I don't think it really matters, either way Cryptic would still be the dev studio making the game. I think many of the problems with the game itself come from the Cryptic part of the business rather than the Atari or PWE side.
Was selling Cryptic to PWE a bad idea on Ataris side? Not at all... I't saved them from drowning.
Champs and STO was the only thing making Atari real money, and as such the only real asset they had. Both are held by Cryptic.
Despite some misguided comments you will see here on the forums, STO was doing pretty well on the Subscription model (Come on... It's common sense... Why else would PWE pay frackign 50 million?), and they saw a opportunity to make it even more profitable as Cryptic was willing to go F2P on it, and they took it.
Was PWE a bad company to get a hold on STO? From my point of view, YES.
They are trying to convert STO into a Asian game. And hey... I'm sure that model works well and suits the needs of that market, but it clearly doesn't suit the western marked.
Why else would there be so much opposition to it, both here on the forums, in the pod-casts and even in zone chat, from the people who don't even go to the first two?
I would have loved seeing Activision take it over. Yes, the first few Star Trek games they made were pretty bad, and their methods aren't always clean but as they progressed they got a real good hold on how it worked, and BC and EF2 are two of the most sucessful Trek games ever.
I personally would have wished for Take Two Interactive, given their success with publishing the works from Rockstar Games and 2K Games, and the fact they refused to be bought out by EA despite an impressive offer.
EA and SOE would have been hands down the worst possible publishers for STO. Their business practices are far shadier than anything PWE has done. While SOE is successful, they buy MMOs and put them on life support. EA? I know the Bioware fanboys in here think EA would have been the best thing since sliced bread, but keep in mind that EA was voted the worst company in America in April 2012 by The Consumerist. It managed to beat the Bank of America as the worst company. The Bank of America.
They have a reputation for treating their employees extremely unfairly, for liquidating development studios who create a poor-quality release, and don't get me started on Origin and how the EULA pretty much gives EA the right to do what they want to your hard drive.
And if Cryptic was bought out by EA? You can expect every single one of us to be forced to download Origin and sign over our hard drives to EA before we were allowed to log into STO or CO.
PWE has done things I don't agree with, but the fact is they're successful with what they do. We've seen more stuff added to STO since the acquisition. PWE is still exploring the North American market, and I think with Cryptic Studios and Runic Studios showing them how it should be done... PWE will learn a lot. Cryptic Studios makes successful MMOs, and their business practices while not 100% untarnished... are ethically more sound than their competitors at EA Games.
I would not want Atari back. They released the game after one year of development, opened a cash shop and moved all the devs to a new project. Anyone that was unhappy about this got called a hater.
At least PWE are improving the game. They have done more in a couple of months than Atari did since the game was released. Plus you can now even earn Atari credits in game. I don't like the lock boxes and pay to win, but without PWE I don't think Star Trek online would have lasted much longer.
For the record, I do not believe that PWE is currently doing the Star Trek franchise justice with this game.
If I recall correctly nobody ever did Star Trek justice in your eyes. I am afraid you would have to run the show yourself.
I am sorry but this hypothetical "which other company would turn STO into the garden of Eden of Trek" stuff is just lame. We have to deal with PWE as we had to deal with Atari, personally I am quite positively surprised by PWE so far.
I'm actually pretty happy with PWE compared to other MMO companies. I only tried two of their games (PWI and FW), but both look very nice. On the other hand, I found games like SWTOR and DCUO quite boring and burdensome (from a casual semi-noob perspective). All in all, Cryptic games (STO and CO) were alluring right from the start for me. From what I saw, the PWE games I played were also quite impressive. I also recall Age of Conan to be rather nice, but I think they take money for raising the level cap and getting new story-based missions, which I'm not a fan of.
The game is essentially free, where the only things that cost money are nifty high-end stuff that are not required but more desired or wanted. The dev team is larger and they bring many new stuff to the game (DOffs, Fleet bases, Tholians, Defera invasion, Vault mission, PvE 5&20 men missions/events, new ships, and the list goes on). They seem to have a solid plan to add a new sector with story-based content in season 7, and to revamp several systems (e.g., crafting and PvP) in season 8. PWE is obviously investing in STO to tap into the enormous fanbase of star trek (as seen by their efforts to expand to the EU market). From a company-wide view, they are also investing a lot of time and effort on Neverwinter, which we are going to eventually enjoy in STO just like CO are getting stuff that was developed for STO (e.g., journal/calendar got there a month ago and time-based currency, Questionite instead of Dilithium in their case, got there a few months ago). From where I stand, these are all excellent things for the game, and PWE seem to be a good choice for me.