Much subscription lapse, there will be
There was a great disturbance in the Force this past holiday season, when gamemaker Sony Online Entertainment Inc. tried to kick sales of its online “Star Wars” game into hyperspace with a makeover that infuriated some of the game’s longtime fans.
The old version of the game was designed to appeal to players who didn’t necessarily care for shoot-em-ups, but that version is gone. In its place is one designed to move in a faster, action-game style that Sony is betting will expand the game’s following into a more lucrative mainstream audience. To spread the word, Sony has launched a television ad campaign pitching the new, “easy-to-play” Star Wars Galaxies.
Paraphrasing this bit, Longtime Galaxies fan Jenny Steberl called Sony’s recent moves a “greedy grab for cash.” (hmm, big shock there!)
I saw some of the new tv ads, they were in the same time slot as the Girls Gone Wild videos, but looked more like an As Seen on TV ad, “You get all this for only $19.95!” There were no screenshots of the game, no video of gameplay, just the box surrounded by some Star Wars replica merchandise… and a light saber, of course.
I don’t think 2006 is going to be the year of MMORPGs, Sony changes their game structurally, Blizzard pisses people off with their ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ style policies… Then again, from the forums I’ve seen, MMORPG players don’t need much to say, “I’m leaving and never coming back.” (only to slink back to reactivate their account later on and hope no one notices)