they doing another round of lay offs, firing hardworking People!  Again! Nothing will change! As he is still there at the helm!

    R.I.P DayBreak.

     
  • PepeqPepeq Member UncommonPosts: 1,977

    It's not like other gaming giants haven't closed their doors in the past...

     

    They were not the first, they will not be the last...

     

    Again, mobile is where everyone is looking these days... it's the biggest growth market out there right now.  Only a fool would pass up on that gravy train.  And if you look at the reasons why Sony sold off it's PC division and SOE you will see that it has everything to do with their distancing themselves from the PC platform and positioning themselves in the mobile market.

  • LobotomistLobotomist Member EpicPosts: 5,967

    @Richard, great article.

    Direct from experienced standpoint , painful and realistic. No more sugar coating.

     

    Unfortunately the signs show EQN/L will never release, and if it by some chance does, it will not be the game we expected - it may even not be MMO, but some phone franchise spinoff

    As for H1Z1 it might stay in early acess for indefinite time just like DayZ (great way to leach money)

    Other SOE MMOs will stay on as long they make money.

     

    As for SOE i suspect it was sold for very small sum. And we might soon see attempts to re-sell parts. Hopefully that might mean resurection for EQN

     

    Finally the state of MMORPG. I said it before.

    We are now entering "dark ages of mmorpg" , no big budget projects will be made for 5-6 years at least. And when we again see the light the scene will be changed so much the MMOs will change completely and be nothing like today

    Unfortunately it might be 10 years until that happens

     



  • bcbullybcbully Member EpicPosts: 11,838
    Originally posted by BadSpock

    SOE hasn't been a major player in the MMO market in 10+ years.

    The games that are making some $ and don't require a big investment by Daybreak will continue on in all of their microtransaction glory - namely PS2.

    H1Z1 will limp along until it is no longer profitable and will be shut down.

    EQ:Landmark will "release" as a stand alone game, microtransaction heavy, and they will build a mobile version/companion app until it stops making money, and will be shut down.

    EQN will never release. 

    there absolute nothing worth buying in Landmark.... Builders buying dirt to build? Not many... "Adventurers" buying equipment? Maybe a one time buy for some. After they run a cave I can assure you they wont buy anymore.. Same goes for pvp. After 3 battle grounds, no one is going to buy a thing or even continue doing it. 

     

    I think EQN has a better chance of launching than Landmark being around this time next year.

    "We see fundamentals and we ape in"
  • FlyinDutchman87FlyinDutchman87 Member UncommonPosts: 336
    Originally posted by Arallu01

     

    At least they have H1Z1 and PS2 that attract some level of popularity.

     

    If you've played PS2 you know that's not not really that popular....

     

    It's MAYBE 5-7k players during Prime time, spread across 3-4 servers. 

     

    Most of the day all 4 worlds on all 4 servers are ghost towns. 

     

     during prime time, one map is always full with a queue and the others are ghost towns. 

     

    I love PS2 to death, but it's by no means popular or successful. 

     

     

     

    I agree with alot of the other posters... SOE has mode ALOT of really mediocre games. You really going to tell me losing dragons prophet  or DCU is going to break the genera?

     

    They have heart, the devs are good guys, but too many great ideas getting side-tracked or compromised, and too many bad-ones end up in the games. it's corporate meddling at it's finest and it's sure not going to get any better with a venture capital firm wielding the whip.

     

    They will lean-down the dev teams, push out H1Z1 and EQ:N. Then will keep them if they are successful(h1z1) or blow up the teams and sell the IP(EQ). 

     

     

  • jesteralwaysjesteralways Member RarePosts: 2,560
    As far as my concern the developers of Daybreak can go die in a bush somewhere. I am not going to discuss why i feel that way because in past i wrote about their idiocy in details. But as for the comment regarding Bioware, Bioware is not in any kind of rough situation and their future is not questionable but EAWare Austin Studio is in a rough spot with their game cancelled and swtor starting to piss off even the most loyal fanboys, EAWare Austin's future is questionable. Let's not forget EAWare Austin studio was established solely to develop SWTOR and the more SWTOR suffer the more EAWare Austin studio's future become clouded.

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  • itchmonitchmon Member RarePosts: 1,999
    The end of mmorpg has been prophesied more times than the rapture, and both have proven equally untrue.

    Keep calm and game on in other words

    RIP Ribbitribbitt you are missed, kid.

    Currently Playing EVE, ESO

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  • mazutmazut Member UncommonPosts: 988
    The logic dictate that the future and near future will be better then before, but nobody knows actually what will really happen.
  • elockeelocke Member UncommonPosts: 4,335
    I'm kind of hoping Columbus Nova does some tweaking and then sells the various IPs to bigger fish and let them develop them further.  Either way, to me it doesn't look good for SOE game IPs at all.  Kind of saw this coming though with them shuttering Vanguard and other games and picking up trash like Dragon's Prophet and then going F2P with the rest of their games and then doing this weird development strategy with EQNext using Landmark...it's just odd, it really is.
  • Bluefear77Bluefear77 Member UncommonPosts: 112

    Daybreak Games will be a goliath in the industry with several very profitable titles in 3-5 years.

    Or the company will be sold off for a profit in the immediate future (but most likely the first scenario).

    Why? Because venture capitalists aren't in the business of losing money. There is no money in buying a company which is always going to lose money or making bad games that no one wants to play which won't make money. 

    Now there will be accountability. The best thing to ever happen for EQ Next.

  • IndependenceDayIndependenceDay Member Posts: 12
    SOE Daybreak just set the trend for future mmorpgs. Crowfall:MMO is using Voxel Farm making it the second mmorpg that we know of that features destructible worlds. Here: http://crowfall.com/#/news/voxel-farm-elken-stalkers
  • SomeOldBlokeSomeOldBloke Member UncommonPosts: 2,167
    How and to what degree do you think SOE becoming Daybreak will impact EQN, Landmark and H1Z1?
    EQN and Landmark development will be put on hold until they get H1Z1 released and have a revenue stream from it. Landmark will be developed into a more functional sandbox MMOG (not necessarily an RPG) so they see more income from it. EQN will be put on hold for the foreseeable future until CN sees revenue and a profit from the first two titles.
     
    How about the company's portfolio of titles that are currently in service?
    They will look at games individually and see if they are making a profit, those that aren't will be closed down and the resources shifted to other games.
     
    How likely is it that Daybreak will retain the level of prominence that SOE had in the MMOG space?
    I think they will move towards a niche developer. The ROI isn't as big as it used to be on AAA titles so they won't take the risk.
     
    How (un)realistic is it to think the sale will turn out to be a good thing?
    I think we will have to wait and see. New games will be developed but I don't think they will be of the type or scale that they are now.
  • ScotScot Member LegendaryPosts: 23,367

    Finally a "staff" writer is discussing what we have all been talking about. Good cash turnover in the MMO world does not mean it is healthy.

    Some posters seem to feel a need to proclaim that everything is fine I just don't get that, the writing is on the wall and some of us have been talking about this for five years now.

    MMOs changed drastically and still they have problems, they will no doubt change again but it seems already too late to save AAA. By which I mean I do not expect to see any AAA MMMOs released in 2020, we have seen the number dwindle, they will be gone by then.

    Why were so many key big names given large pay off? Because those guys would have resisted major changes to their "baby". Changes like even more casino, even more P2W, even maybe Pay to Play. You can expect MMOs to become even more about the cash shop, that's for sure.

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