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For those of you who argue "I hate SOE too, but SOE is just doing hosting and markeitng for Sigil", then I have news for you.
In this thread http://www.vanguardsoh.com/forums/showthread.php?t=51136 I believe, Jon Grande, the VP of Business Development, has twice said that it is possible that SOE may someday acquire Sigil. He says it's unlikely to happen, but he is very careful to explicitly say that is a possibility... twice.
You have to understand that folks like Grande have private equity in Sigil. If SOE buys out Sigil, then people like Grande could probably retire as millionaires from this one transaction. As a result, Grande and others in the Sigil company that are not yet milliionaires like McQuaid, have a fiduciary interest in SOE eventually buying out Sigil.
The fact is that McQuaid has called Smedley one of his best friends. He has said that he disagrees with some of SOE's moves in the past, but he speaks of it in a very morally neutral manner.
In terms of the partnership, they kept emphasizing that they partnered with SOE because they know and trust the people there.
Many times, before an M&A happens, 2 companies will engage in a strategic partnership so that high level executives from both sides will get to know each other and develop trust before a full on acquisition happens.
Smedley knows that growth is tapped out on EQ2, EQ, PlanetSide and SWG. None of these games will make SOE a giant in the MMO space like it used to be. So what do executives like that do when they can't grow organically? That's right. They go on a buying spree. Do not be surprised if Smedley buys out Sigil and Gods & Heroes and maybe some other smaller MMOs so that he can expand the "value" of the Station Pass.
If Smedley can't organically grow into the MMO marketplace, he has the money from Sony to buy his way into it.