I hate conspiracy theories, but we all have to admit that they are fun.
I hate conspiracy theories concerning video game companies even more, though, being that any evil corporate giant video game developer can simply be resisted by not buying their products. But SOE is my favorite MMO developer, so we'll go ahead and have some fun discussing what the closing of the Matrix Online might mean for my fav Vanguard: Saga of Heroes.
Let's just get right into the lists:
a) More resources freed up for Vanguard: Nah. They have their dev team, and while everyone would admit that ANY dev team could use more help, I think the dev team at VG is not only doing a good job (especially considering their resources) but until VG gets more players, there will not be more team members. And, I would point out, that if dev team size equaled incredible gaming, then the hard-core lovers at VG should go play WoW, their favorite whipping boy.
b) More players for VG: Sure, maybe some of those MxO players will come to VG, but they will also likely go out into a million other games.
c) SOE is trimming the fat: Possible, and I wouldn't blame them in many ways. It's a new time, period. The old sub model will die out soon (within 2 years is my prediction) and will be replaced with cash shops/RMT, and I LOVE that. I have so much fun in a game that I can spend money HOW I want and WHEN I want, without my game-play or the game-play of others suffering. If you play any F2P game for a long time, you will notice that only a handful of players really think that the cash shop effects their game-play. The rest are just playing the damn game, something that is mirrored in SOE's titles that use RMT/cash-shoppery.
I would not blame SOE for getting rid of games whose main group of players are so against RMT. If they don't like it, and they will allow someone else's fun to ruin theirs, then ship 'em off. After all, players playing 10 years ago can make room for players that are used to, and enjoy, cash-shops/RMT. Hell, players before me moaned about (and some still do) the loss of the MUD.
Now, let's be serious. Well, I was kind of already serious, but let's get more serious.
The one thing that would guarantee ANY games future is MORE PLAYERS. Are more players. Uhm..whatever.
If the VG community is worried about their game and world being put to rest, they need to ask themselves a few questions:
1) Do I do something for the community?
2) Do I spend most of my time with the same 10 people, night after night, week after week?
3) Do I tell others, outside of VG, ABOUT VG?
In other words, (as I have been trying to tell people) SOE will not listen to your complaints (players) of "no advertising" or "can we get some SOE love for VG?"
That does nothing.
They are a corporation first, and must make money in this gaming business or they simply stop attempting it. MxO was probably not only not making enough money, but wouldn't be pulling in enough money to cover future costs. Also, it had 5 years, which is not bad at all.
The one thing SOE will listen to is the sound of more players playing their game.
Ask yourself this: what if every player in VG, say 12,000, each brought one player to the game? What if each player not only made a point to tell one other person about the game, but made a point to bring the game up in a blog, podcast, or in a gaming forum? That takes a few minutes.
You ever see news stories about some foreign country and how dastardly their leader is, and you think: " Why don't they do something about it? That's 20 million people, surely they can do something about ONE MAN??" And then you see a story about some country that DOES something about it, and you wonder "Who was the person that started THAT resistance?"
Point is, if you want the situation to change in your game, CHANGE IT.Who else will do it? (we all look at the other person.)
It is not solely the fault of the developer when a game closes. If the community is sitting on it's butt long enough, and the game stagnates (community-wise) long enough, the developer will cut it loose and let it die. That's understandable, and that's business.
VG needs more community members like the ones that have already been trying...players that put on events, tell others about the game, try to involve themselves IN the community. It needs more people telling more people, it needs less players spending the bulk of their time complaining about nerfs and how hard the game is, and spending more time advertising the game. (Yes, I said advertising it...I don't care if it's SOE's job. They have spoken on the matter.) I think that SOE is responsible to do more for the game. But, I can see how much they have already done: saving the game, keeping it around, allowing the dev team some creative freedom, putting the resources that they have put into it (and they have, trust me) and (yes) letting players KNOW about the game.
SOE has done their part, but the community can always do theirs. I am by no mean placing the blame OR the burden on the players (as though my opinion would matter) but I am just telling a simple truth. ANY game will benefit only from more players, especially a game that is using a subscription model.
SOE has said nothing, or even hinted at, any type of closing for Vanguard. I do not think that MxO's closing and VG are connected in the inner-workings of SOE. But, I think that if if MxO had 200 thousand players, it would be sticking around.
That's simple math.