Following the recent announcement of the upcoming closure of Outspark, I couldn't help but wonder what people think makes a good publisher of MMO games. Outspark have published a variety of popular MMO games in its 6 years of service, including Fiesta, Dark Blood, Seven Dragon and Luvinia, but currently only one of those games has a future. Gamigo, another MMO publisher, has announced that they will be taking over development of Fiesta, leaving the fate of other Outspark games in the balance.
Before I go into the success and failure of an MMO publisher, I think it's fitting that we first discuss the differences between single game publishers and portals. Company's like Turbine publish multiple MMO games, such as Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons, but I would not consider them to be a portal. They have staff dedicated to each title, some remaining completely exclusive to that particular game, but that's not always how other MMO publishers work.
MMO portals like Outspark, Gamigo and Aeria Games quite often publish large amounts of MMO games at once, but unlike their more popular counterparts they quite often use the same staff across multiple games. Granted, they're not always directly responsible for the continued development of the game, but they still have to accept a certain level of responsibility when things turn sour.
Kabam Games have a notorious reputation among MMO gamers as a large-scale portal publisher that does very little to cater to their player-base. The Godfather: Five Families, Wartune, Edgeworld and many of their other games feature decent enough features and mechanics, but fall short of joining the ranks of the elite because of a poorly managed community
Check any of the forum boards relating to Kabam Games titles and you'll see exactly what I mean. However, much like other game related companies, Kabam Games do make efforts to bridge the gap between their communities, but if often falls on deaf ears.
So what do you think about the actions of MMO publishers? Do you hold them as responsible as you would a console publisher that delivered a poor experience? Or do you expect a little less in the MMO world? Leave your thoughts below.
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