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Reader Comments (29)

Posted: Feb 21st 2012 2:19PM Ehra said

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I was wondering if they had any plans to add a marketplace or anything to offset the resource drain of keeping the servers running. Really cool to hear that they're not and they're just hoping that the good will this generates will come back around once they start developing for the Mac. I really hope they end up benefiting from this gesture once the time comes.

Posted: Feb 21st 2012 10:15PM HoopyHobo said

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@Ehra
SOE only has one developer left who's ever even touched the code. Putting that much work into new development would probably cost them more than they could ever get.
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Posted: Feb 21st 2012 2:30PM Lethality said

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Awesome Smed! Thanks from the Mac (and EQ) community!

Posted: Feb 21st 2012 2:49PM (Unverified) said

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Well, that should shut up all the people who claimed SOE, not LucasArts, killed SWG.

I do not play on a Mac (I use real computers :P ) but I am happy for all the EQMac players out there. If only my beloved SWG could have been saved as well.

Posted: Feb 21st 2012 2:56PM (Unverified) said

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@(Unverified)

Seriously. Why is this the first time (AFAIK) SOE has come out and said that SWG was closed due to licensing rights with Lucas Arts?

Seems like the hatred for closing SWG could have been directed a bit more appropriately.
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Posted: Feb 21st 2012 2:58PM Glitterdragon said

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@(Unverified)

I agree...that could have been said a very long time ago!
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Posted: Feb 21st 2012 4:06PM (Unverified) said

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@(Unverified)

Oh, believe me, all MY hatred has been directed appropriately. My new game tag on most sites is Suck It LucasArts.
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Posted: Feb 21st 2012 4:11PM (Unverified) said

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@(Unverified)

Yeah, yeah - complain about a game you had not played since the NGE. The fact is, there were a LOT of us still playing SWG and still enjoying the best sandbox game out there. I played beta, pre-CU, CU, and NGE and while I, too, preferred pre-NGE, I continued to play the game and found much to enjoy about it. There was ZERO reason for SOE to shut down absent LucasArts canceling the license, for fear its precious new shiny TOR might lose a sub or two. Well, it certainly lost mine, and many others I know who would have played both games.
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Posted: Feb 21st 2012 4:42PM Lionhearted said

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@(Unverified)

There's a lot to complain about with SOE, but shutting down games isn't one of them. In fact, they've come to the rescue of games out there on more than one occasion, Vanguard being the most obvious example.

I never blamed SOE for shutting down SWG. It was clearly a licensing (read: LucasArts) issue and anyone should have realized that with the whole timing of it -- the fact that it was shut down right before TOR came out.

So, yeah, I may get angry about SOE's quality and, more recently, security issues sometimes... but not their record on keeping games alive. The fact that EQ itself is still alive and kicking is a strong demonstration of that.
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Posted: Feb 21st 2012 9:00PM digitalheadbutt said

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@(Unverified)

It was mentioned in a previous interview with Smedley when they first announced that SWG would be shut down. I read it here on Massively. Smedley was diplomatic but it seemed very clear to me that the decision was made because Lucasfilm/Lucasarts Arts, didn't think there was any justification for keep the license active at Sony.

Keep in mind though, that if Sony really wanted to keep SWG going they could have hurled money at Lucasfilm to retain the License. As much as I disliked the game-play of SWG; I respected the scale.and could easily have Coexisted with SW:TOR.

It also would have kept some of the more rabid SWG fans, that do nothing but bitch about SW:TOR's perceived inadequacies by comparison to the most holy SWG, out of SW:TORs community and General chat. You'd think there was some kind of biblical transgression to merit all of the wailing and teeth-gnashing.
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Posted: Feb 22nd 2012 1:52PM g00niebird said

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@(Unverified) "I do not play on a Mac (I use real computers :P )"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_QDGdbg-QQ

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Posted: Feb 22nd 2012 2:30PM (Unverified) said

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@digitalheadbutt wrote:

"It also would have kept some of the more rabid SWG fans, that do nothing but bitch about SW:TOR's perceived inadequacies by comparison to the most holy SWG, out of SW:TORs community and General chat. You'd think there was some kind of biblical transgression to merit all of the wailing and teeth-gnashing."

Oh, believe me, this rapid SWG fan would much rather be playing SWG than bitching and moaning about SWTOR. But LucasArts killed that option for me. I know deep down that LA does not give a rat's ass what I or any other SWG player think about its precious TOR. It may have been slightly shocked to discover that we did not immediately roll over and jump onto the TOR bandwagon, but I doubt it bothers them much.

As LucasArts has proven with its movie series, the older generations of fans can f**k themselves. It's all about tweaking the franchise to appeal to the next generation of money-spenders. Those of us who grew up with the original SW (movies and game) are easily replaced by the new generation, who want the pretty 3-D version, Jar Jar and all, with all the flashy bells and whistles. Say it loud and long enough, and Han never did shoot first.
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Posted: Feb 21st 2012 2:53PM Glitterdragon said

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Very awesome that the game has been saved, but bittersweet for us SWGers that begged and pleaded for the same chance. :(

Posted: Feb 21st 2012 3:04PM VikingGamer said

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The biggest expense of an mmo is ongoing development and customer support. With EQMac's codebase pretty much frozen except for one guy doing a few bug fixes simply because he took and interest in the code. Add to it that it is now free so you don't even have the expense of processing payments and the accounting that goes with it. Add to it that all customer support will probably be though the forums and by the community and that even GM support will probably be a volunteer employee or could even be handed over to a long time community member.

The only real expense therefore is the cost of actually keeping the server running. The cost of running a data center is high but the cost of letting one old server continue to run in a rack somewhere in the back of a datacenter that you are going to have running anyway because you have other games making you money is not really that much. A little electricity, a little heat, the opportunity cost of a few u of rack space being used up. A small amount of additional work for the system admins to keep it backed up and otherwise maintained but again it is not that much extra when you are taking care of a long list of other machines anyway.

Point is, it does cost SOE some to keep it running but as long as they don't have to pay for programmers and customer support folks, it really doesn't cost that much to simply leave a system turned on. And since it is completely free now, SOE isn't obligated to put any extra into customer support. Customers that don't pay don't have much to complain about when they can't get help after all.

But SOE does gain a bit of good press and customer good will in doing this. I think in the end that will pay for it.

Posted: Feb 21st 2012 3:19PM VikingGamer said

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and I don't think we have seen the last of SWG. I always figured that they sunsetted it when they did because of TOR and because LucasFarts told them to do it.

But why did SOE make the last minute updates they did to the space game? Every system admin knows, when you are sunsetting a system you freeze all changes. Only critical bug fixes get moved up to a system that is going to be shutdown anyway. Why? because you don't want to take the chance of breaking the system and having to fix it just weeks before shutting it down anyway. The updates in the last two months of SWG made absolutely no sense...

Unless, they were planning to go somewhere with that code. If they could use the last few months of SWG as a beta test for something else well that would make some sense.

I think either the Jump to Lightspeed, space portion of the game is being prepped to be sold to Bioware to be put into TOR. A slim possibility at best. Or they are planning to scrub all the Star Wars elements out of the game and re-release it as a generic space based sandbox game. That would be lots of work but I think it would be wildly popular if they went back to Pre-CU characters and gave the graphics an overhaul. SWG was one of the best sandbox games out there, There are not a lot of sandbox games right now and even at its end SWG had, I think it was 13 servers. That is a freaking bunch when you compare it do games not being shut down like EQMac, Vang. WAR and others.

I think there is money still to be made from... who knows, "Galaxies Online"?

Posted: Feb 21st 2012 5:16PM Space Cobra said

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@VikingGamer

"But why did SOE make the last minute updates they did to the space game?"

Actually, that is an easy answer:

1) The SOE developers were genuinely caught offguard and surprised at LucasArts' decision. Even though SOE held a private meeting with LA, there was no way they could convince LA, who took their "SWG ball".

2) In a statement to the players afterwards, they decide to continue with their plans (gameplan) before shutdown was announced. That means, continuing work on patches already underway. Actually, most game Devs, especially SOE ones, have a history of being very attached to their games and not wanting them to go quietly. They just decided to make the "best damn experience from now until shutdown" in regard to SWG.
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Posted: Feb 21st 2012 10:39PM HoopyHobo said

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@VikingGamer
Do you really think BioWare can just cut and paste SWG code into TOR? Sorry, that's not how programming works. Plus, do you really think BioWare would even want to do that?

You don't think we've seen the last of SWG because of what SOE was doing pre-sunset? Guess what, it doesn't matter what SOE was doing because they don't hold the cards here, LucasArts does. The only remotely possible thing you mentioned was SOE ripping all of the Star Wars out of SWG, but I really don't think that SOE can justify that much development cost on the hope that SWG players would come back to a neutered version of SWG.
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Posted: Feb 22nd 2012 12:44PM VikingGamer said

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@HoopyHobo

Did I say it would be as easy as a cut and paste job? Do you really think, that I think, that is all it would take? You might want to stop making assumptions about what others know about programming. Given the average age of MMO gamers, I have been programming longer than most here have been alive. Can it be done? Yes. Is it worth doing? Probably No. Do I think bioware really wants to do this? I did say it was a slim possibility at best, which means very unlikely, for all these reasons. However, Bioware devs themselves has said that the current space game was not what they wanted. But it needed something for release.

I still think the most likely explaination is that the core of the game will become the basis of a new game. I don't think they will be banking on getting players to return so much as to essentially create a new game that fills a niche that many players still feel is empty. I don't think SOE will be wasting any development time either. But that is exactly why the late work don't on SWG made no sense. Yeah a few devs may be attached to the game but they are not going to be left on that project for 2 more months if it is going to the wastebin. They will get moved to teams with active projects with in days if not hours after the decision is made. And again, from a systems perspective, regardless how much a given dev will want to finish what he has labored on, you simply don't risk a system's stability, when you need it to keep going for a few more months by introducing changes. Any changes. Even good changes, even finished but undeployed changes. Change management is all about risk management.
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Posted: Feb 22nd 2012 2:30PM mattwo said

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@Space Cobra I suppose that explains why they were fine with SWGemu existing.

Perhaps they could even share some of their code should SWGemu ever decide to add post-CU features.
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Posted: Feb 21st 2012 3:45PM Seffrid said

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It's only the SOE haters and deniers who pretend that the decision to close SWG had nothing to do with LucasArts or that if it did then SOE should have made that clear before this interview.

From this site on 24th June 2011:-

"SOE President John Smedley told Massively that the decision was entirely a business one, mostly related to the focus soon switching to The Old Republic"

How much clearer (or earlier) could that have been?


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