PlanetSide Universe - View Single Post - John Smedley talks PlanetSide
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Click here to go to the next VIP post in this thread.   Old 2009-10-12, 12:21 AM   [Ignore Me] #17
CEO Sony Online
Re: John Smedley talks PlanetSide

Originally Posted by Firefly View Post
I'd like you to comment on the marketing. And in spite of my vitriolic statements, I want to make it clear that I do appreciate you taking the time to address these concerns on a personal, individual level.

If you browse this thread as I am sure you already have, and if you check out the thread regarding the PS2 announcement which is also in this forum, you'll see several mentions of marketing foibles. Since you've stated that you don't disagree, I won't continue to hammer that fact in.

I will be frank with you, Smed. It killed me to cancel my subscription. This was my first MMO, and it was the only FPS that consistently held my attention. BF1942, BF2, TF2, DFLW, RtCW... decent games, but nothing special like Planetside was. My Planetside subscription is currently active only because I reactivated some months back, and it's been off and on since about 2006. Prior to that it never lapsed. After the whole "Outfit Wars" thing, I stopped playing because it just made me sick to think of how things were done to this game. This game was something special to a lot of us.

You say there were business decisions made that you weren't happy with. That's fair - I understand that, because I work for one of your competitors and I've seen a lot of decisions made that no one was happy with. I further understand that some of those decisions remain behind closed doors for proprietary and confidential reasons, examples being lay-offs and restaffing.

If you ask a hundred players to give you one reason why they quit, you'll get ninety reasons. For me, it was the constant turn-over that created a lack of content and lack of mission for Planetside. It was the lack of marketing support - we players can only take word of mouth so far, or at least... back in the day we could. I got tired of hackers. I got tired of the fucking Vanu and their stupid Lasher. I got tired of people using a BFR to camp a door. I got tired of waiting years for content. But mostly, I was tired of not seeing any support for Planetside.

And again, having worked in video games now for a while - if there are reasons why developers get pulled off games, one of them is because of failing subscriptions. Failing subs falls on lack of development, lack of content, cheaters (thank G-d we didn't ever have to deal with gold farmers), and marketing. I've seen subs fall in an MMO and the result was layoffs, restructuring of departments and reassignments. Other projects come along and you want experienced talent there.

But let's be honest here Smed. Planetside... there ain't a game out there like it. I wondered WTF you guys were smoking - you have the market on MMO-FPSes. Huxley? GTFO - that game has been in development for four years. Tabula Rasa? Not even close (was that even an MMO?). Global Agenda - instanced combat with a lobby, which is lame. You guys have a viable product with Planetside.

Seriously. Help me understand, why this game appears to have been left on the back burner. If there are confidential reasons, I can accept that (if they're actually confidential).

I've seen SOE's track record and I feel like you stabbed my baby and then tossed it in the garbage. Planetside was something special for a great many of us. You want my trust in Planetside 2, I'm willing to give it - but it's gotta be earned. It killed me to cancel my sub for the first time. And I know at least three hundred other people from my guild that will tell you the exact same. You have a loyal fanbase for Planetside.

Can you woo them again?
When Planetside launched, it actually had quite a big marketing campaign for it's time. Keep in mind this was our first big game post EverQuest. We launched it at retail and we had a very strong launch campaign.

Over the years we've continued to advertise it, but most of the members of the core development team no longer work at SOE for a lot of reasons. At some point we've had to make choices about where to put additional resources in the company, but we absolutely never walked away from Planetside. I think it is fair to say it didn't get the attention it deserved, but I also think the market is a whole lot different today than it was when we launched Planetside.

Just to put it simply - I think we launched Planetside a bit before the really large wave of online games that we see today. That makes it an entirely different economic equation. So here we are right back into the breach.

I'm sorry if you feel that we undersupported Planetside. That certainly was never the intent... it was just about doing as much as we were able with the fixed amount of resources we have available to us.

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