Gah. I had a post I was composing that got eaten in the move. :-)
To sum things up, Midway is in the CBS/Redstone family of companies but is basically just a name and logo for sale. APW is doing business with them through Cryptic now.
I would like to suggest, if anyone has APW's ear, that they look at buying or licensing the Midway brand for their US operations to build consumer confidence and reinforce that they tailor their business operations to the market they're in. U.S. consumers have vastly different values and expectations than Asian MMO consumers. Everything I've seen about APW indicates they know and honor these differences as very savvy businessmen who want to deliver the right product and image to the right market.
I think it would help to have a familiar brand like Midway be the blanket for their western operations, to emphasize the differences in models.
Furthermore, I'd also suggest appointing Jack Emmert and the Schaefers (formerly of Blizzard North, now of Runic) as creative officers or consultants with the hypothetical Midway/APW International brand to emphasize that they recognize the value of delivering a product tailored to western markets as they expand more into those markets... and that they are utilizing the heads of their western based studios to deliver a product for that audience.
Just my $.02 on smoothing the transition. I think the Midway logo coming up when launching STO, CO, and the upcoming Torchlight Online would play better with western audiences who are accustomed to it as a gaming brand and don't associate it with Asian MMOs, which might create anxieties among western players who have preconceptions about those.
It's silly on some level but I think Infogrames' co-opting of the Atari brand was apparently pretty effective, considering that even in the last couple of days, people have been conflating Infogrames with the company that created the Atari 2600. Many of us recognized them as a separate company but the Atari logo nevertheless helped build confidence overall and I think the Midway logo (or the Acclaim logo, if a deal could be struck with Throwback Entertainment) would make a big impact.
It's a little early to be assuming STO will go F2P. Granted, the possibility under PW is undoubtedly higher than with Atari, but even assuming they bought Cryptic intending to make STO F2P I can't see it taking less than 4-6 months to implement, and I seriously doubt they would have made any such decision yet. They'll want to analyze the situation of the game, talk to Cryptic, etc. In fact, I'd be surprised if any such transition were to happen this year.
That's besides the point though. If STO does go F2P no a whole lot will change for those who continue to pay a sub or have a lifetime, excepting a lot of new neighbors, even if some are annoying.
I just wanna know when the Atari logo & policies will go away .
I also would like to know if the lifetime subscriptions will be honored.
I can't imagine them not honoring lifetime subs, if for no other reason than the bad press that would result, and since many of those with lifetime's still buy things in the c-store anyway and are still a source of revenue.
Interesting. Since i currently play Forsaken World (PW's recent entry title into the western market) along side STO, ive got some experience with PW. In a nutshell, its a very solid MMO company.
Out of the many China-based MMO companies, they are the only one that has really poured extensive resources into entering the western market. FW itself, while also available in China, was created with the western MMO gamer in mind, and with US based servers. I would say they are more internationally oriented now.
They also have extremely good MMO sense. The company is experienced in every nuance of the standard MMO. Playing FW or Jade Dynasty will tell you that.
They also have a heavy focus on community and their games have good customer support reputations.
What does this mean? I think its uphill for STO from here on. If Cryptic's teams do right by themselves, PW will likely pour on the resources for the studio and stay hands off. If it doesnt, then, depending on the terms of ownership, PW will likely exert some direct control over the game...ending with the same happy result for us, though maybe not for Cryptic.
Also, i think lifetime subs, c-store options, etc, will all be honored. This deal was obviously in the works for awhile now, including when the lifetime sale was on. PW itself doesnt have a reputation for irking its customers.
The only downside i can find is, STO is setup to have the same kind of hybrid F2P model as CO, something that PW games dont have. PW games follow a primarily micro-transaction model. How much they are involved in deciding STO's future pricing model and what decisions they come to on it, i cant say if it would be favorable. Then again, CO's model is not likely to change, so i think the details will be left up to Cryptic.
It would be better to start to think of PW as an international company than a china-based one, at least with regards to STO. That will be how they're going to treat STO, since Star Trek is not big in China (actually, non-existent) due to controls on foreign media like TV shows and movies.
Having spent close to two years with PW before this game I am not hopeful about the future of STO. Uber gear in the cash shop, changing Territory Wars to make them pointless for non cash shop players... Yeah, lets not bring that in to STO.
My only hope is that PW (parent company) allows Cryptic to function as an American company then we might be okay, but if they start making the changes like they did to PWI (game) to coincide with the Chinese market, then it won't be friendly to casual gamers at all. PWE (American subsidiary) even admitted the changes were not friendly to the Western world, but they had to change them because PW said so,
I agree; this change in Cryptic's ownership could be a huge boon by bringing in much more needed finances to pay for more people on the development team which would allow for many more of the planned features going form spending months on the back burner to actually put in the game, or it could spell disaster if PW in Asia forces certain changes in the way Crytic & STO run the game & the C-Store as well as cutbacks in art quality and system design to be cheaper to develop.