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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Newsflash: SOE Doesn't Want Your Money

Whaaa? SOE not want money? Bzzz, beep - does not compute. Does not compute! System overload!

But, according to a post on the Planetside forums, that's allegedly the way it was for those lucky enough to be playing Planetside in year one with a Game Card. AmbientXYZ (who has well over 2,000 posts on the PS forums) posted that when the prepaid Game Cards for Planetside expired during the first year of the game, the accounts were never actually closed, allowing players to play for free. SOE apparently never responded publicly to this exploit. Here's the
link to the post. In case it gets deleted, I'll quote it as well (formatting and fonts different from the original post because I just copy/pasted):

"...but when your biggest supporter and Proxy Chief Marketing Officer Marcopolo comes back and burns SOE...
Maybe its time to reveal one of your biggest mistakes in the history of this game? The one that nobody seemed to take notice of, mainly because nobody from Sony would reveal it. For the first 12 months of the game, people were playing for -free-.

You botched the subscription system.

Game Cards didn't expire. You let an incalculable (except to you) amount of people play the game for free, for a year PLUS, and you did NOTHING about it. You wanna know where the funding for this game has gone? You wanna know why we need advertisements? You want to know why SOE wont give ANY support to Planetside? You REALLY want to know why developers / support staff are leaving left and right?

Because you let people play for free for over a year, this game is deeply, DEEPLY, in the red.

Yes, thats right. The cards never ran out. I know, because I had one. I know, because for the first year + of the game, I had the option to play for the low cost of my initial $30... along with countless other people. Yeah, I reported it... no response... And guess what? With that never-ending card, I LEFT the game back then. Heh, and no, I wish I could have been altruistic and subscribed with a credit card... but since the billing cycle of the gamecard never ran out, I COULDNT.

I could play the game, but I didn't want to... I think I go into FFXI or something at the time. You were losing money even THEN. In addition to people leaving, you were letting people play without paying their dues.

Testimonials (simple forum search (anytime) for "free + gamecard"):

"I talked to some guy that had free PS for nearly a year after his gamecard ran out"

CTMOJO wrote:

Snarf11 wrote: I would have to say the old gamecard glitch even though I never got to benefit from it.

The glitch that let you continuosly play for free with one gamecard purchase. Ahem er I didn't benefit either.

I did. Got something like 5 months free.

Wow. Wasn't that a blow to our funds? Wouldn't it be logical that we now have advertisements mainly to get Planetside OUT of the negative?
The Planetside budget is slashed folks. We are paying for their mistake, with a considerably smaller team, and consequently, slower development.

Please, tell me I'm wrong about Planetside being in the hole because of this. But hey, I think the people who paid for their game that first year deserve to know they paid for the other guy to play... and not for development. I know some people are still out there who know about this. Even if you did freeload, please step up. It wasn't your mistake, it was Sony's... and now we are paying for the subscriptions of people who no-longer play... but played for free.
So sorry. I'm sure this will be deleted.

Ohh, and, yeah I brought this up before:
GamerGuru wrote:
AmbientXYZ wrote:
GamerGuru wrote:

Face it... we pay this game for the thrill of combat. nobody comes on these forums and brags about hacking ten bases in one day. Not a soul. Even global domination is fleeting and by the next day, its almost totally forgotten.
Can I tell you a secret? I got the first year of my sub for free because my gamecard never ran out

They fixed that and I was sad
omg fo realz?
Yeah, makes you wonder how much money they lost on that."

Now, I hate to post an unsubstantiated forum post as if it's truth so it's disclaimer time: I have no idea if the allegations this poster is making are true. And even if they are, I doubt it was quite as widespread or damaging as claimed. But, I was able to track down some nebulous back-up from other forums (which I will not be linking but you can search around for yourself) as well as some anonymous confirmation (thanks for that). So make of it what you will. If true, that's absurdly bad on SOE's part and quite embarrassing for them.

Perhaps even more shocking is the fact that Queen Anna appeared on G4TV's Attack of the Show today and no one told me about it! They usually promote that on the EQII page well in advance so I'm assuming it was a last minute type of thing. By some Norrathian magic, I happened to tune in just as they were starting the segment. Very nice, a repeat performance by Anna. If you recall, last time she was
part of the Broadband Battle. But this time, she was an actual guest with an interview and everything.

Of course, they had to make the segment "funny" by having a fake "Everquest Fan" in a wizard's robe sit there and do nerdy stuff throughout. Haha, EQ players are nerds. How original. Anna talked a bit about playing EQII (she liked the fact that she could talk to people from all over the country),
Stuff Magazine and the Digital Life convention. Although she plays with a personal (non-Antonia) character she mentioned that they're trying to "figure out" if she could play as Antonia because that would be "really cool." I have to agree - that would be really cool. It would be fun and nice for people to actually see Antonia and I hope they do it. I believe they rerun Attack of the Show in the afternoon the day after so check your local listings.

Bonus Anna picture from the show:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


Blogger Anskiere said...

I think it'd be interesting to have her play as Antonia... you know, if she knows how to roleplay the part.. and stay in character.. :P

9:45 AM  
Blogger Zygwen said...

SoE is certainly not one of the best managed companies. If you poke around hard enougth this become evident. Like many companies, SoE is successful despite its mis-management . They have a lot of potential but if they keep dropping the ball they might not achieve it.

While I don't think its beyond SoE to forget to expire game cards, I disagree with that posters conclusions that it was the cause of all the problems that planetside had. Rather, I think that the game card fiasco and many other gaffs are symtomes of a larger problem.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know about how much problem it caused but the gamecard thing was an open secret of sorts among some players.

It doesn't work anymore in case anyone was wondering.

11:48 AM  
Blogger Twodragons said...

If I was in the same room as The Queen, then "I'd put on my robe and wizard hat" also.

1:55 PM  
Blogger Anskiere said...

"If I was in the same room as The Queen, then "I'd put on my robe and wizard hat" also."

ROFL.. you made me laugh out loud at work.. and get some funny looks. :P :P :P

3:39 PM  
Blogger cyan said...

Can the host of that show get any more annoying?

7:40 PM  
Blogger warm_machine said...

The thought of Anna playing as THE Antonia Bayle conjures up these three words in my minds eye: Ultimate Tell Hell.

7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes it is true about the gamecard. I did not have one myself but over 10 people in my squad did. Did it hurt their bottom dollar? Heck yeah these people played for free for months. They did nothing for so long they lost Thousands.

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thousands? Try hundreds of thousands. - The NC CR5s could probably do better than SOE's management at the moment. XD

10:33 PM  
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